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Langdale race report

Langdale Horseshoe race report 2017

With overnight gusts of wind damaging a few of the organising club’s tents, a saturated field to park in and a less than perfect conditions on the fell, the competitors in Langdale 2017 were definitely going to get their money’s worth. A far cry from the almost ideal championship race conditions the previous year, visibility looked like being a challenge and the wind and rain meant an extra top was required to be worn or carried.

368 hardy souls accepted the challenge and as the chatter of the farmyard and initial flat track gave way to huffing and puffing up Stickle Ghyll, a group including Keswick’s Carl Bell, Helm’s Josh Jardine and Borrowdale’s Martin Mikkelsen Barron began to get away in the senior men’s race. As is often the case when the clag is down and runners are wary of becoming isolated, groups formed throughout the field; only the most confident being happy to brave the notorious navigationally nasty section from Esk Hause to Crinkle Crags alone.

When they emerged from the murk, Carl was out front and looked fairly fresh as he finished in a sedate 2 hours 13 minutes lookingvery much like he could go round again. Martin and Josh followed in 2nd and 3rd around 5 minutes adrift. Only 3 runners home in under 2hr 20 was as much a testament to the greasy and sloppy conditions underfoot, as the wind, rain and clag on the summits. Robert Simpson and Sam Watson rounded off the top 5 men.

In the women’s race Ambleside’s Kelli Roberts, as happy as anyone on rough ground, stormed round out front and was a good way ahead of second placed Nicky Spinks of Dark Park Peak, who turned in an excellent performance to take first V40 and 50 ladies title in great style. Ambleside’s Sarah MaCormack had been on registration duties from the crack of dawn but this did not stop her begging a last minute entry and getting 3rd place for her efforts. In the V60 women Lesley Malarkey from Keswick held off Wendy Dodds for the win. Wendy has completed around 25 Langdale races and was returning from injury!

In the male V40 category Helm’s Tim Cowin just held off fellrunning legend Ian Holmes for the win, with Ian taking the V50 crown. The remarkable Leigh Warburton demolished the V60 opposition in a great time of 2hr 48.

The men’s team race saw Ambleside using their tried and tested ‘intense mid field packing’ strategy to take the honours, with Dark Peak triumphing in the women’s team battle.

The real heroes on a day like this however were the summit marshals. To be out in those conditions for up to 3 hours to help account for those racing was something else. Several runners came back to report their concern for Jon Deegan’s wellbeing, huddled up and shivering on Bowfell summit attempting to count runners through! And Jon was one of many. A huge thanks must also go to the large group of AAC helpers in the valley, without whom this race would not happen, St Johns Ambulance and the RAYNET lads.

Here’s hoping for more clement weather next year. See you then.

Dan