Apr 12 29
On Friday I decided to recce the Buttermere Sailbeck fell race route (15.3 km; 1422 m) as the weather forecast was good. For once the forecast was correct!
From Buttermere village the route starts up the Newlands Valley and soon ascends steeply to the top of the ridge. At the end of the ridge one unfortunately loses all that height by dropping down to the valley to cross the beck (where the Purple House used to be): Checkpoint 1. Then one must painfully regain the height by ascending a steep heathery slope to top the parallel ridge and summitting at Crag Hill: Checkpoint 2.
As we were recce-ing we added a bit of extra distance and, as it was quite chilly, I was keen when we got back to go into Croft House cafe for coffee and cake.
Flapjack topped with caramel and scattered with seeds and cranberries that enable you to pretend it is a healthy snack the chocolate bits notwithstanding. Unfortunately Ian had overdone it so much he felt too sick to eat; lucky for me, I had a great day out!
Fast forward (or see blog ii) to today (Sunday) – race day and the forecast was horrid including 65 mph gusts – not ideal for a ridge route. As a result of the event which is the subject of blog ii, I decided not to enter the race. What a good decision that was! At the starting time of 1 pm it was cold and a bit wet but not too bad.
As the runners made their way up the pass the clouds gathered and the wind got up. Happily I was wearing my new warm skiing jacket, much snugger than running shorts.
We all drove down to the Purple House checkpoint to see the runners come though – well, some of them. After a bit we were so wet and cold we gave up and retreated back to the village to check out the finish.
The fastest runners managed the distance in a little over 90 minutes, no mean feat anyway but in those conditions particularly admirable. We were all very glad that we had wimped out, especially when we heard some of the comments from the runners: “Never been in conditions like it”, “Had to help so-and-so who got blown over”, “Was knocked off me feet”, and saw the rather hypothermic state that some appeared to be in. Let’s hope that on next big race day I (we) feel a bit keener!
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