I’ve never been a fan of trail runs and I fully admit that I hadn’t planned to sign up to this race. But, having swapped shifts at work I found myself freed up to be able to do it.
I ran the route last year and kind of enjoyed it as it is a mix of road and trail. (I didn’t enjoy finishing the race and having to go and work a night-shift after it though).
Following the floods of Storm Desmond the route had been altered due to the Sheepmount Athletic Stadium still being condemned and fenced off. It was still going to be a 10k though and the finish line this year would be just behind the Sands Centre rather than in Bitts Park. Also missing was the climb up Brampton Road and the descent down Eden Bridge to the finish line.
The route would start just by Carlisle Cathedral and would take runners towards, and then over, the much maligned Millennium Bridge before heading past Carlisle Castle and then climbing the banks of the Castle before heading towards the Sheepmount.
Once there it was time to hit the main trail part of the race. Running alongside the River Eden and heading towards The Sands Centre the route continues along the banks of the River Eden before crossing into Rickerby Park turning at Eden Bridge and following the route on the other side of the River Eden and heading back to the Sands Centre for the finish.
I arrived at the Sands Centre around 45 minutes to pick up my number and get myself sorted. Before the race there is a briefing at the Sands Centre and then you make your way to the Cathedral which is around a five minute walk so it’s wise to give yourself a bit of time to get sorted.
The DH Runners were again out in force which is a great thing for local races. As well as running the race there were plenty of club members marshalling which is great when you’re out on the course and you get that little bit of encouragement to keep pushing you on.
I knew that I definitely wasn’t going to hit the heights of Moorclose the week before as the route is a bit more technical and you have to keep a bit more switched on so as not to go head over heels on an exposed tree root. Not to mention the fact that, once again, it was a boiling hot night. But I was hopeful of beating the time from the previous year.
Team photo done and within minutes the race was started.
I set off fairly rapid but the speed was soon affected as I climbed and descended the Millennium Bridge. It was a case of picking the pace up again as soon as I left the bridge and not long after I was climbing the banks of the Castle.
I’ll be honest, I switched off for the next few miles. I don’t remember much other than the fact I was running. Next thing I remember is hitting the water station and chucking the cup all over myself. On the approach to the turning point I heard Lindsay screaming, as she does, and I was flying at this point but just hearing my name being shouted out gave me even more of a buzz and pushed me a little harder over the next part of the course.
Not long after the turning point though I started to slow a little. The heat was just getting a little too much. But there wasn’t far to go now, in fact there was just over a mile.
I’d been aware throughout the race that, once I’d settled into where I was, not many people were passing me and I had been moving up positions as I started to pass others. This made me confident of a fairly decent finish position wise and again gave me a bit of an impetus to keep the pace up.
Soon the Sands Centre, and the finish, was in sight…but I probably heard Lindsay’s voice before I saw the finish. This gave me a push to the end and the sprint finish was in full effect as I passed a fellow runner and moved up a position just before the finish line.
I’d finished with a time of 47:07 in position 44.
2015 had seen me finish with a time of 48:35 in position 73.
Yet again it was another indication that all the strength work, endurance work, speed work and hill work I had been doing was paying off. Long may it continue.
Snazzy medal though.
Sweating profusely and having just about recovered my breathing I hopped on the bike and headed home and, after having a bite to eat, I promptly sat down to watch a film and woke up at some point in the early morning with two cats beside me. (They were my cats though, nothing sinister going on). I guess the heat had maybe gotten to me…I was goosed.
Although I’m still not a fan of trail races I’ll have to own up to the fact that I do enjoy this one. The race will move times next year which will see a later start of 19:15. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing I won’t know until taking part next year.
Next up for me is the Carlisle Tri Club 10k on the 1st June followed by Blenheim Triathlon Sprint Distance on the 4th June. There’s still plenty of training going on before those though.