Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Lowther Trail travails

I don't know what the bloke was on when he measured the course of the Lowther Trail race. '12.5 miles, 1,300 feet' said the race details: 13.3 miles 2,300 feet said my Garmin! Now I know that Garmin's can sometimes be a bit suspect, but even so....
Still, it was a cracking run and my legs are still feeling it 2 days later. After registration and meeting up with ucollie and Charlie (he is a fantastic dog, full of character) we joined the motley assortment of runners for the understated start.
The route beganwith a longish, gentle descent along ankle-twanging rutted grass followed by a long, draggy climb to the first checkpoint up Heughscar hill. The climb was one of those where every time you looked up you thought the summit was just there, only for the climb to continue. For me it was about 26 minutes of continuous uphill. Still, it was runnable. This was followed by a lovely section over moorland, with a stunning view of Ullswater below, following tape markers that were tied to clumps of rushes (possibly Juncus effusus but I didn't stop to make sure). Eventually this led down to a river crossing - knee deep, not too cold, great fun - and then a really nasty steep uphill that seemed to go on for ever especially as the sun was really hot and we were out of the breeze. I struggled here and, from here on in, was accompanied with painful knees, groin, hips and back. There was a final downhill section on road which was pretty hard, then another sting-in-the-tail uphill section before the course broke out onto grass for the finish. Here I did my usual trick of losing my way - I couldn't find the finishing line - and I don't think I was the only one.
My time was 2:09:56 which worked out at 9.48min/mile which I was pleased with, considering the recent faltering in training.
Mind you, my effort paled into insignificance compared to Running Fox who I was delighted to meet afterwards; he finished many minutes ahead of me - well done RF. You're an inspiration to us all. I only hope that when I'm 77 I can do half as well!
Next up for me is the Derwentwater Lakeland Trail race in early September. Unfortunately, once again I'm working in London the week before, so my training will have to be around the streets. Not good, but it'll have to do.
Smile rating 7/10


  1. i too thought the climb wasa lot more than advertised. thanks for the true stats..it makes it feel a bit better!

  2. 2,300ft ??? Well, I've got to admit, it felt like it. Knipe Scar is a nasty addition to the route, coming as it does after nine miles of energy-sapping terrain. Nevertheless, I still think it's an improvement on the old route which had far too much tarmac.
    It was nice to make your acquaintance Smileyrunner.