Keswick Mountain Festival 20-22 June – Event 25k Trail Race
Having been a member of the club for just over a year and listening to all the various runners raving about trail and fell races it was suggested by our captain to have a bash at the Keswick mountain festival 25k race which he came 3rd in the previous year, after the initial debate and a few large glasses of wine I plucked up the courage to enter the race, all registered late one Thursday night there was no turning back and with only two months left before the race I decided I best start some serious training, it wasn’t long before I was putting together distances over 10 miles covering the Brantingham dales hoping this would be enough to bring me up to speed with Keswick and its rough trails, as the event got closer all seemed to be in place, myself, Alison and Matty all travelled down on the Friday night and was met by wind and rain which had been forecast for the following day also ! Tents up and all un-packed pre-race nerves kicked in and a long wet and windy night was spent working out what to wear for the race!
Waking early on the Saturday morning whilst being greeted by yes….more rain & wind myself and Alison de-bated about what to run in as the forecast advised us by 12.00 noon the rain was going to stop and the sun was going to make it very un-comfortable as the race started at 11.30am, at 11.20am the race director gave a short briefing advising the route was marked every 100mtrs with small red flags before the race was started and off we went, it was clear after the first mile it was going to be a battle as I had under-estimated what the terrain would be like, the climbs where slow and the descents where incredibly fast with no real paths to find a decent footing on and the beautiful views where not taken in as I plotted my way through the rocky descents trying to avoid injury, this terrain continued on until the first check point was reached and I was glad of support from all the locals and marshals, the route continued via more trails and river crossings and I felt quite strong passing more people on route in the heat of the day counting down the remaining miles, with only 6 miles to go it was clear most of the major climbs had been done and it was the right time to speed up and make the most of some great shaded trails within the woods surrounding Keswick, I managed to pick off more runners who were clearly struggling with exhaustion until finally getting to Keswick, the last mile was here and the relief that id managed to get this far without any major incidents, with one last push up the Keswick festival ground I was home in 2:38:44 (63/421) Alison Burnett 3:11:08 (205/421).
So the question is…….would I run it again??? If it was possible id have signed up for next year’s race after falling over the finishing line, the organisation involved before, during and after the race was 10/10, the scenery 10/10, support 10/10 !