Lakes Sky Ultra

12 Sep 2015

This was the first time I’ve started a race wearing my waterproof jacket. Winds were reportedly reaching 65kph on the summits, and torrential rain hit at the start line.

The middle

The mist was thick as we exited Striding Edge and made our way up Nethermost Pike. I was in a little discomfort and had to submit to the call of nature. As I saw Eirik disappear into the mist I knew I wouldn’t see him again on the course.

When I got going again I was considerably slower without someone to pull me along, but I was happier running my own race and had a moment of reflection, looking back on my performances over the past few years since I started racing. I’ve fought in previous races, but it’s not possible to do that all the time.

I think I’ve started to dread the painful week of recovery when I’ve pushed that little bit further. I find I recover a lot quicker, and certainly feel like I’m adapting positively to the pressures of running and racing, but feel it’s the right thing to run within yourself sometimes, pushing the boundaries from the inside, exploring limitations from your comfort zone, withdrawing when it feels right to do so, being intuitive. I had that privilege at this race; I knew Eirik was too strong for me to beat, and I had a good lead on the other competitors. It was also an opportunity to fully absorb this amazing course, all of its complexities and unique character that came from the vision of the two very passionate race organisers, Andrew Burton and Charlie Sproson.

The next climb, up St Sunday Crag, was gruelling, on all fours, pulling with the arms and pushing with the legs, but it made for a nice distraction from running. The first marshal I passed made me aware that Pinnacle Ridge had been pulled – phew! A decision that was made only 10 minutes before we arrived. Reaching Patterdale, there was a delightful welcome from one of the ladies helping at the helm, who made sure I had a nice cup of coffee and plenty of snacks for the next leg. A few encouraging words by Andrew Burton and I was on my way again. The descent off St. Raven’s Edge was great, and as I approached Kirkstone Pass I could see and hear the crowd of supporters. This was a massive pick-me-up when by now all I wanted to see was Ambleside and the finish. More coffee and this final feed station tent was like an Aladdin’s cave of wonderful snacks.