On the first weekend of July, 4 Helsby runners congregated in Wet Sleddale near Shap for this years’ Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon.
Rachel Arnold and Georgina (who we keep persuading to join HRC), Jackie and Jane, Andy Robinson and mate Chris Vardy were the 3 teams, Andy was entered into the Bowfell class and the rest of us in the slightly shorter Kirkfell class.
On Friday evening, after a carbo loading Wilf’s meal, we packed our bags over a little cheese and wine before a comfortable night in the camper van (oh what a luxury compared to the normal camping). The next morning after a hearty breakfast, we were cheered on our way by Chris and Charlie for our 2 day navigation run out and about on the hills around Haweswater, High Street and Longsleddale and all areas in between.
Saturday saw plenty of sunshine but a strong breeze. Visibility was really good and most of the terrain was runnable (unusual for these events!). Jane increased my natural pace (tired legs from the previous weeks 3 peaks) and we had a really good session over the high level ridge linking High Raise, Rampsgill Head, High Street and Mardale Ill Bell overtaking lots of other pairs. The final push for the overnight camp at the head of Longsleddale included 2 horrendous down hill sessions that saw us (and everyone else) resort to bum sliding!
The overnight camp was one of the best yet, with plenty of space for all tents, lush grass, no midges, river for washing and a pleasant evening was had eating, drinking (yes you can buy beer at the overnight camp at the Saunders!) and chatting to fellow competitors.
The next morning we awoke to a few spots of rain but managed to pack up and get the first steep ascent from the valley underway before the day deteriorated rapidly with rain, gales and the mist descended. Jane was in great spirits saying she preferred the conditions to Saturday! We tried to shake Rachel and Georgina off, but just couldn’t as they were going well and at one stage started dictating the pace – a real club effort! The final few check points were right into the jaws of the gale and in the end everyone was glad to finish and get dry and warm. A quick meal for all finishers at the end was very precarious as the marquee was in great danger of being blown down (the 1 foot pegs had come loose and it was now anchored to a vehicle at each corner!).
Andy & Chris did really well finishing 13 out of 50 teams in the Bowfell class in a total time of 10:55:25 (10:06:25 when age corrected).
Jane & Jackie finished 44 out of 94 teams in the Kirkfell class in a total time of 10:45:11(no age correction thanks to Jane!!)
Rachel & Georgina finished 54 out of 94 teams in the Kirkfell class in a total time of 11:17:21 (10:54:46 when age corrected)
Photos of before, after and the overnight camp.