Head Torches round the Tarn has been running (literally) a little over a year now. Last summer the ‘team’ ran the Race for Life in Carlisle in blistering heat – it was probably the hottest day of the year.
Yesterday a handful of us braved the forecast of a mini beast from the east to head down to Cartmel to do the Lakeland Trail’s Cartmel Trail race – 10km option – on what was not the coldest day of the year, but certainly felt like it. There was a nasty sharp, icy, wind and it was attempting to snow. Having said that the Grange/Cartmel area has its own micro-climate – much like Barrow-in-Furness – so it was theoretically warmer and sunnier than most of Cumbria.
For some it was their first ever 10km; for some it was the first race in a long time; some were recovering from injury; some hadn’t done much training. All turned up in plenty of layers (even the ones who get really hot running), and spent the time after registering waiting in cars to keep warm. At the start line everyone huddled together in an attempt to keep at least a little bit warm.
The benefit of having had cold weather was that the course was not quite as muddy as it allegedly normally is: though there was still plenty of mud to run through and places where you could lose your footing. The first part of the race seemed to be mostly uphill, but then almost before we knew it we were greeted by a marshall who told us cheerfully that we were about halfway and that there was plenty of mud ahead.
The marshalls have to be really congratulated – they were all cheerful and friendly and cheering us on, while they had to stand around in the cold. It wouldn’t suit me – I’d just get painfully cold and miserable (and probably rather grumpy). Likewise TC’s husband stood patiently waiting for us all to cross the finishing line, well wrapped up against the cold but I am sure still wondering why on earth he had offered to accompany his wife and wait while she ran (however I guess if you go camping in Scotland in the winter you’re used to a bit of snow).
The terrain was a mix of trails, stony tracks and some very short bits on road. There were stunning views of Morecambe Bay and some really nice properties (one house was for sale – but I couldn’t run around the Tarn with this lot if I bought it). The race ends with a short downhill section, then went briefly through some woods with a slog heading into the wind alongside the racecourse to get to the finish line. We all did better than expected with times ranging from 1hr 07mins to 1hr 29 mins – well done all!
But sadly, not a Sticky Toffee Pudding in sight!