Wednesday, 24 September 2014


Those in the know will realise that this is the Lake District Mountain Trial and as last years was abandoned in awful weather 2014 would become the 60th race. This time the weather was kind and we collected on the King George V playing fields in Patterdale bright and early. We had mid starts so the place was already buzzing when we arrived and parked. I managed to catch up with a few friends between toilet queues, registration and kit check. I didn't feel too bad considering the UTMB was only a fortnight ago (and that feeling lasted until I was trying to run far or fast). My haematoma was still rather big and squishy so I wore the calf guards again but was pleased when a physio said using the leg was good.
Leaving the assembly we ran up the lane to collect our maps and then up and up onto Birks. Charlie Sproson shot off and I tried to gain places on some and not lose places at all. It was an easy control with marshalls on the path. Then came a huge decision. I am not great at this and can dither for ages and then still believe that everyone else has made a better choice than me. I opted for down into Grisedale and tried to plan the next bit en route, which was hard as I kept wondering if over St Sunday would have been better. Struggling up to the Hole in the Wall I was sure I had got it wrong (and counting contours now suggests I did climb more than necessary) but was not confident of using Nethermost Cove. I tried to see who else had come my way and was relieved to see Dorothy Pelly. The weather was dryish but the cloud was low and it was wetting as we climbed. I had hoped that from the foot of Swirral Edge I could cut across to the col and drop south of Whiteside but in the mist I lost my bottle and went up and up. I met a cold, wet and confused Rowena and we set off for CP2 together. Again I made a poor choice going NW rather than N to the col with Whiteside which had been my original plan. I think  this would have been a grassier descent. A quick look at the map showed that leg 2-3 would be a flog but similar in reverse to a leg on the SLMM earlier this summer. It was a traverse with some steep stream gullies on the way. Fortunately I was with Rowena, Albert and Josie now and we kept each other moving at a decent pace and overtook Tony V and Mark S. The climb out of the control was shortish but steep and my legs were now complaining big style that this was far too soon after the Alps. At the top the others had vanished but despite the mist I knew where I wanted to go to pick up a brilliant grassy trod that would lead me most of the way to CP4 via Hart Side. Dropping down to the control from that summit took longer than I had hoped as it was further and more tussocky than I expected. The next leg had route choice again and I started well. I could see Albert and Rowena up ahead for a bit and then Alison appeared for a chat. The contouring path at the head of Glencoynedale was fine but at the mine waste I changed my plan and regretted it. Alison and I did jungle war fare along a fence line and then had to cross Glenridding Beck and climb. Others dropped further but at least had the path. I reckon  should have stuck to my plan of a short climb to Stang and then a contour with a small decent. Ah well. I was by now trashed and the rocky path was torture for my feet. I had also forgotten to take my ankles so my Fellraisers had made a nice slice below the ankle bone. I did not run well down the valley but could not persuade my body to make more effort. Kirsty shot by but I had nothing left. The final CP was straightforward although the 1:40,000 map is tricky to read in the detailed valley areas. Even running down the steep tarmac road was an effort. It was good to sit at the pavilion and drink many cups of water whilst comparing splits and routes with others. The food from Podium Catering was excellent and I had a chat with Peter and Maurice while I waited for Bob. In the end I did not do too badly as 5th lady on the Medium course and 2nd V50 , plus i walked away with a voucher and a very nice 60th engraved tumbler.

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