Keswick Half Marathon. 6.05.2012.
Having enjoyed last years event as a spectator cheering runners in at the finish area whilst lying in the sun supping a beer, a more active role in this years annual club sojourn to Keswick seemed in order. However, the weather conditions were somewhat different to the balmy spring day of 2011 with a t, hat and gloves proving to be a good call on my part. Jogging across to the start with Bob and Caroline – Bob wearing the most ineffective bin bag ensemble imaginable; we may see something similar on the catwalks of Paris or Milan later this year, but for the Lakes totally lacking in functionality with rain / snow (I jest not) just before and at the start. If there was an award for moaning minnies about the cold in the ‘warm-up’, it would be a close run thing between Caroline and my good self
Being my first run at this event I was glad of the ‘heads up’ on the course from Gordon, Bill, and Allan about the nature of the course with all the major climbs in the first 7 miles. Settled in at the start about 4 rows back, quick chat with a couple of the Saltwell lads and a nod and a wave to James Buis (looking back from the front row) who was to dominate the event and set a new course record in the process. Off to a fairly sedate start, but not so for Les who shot off like a startled rabbit and quick pleasantries exchanged when I passed him just after half a mile in. Good for the main man though who kept his race together and was rewarded with a substantial PB, which both Jimmy and I somewhat harshly but independently were quick to inform Les that taking into consideration the challenging nature of the course he couldn’t have been trying very hard at his previous attempts!
‘Challenging’ is probably the most appropriate term for the course with some decent / testing climbs around Stair and Catbells (think of a few Chowdenes or Beacon Loughs, but in a rural setting) which even on a cold, damp day like Sunday was more than compensated by the scenery. Have to hold my hand up on the latter; yep I did slow up 2 or 3 three times off the top at Catbells to take in the view. Anyway, with the plan being to start conservatively and go steady through to 8 and then pick up for 4 miles and see where it got me I did resist the temptation to look across the Lake once we got on the return leg from Grange Bridge. Maybe one year I’ll run with a camera. Anyway, managed to pick things up a bit to run fairly strongly and take a few places with one runner proving to be most charitable in committing one of the cardinal sins of distance running and letting me through on the inside at a left hand bend. Quite a nice rolling road back to the finish at Keswick Rugby Club, but as throughout a tad chilly with a ‘warming’ cheer from Jimmy and Elaine at around 11.5 miles being most welcome. Even with the cold an enjoyable run and pleased enough with the result, even if I did had to ask a bloke walking his dog to take the top off my water at the finish area as my hands were too numb to complete the task. It all seemed a far cry from lying in the sun supping beer the previous year.
As you’ll no doubt have seen at the results some cracking runs by one and all that went across with some notable performances including PBs, e.g. Gordon, Amanda and Les just to mention three. Stan was true to his word in saying he would be back in around 2.5 hours in coming in with 2:29 and bits. The only disappointment of the day was in the adjournment to the Sports Bar (aside from the fiver Amanda was fleeced for a glass of red at said establishment) to watch the Toon put up a fighting display as they were beaten 2-0 by Manchester City, although for Bill this was probably the icing on the cake for a cracking day out.