|Fiona & Dora.|
|Haring round Rothay Park.|
|Midnight mooch through Ambleside.|
|Running a rocky torchlit trail.|
|Dawn over Haweswater.|
Coming down the other side it was a scramble over a boulder field as we headed east, seeing the first rays of dawn appear and begin to lighten our way. Once at the foot of the hill at Mardale Head on the shore of the Haweswater Reservoir, the silent dawn was breaking, which had a very unwanted side-effect: midges… millions of the feckers. As you got to the aid station and stopped you were instantly covered in a seething black layer of them on any bare skin and were eaten alive by them. I pitied the folks manning the aid station as they did not have any head nets or protection from them or were wearing any gloves to protect their hands.
I was dying to see a man about a dog at this point but was more than a little concerned about what would happen to the old fella if I flopped him out for a spot of bladder relief: with any bare skin being instantly covered if I was to stop here how could I explain to LSS when I got back why my twig and berries looked like it had a pox from being attacked by the bitey feckers? Nothing would possibly cut-it as an explanation and saying I was attacked by midges when having a slash hardly sounds like a plausible reason for having a polka-dot penis even if it was true! Holding back I managed to keep it in till above the worst of them and syphon the python once clear of danger.
Continuing along the banks of Haweswater it was noticeably lighter as the sun now began to poke above the horizon. Making steady progress Dora & me bumped into fellow runner Paul who was making his merry way along. As we jogged along chatting I could feel my hammy beginning to cramp. I tried to ignore it but it wasn’t working, so I had to stop and attempt to stretch it out and lard it with Deep Heat - it seemed to work a bit, well, enough to carry on relatively unhindered for the time being. I knew it was only a few k’s till we were off Haweswter and at the next aid station with its bacon sarnies for breakfast, a thought that had spurred me on for many a mile, mind over matter I don’t mind and the bacon sarnie was the only thing that mattered.
|The Red Deer.|
|Cloud still to burn away in full.|
|Paul and his green top.|
Whilst trying to build-up speed again I was caught by Paul and we merrily jogged to the aid station at Patterdale ahead of the 55k runners who would also be passing through here on their run.
|Back down Glenridding.|
|Looking up towards Helvellyn|
On the top the terrain was wet slippery rock, which is anathema for trail shoes and grip. Passing a marshal he shouted it was only 3 miles to the aid station and I tried to make progress off the summit and hopefully to get below the clag as quickly as possible. Trying to pick a path over the solid rocky surface I saw a gully worn as a path and made for that, skipping towards it before nearly stomping fully into the midriff of a freshly dead sheep carcass!.. Narrowly avoiding a messy accident I tried to descend as fast as I could but was slowed to a walk by the slippery rock, all the while being buffeted by the wind and my hands now freezing - I was faced with the choice of stopping in this highly exposed area to find gloves in my pack to put them on, or to try to tough it out and just put my hands up my sleeves and get down under the clag into more warm air asap.
|Descending from the tarn.|
|Stepping stone in the last of the sun.|
|Bog trotting in the murk|
|Approaching Stake Pass in the clag.|
Trying not to collapse into a jellied emotional wreck, I went and grabbed some food from the finishers food cart and bumped into Dora who was sitting on a camping chair looking very pained… She had trashed her feet on the way to where we had last crossed paths and had been slowed to a shuffle but ground out a finish just one place above and 10 minutes in front of me. I reckon I must have made nearly half an hour on her over the last 15 miles even in my sorry state so she must really have been suffering and in severe pain, which put my travails into perspective.
I was supposed to go for a beer with Pini after the race, but I was facing a rush to make last orders and I really couldn’t face it. All I could muster was to shower, put on all my warm clothes and climb into the van for a kip.
The next morning dawned and soon enough I was up and cooking mahoosive brekkie baguettes of sausage, bacon egg & black pudding for Pini & me… It turns out he had finished in 14th place in the 55k, the first time he had ever entered a race like this and the first time for him running in the lakes. Oh and Fiona had finished 3rd lady in the 110. A pair of awesome running performances!
|Pini perusing paperwork for positions.|
Anyway, chapeau to Pini & Fiona on their immense performances in the 55 & 110 and not forgetting Dora who managed to really show how tough she was in getting to the finish on feet that could not walk another step.
Will I be back?.. Too effing right!