Derwentwater 10 Mile Race - 02/11/14

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A great Blog from Russ Best

If you’re expecting a blog about the glorious scenery or wonderful atmosphere of the Derwentwater 10, you’re probably reading the wrong write up! I can only provide an insight into those aspects of the race having looked up briefly before the 3mile marker and thought ‘this is pretty inspiring stuff’ my thoughts quickly returned to the task at hand and the finish line, which at the time seemed rather distant.

The race begins just off Keswick high street, which you turn abruptly onto and go up through the pedestrianized area heading out towards the lake from the off. This first mile passed exceptionally quickly at the front before settling down into a tussle for the lead over the next few rolling miles, which were laced with cheeky inclines, puddles and the occasional close encounter with buses, tractors and walkers. Positioning yourself was key in the first 4miles to avoid these and to take shelter where possible.

Mile 4 to 5 is an interesting one as you come down, turn out of the wind and snake your way through a little village across some difficult cambers if you catch things wrong – there were 3 of us together at this stage and the position of a water station wasn’t too kind, I’ve never seen the point in ‘good old fashioned cups’ as I’m sure even in the good old days no one could ever get hold of them properly, so now with a chest, head and half a lip covered in the contents of my good old fashioned cup the hardest mile of the race came to us as the two other lads tried to push on and test the waters.

Jim Bulman, Steve Shaw and the course map had all warned me about this mile, you climb for all of it around 6 minutes or so of hard, hard effort and the mile from 6 to 7 isn’t easy either! I was pleasantly surprised to see I’d ran the uphill mile in 5:50 and could no longer hear any other athletes’ heavy breathing as I left the climb behind; this made me push on through that lumpy 6th mile, with the bike marshals teasing as my gap to them kept narrowing before they’d dance away on their pedals.

The descent from Catbells is tricky, if you’re not cut from fell running cloth, on a particularly wet day underfoot, old leaves and a cattle grid were tricky to negotiate but didn’t slow progress too much. I was quite clear at this point but didn’t want to let up, having got away early the only choice from now until home was to forget what had gone before and commit to as close to a 5 minute per mile pace as my body and the course would let me.

The run into Keswick and towards the school felt a bit bizarre having never run the race before I felt like I was always searching for the next mile, trying to run down the bike marshal in the pink vest in the process. I was relieved to cross the road towards the school and tried to rally some sort of a kick for home as a crowd congregated in the distance, imagine the horror when you realise you’ve still got 200m to go from where this crowd was stood!

The run for home was well funnelled and it was good to see peoples’ faces again as opposed to looking at a cyclist’s backside. I was delighted with the win and a little embarrassed to join such a long list of great winners if I’m honest, especially beating one of the Norman brothers (renowned for their toughness) and local lad Ricky Lightfoot on the day. Even better was seeing Jim and Shaun come home to know we’d secured the team prize, quite comfortably.

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A very well organised, well marshalled race with an exceptional prize pot to boot. I’d certainly recommend this for anyone running Leeds Abbey dash as a bit of over distance prep, or as a tune up for a half or Brampton to Carlisle. 

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