> 2010 race reports
09/07/11 Wasdale - from Scott Gibson

Wasdale Sat 9th July 2011

Some very last minute car sharing arrangements saw Gary Jones, Frank Shillitoe and myself driving over to Wasdale early on Saturday morning. The weather gradually got better on the way over and spirits were high as we discussed target times, route choices and how one needs to enjoy pain to get round. Frank had wisely pre entered but Gary and I took a chance and got an entry on the day.

The tops were just in the cloud and the wind seemed light, Great Gable looked the most shrouded in mist which made us think the navigation might not be completely plain sailing. The Wasdale valley looked lush and green and the general feeling amongst the competitors was "It's a grand day for it!"

At the gun, Gary led the charge up Illgill head and Frank and I held well back (have I finally learned to pace myself?). 21 miles is a long way, the terrain is very punishing and Englands' highest mountain has to be conquered right at the end. The run over the ridge above Englands' deepest lake (it's a race of superlatives!) towards the checkpoint on Whinrigg was really pleasant and the pace was fast, this section is not indicative of the rest of the race. Descending to the valley was great but the temperature was rising and the sweat began to pour. After a drink from none other than Iron Joss, I began the ascent of Seatallan and although hot I felt good. After a camel size drink from the stream I steamed up to the summit and into the cloud. Following a trod which I didn't find last year I arrived near the col on the ridge. Many runners had taken different lines to here and as the cloud was covering the tops I got disorientated, and left the main pack and headed for what I thought was Pillar but it turned out to be Red Pike! Half way up I realised my mistake when the clouds parted and I saw the coloured dots along way away to my left. OOPS! I painstakingly overtook them all again and by the time I descended to Kirk Fell I was ahead again but feeling tired after the effort. The path under Boat Howe crag sapped me and the ascent of Gable was a very slow. I finally found the scree run down which I have missed on previous years. As I ascended to Esk Hause shelter I began to feel better and began overtaking again. It was at this point that my thoughts turned to my target time of 5 hrs. I figured it was not on after my mistake up Red Pike but my watch said otherwise. I reached the summit of Scafell and began the bone shaking descent to Lingmell Col.

I came out of the cloud and picked up the trod to Lingmell nose and tried to move fast with very sore feet but only managed a kind of fast shuffle, I just couldn't open up and descend properly. I ran to the finish 4 mins under 5 hours and was both surprised and happy. Gary was of course waiting for me. It turned out he had a brilliant race until about 2.5 hrs in when he 'blew up' and had to drag himself round the rest of the course! Well, he said he liked suffering on the way over so that's exactly what he got! I felt much better after some egg sandwiches, cake and several cups of tea. Frank finished beating his target time and seemed happy until he removed his shoe only to see the entire sole of his heel (I'm not exagerating) fall off revealing red raw skin underneath. I immediately felt a bit of a wimp for complaining about my feet.

It was a beautiful evening in Wasdale but we had to get back so we put cramp, sickness and very sore feet aside and drove home admiring the view of the Lakeland fells from the west.

Despite the issues we all had a great day out in the hills and the race atmosphere was excellent. Next year will go much more smoothly!


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