|Friday night camp|
The afternoon was spent walking one of the hillier parts of the race route, returning past a tranquil tarn dotted with waterfowl against a backdrop of towering Langdale Pikes. Dusk fell as we fuelled our bodies with a delicious chicken risotto. Soon, a full moon was sailing across the sky, the Plough stood upright against the dark wall of night pointing to the Pole star, an owl hooted in the distance and the campsite dissolved into eerie silence.
|Hard work up the 1 in 3 hill to Blea Tarn|
We were surrounded by tall, craggy monoliths many of which I'd climbed on, or raced over, in bygone years - such giants as Raven Crag, Pavey Ark, Pike o' Stickle, Harrison Stickle, Bowfell, Pike o' Blisco, Gimmer Crag and Lingmoor - names that read like a litany to dedicated mountaineers and fell runners. Conditions were absolutely ideal for running, cloudless skies, brilliant sunshine, clear views and just a hint of cooling breeze - but not quite matching the organiser's description as rivalling the Atacama desert for one of the driest places on the planet! Shortly before 12 noon nearly 550 runners crowded the narrow road for the start of the race, 385 of them in the ½ marathon, the brave remainder set to complete two circuits of the course for a full marathon. After a brief pep talk, which nobody heard, a whistle blew and we were on our way.
Having been officially named as 'the oldest runner ever to run this race' I settled into a steady pace near the rear of the field trying to establish a regular rhythm over the first flat mile. For many of the newcomers who didn't know the route the next ¾ mile of 1 in 3 ascent to the head of the Pass into Little Langdale came as a severe shock and generated one or two choice expletives! I alternated little runs with fast walks and made it to the top feeling reasonably fresh.
|My wonderful partner finishing 1st LV60|
|The dynamic Longwood duo after the race|
N.B. The chap I vaguely recognized descending into Little Langdale was, as I thought, Andrew Edwards of BBC Radio Leeds whom I'd corresponded with in the past but never met. It's nice to put faces to names. We'd a brief chat at the Finish during which I was introduced to his attractive wife and a friend of theirs, Annette Fraser from 'flat as a pancake London', who'd tackled the hills bravely to clock a creditable 2.05.51. The long-legged Andrew in his trademark yellow shorts was just behind in 2.07.10.
Full results here: