> 2009 race reports
05/09/09 Grisedale Horseshoe - from Old Cheviot

Bernard, Joe, Louise, John, Dave and Chris - photo: John Duff

Old Cheviot squinted though the mist and rain at the line of runners leading up the steep climb of Catstye Cam.  As he donned a windproof and gloves to keep the chill from his aged bones, he reflected that the Grisedale Horseshoe was packing a lot into its 10 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing.

The race had started in comparatively mild conditions at Glenridding.  The large race entry was swelled by circa 15 folk from NFR.  After the initial climb over Birkhouse Moor and good running to Red Tarn, the race started in earnest with the slog up Catstye Cam.  From there it was a slippery traverse along Swirral Edge to the wind-swept top of Helvellyn.  A wide path led to Dollywagon Pike, where runners chose various routes down to Grisedale Tarn.  Here a short-cut across a boggy section soon lost its appeal as several runners disappeared up to their thighs in its murky depths.

The climb up St Sunday Crag offered a low and high road; OC chose the former but suspected that it made little difference in practice.  By the summit, the cloud was at last starting to break, giving some much appreciated visibility for the tricky descent.  OC located the crucial scree gully, and after 10 minutes of quad-busting descending found himself on the valley floor.  Grisedale Beck was fordable saving a lengthy detour to the upstream footbridge.  But there was still the final killer climb over the flank of Grisedale Brow to enjoy or endure depending on how fresh you were feeling.  OC stoically plodded upwards and eventually reached the ridge wall-stile.  However his joy at attaining the top was short-lived as he promptly missed the start of the descent into Glenridding.  Fortunately he didn’t go too far astray and after some bracken bashing got himself back on course.  He finished the race with a smile (or was that a grimace?) on his face.

Phil Sanderson continued his rich vein of form, finishing third overall leaving quality runners such as NFR old-boy Steve Birkinshaw in his wake.  Will Horsley was next home for NFR despite taking a detour on Nethermost Pike.  Dave Atkinson reaped the benefit of some warm weather altitude training, winning the battle of the V45s ahead of Jeff Ross.  Louise Wilkinson was NFR’s first (and sole) lady.  Peter Reed represented the V50s, and commented that it was quite different to 11 years ago when he had last run the race – it had been a heatwave that day.

Afterwards in the village hall, the tea and sandwiches were much appreciated by all.  This was a superb race and thanks are due to the organisers Achille Ratti. 

Old Cheviot

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