Spadeadam Half Marathon, 22nd Sept 2019
Dave Lydall reports on a unique race popular with Claremonters in recent years.
The Spadeadam half marathon, organized by the Trail Outlaws, is a little too long! Its about 14 miles and occurs on “a Royal Air Force station in Cumbria, close to the border with Northumberland. It is the home of the 9,000 acre (36 km2) Electronic Warfare Tactics Range, making it the largest (by area) RAF base in the United Kingdom. Its primary use is for Electronic Warfare (EW) training to the Royal Air Force and NATO allies.”
It’s a very unusual location for a race and allowed us to visit a place most of us would never normally be allowed to see. Four from Claremont ran: Claire, David, Janet and Mary. We were very generously driven there and back by Marie who was originally planning to run but was injured. Marie also provided the SatNav for Elaine Henderson a former member of the club.
Leanne, who was volunteering, greeted us on arrival and directed us into the official swamp/car park. With wet feet we walked the short distance to the base, showed our ID, and were permitted to walk to the race HQ. The start was well organized and the tee shirts were handed out before we ran. Sadly, although the Trail Outlaws had a lot of merchandise for sale there were no dry shoes or socks on show.
The race began at 11 after what had been a warm week. The weather was however breaking and at points during there was quite heavy rain, but it never felt too cold or windy.
The route took us past military vehicles, buildings, rockets, missile launching stations and evidence of past explosions. Initially we followed a tarmacked road uphill for a couple of miles, including a short out and back section, before the tarmac became track. The undulating course was largely uphill on the way out, downhill on the way back. Overall It was a great run combining views across the misty hills with close ups of guns, missiles, tanks etc.