It seems strange to think that just three years ago I’d never taken part in a race. I was in training for the London Marathon, in a distinctly inadequate manner, and a friend asked me if I’d be interested in running in a trail race in the Lake District a couple of weeks afterwards.
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I’d been driving west for about an hour and a half when it happened. The A66 swept round towards Keswick and Blencathra appeared majestically on the right, a healthy dusting of snow on the summit and the ridge lines. I’m not ashamed to say I eased off the accelerator and whooped for joy. That view is like the gateway drug to the Lake District and to see it with just the right amount of snow, on a clear day, is pure joy.
I would tell you how many blogs I’ve had over the course of my life but I honestly don’t know. But I could tell you how many kilometres I ran last year and (of course) how many hours, not to mention how many metres of elevation gain. You have to remember the numbers that count, right?
Today was crazy amounts of fun. It was the Helvellyn Lakeland Trails and I entered the 15km Challenge. There is a race too, but I knew that with the challenge I can run close to the front of the pack and stretch myself, and I thought I would stretch myself less if I was further down the field but in the race.
I think it was at about the twenty mile mark when the steward on the motorcycle pulled alongside me. I’m not great at Spanish, but it didn’t take a lot to figure out that he was asking if I was okay to carry on. I lifted my head up, tried to force a smile, picked up my pace a little and gave him the thumbs up. It seemed to satisfy him and he offered some words of encouragement before continuing on.