It is raining hard and blowing an icey cold gale as I leave the accommodation, with the fell tops all covered in a white blanket of snow, as I drive to Keswick. On arrival I find the weather has improved as I park up at the town Football Club’s muddy car park to make my way to Keswick School to collect my running number at the check in desk having already pre entered the sold out race with its limit of 500 competitors.
The race start at 12.00 is at the other far end of town, a fifteen minute walk and all congregate outside George Fishers ( walking / activity shop) for the pre-race briefing, before being led a hundred metres or so to the official start just below the traffic island on the B5289 road to Borrowdale.
It is a slow start for me and six seconds have already elapsed after the gun before I even get moving due to the final total field of 476 runners. The first part along the B5289 is very crowded with runners and I have to weave in and out to get past some of them. The temperature is only 3 degrees and my legs feel heavy and cold as I run the four miles to the Grange turning. The road has not been closed to traffic and although only light, there are still a couple of vehicles which come past the runners at a too fast a speed. On one occasion I am nearly hemmed into the rock by the roadside as two cars come from each direction and I bang on the car’s side window to show my annoyance. Why is he in such a hurry on a road that goes to nowhere except Borrowdale? He replies by blowing his horn at me before then continuing to speed off.
Once over Grange bridge I feel I am beginning to get into the race with all my body at last warmed up as the route takes a minor road which climbs for about a mile following under Maiden Moor and Cat Bells and looking across down to Derwent Water on the right hand side. Along here a water station is provided but the water is like ice and two sips are plenty! I look at the runners in front of me and select a certain runner, say sixth in front of me and decide to make the effort to pick them off. I do this three times between here and the finish and succeed in the quest.
By Hawes End and before the cattle grid, the route turns left along a narrower road leading to Skelgill from where there is a long descent to bypass Stair and then onto Swinside where another left turn is made half way up a hill which immediately passes behind a pub cooking Sunday lunches as the smell of fat wafts out of the extractor fan. It is level running now along the road under Swinside hill and beside its forest over to the right to reach the next T junction through Ullock before a long final climb to join another wider road taking us into Portinscale where the finish is down a cul de sac to the right of the hotel.
At the finish the lady number taker says to me’ V65 I have been waiting for you’ for I am first in age category and have won a prize being a ten pound note, a bottle of Wainwright beer, a Keswick AC
clothes bag and a free entry into next year’s race. However there are no goody bags or anything else at this event – just running for the enjoyment!
After a shower back at the school I attend the prize giving. It has been a good day out and event, just a shame about the traffic on the first part of the course.
Position 138 / 476 runners.