Montane Grizedale Trail 26
Did this event last year and it happened to be my second marathon. It is a really popular event and there are separate 10K, Half and Marathon options. The weather last year was extremely wet I although I found it difficult I enjoyed it a lot and decided to sign up for the other events in the series including Dalemain 10k and Howgills Trail 26.
Set off this year around 7am, the sunrise was stunning and heading into the lakes you could see lots of remaining snow on the hills along with a few patchy areas of fog. By the time we arrived at Grizedale visibility was very poor- the fog was absolutely freezing and filled the forest.
This year’s registration seemed to flow a little more smoothly. Last year there was quite a queue to register and pick up t-shirt/goody bag- which you obviously want to deposit in the car rather than carry around for 26 miles! This year there was no queue and we were able to pick up numbers and head back to the car. Free parking for the event is at the visitors centre (a 5 min walk to the start) and there are lots of (very clean!) toilets just next to the car park.
It was absolutely Baltic and I was pleased I’d gone for my Nike running fleece along with my Montane Minimus, buff and leggings. Briefing was brief and although extremely cold it was dry.
The race sets off and it is very hilly from the get-go. There were also a lot of very slippy ice patches- we were warned about these at the briefing. The race is mostly on good wide tracks, I wore my Salomon Speedcross 3 and I was glad that I did. They gripped well on icy snow packed ground and although I did slip at one point I was able to regroup quickly.
From the very beginning of this race I had a feeling that can only be described as a ‘malaise’. I felt ok although I felt the first 7/8 miles as energy sapping. Due to the fog the usual views did not appear and I just could not get into a rhythm. The route itself is like a figure eight and the Half takes the same course setting off 10-20 mins later than the marathon. The mentally challenging aspect of the run is knowing that when you get back to the start (amongst the faster halfers) you’re only half way. I usually take a while to settle into a race but for some reason it took me until at least mile 20 to start feeling myself.
The second half of the race is made up of quite sharp ascents and gradual descents. I remember finding these an absolute pain last year but this time round they didn’t seem quite as far. There were 3 feed stations on route at miles 9, 13, and 21, all stocked well with jelly babies, crisps, cake, cocktail sausages, coke, water etc and very helpful marshals. The last part of the route winds its way back along forest paths and takes another sharp ascent. There is a short descent to the finish and my Garmin 305 read 27.8 miles in total.
Overall I knocked off around 40 mins off last year’s finishing time and was 8th in my category. Looking forward to Dalemain 10k.