|What a day!|
Sometimes you have a plan. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't, and you just have to go along for the ride.
|Prep - ie. suncream|
had the route sussed out, so no problem there. It was simply going to be a matter of fitness, and ability to get around the course.
I'd been getting out on a load of long runs and bike rides since February, and Al, although not training for the BG this year, had been getting some time out on his feet as well, including doing the London Marathon in sub 3:30, raising money for Mountain Rescue.
We got to the Langdales with plenty of time, got kit checked, and mooched for a bit, until getting geared up about 20 mins before the start. No point in warming up really- not for a race that was going to take most of the day. The plan was to be at the front of the pack to begin with, so as not be be in a mass scramble going up the first hill over into Grasmere, and just take it from there. Yes, there was a little pressure from saying we wanted to do a sub 8 hour, but I think both of us knew at that point, there were more things likely to go wrong than right this year, and as long as we were going at a pace comfortable enough for the slower of us, then that was fine.
From the off, we headed out in front at what I thought was a very comfortable pace. The mass of the pack was a good 20 metres or so behind us and we had a clear road ahead. I wasn't too worried about them not catching up with us, as long as we felt comfortable, and I felt absolutely fine. Al said he was too, so we
|Leading the pack|
|Finally getting passed by|
|Looking back from Dollywagon|
diagonal ascent, while Dan and Andy took the more direct ascent before the cut back horizontally.
They came out on top faster than us, and by this time we were losing places again with team after team washing past us. Al was not having a good time on the ascents, but I was sure that his legs and lungs would kick in sooner rather than later, but until then we'd go at his pace.
|Striding edge. What a day. No. Really. What a day!|
|Marshals at Helvellyn|
Parallel to the road, and a right, cross the road and onto what I see as the hardest ascent of the day, up
|Al - raising spirits in Wythburne|
I took a load of photos, relishing the opportunity to actually see where we were, considering that last year all I could see was mist. It really is a fantastic valley. Poor Al was struggling to keep up, even as I was struggling to go slower.
|Being overtaken toward Angle tarn|
kept falling on relatively easy terrain that otherwise would not prove a problem to a runner such as himself - worrying. More teams passed us as we walked up the hill. If he was feeling this bad, was it time to bail out? Ok, so we won't get a t-shirt (only finishers get a t-shirt), but if its that vs me having to drag him off the hill, that is the better option.
We joked about having checked to see what colour the t-shirt was before we started... if it was a colour we weren't bothered about then we should bail... We decided to plod on over to the Checkpoint at the Tarn and see how Al felt there.
|Stopping for a chill with Konrad and Jasmin|
We struggled on over to Angle Tarn and the checkpoint, and as we wandered into view, who should be there but Konrad and Jasmin- who should have been running except for an unfortunate accident with a gate the day before (so I was told). We stopped for a good 5 mins, chatting away, letting strength seep back into the legs, and scoffing some haribo that were offered us. Yes, even MORE teams passed us by, but by this point, it didn't matter. Daz Fishwick also came past giving me a good opportunity
We started the ascent to Esk Hause. The next team from Glossopdale, Carl and Tim C can't have been too far behind us, and we were chatting about when we were going to get passed by them as well. I kept an eye out behind us for those bright Aston Villa shorts that Carl tends to wear, but never caught a glimpse of them.
|Up to Scafell Pike. Views Galore.|
So Scott- I was mistaken for you today - even though you were over in Ennerdale.
We caught up with Daz Fishwick on the final ascent of Scafell Pike, where I chatted with him about the
descent- he didn't know the direct line and was going to come back down the little cove way. I said that we were going direct, considering the speed we were going, we certainly wouldn't be hard to follow.
|Al leading the way down the direct line|
It is a great descent line, and Al led us down perfectly. 3 teams followed us, and were very grateful indeed!
Down toward Moasdale and the sun was really beating down on us. I was never particularly worried as my water consumption was more than adequate for my needs, and still had plenty as well. We put distance between us and Daz and mosied
|The line- Look - there it is.|
|Wow- and that'd be Scafell.|
|Always time to take a photo|
|If ever there was a welcome sight, it is Cockley Beck feed station. With Grey Friars looming in the background.|
|Runners strung out below us - taken while Al was having a magnificent cramping session on his hamstrings... I had a while to take some photos.|
|More runners strung out...|
|People attending their feet near the top of Grey Friars... if you wear Hokas for a race like this, what do you expect?|
|Alison and Lindsay!|
Just along the edge we came across Alison and Lindsay, who were out for a run and cheering on the Glossopdalers in the race. Al carried on while I stopped for a chat. Apparently Dan and Andy weren't too far ahead, and Andy was having a bad time of it. Now that climb was out the way, Al was looking stronger than he had been all day and we made our way along the edge.
Runners were now on their way back from the top on the out and back course, and soon enough we saw Dan and Andy, who had already been to the top, and were on the return leg. They looked much stronger now as well - doubtful that we would catch them.
|Al, looking spectacular|
|Marshals at the Old Man of Coniston|
We also came across fellow Glossopdalers Carl and Tim, who were going well.
|Synchronised running from Carl and Tim - the OCT debutants|
The final descent caused us some issues last year, and was the only bit of the course where our route finding could have been better. This year we absolutely nailed it and dropped off the top to 3 shires stone, down the long horrible road, where a number of cyclists were pushing their bikes up- and getting overtaken by half a
|Final Descent off the Old Man|
|Flags means the final 500 metres~!|
I wasn't devastated with the time, though I reckon if ever there was a year for a decent sub 8, this would have been it, I think that it shows that where you run with a partner, there is double the chance things can go wrong. It equally could have been me having a shocker of a day, holding Al back, and I'm sure he would have held back with me and helped out as much. I know there are others who would love to have done a sub9 hour with or without a knackered partner. Perhaps this is a lesson in that you can't out run not having a good base of distance and endurance training on the fells.
|Al, coming home strong.|
Did we go out too fast? Did we burn out too quickly? I don't think so. No matter what pace we set at the beginning, the crash was going to come eventually.
No matter what, I got a lovely day out in the Lakes, 38 miles in the legs in preparation for Jura, and for Ennerdale in a couple of weeks, and some steely resolve to do well.
Well done to Dan and Andy for beating their time from last year, coming in 13th in 8:30, Carl and Tim for their debut OCT in 9:40, and Zoe and John - who I didn't see all day, for about 10:37, and well done to everyone that competed and completed yesterday- and thankyou to all the long suffering marshals.
Finally, congratulations to Spike and partner from Dark Peak for winning the day in 7:10 or thereabouts. Good running sir - you have a target on your back for Jura and Ennerdale.
|Carl and Tim finishing|
|Post race rehab|
|Post race Bun fight - the food after the OCT is legendary|
|Daz modelling the OCT tshirt|