So, that’s another KWL under the belt for just a small handful of Harriers this time. Getting there was all part of the fun, navigating tiny roads in the fog. Of all the routes we could have picked, we chose the narrowest bridge we could find and all breathed in as the van crept over it with its wing mirrors turned in. We parked as best we could on the old Roman road and the kids and Jan wrapped up warm and hiked a little way up the steep trod to enjoy a picnic in the fog and support the runners as they began their struggle up hill. And what a hill! We started with a 250m ascent and it felt brutal. I hardly managed to run a step! I just concentrated on one uphill technique at a time, swapping to the next one and then the next one to keep me going… swing those arms, press down on the thighs, ok, now try a bit of running keeping your toes up.... The going uphill was oddly slippery –the short grass was so solid with the cold, that the shoes just didn’t grip at times. As we gained height we left the clouds below us, a vast, white ocean, and it was such a pity there was no time to stop and admire the spectacular sight! I managed a couple of glances over to the snowy Lakeland fells under a clear blue sky as we pushed on over the odd semi-frozen snow patch. At the first summit, we dropped down to a col and then it was another 150m up again, the sea of cloud dazzling us as we went on. Oh! A photographer! Try NOT to look exhausted… The descent was on rougher tussocky grass with better purchase but quite steep at times. I went carefully having seen an injured runner hobbling down with helpers on either side supporting her weight. Down, down into the cold murky clag again, until finally the finishing flags were in sight, earlier than I had expected!
Brian Kennedy was first Harrier home in 32:13 and well up the field in the MV50 category too. Then came the Proctor brothers, their own little race going on, with less than a minute between them! (Steve did it in 35:07 and Adam in 36:01). Judith Marshall and Steve Moore finished 40:25 and 40:50 respectively – that must have been an exciting battle for the finish line, but I was still in the clag and didn’t witness that one, coming in 3 minutes later at 43:52. Jill Gates, possibly our most dedicated Kendal Winter Leaguer so far did a respectable 51:10. The Race Organiser did a great job, and went the extra mile literally! Having already flagged the route the day before, he went up and put extra flags out because of the poor visibility, and I can tell you, this was appreciated once the line of runners thinned out on the descent!
If I found this race steep, I am in for a shock at Barbondale next week! Can someone please have a go at persuading me that it will be worth it, as I fear I won’t be able to actually RUN a single step, uphill OR down! My legs feel totally trashed today and even the stairs are a challenge. Thank you to my family for all coming to support me – there is nothing nicer than having Oscar running alongside me for a section egging me on. Kirsten’s support is usually more passive, her bottom firmly on her picnic mat but I do appreciate them coming all that way to cheer me on.