Hawkshead 17km Trail Race, Saturday 14 April 2018

Richard Slack sends this report:

I like to do one or two Lakeland Trail events over the summer, and this one was born part out of necessity in preparation for the Newlands Horseshoe (named the Anniversary Waltz) fell race this coming Saturday.

It was a bright and sunny day at last after a long winter so joyous to be standing in the relative warm at the start with a small field of about 200 runners. The race began with a quick half lap round the Hawkshead school field and then out of the village (first and last of any tarmac). To set the tempo of the race it then went straight uphill for around the next 3km (Claife Heights). After that, a lovely gentle descent past Wise Een Tarn (see photo and hence smiling rather than death face) on pretty level ground – that would be the last of that for a while. The race route then continued down to Far Sawry and annoyingly past a pub garden with tempting array of gins and beer which met with a lot of comments from all runners and the occasional cheer or “ho ho look at them – pleased I’m not doing that” from the inhabitants of the garden. Well we were pleased, that was until just around the corner – another uphill, this time short and sweet and then a knee jerking steep and bouldery downhill which fully tested the trails shoes as we ran down to the shores of Windermere. Nice 2 km along the lake shore before at 11km (and what this race is infamous for) the one mile uphill known rightly as the Coffin Trail, the old route to bring the dead for burial from Hawkshead. Gruesome (the ascent, not the name) – any thought of running quickly evaporated and it turned into a power (ish) walk with occasional strength of mind and body to do another 50 years. A real brute. Emerging over the hill you could then see Hawkshead village and the finish in the distance and a meandering downhiller pretty much all the way there.

A tough but really enjoyable race with km times ranging from 4.42 to 9.53 and an overall time of 1.36.29. Not a race for constant pacing! but magnificent scenery, well marshaled, good banter between runners especially up the coffin trail and excellent preparation for the hills ahead next weekend.