report from John Duff:
Borrowdale Fell race 2016
The Borrowdale Fell Race was an English Championship counter this year, so all the top names were there. The list of “who’s who” was swelled by myself and Gary Mason. It was warm climbing Bessyboot, but after that there was a breeze and fair bit of cloud cover. So conditions were good for running.
The top of Scafell Pike was just in cloud, but it was no problem to find the top of the scree descent. It was more of a problem descending the screes, as they are now badly eroded and several runners ended up unceremoniously dumped on to their bum(bag)s. I survived the screes intact, and headed on to the Corridor Route. Here a Keswick runner took a fall and cut his head. I stopped to check he was OK, but couldn’t see where the cut was – despite a fair amount of blood on his head. As he was “walking wounded”, I legged it down to the Styhead checkpoint and reported him injured.
The climb up Great Gable passed surprisingly quickly. I’d recced the descent, but foolishly followed the line of runners heading off the summit – and they duly took a poor line too far to the right. Once back on track, I resolved to stick to my guns. This led to my running to the left of Grey Knotts in splendid isolation, when others (led by Jackie Winn) headed straight over the top. It seemed to make little difference in the overall placings.
The last climb up Dalehead was a real struggle and I started to lose places. After some food and a drink, I recovered, but still felt a bit wobbly on the steep descent. By the time I passed Dexter & Kim who were supporting at the bottom of the last climb, I had staged a bit of a recovery and managed the final run-in without further ado.
I finished in 4 hours 5 minutes. I didn’t see Gary finish, but from the results see that he finished in 5 hours 32 mins. Ricky Lightfoot won the race in a quick time, having been pushed all the way by Carl Bell. Chatting to Carl afterwards, he said he had fallen on Dalehead which allowed Ricky to get ahead. Other folk spotted there who were offering valuable support were Jonny Maley and Fred Smith (Saltwell). Many thanks to Borrowdale Fell Runners for putting on this excellent race.