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Saturday 16th May – Fairfield Horseshoe


Graham Andy Finish
Report from Graham Lake: To celebrate my brother becoming a V40 the family Lake took a trip to the Lakes to do this race which other runners seem to rave about. The forecast was wrong, as it often is in Cumbria, and we had lovely sun as we warmed up near Rydal Hall. This is a glorious hidden spot for anyone who’s not been there, plenty for the kids to explore while the adults visit the cafe.

After a very strict kit-check (much more than the fondle of my bum-bag I had at 3 peaks) about 200 runners lined up for this classic lakeland horseshoe.
The sprint up the track stretched the field out, and then it was hands on knees for the steep ascent to Nab Scarr. My brother Andy had shot off ahead, so when I saw Rob Jebb take a more direct line than most I followed (a long way back!) and caught up with Andy, only to see him slowly pull off ahead as we turned north up the ridge. I knew then he had the beating of me! The views were stunning though, Scafell Pike, Great Gable, Skiddaw and the Coniston fells all in view, ( kept having to remind myself I was in a race. It was walk/run/walk/run all the way up to Fairfield, then a rocky and very windy traverse of the head of the valley lead to the long descent back south.
I was running better now after some sweets and a gel, and despite a couple of dodgy route choices felt I was catching more runners than were catching me. Then my garmin beeped, and a quick glance showed there were 2 miles to go, and bang, over on my ankle. Tried to walk, but gave up and had a moan with a road runner chap who was struggling with cramp. Eventually got going again after a walk, but it was a very slow descent. Got passed by a few Ilkley Harriers and a lady for Valley Striders who was running well, but any hope of catching my bro were long gone.
Ankle was ok on the long track back up to the finish where I was greeted by the family where you have to cross a little stream.
I would highly recommend this race, and think I’ll be back next year after a recce of the descent to get a better route.
I finished in 74th place 1.52.22, with winner Rob Jebb for Bingley in 1.20.26
First lady was Sharon Taylor for Helm Hill 1.39.53 and 32nd place.
  1. #1 by Hugh_P on May 19, 2015 - 9:10 am

    Well done Graham. Did it a few years back and they sent us through a slurry pit overflow at the start. Rather smelly. I enjoyed the ascent but struggled on the descent unlike John Armitstead who put about 15 minutes into me as I recall.

  2. #2 by Sarah on May 19, 2015 - 10:13 am

    Nice one graham good effort for cracking on with a dodgy ankle over that terrain – loved this race I remember the slurry pit year Hugh!! That decent just keeps on coming absolutely brilliant !!

  3. #3 by Matt P on May 19, 2015 - 12:08 pm

    Well done Graham, and hope your damage isn’t permanent. I’ve done this race a few times including the time we had to go through the cow poo. Descent is a beast and if you take the wrong line you have to climb down a small cliff.

  4. #4 by Antonio Cardinale on May 19, 2015 - 10:29 pm

    Well done indeed Graham , it is a lovely fell race , although is really hard one to do , 1:52 is a good result and you did a strong performance achieved by the help of a good state of your mind.

  5. #5 by Caron on May 20, 2015 - 6:50 pm

    Nice one The Lakey’s! It’s a good camping spot too, but ask Simon Anderson how disgracefully behaved our dogs were-u won’t believe it……….

  6. #6 by Graham on May 21, 2015 - 9:06 am

    Not sure I want to know Caron!
    We should definitely plan an Otley AC camping trip around one of these ‘classic’ lakes races. One that’s on a Saturday, so plenty of time for ‘relaxation’ afterwards.

  7. #7 by Caron on May 22, 2015 - 5:23 pm

    Good idea Graham-this has been one of my target races but something always happens and I’ve yet to do it! Think they release an extra field to camp on race weekends and it’s fairly cheap so worth it I think, and it’s a lovely place.

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