Wednesday, May 8, 2013

GL3D Mountain Running in the Lakes

The first May Bank Holiday Weekend in the Lake District is set for the Great Lakeland 3 Day event. The forecast all week had been very vague and was set fair with sunny spells. It could be a hot one!! Charlie Sproson from the Outdoor Warehouse is the course planner and posted this about the weather 

"Weather looks great for running this weekend, slightly changable, wind and some cloud, perfect to keep you moving fast!!

MWIS Planning Outlook: All mountain areas of Britain from Friday, 3rd May, 2013
Blustery and showery across Scotland this weekend, although by Monday, showers isolated, if any. Elsewhere, less windy with only isolated showers, before becoming fine.
Although a complicated weather pattern next week, there are strong indications of extensive fine weather, with most doubt about temperature levels. It may now be later next week before it becomes warm across the mountains, and some threat of a return to cold conditions (low freezing level) beyond."

As I set off to the first checkpoint the head of Glencoyne valley came into view and was transformed with a beautiful rainbow, I now know where the pot of gold is hidden. The poet Wordsworth wrote his famous poem Daffodils according to his sister Dorothy very close to this spot. 

I carried on past the Sheffield Pike Mines and crossed Swart Bridge a favorite  check point for people running the Tour of Helvellyn, organised Joe Faulkner, the originator of the GL3D . Here I met a NAV4 vetran Susan and had a chat with her for a while. Birkhouse Moor was the first control then a choice of route over Striding Edge or Swirral Edge to the memorial on Helvellyn. I chose Swirral edge as I thought it to the be the quicker espicially on a bank holiday weekend. The weather and winds were typical Lake District Classics and we could not see a thing as I trotted along to Grisedale Tarn, Legend says that King Dunmail of Cumbria is buried here. Another of Wordsworth poems refers to the area along with the Brothers Parting Stone.  
A hot and sweaty climb up Helm Crag the Lion and Lamb not quite in the same style as Amanda Donohoe in The Rainbow saw me at the next check point with a long ridge run and drop down into the Borrowdale valley for the first night camp. After 7.5 hrs it seemed a long day. Time for some food and rest before doing it all again tomorrow. 
Day 2 was a long one with 2,5oo mtrs of ascent and approx 40 Kms of hard running over the central lakes fells. The weather was not helping and again it was wet windy and the cloud down to approx 600 mtrs. Thanks to Mick Kenyon, Jan, Jane, and Nigel Coe we nearly stayed together thro mist and rain and had a great chat all day long. It was a good morale booster to keep going over some non runnable terrain over 9hrs out today for me, toward camp for the second night near Watendlath

Day 3 I wanted to get back to finish the event at Dowthawite Head, the course was shortened by Shane the orgainser but this did not really affect the distance or height climb to much, another 25kms approx  and back over the lofty heights of Helvellyn. Weather was warm but wet and slight winds today. The first section went well to Thirlmere, home of Manchester's drinking water. I must apologies to the inhabitants there if a drought is called as most of the catchment water ended soaked up in my shoes and socks over the boggy terrain. On the way to the road I pulled up sharp as I strained a muscle in my right calf. This was very painful and I hobbled and smirked my way along the road and up the very long steep ascent to the bleak summit of Helvellyn.

 I was caught up here by two Doctors one retired one living near Stoke. Great I thought some help will be aided.... NO way MT*U was my companions bedside manner!! 
It was great to hobble along with them and share some local knowledge as we neared the finish area. A tumbling down out of the clouds showed the last section to the finish tape. 

4 hrs 25 for me today and and great lakeland 3 days was over. 
 I finished 5th  overall in my class,  but more to massage my ego and cos its sounds better,  I was 2nd Solo  , that's a better sounding result for someone who had not done any training or running since October during The OMM
Thanks to Shane, Charlie all the Marshalls and competitors for a great 3 days running. 
Time for some of Charlie's Cowmire Cider 

For a look at all the photos I managed to take Click Here 

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