This was the third time that I’ve done this event and I always find it challenging. It’s short, it’s hilly and it’s usually raining- not today though! The weather was glorious, so much so, Ed suggested that we sack off the race and hit the fells instead- but we didn’t really have the kit to deal with conditions on the high fells, so Dalemain it was.
In previous years, the event has taken place on the same weekend as the Marmalade Festival, it was only last night that I realised that this was not the case this year due to date changes- it didn’t bother me, I’ve never taken advantage of the free entry to the festival as I was quite happy with my marmalade at the finish and usually keen to get home and have a bath.
We arrived in good time and collected our race number. It was a new route this year, starting in the courtyard at Dalemain, heading across farm tracks across the fields of the estate and past Dacre Castle for the first loop.
It’s my birthday today and one of my presents from Ed was a GoPro camera. We tested it out during the race and it is such a great piece of kit, I’m looking forward to getting to grips with it and using it on longer events and ultras.
After a few grinding grassy hills, the route takes a steep descent back to Dalemain for the start of loop two. In past years, the ground was very churned up and muddy, this year the frost made it a lot easier going. The second half takes you across fields again towards Dacre where there is a short road section, after rejoining the trail it winds back along the farm track to the finish gantry.
I always find this race tough (I find most races tough!) but with the route changes, company and weather it was very enjoyable. We finished, collected our marmalade and sat for a while in the sun.