Today was the first race in the 2012 Kendal winter league. The league runs from now the beginning of April. Race One, Scout Scar, Kendal.
The road to Brigsteer was thronging with cars when I arrived and already a steady stream of folk were making way through the mild January drizzle to the start line. Today was not a day for sight seeing on the scar, the cloud hung low and the limestone escarpment was hidden away.
Last year, making my way back to running again, the one thing that was glaringly obvious in the few races I ran was my lack of out and out running speed, so I have planned on the winter league providing me with some shorter, faster runs as well as much needed motivation to get moving again.
And so after some hanging around in a damp field, the quintessential start to any discerning fell race I was off, jostling through the mud with another hundred or more other runners. It was a bit of shock to the system if I’m perfectly honest but one of the good things about short races is that they’re virtually over before you’ve settled into any kind of rhythm. The slight uphill inclines allowed me to catch up folk ahead or pull away from those behind, the slight descents allowed other to catch me up and until the last third of the race, the flats were spent amongst a barrage of other heavy breathers all seeking to stay on the greasy racing trod. It all felt a lot like a school cross country run, and I was never sure whether i enjoyed those very much.
Still, 28 minutes later it was all over. Position unknown, first definitely not, last definitely not, a good start to the year, definitely yes. Unfortunately I’ll now be missing the next few races in the series as work (and a bit of play) takes me to the states until early February. But am feeling psyched again to start pounding the miles a bit faster.
Kendal Winter League: Scout Scar. Distance: 4.7 miles approx / 8km. Height: A bit! Time: 28 mins.