> 2011 race reports
04/06/11 Duddon - fromScott Gibson

After finding out I had double booked myself for the Yetholm race and a Christening I had to make the sensible decision to go to the Christening. To make up for this 'compromise' I decided to do Duddon Long on saturday instead. I just entered before the expiry date and was lucky to get in as it was an English Championship counter. I allowed myself a bit of wild optimism by thinking I might get my first English Championship points but it was not to be.

The day started off hot with many runners choosing to run bare chested and the start line in a field near the Newfield Inn Seathwaite was packed, everyone was crammed under the few trees for shade. Looking round I found I was the only NFR but did see Paul Kelly and Nigel Tate from DFR. I tried to warm up but my back injury was troubling me and I couldn't seem to loosen off. The whistle went and there was quite a stampede, which reminded me that it was Derby day and I hadn't put a bet on.

The first section is very pleasant but everyone was scrabbling for the quickest lines while I was desperatley trying to keep my heart rate down. It's funny how pain from injury just melts away when you are racing. I was determined not to go too fast and just find my place in the race, wherever that may be. I had a very steady run up Harter Fell and the breeze began to cool me down. I arrived at the summit 4 minutes slower than I did 2 years ago ( the dibber gives you your split times) but I felt really fresh. The descent off Harter is cracking and I made up some ground. After sucking a stream dry on the way up Hardknott and a gel or 2 I still felt great but a DFR vest cruised past me which rather burst my bubble! There is a definite knack to the descent to Mosedale and I seemed to hit it spot on and made up several places and 200m on those behind. The climb up Little Stand killed me last time but it seemed over very quickly and again I got a perfect line to the col and down to the tarn which marks the start of the contour path to 3 Shire Stone. I made up more ground and 5 places of which 3 were lost when I stopped to drain another stream! It was at this point that I was surprised to overtake Morgan Donnelly who was walking and clearly injured although I never did find out what happened to him. Had a really good run up Wet Side Edge and contoured round to Swirl How.

My favourite comfy walshes decided to make things more difficult by providing me wth some cracking blisters but I managed to keep moving. At Goat's Hause I found a tiny stream and lay down to get a drink and felt the familiar tightening of cramp in my thighs. On the top of Dow crag it got really bad and had to stop and stretch. I then picked a high rocky line to the Walna Scar road crossing and lost some ground and had a terrible shuffle along to White Pike. The descent off here is really rocky and I made up 4 more places which I promptly lost on the approach to the final climb of Caw. I knew the descent back to the finish well and my blisters and cramp only affected me uphill so it was with great relief that I topped out and blasted down the descent.

My finishing time was miraculously 10 mins faster than last time (in similar conditions), and my position well outside English Champ points but I still felt happy. The hosepipe was a godsend and I hobbled back to the car for a sleep on the ground before driving home. A lovely route throught the hills and good atmosphere made this a very enjoyable race. Highly reccomended!

Scott Gibson

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