Borrowdale Fell Race 7/8/10

AL 17 miles 6700 feet.
Or that's what it would have been if I'd have finished.
For a change I had a really healthy week leading up to the race. No booze and healthy eating. I trained a few times but nothing too strenuous. I even lost a bit of weight.
collecting my number
Because Methuselah and I had never done a race of this length our plan was to start relatively slowly and pace ourselves for the first three hills and save some energy for the last two. But not so slowly we wouldn't make the cut off (Honister 14miles 4.5 hours). Or that was the plan. going up Bessyboot
Unfortunately it didn't work out quite to plan.
When the race started we jogged out at a reasonable pace but straight away I felt as it I didn't have enough energy. I'm never quick going up hills but I found the first hill, Bessyboot (check point 1), even more of a struggle than usual. Then it seemed a real battle just to keep up with the stragglers across the top and up a gradual climb to Allen Crags and check point 2.
We agreed before hand that we would need some food to get round and had decided that would be after 2 hours. 1:50 into the race I decided I couldn't wait the extra 10 minutes and shoved a GIANT size snickers bar down me.
Whilst I'd been going through a bit of a mental battle Methusela had been jogging ahead, filling the joint water bottle up from streams and patiently waiting for me to turn up to rehydrate me.
As we ascended towards Scarfell Pike the weather closed in a bit and we got separated. I think I took a poor line at one stage which probably cost me a couple of minutes and a few places as, frustratingly, some of the few people I'd passed ended up ahead of me. I managed to hook up with Methuselah just before Broad Crag and we started the, now relatively short climb, up Scafell Pike together. By now the Snickers had kicked in and I started to feel more normal and found the climb up Scafell Pike to check point 3 much easier. So it seemed that I'd been lacking energy due to a shortage of fuel.
going up Great Gable
The run down to the base of Great gable was pleasant enough and we thought we had enough
time in hand to make the cut off. Going up Great Gable check point 4 was hard but you just had to get your head down and get it done.
Coming off Gable was easy enough and all we had left to navigate was our way over Brandreth, Grey Knotts and down to Honister. I don't think we took a bad line at this stage but it was taking us longer than expected to cover the distance. On the run down to Honister it became apparent we wouldn't make the cut off. I got there 4 minutes too late.
running in at Honister
I had a mixture of disappointment, at not making the cut off, and relief, at not having to continue.
It really hadn't been a good race for me from the start. A lack of energy and when I usually make up time going down hill they were all a bit too steep to really let go. After the race I was really peed off. And, a few days later, I still am. It has however given me some determination to loose some weight. I think it's the only way I'm going to be able to do these longer races with real intent.
I will go back next year to finish the race.


  1. Chin up Lightning, sounds like it was just 'one of those days'. We all have them, and just have to hope that they don't fall on race day. I'm sure you'll absolutely kill it next year. Nonetheless, a great effort. All the best.

  2. Remember, we would have finished it if we'd been permitted to - that was never in doubt. Next year, we will nail it.

  3. Well done mate, that sounds like a tough one

  4. That's the spirit John - sounds like that was pretty tough... I think sometimes a hard race experience is just as valid as one that goes really well because it takes you right to your limits.

    Some days it just doesn't happen for whatever reason! Maybe the lack of booze was your downfall?

    Sounds like local knowledge is key too, with the variety of lines to choose from. Family permitting, I'll be there next year to have a go.

  5. Thanks All for your comments.

    It was good experience. Next year I/we will hammer the mother humper. It's been good preperation for the Peris horse shoe in 4 weeks (similar height and distance). In mean while though there's a small matter of the Ben Nevis race ;-)

  6. That's a shame big fella, best of luck in bonnie Scotland! :)

  7. Cheers Brucey. I'll send you a post card.