I travelled up to the Lake District a few days before the event and on the way up I had an email come through with congratulations from the Welsh Athletics. I had been called into the National Team for the upcoming Anglo Celtic Plate 100km (including the UK Championships 2015) down in Redwich. This was my first senior call up for Wales, my last call up was as a junior back in 2008. As many of you know I have been racing ultra marathons for about 3 years now and have raced in many races around the world with the dream that maybe one day I would get to run for my country in the Ultra's... Well tick that one off the list! Dreams do come true!!
|Call up letter from Welsh Athletics..!|
On arriving in the Lakes I was working on the Buttermere 10 trail race with Ian,Emily and Simon. The day before the event we headed down to a very wet and windy Buttermere to set up the course and race village. The weather was some what challenging with high gusts of winds and driving winds. (A typical lakeland day) we split up and marked the route the best we could with the conditions we was facing. Once the course was marked we started to put up the event tents and secure them in place for what was a very wild evening spent in a tent. Driving winds and high winds meant no sleep for me before race day. Sunday morning still had showers and gusty winds but after a couple of hours in the early morning we had managed to get everything set up and in place ready for race time of 10:30am. This event was kindly supported by 9Bar and Salomon Uk.
|Runners head along Buttermere Lake ( Picture credit of High Terrain Events)|
Stood on the start line in the rain I took a minute to compose myself before the gun and come up with a race plan, I knew there was some stiff competition from a former Ennerdale 25km Trail Race winner and CastlebergOutdoors/Salomon supported athlete. And others who I wasn't aware of at the time. With my Wales call up still fresh and exciting inside me I decided to use this excitement to overcome no sleep and run hard from the off. We set off along the shores of Buttermere Lake for just over a mile before returning back along a higher trail. At the turn point I was greeted by encouraging words from a good friend Simon as I had reach him with about a 20 second lead on the second runner. Battling on back towards the start/finish area I continued to relish the tough weather conditions, the underfoot terrain and the technical rocky sections. Along the west side of Crummock Lake the terrain got even more testing with flooded trails and knee deep bogs to run over, the single/technical track in tough weather conditions is what I call brilliant! I really do enjoy the challenge and the mentality that goes into a race like this.
|Me on a mission .. (Photo credit of Grand Day Out Photography)|
On reaching the far end of the lake I knew I hadn't really gained too much of a lead from the ever persisting second place runner. (Still sat at around 25 seconds) Seeing a friendly face and some words of encouragement from Ian gave me that extra boost to push on knowing that the terrain was going to be quicker on the return leg with a few added climbs. Running right through the aid station I pushed on to race back along the east side of the Lake trying to keep a pace that would let me keep the lead I had over second at this point. I raced over the first smaller climb through the Blueberry Fields and onto the second and highest climb of the day up a challenging range of technical trail and slippy wet steps. On reaching the summit of the climb I noticed 2nd had gained on me a little and was moving well. I descending of the back of the climb as quickly as possible trying to gain them extra few seconds, the final few KM's were through a mixture of muddy fields, single tracks and finished with a 500 meter hard packed trail before entering the finish field. I crossed the line to take victory in 1:07:48 a lot slower time than my usual 10 mile races but was extremely pleased considering the weather and conditions. Christopher Armit crossed the line in second 1 minute 3 seconds behind me and 3rd a further 3 minutes back.. The woman's win was separated by 28 seconds between two international athletes, with Lizzie Adams just taking the win away from youngster Heidi Davies.
|Top 5 overall.|
Overall I really enjoyed this great race, the route was perfect had a good mixture of everything what made it a good challenge but not impossible for even the beginner trail runners. I would recommend this race to anyone looking for that course what just sums up trail running! But I'd enter early if your wanting a place as it fills up quick. Thanks again to all the marshals along the course and to 9Bar for fuelling all us runners along the way. I even got a great Salomon pack for my win (Thanks Salomon!) and a unique trophy from High Terrain Events (A framed picture of Buttermere with a plaque on the front saying 1st Male Buttermere Trail Race 2015) Beats the usual cup trophies you get in most races... I then finished off a good day by running round the course again to collect the markings.
|Great 1st price from High Terrian Events. Well worth the effort!|
Stephen Wilson (Grand Day Out Photography) took some great shots along the route of the runners too, what can be seen here: http://www.granddayoutphotography.co.uk/high-terrain-events-buttermere-10
Thanks to everyone who follows and supports me through my adventures!