The temperature has dropped and the first real snowfall has settled in.
Driving over Shap was interesting:
I love this race but it’s not my strong suit (I ask myself what is!?) it’s my third time doing it anyway.
This time registration was at the race start (a better arrangement in my opinion) so I picked up my number and went for a coffee and cake. Got chatting to a couple of guys about ultra running and obstacle course racing- they were really selling the obstacle thing…I’m still not sure but I might give it a go…
Luckily, it was dry and pretty much snow free in Kendal. As you can kind of see on the map, the race is a loop and it’s been the same route every year. This time though, a stile had been added to alleviate queues at the first kissing gate.
The start was packed, a lot of runners this year.
The start is a steep climb up Beast Banks, a road section that is quite challenging- it really does get everyone puffing and I was no exception. I had felt tired after a busy week but I enjoyed pushing myself a little (I’m sure the first time I did this race I ended up walking some of the ascents- but fitter this year, no walking) I’d set off quite quick and it showed as I was getting passed by quite a few people in the early stages. The route winds its way onto the fell, along muddy grassy fields and muddy rocky sections. The first half is pretty much all uphill.
The pay off is stunning views along Scout Scar. I’d settled into the race by now and was starting to pick people off and no one really passed me, so I think I was at about the right pace for me. The middle section crosses fields with a couple of churned up muddy climbs. By the golf course, I was feeling pretty good and enjoyed some reckless descending down slippery slopes.
Finally, down the steps, into town and boom, finish. The race has grown- first year I did it, I think there was 200 or so runners, this year- 500. I got my best time for this run and in a competitive field finished in the top 20% of female entries.