Sunday, 15 June 2014

Scafell Pike Marathon by David Sloan

There are 3 reasons for me not getting a race report published on the A&T blog before today;
1) I usually leave it too late and somebody beats me to it;
2) My memory for specifics is terrible at times, and;
3) Tim Campbell is just too bloody good at it!

So, with the absence of Tim 'the wordsmith' Campbell and an hour to kill waiting for Claire (Matchwick) to finish her 'jolly' on the 3-peaks, I thought I'd endeavour to give it a go.....

For those who don't already know, a few months ago I signed up for the challenge of the scafell pike marathon and Malc Collins, in his ultimate wisdom, thought it would be a good idea to tag along and get another marathon under his belt, it turned out not to be just another day at the office for our marathon addict and his under-study...

The day started of as you would expect with two blokes organising anything, we didn't speak in the days leading up to the race and subsequently went in separate cars from the same place, to the same place and back again!

So we finally find each other on the start-line, booking in was easy enough, the other athletes all seemed friendly and the warm-up of a mile to the start line meant that I nearly missed the gun, but thankfully not.

I won't bore you with a mile-by-mile review of the race, but what I will say is that this is not a race, not for us normal (term used loosely) human beings, there were a handful of amazing athletes competing for the top spot, but most others were just there for the journey, or adventure - which is how I would categorise this event.

As you would expect from a Mountain Marathon, there were a lot of hills, but it was surprising to find out that the down-hill sections were just as tough and slow as their opposite counterparts!

The location was spectacular, which attributed to Mr Collins spending most of his day snapping photos of the panoramic views. If I didn't have to keep an eye on my footing for 80% of the route I would have been taking it all in myself.

So, going up Scafell Pike. We took the scenic (corridor) route, which I am told is the toughest path, which took us from Keswick, through the villages of Borrowdale and Seathwaite, up to sty head, straight through to the summit and then back around to take in Ill Crag and Great End (for those who know the area).

Coming back into Keswick it started to get mentally tough, the weather was warm with no breeze and our legs were in a place they had never been before (literally and figuratively), with 18 miles down and over 4hrs on the clock.
As is standard for me on these intrepid events: when thing get tough, Dave gets walking! And I would say this was the case for around 50% of the last 9 miles.

As for Malc, he soldiered on and left me in his wake, finishing in a blistering 6:04!

I plodded in 6 minutes later, never happier to see a finish line and licking my wounds from the 27.5, yes, 27.5 miles I had endured.

Upon reflection I would say that it is not for the feint-hearted, but with an open mind and a love of outdoors I can't think of a better challenge. Malc did admit to it being his toughest marathon to date which I thing means a lot!!

Will I do it again? Challenge me and see what happens, but you have to do it too.

Them is the rules ;)

David Sloan

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