Saturday 7th November 2015
The forecast for the Lakeland trails Helvellyn 15k had been looking pretty bad all week and the morning of the race looked like they weren’t going to be wrong!!
I entered this race to get some miles in and to get some miles in around the Helvellyn area in preparation for the potential Helvellyn Ultra in December.
The week before hadn’t been a great week from a bout of sickness and therefore I hadn’t done any running what so ever so my legs were feeling a little heavy. I also ended up being car sick on the way to the race on the day so you could say I wasn’t feeling best prepared!
On arrival to the event the 10k race was just finishing off so we headed out to support the finishers and to get registered. I had my support with me for this race…John came and looked after me, keeping me warm, making sure I ate and drank properly and to snap some photos. It makes a big difference having someone with you to support you at events, it’s not something Im used to having and I appreciate it so much.
Following registration I had the usual nerves and then a major dilemma as to what to wear. It was pouring down but it wasn’t that cold really but what was making my decision really hard was that everyone around me was in a mismatch of clothing from full length leggings, base layers, rucksacks, hats, shorts, vests…..I was struggling!! I decided that shorts and t’shirt were the way forward and if I got cold I’d just have to run quicker and skin drys quicker than clothing and that was that!!
We got called to the start which was in a muddy field, I felt like it was the start of a cross country race. I knew the start could potentially be dangerous so I decided that I’d take it relatively easy until I was out of the crowd and the muddy field! I started amongst the crowd and in hindsite I should have got myself closer to the front to get a good start but I always feel a bit hesitant in doing this….I don’t know why! After the field we hit the road for a short period before picking up the trail alongside a river which was wild because of the amount of rain that had fallen and then the climbing started. None of the climbs in my opinion were that steep, they were just relentless and the combination of muddy and rocky climbs made it that much harder, particularly on the descents.
We wound our way around to Helvellyn youth hostel and then off round Grisedale Beck before picking up the Cumbria way path back to Patterdale. It was an absolutely amazing route, I loved every minute of it because it offered everything I could possibly want from a race. Due to the amount of rain fall, we had small new river crossings and more mud that you could imagine. It made some of the rocky descents tricky but I’m getting quite good at these now so it meant I could pick up some speed and make up for the poor start I had.
The marshalls out on the course were all volunteers and were great supports. One declared as he saw me…’it’s a harrier!!! Go Preston Harrier’ which made me laugh.
I was on the look out all the time for John but I found out at the end he realised he wasn’t going to make it to see me at any other point on the course so he made his way to near the end to snap some photos. As I saw him I started to wave and declared what an awesome race it was to which he shouted back ‘get running!’, I was having a lot of fun!
After seeing John I pushed on to the end which was along a road side trail path, over the road and then back on to the muddy field. I was feeling pretty happy at this point and sprinted best I could through the mud to the end.
After finishing I went off to find John so I could get changed and warm up and found out that I had come 3rd lady which was a shock. What a day! I can safely say this has been my favourite race this year, I loved every minute of it and to top it off, whilst waiting around at the end for the presentation, there was live music and great food to re fuel on.
I picked up my 3rd prize and had to stand on a podium which was a first:
I felt a bit nervous and a bit uncomfortable up there plus I hadn’t come prepared for hanging around at the end so had to put Johns big boots on to stand and walk in the mud in so felt a little daft!!
I would definitely recommend this event to anyone wanting a race full of adventure, it was great fun!!
Photos by John Mason, follow him on Instagram @johndmason