Race Rundown: Lakeland Trails – Keswick, 7th September 2019

Lakeland Trails – Keswick, Saturday the 7th of September, starting and finishing in Fitzgerald Park. Weather was sunny, lovely blue skies, maybe just a bit too warm for running, but great for watching.

Races on offer 5k, 10k or 15k challenge and 15k race. (All distances approx.)

As I really enjoyed my first Lakeland Trail back in April I was keen to try another one and for an excuse for a weekend away!  Keswick was perfect as there is a little B&B we have been to a few times before just over the river from the park, so just a 2 minute walk to the start line. We also know a nice Italian restaurant which sells great pasta for the Friday night.

Keswick parkrun also uses Fitzgerald Park, which I was surprised to see hadn’t been cancelled as the first race set off at 11am and number collection started at 9am, but it worked perfectly, the parkrun used the trail finishing funnel and the portable loos, and the extra people knocking around added to the atmosphere, even boosted the numbers as some of the trail runners used the parkrun as their warm up (including David).

I opted for the 10k which set off at 11am to the sound of the Batala Lancaster Drummers. They really are good and created a brilliant atmosphere.  The race did a lap round the park before heading for the hills or I should say Latrigg.  For about 4 miles it was 85% up hill, on road, then path, then tracks, there was even a bit that reminded me of Stuart’s ploughed fields Sunday runs, but this was uphill!

Then for about 2 miles it was 95% downhill. There was bit near the end of the hill which was a bit too steep to run, otherwise it was a lovely run down and quite fast if you dare just let your legs go. Then back to the park full of spectators, a cricket match and folks generally enjoying the sun.

For those who know Latrigg, the route headed up the east side round the back past the main path heading up to Skiddaw then back down the main route to the west of Latrigg.

There is a great café in the park next to the start/finish and all the stalls that were at the last Lakeland Trails were also there selling coffee, burgers, wraps, ice cream and running shoes, clothing etc.  The drummers were playing on and off all day and to kick off all the other races, which was brilliant to watch once I got back from my shower and while eating my dinner in the café.

At 2pm it was David’s turn, see below.

Would I recommend it? “Oh yes” these really are not about time they are about running somewhere special with fantastic views and a wonderful atmosphere.  The B&B just 2 minutes away was ideal just to pop back for a shower then back to the park again to watch the other races. I even managed a walk along the southern side of Latrigg while David was running.

Result wise:

For the 10k I was 55th overall, 8th lady and 1st V50 lady J.  Time was 53.13 (it measured 9.5k by my watch).

In the 15k Race David was 32nd overall 31st male and 4th V50 male, time 1.18.22.

Then to top it all off I won a spot prize……. free entry to the Dirty Double, which is Ullswater Trail Race Saturday the 26th of October then Helvellyn Trail Race on Sunday the 27th, pity I’m away, but David just might use it. J


By Marie, now David’s bit…….

Well the 15km for me was pretty much a race of two halves: 50 minutes up, over 556m of climb, then down the other side for 28 minutes

The 15km starts with the 10k, a steady climb out of Keswick then when you get into the woods there are a few lung busting short climbs until the route flattens out as it makes its way around Latrigg.

There is not much passing going on in this section due to the climbs and single track but as the route opens up you get some great views as you get to the point where the 10k turns back behind Latrigg.

The 15k drops down a short section of road before crossing a stream and starting the long drag up the side of the valley.

Passing through the aptly named bottomless bog section (long legs are a definite advantage at this point) this section again offered not much opportunity to overtake but the plan was to save the legs for the downhill section to come so I just ran a steady pace in line and took in more of the great views.

We just kept climbing up to the head of the valley, over the bridge and then the last climb up to the top path (photo above) it was quite a view looking back down the valley at the other runners and where we had come up from.

I knew the profile of the route as we ran the top section but what a run down hill!  You basically ran as fast as you could downhill for 6km (there is a short uphill section about half way down that has your calves in shock, but once you’re over it, it’s back to flat out running again).

The route gets faster and faster until by the time you are heading for the road you’re having to slow yourself down before you lose total control of your arms and legs.

The last section of route flattens out and takes you up a short steep climb onto the old railway then back into Fitzgerald Park and round to the finish.

I was pleased with the run and my position on the day, number 82 and I swapped positons all the way from the top so it was good to keep in front of another guy at the finish, but the legs had taken a bit of a beating! I got talking to him at the finish; he had come all the way from the Bridlington area, he had done the race a few time before but just kept coming back for the downhill, “no hills like this at home” was his reason!

It is another great race in the Lakeland series. If you like a bit of mud/grass under foot and don’t mind the hills, get a run booked in.

Race Rundown: Sunderland 5k Road Race, 11th July 2019

As a local-ish Grand Prix race I thought I should give it a go and booked up a couple of months ago. I forgot to write it in my diary, then about a month later the Willow Miner Race at Durham opened for entries, which I do like, yes hilly, hard but a great run.  I spread the word on Facebook because I know a few Harriers also like the Willow Miner and it does fill up fast. It was about 2 weeks later when I was wondering why many Harriers hadn’t entered the Willow Minor the penny dropped, the Sunderland 5K Grand Prix race was the next day!  Oh well I’ll take it easy at the Willow Miner! (Did I heck!)

So back to Sunderland.

First race 6.45pm. Ladies and senior men (over 50s)

Second race 7.20pm. Everyone else, or in other words the fast lads!

Car parking was no problem as there was a large overflow car park, but I’m guessing anyone arriving late may not agree with me, the sports complex has a lot going on. The evening was VERY warm and windy unfortunately, not a cold wind; the good news it was a lot more downhill than up (start at 240ft, finish at 184ft) BUT the main downhill was the first 600m so you were forced in to a fast start!

After chatting to a few Harriers before we set off about the normal stuff like why we won’t be running so fast and not expecting to do well because of …….. heat, wind, tired legs, lack of sleep, not feeling good, injuries, narrow start, the normal stuff, we set off fast downhill (it felt fast which is not good at the start of a race).  It was quite a crowded start and because of the hill it felt like you needed space to let your legs go and take advantage of the hill but maybe it was good that there were people in the way to slow you down a bit.

Once on the flat for start of the small loop the wind hit you head on and it made it really hard work to keep your pace going, not good less than 15% into the race. A small hill was the turning point for the small loop but you didn’t get any benefit of the wind due to the trees on the way back round.

The second loop took you a bit further out, so longer into the head wind but I did feel the wind behind me for a small part of the way back but it didn’t help!

For a warm night with a cruel wind, most of the Harriers had a brilliant run, but I know some suffered from the fast start.

A highlight for me was while we walked back to the car having to stand to the side to let the “fast lads” run past on their fast downhill start; the speed and the cool breeze it created was wonderful!  Also brilliant to watch the start of a race as you are normally running it. (Yes Declan, Paul, Mark and Sam you were the “fast lads!”)

The race was well organised. I also liked the option of bringing your own bottle which they left crates out for you to put them in on the way to the start, then they carried them to the finish for you to collect. The crates were marked by club names, or for the clubs with not so many entries (like us) you were in the “others” crate.

How did I do? Well not bad, the fastest 5k since 2009, but only 12 seconds faster than my recent PB at Sedgefield parkrun which definitely has just as many up hills as it does down!  Yes I do wonder if it was a cooler night and if I hadn’t run the night before would I have beaten my best ever time of 22.01????

by Marie Walker.

Race Rundown: Lakeland Trails – Hawkshead 16k – 13th April 2019

OK why did I sign up for this –

Great way to start our holiday in the Lakes.

Means we have to arrive early to start our holiday.

I love walking the hills in the Lake District.

To mark the last day in my forties!

There was a “challenge” option which is for the slower runners (or fast walkers), so no pressure!

Why this might be a bad idea –

Yes I do love walking the hills but I don’t like drops, I don’t like running down hill when it’s either steep, slippery, gravely or covered in stones/rocks.

I don’t like running up hills, does anyone?

Mile 8 was known as the coffin trail, steep uphill for a mile!

David was doing the “race” which meant he set off an hour after me, so my plan was to walk any bit I didn’t like and still arrive back before David. Matthew was to meet me at the end I told him it would take me about 2 hours (hopefully no longer)!

The race organisers said the weather was “perfect”, dry, just a bit breezy and cool, the 493 “challenge” runners lined up to start to the sound of drums and a brilliant atmosphere. We set off along the road and soon up the hill towards Chaife Heights, the pace was steady and I managed to run nearly all the way up, under foot was nice, no steep drops, not too much gravel or rocks, so the running was good.

Following a down, an up and then a lovely grassy downhill we passed though Far Sawrey and the first water station, I was enjoying every step.

From Far Sawrey there was a long uphill, but with so many people walking, I felt the pressure was off and was happy to also walk. Whilst walking I still managed to overtake a lady who was running, just shows sometimes it does pay to be a tortoise.

For me the next bit was the worse bit of the race I really didn’t enjoy the drop down to Lake Windermere, it was quite steep with rocks and stones, I went so slow down about 30 people flew past me. Once on to the Lakeside I managed to pass a few of them before starting the coffin trail, no one ran that bit at all!  After the coffin trail mile it was 90% downhill to the finish.

I must say the marshals were great, one of them had about 10 small toy sheep with him and the one on the coffin trail was a full size skeleton he was wearing a hi-vis vest and pointing the right way.

With just over a mile before the finish I passed Matthew walking up the hill, I guessed that meant I was going faster than planned! I did walk part of the final downhill due to loose stones but once we were on the field and the road for the final stretch before the finish on Hawkhead playing fields I picked up the pace and passed quite a few runners and even managed a sprint finish with words of encouragement from a gentleman from St Helen’s Striders as I went past.

There was a commentator at the end of the race who spotted my number and shouted “well done Marie” as I came over the finish line.

To greet everyone at the end there were the drummers again, a finishers t-shirt and a brilliant selection of traders with goodies for sale, Matthew enjoyed a venison burger, David an apple and cinnamon latte and me a lovely cup of tea!

I really did enjoy the race (challenge) and would happily do it or maybe another Lakeland Trail run again, they are really not about time, they are about enjoying the hills, the views, the atmosphere and the great sense of achievement, which I did have at the end.

Just for the record, time wise David in the race came 36 (out of 152) 1 hour 24 min 5th V50, and me I’m over the moon 1 hour 47 mins!  141 overall, 8th V40 lady (if the race had been the next day I would have been 5th V50, maybe I should do it next year J )

Results: http://www.lakelandtrails.org/download/Results/AA%2019%20Results/Hawkshead%2016k%20Trail%20Race%20Provisional%20Results.pdf

By Marie Walker