> 2013 race reports
08/06/13 Ennerdale Horseshoe - from Mark Clarkson

Ennerdale Horseshoe – 22.9m 2290m climb

At the Humbleton race recce I’d asked Dexter if he had done this race, ‘yes…once’ was his reply. Hmmm, that good is it. And so on Sat 8th June I headed over to Ennerdale to attempt this race. At just under 23 miles it was outside my comfortable distance and with some serious ascent it called for some steady paced running.

140 runners lined up at the start. NFR was represented by myself and Phil Smith. This race was every bit as hard as I thought it would be… and more! The weather was scorching and there was little relief on the tops from the sun and heat. Following a steady start I caught Phil Smith on the first climb, following a chat and catch up I went on my way up Great Borne. The first checkpoint being manned by Sir Joss himself. I was running okay and reasonably well positioned by the time I reached Blackbeck Tarn checkpoint. However legs were fatiguing and by Green Gable I found myself slipped into ‘I just want to finish mode’ and started to slip places. The long pull up Pillar seemed to go on forever. Having been a dry hot week, getting water was a real issue, and I suffered from this. At the Pillar checkpoint I glanced behind and fellow NFR Phil Smith was just behind. Feeling a sense of déjà vu, being caught by another NFR runner in the latter stages of a race, I joined with Phil and another runner Jenny (Dark Peak), and the three of us stuck together from here until the final checkpoint on Crag Fell when I was unable to descend as quick as Phil and Jenny fighting off cramping legs. By the finish, it is fair to say, I was totally knackered. But pleased to have finished and completed this beast of a race. The course is very rocky, with steep rocky descents, and the only decent grassy running comes in the final miles when the legs are shot. In the end I finished 72nd in 5hrs 37. Phil was one place better in 71st (all the best for the Ironman in a few weeks Phil).

Should someone ask me in a few years whether I’ve done the Ennerdale, I too shall perhaps reply, ‘yes…once’!

Mark Clarkson

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