Ruth’s return to the Keswick Mountain Festival

Ruth obviously has a thing for racing in the Lake District: Whilst fellow Bridport Runners chased ponies over Welsh mountains or pounded the pavements of Weymouth, she returned to the Keswick Mountain Festival once more to banish last years ‘weather event’ 10km. “It is a great event for a weekend away with 5, 10, 25 and 50 km trail races, cycle sportive and triathlons of various distance, plus a festival site with stands and talks and music concert which is included in the race entrance”, Ruth raved about the Festival. This year, she had set her feet at the 25 km trail race. “It had seemed a splendid idea, sat by a roaring fireside one January weekend”, says Ruth who did probably not expect at that time that the heat could actually get quite uncomfortable … Read here complete report.“Training had been a long slow burn, I am just not built to continually run miles and so devised a loose plan including running, cycling, strength training and a bit of swimming when all else failed. Arriving at Keswick in blazing sunshine felt disconcerting, where was the rain, mist and low cloud? A relaxed breakfast and a mid morning start boded well, still the sun shone, by now it was getting too hot!

Having chosen a ‘cruising’ wave, I was amongst others who clearly felt the same as I did, amazed that we had chosen, yes chosen, to run this race! We were certainly the noisiest  start with lots of cheering and whooping. The race completes a circuit of Derwent Water and climbs immediately up the side of the valley to Castlerigg then follows undulating paths to Watendlath, where there is a stiff climb followed by a long steep rocky downhill to the second check point. I was met by Matt who topped up my water and patted me on the shoulder, saying: ‘See you this afternoon, are you ok?’ There were several possible answers to his question, I chose a grimace and shrug, being the most energy efficient and polite reply.

The second half of the route tripped along the valley bottom, how can that not be flat? Continuing along the lower slopes and shoreside under Catbells. By this time, I was pretty cooked and munching my way through my provisions and fluids. Refuelling at the final check point, I was then on familiar territory as part of the 10km route had been on the same paths. This made it no easier, and finally I rounded the last bend of a flat track to be met by an incline to the finish line. It may as well have been a mountain for all my legs cared! Supporters were cheering randomly as runners finished, and I managed to jog up the last slope shouting ‘come on legs!’ and laughing as I crossed the finish line in 3:44:59.

Weather demons banished, longer distance raced, what now? Definitely a rest up and some nice 10 km trails to be explored this summer, no more longer running for me … ooh, look – a half marathon trail race at Coed y Brenin next year!”