No wonder we were cold last night, Jack frost had visited us. The sun soon melted the light frost though and was looking to be another nice day. Had my breakfast and 2 cups of tea,then went for a shower. A coffee to help with business. Then I got ready and walked over to registration. It was already buzzing and busier than there last event I did at Silverdale. Got my number and checkpoint tag (they cut a bit of at each checkpoint, to show you’ve been there). My number is 24, nearly 23 which is our lucky number. Had another tea and a slice of toast with Jam on and waited. Time seems to stand still when your waiting for the start. Then before you realise it’s time to go. It’s already warming up, gonna be a hot day. I pass Babs and Jackson as we go by the campsite.
Keeping it steady and trying not to get caught up in running too hard to start with. Somehow though I soon find myself just behind the front group, with 2 already breaking away off the front. We spread out a bit as we start to ascend Cat Bells and the sun already feels punishing, we’re only just over 3 miles in and I’m sweating a good un.
Cat bells is one of my favourite mountains, always get a great view and a tough little scramble. Over the top we descend and turn left then right down the bridleway. This is a fast and fairly technical descent. I pass a few more of the quicker walkers and use them to find the route -its a self navigational course and the walkers set off an hour earlier- I have a secret weapon this time though, my gps. I uploaded the route on my Wahoo bike computer 😉. No fly’s on me. It comes in handy alot, especially the second half where I spend most of it on my own.
Lots of ups and downs along these great trails and I find myself In front of previous leaders, they went wrong ha ha bonus. We get to the first feed station, 4 of us together. A quick top up and some fruit and I leave, the others already gone. I pass a public loo, may as well go for a wee i think, so I do. Spend most of this next section on my own. Tough trails and a very grueling climb up this never ending stone steps thing. Stairway to hell I reckon.
Eventually got to the top and get too open fell.
Very boggy up here and still alone but happy and loving it. Squidge my way past Dock Tarn then start a steady and rocky (boggy too) descent. It was near the bottom of this where I catch a runner. He’s struggling now and had a little fall, but ok. I lead him to the next feed station. Neither of us stopped for long here and get going. I stayed with him chatting for a bit. Turns out he ran a sub 3 hours marathon last weekend and has also ran the coast 2 coast path and the Pennine way. Both self supported, he was no newbie. I left him at Ashness bridge, showed him the way and carried on. I’ve walked this route a few times in the past so I know my way now (kind of). Still bloody hardwork, the legs are feeling it now. Some great views heading upto Walla crag, well worth a photo.
The descent off Walla crag seemed very harsh on the quads and my feet. There’s no wind at all now and with the heat and tiredness it’s feeling tough. Round the edge of Keswick, past Castle head and across the road, then through the woods to the lake. Well should of been. I go slightly wrong and end up clambering through a thorn bush, climbing a stone wall and jumping on and off one of them big bins. Felt like I was in an action movie, got a few stares too. Over crow park and through the gate on the far end. I know this way as did it last year at the Scarfell marathon. Past Booths supermarket and on the path to Portinscale. This is were a lad catches me up that left me ages ago. I stay with him until he goes wrong and I correct him. I stay in the lead now, apparently his map ran out and he got waylaid in Keswick (ironic thing is he was wearing a Keswick running club top). So I take the lead all the way back and end up leaving him just before the campsite. Babs and JB cheer me past. You can see ol mate behind, in the yellow top.
I pick up my pace to make sure he don’t catch me and beat me to the finish. To my total surprise I came 5th, how cool is that? Chuffed to bits. Had some food and drink and a chat with the others. 1st place was nearly 50mins quicker though, crazy nutter’s. Babs and the boy met me outside, so we chilled for a bit before heading back to the tent. Time for a beer.
After my beer and a shower, we walk into Keswick for food. Had to be a mixed grill for me, I was so hungry I’d ate most of it before I snapped a pic ha ha.
Day 118 done 247 to go.
23.3 miles HR 152.
4513ft of climbing.
740.5 miles total.