[O]n Wednesday 6th June, in stunning Cumbrian sunshine on a calm and still evening, Eden Runners held their 13th successful Blencathra Fell Race.
This classic race takes place amidst the unrivalled and spectacular scenery of the northern Lake District fells. The 13km route begins from Mungrisedale with a steep climb of Bowscale Fell followed by a long ascent to the summit of Blencathra. From there, the route descends before heading up and over Souther Fell, culminating in a final sharp and steep descent before a river crossing takes you to the finish at the fell gate. With a total of 850m of ascent, and a 7pm start time, it really is a fantastic way to invigorate any mid-week runner.
Local fell running legend Ricky Lightfoot (Ellenborough AC), who holds the 2009 course record for the route in a staggering 58 minutes and 29 sec, was first to arrive home in a comfortable win of 1:02:18. Speaking after the event he said, ‘This is my 4th time at Blencathra and it’s a really enjoyable course, though the final descent is definitely a hard one. I didn’t have a pre-race plan, I just felt comfortable, found my pace and found I steadily pulled ahead”.
The battle between 2nd and 3rd male was closer fought. Kim Collison (Borrowdale Fell Runners), 2nd place in 1:07:11, described how he took the first lead when Mark McGoldrick (Wharfdale Harriers) over-shot Blencathra summit allowing his advantage. However, Mark, who is described by Kim as the stronger runner of the two, soon caught up again on the ascent up Souther fell. The final placings were eventually secured when Kim located a quicker running line on the final descent resulting in a close finish for the podium, with Mark earning a 3rd place time of 1:07:21.
The ladies race was won by Sophie Noon, (Cumberland Fell Runners), in a comfortable lead time of 1:18:23. With a beaming smile at the finish line Sophie said of Blencathra Race, ‘This is one of my favourite races in the calendar and it is a thoroughly enjoyable course. It was hot out there tonight, but the light breeze was helpful. It was tough, but I’m absolutely delighted’. Before adding, ‘I’m looking forward to next year!’. 2nd Lady home went to Jessica Richardson (Lonsdale Fell Runners) in 1:27:27 with 3rd lady going to Natalie Hawkrigg (Northern Fells) in 1:28:13.
All 133 runners were treated to a delicious array of local baked goods from race sponsor Traybakes of Penrith. Justine Carruthers, Managing Director, said of the race ‘It has been a fabulous evening. Traybakes were delighted to give a little sustenance to all the wonderful competitors tonight, happy running’. The latter sentiment certainly rang true as runners tucked into their hard-earned prizes, describing them as ‘absolutely delicious!’ (Ben Abdelnoor, Ambleside AC).
Dave Sargent, race organiser, said of the event, ‘tonight was a great evening of running across a wonderful landscape in beautiful weather. I’d like to extend my thanks to all the Eden Runners volunteers, and many others, who ensured everything went smoothly for this popular Lakeland race’.
Race category winners:
MU21 Tobias Barthelmn, MU23 Sam Hooper, 1:29:33; 1:14:59; M40 Tim Cowin, 1:10:39; M45 Bill Stewart, 1:11:22; M50 David Wilson, 1:18:01; M55 John Boothman, 1:27:12; M60 Roger Laycock, 1:23:14; M65 Mike Hind, 2:00:42; M70 David Spedding, 1:43:39.
F40 Nina Walkingshaw, 1:32:20; F45 Natalie Hawkrigg, 1:28:13; F55 Carol Evans, 1:32:54; F60 Lyn Thompson, 1:35:07.
For full race results, photos and further information please see: http://www.edenrunners.co.uk/blencathrafellrace.html
For further information on further Eden Runners’ races, events and joining the club please see: www.edenrunners.co.uk