Scorching trails in Staveley
What a glorious day at Lakeland Trails Staveley! For this event, when the sun is out, you can simply lap up the festival atmosphere of a trail running event 🙂
I’d arrived around 08:30 so as not to rush and risk missing the registration cut off time as I had done at Hawkshead! It was quite chilly but that soon changed as I jogged up part of the Reston Scar descent to get warmed up. By the time I returned to the event field to see familiar faces, I was sweating.
The morning dew and mist gradually disappeared as the sun gradually increased the temperature through the day. Thankfully I was running the 10k so able to benefit from an earlier 11am start time.
This year I was on my own because of injuries to the kids so what was initially planned as a family day turned into myself bumping into a few fellow club members and some other trail runners I’ve got to know. I took the opportunity to pop into More artisan bakery and buy some of their amazing sourdough to take home for the family. The delicious smell in the car all the way home was something else!! I also got the chance to have a lovely catch up with Race Director Phil Blaylock and some volunteers who were all clearly looking forward to a good day for everyone involved.
Off the back of returning from torn medial ankle ligaments and a slowish social run at Hawkshead the previous month, I knew I was probably going to be slower than last year. Plus I didn’t have the impetus of trying to catch Louis on the 10k route!
I honestly don’t know what it is but every time I have run Staveley – be it the 17k or 10k – I’ve always found it a very tough run. More so than other Lakeland Trails routes. I have no idea if this is because it’s often been one of the earlier hot days and my body isn’t yet acclimatised or what. That plus a lack of hill reps for yet another year. I really should work on that uphill weakness 😉
Without exception though, it’s always a superb day. Each route, including the 5k, is stunning in scenery and the challenge it offers. They all include testing climbs, exhilarating descents, lush trail, a bit of tarmac. What’s more, over the past couple of years a beautiful trend has started whereby there are spectators at the top of Reston Scar urging us all on as we (well most of us!) grind out that final climb! I can’t tell you how much we appreciate the sound of the cowbell, the cheers and the clapping. It’s precisely what you need at the very time you’re body is screaming at you to stop!
Knowing you have a very fast descent over a mix of lush grass and some rock/bridleway to fly down is a great feeling in terms of anticipation and reality. It’s fantastic and rekindles child-like glee as you just let your legs relax and gravity do it’s job! That and turning your brain off if you’re confident enough in your foot placement 🙂 All the way down you can hear the beating of the drums as runners from each race are welcomed back to the finish. It’s a great feeling.
And, as usual, you can enjoy some lovely nutritious food – or treats – from the stalls at the festival village as you relax and recover 🙂 Kendal Mountain Rescue provide the majority of course marshals – something every single one of us is very grateful for. Thank you 🙂
So yes I did run slower than last year with a time of 1:03:45 and finishing 32nd. And I enjoyed it just as much as all the others for other reasons. Not least the relief that my ankle held up and the pain subsided after about 6k. That and running club President Colin Robinson strategically placing himself part-way up the Reston Scar approach to urge me and some other Rochdale Harriers on. I both swore and smiled to myself when seeing him as we both knew he’d keep me running when a big part of me wanted to hike for a few minutes! For that I have to thank him lol!