Lakeland 5 Passes 2021

Apologies for the delay to this update, but I’ve been away in the far north (Caithness) doing some walking guidebook work.  The Lakeland 5 Passes went ahead OK,with staggered start times, and the results are on the race website.  Spencer Shaw won in 5:14:32, Julian Hood was second in 5:37:43, and Lawrence Eccles was 3rd, just 11 seconds later.  They didn’t find out they were that close to each other though, as they had different start times.  First woman was Karen Nash in 6:56:44, 2nd was Amelia Churnside in 7:36:31, and Wioleta Wydrych was 3rd in 7:41:35.

I’ve updated the Runfurther leaderboard, with this race and the Pennine 39.

Karen wrote the race up on her blog, and you can read it here too:

Lakeland 5 Passes

 Another Runfurther race actually happened! Race number 4, or for me number 2 as I was injured for Pendle way and didn’t travel to Shires and Spires. It had been a busy month with Brennand Watershed, two runs with Rowena,  three runs checking out parts of L100, Nav4 Lakes Mnt 40, the Dales Skyline, a Bowland run plus some cycling and climbing. Two cycle rides and a restful damp Friday was my taper. Checking the entry list it was clear I would meet some friends that I had no seen for ages but that on the whole I would not recognise many people. It was also the day of The Great Lakes Run in Langdale plus Sabs was recovering and Carol waiting to start a mega run.

We drove up early on Friday afternoon in wet and increasingly windy weather. The rain eventually abated and we put up sponsors flags and banners. The wind was fierce and blasting down from Dunmail Raise so strongly we contemplated taking the flags down at least twice. I don’t tend to sleep well before a race and the noise from the wind had me awake more than I would have liked. I was up early to register but even then it had not become clear that Si Entries emails were not getting through to those of us with talktalk. I managed to find some runners and dish out spot prizes before heading to my start wave at 8.25am.

Starting in this way meant I missed some friends altogether and for much of the time had no real idea who was in front, or just behind and how I was doing. Still, you can only do what you can do. It was quite nice being able to pick off the walkers who had started an hour earlier and those at the front of the alphabet who had been in earlier waves. I never did catch Richard Lendon who had started just 5 minutes ahead of me. Before we even left tarmac I was shouting some runners back and this continued throughout the day. Climbing to the summit of Loughrigg we were still quite bunched and I was able to chat to Ian F.

Ambleside CP always seems far too early for me to need anything but by now I was regretting the extra layer and faffing with my number and safety pins. I gave up and stuffed it in a pocket in the end. On the steep climb to Wansfell I overtook some runners but was also passed by some faster men. Initially the descent is a delight but I am not good on gnarly bouldery lanes. I lost some places but then regained them as I knew the way down to the valley floor. Stomping up Garburn Pass I managed to eat a bag of crisps and drink a load of MF in between running the slightly less steep sections. The drop to Kentmere is now awful but at least I knew what to expect and looked forward to the CP in the village. I topped up my water and grabbed cake before again putting a runner on the correct path. This event seems to attract many people from a long distance which is lovely. Brighton man ran just ahead or just behind me for much of the race and he was awed by the scenery and the need to use hands as well as feet on some climbs like Stoney Cove Pike. He was also starting to feel the brutal climbs.

There was some softer ground as we crossed to Longsleddale and the track was less gnarly for the feet. Next up was the long long climb up from Sadgill to the top of Gatesgarth Pass and then on further to Harter Fell.

I was doing nicely on the big wide track but suddenly tripped and hit the deck. I didn’t even have time to put a hand out- perhaps just as well as another female runner did so and dislocated a finger. A bit of a shock and some small grazes to knee and elbow but I was OK really. I was helped up by Geoff who showed great concern. I knew there would be some great bruises later along most of my right side but for now the best thing was to keep going rather than stiffen up. By the top of the pass I was moving OK again. Having company certainly helped and we pushed each other along as well as reeling in a couple of others. Apparently I was first female and that motivated me too, although not knowing if a runner from a later wave  was just behind me was a little disconcerting.

Looking across the tops earlier I had predicted more challenging conditions on the tops. Before Harter Fell I had to stop and put on my long sleeved base layer- just low cloud and a damp feeling but chilly. We made good time over the tops and down to Nan Bield Pass.

Heading up from this I knew to check for the grassy area and rather vague left turn. Just before this we bumped into the ‘mobile’ Safety check who were still on their way to Harter Fell! Nice grassy running took us most of the way to Thornthwaite Beacon and there were a couple of tiny flags to help. No distant views today though and the Beacon remained hidden until we were within 50m or so.

I feared losing places and my companions as we dropped to Threshthwaite Mouth but I almost kept up and soon reeled them in as we scrambled up Stoney Cove Pike.

Then easier running dropped us on Kirkstone and the final CP.  I didn’t want to stop long but refilled water, grabbed quiche and banana and dug out more crisps. If you are not used to the Lakes or similar Red Screes must come as a shock at this stage in the race. It wasn’t long before there were just three of us. Adam was stronger on the descents but Geoff and I could keep up on the climbs. The food did it’s trick and we powered our way up and enjoyed the slightly boggy drop to Scandale Pass.

A determined effort meant ?? couldn’t drop us even on the long run down the valley to  pretty little High Sweden bridge and luckily we were still close enough for me to stop him bearing left to Low Sweden Bridge.

The pace was starting to hurt me now and I wanted the other two to push on so I could slow down. No such luck even when I stopped very briefly to refill my water at the Rydal campsite tap. These last few miles were the only bit I had not receed earlier in the month but basically it’s simple- just follow the old Coffin Road until you reach tarmac. We chatted and pulled each other along. I was now far too hot in two layers and had a stone in my shoe but there was no way I was stopping now. Just before the tarmac I realised a PB was possible and it gave just the extra burst of energy needed as we sped down the tarmac, across the main road and into the show ground.

6 hrs 56 and first female. True it would only have been 3rd place 2 years ago with that time but I was happy. Only 20 secs behind martin and only 6 mins behind Adam.