I was fairly buzzing all week after last weekend’s heroics at Chester Zoo 10k. Though on Tuesday night I decided to head to training, which was a mistake. For some reason I had a horrific do with my breathing. The plan was to run each effort at around my 10 mile race pace (whatever that would be) so I wasn’t going to tire myself out. At about the 3rd rep I could hardly breath, phil suggested it might be from being more tired than I expected from the weekend. So I took it easy and trotted back along the line, wheezing as I went, admiring the perfect running form of David Crout.
The rest of the week was really busy. Working till late most evenings, and then I had a shambolic first night time orienteering event on the lower slopes of Melbreak, the least said about that the better. On Saturday I had an easy trott at ParkRun with a few strides to open the legs up ready for Derwentwater 10.
Sunday morning came quickly. I woke to find a message from Boris saying “Run like the wind today son. Strong and sexy past the Chalet!”. In my head the mission was pretty simple really. Finish the race in under 1 hour 6 minutes. I had no clue at all if I could run 10 miles that fast. I’d have been very confident if it was a perfectly flat course. This was not a flat course. As I stood on car parking duties with Barry ‘Lego Hair’ Holton, on the bus lane at Keswick school, I was trying to take my mind off the race ahead. I regaled some stories from my time at Keswick School. Including a particular favourite of mine…. My best friend Joe had the same pencil case as the lad who he’d sit next to in English, Andrew Baxter. One sunny day Joe realised the window he was sat next to was open. Quick as a flash, he slid his identical pencil case in front of Baxter, he grabbed Baxter’s pencil case and threw it out of the window and into a hedge. Joe’s hand went straight up “Miss! Andrew’s just thrown my pencil case out of the window!” “ANDREW BAXTER!!” She shouted “B-B-B-BUT” Baxter spluttered. “Go get it back and then stand outside and wait for me!” Miss shouted. Joe and everyone who’d seen it were in hysterics. Although Joe can be thick as a plank, he was always very clever with how he wound folk up at school.
I’d not long finished telling him another story when Adam Pearson, who was in my year at school, rocked up. I’ve seen him a couple of times since school, 11 years ago. With his Carbon plated shoes, he looks like a proper road runner these days. He told me Jordan Kelly (also our year at school) was running. I immediately felt the imaginary pressure pile back on top of me. I’d not want to have a crap run with them here, but they’d be a target! If we’d have ran this race when we were at school they’d have beaten me by a couple of hours. So I wanted to show them that I’m actually reasonably fit these days and feeling pretty sexy.
Once my parking duties with Barry were done I set off for a warm up. I decided to leave the van outside school so I’d have less distance to run at the end of the race. As I was pinning my number on I realised I’d not taped up my nipples. What a disaster. I’d have to go via Mam and Dad’s. I was going to ask Sarnie Gay, but he was on an absolute mission to beat me today. There’s no way he’d give me a plaster as it might aid my performance. So I had to make do with some tape which was probably 10 years old and had hardly any stick left in it, from the medicine cabinet at Mam and Dad’s.
At the start line I stood next to Sarnie ready for the off. I realised I was in front of a guy who looked pretty fast. “You gar in front of me mate, you look dead fast!” I said “I’ll just stand next to you” he said, he went on to win in 51 minutes…..
Phil set us off. Here we bloody go.
Over the Borrowdale Road Roundabout and up Borrowdale Road. I was trying to be careful to not set off stupidly quick, but I also wanted to state my intention to Sarnie. He would have a bit of a psychological gain on me today. He wanted a certain time, and to beat me. I just wanted a time. Through all the big puddles on Borrowdale Road. At the 2 mile mark I was feeling relaxed and comfortable. I was shifting, but was wary of what was to come. I formed a group with Adam Pearson and a few others and we stayed together for a laal bit. Past the hostel to see Gill and Pete Todhunter were there to cheer me on.
5:46 for mile one. 6:03 for mile two. 6:00 for mile three. 6:10 for mile four.I was feeling good. At Grange I dropped off from the back of Adam’s group. The next few miles would be make or break. If I’ve gone too hard I’ll be buggered. If not I still need to push on and not get complacent. My pace did drop, but that’s only natural going up Manesty from Grange. Around the back of the lake Lamby stuck his head out the car to cheer me on.
Downhills on road races really don’t inspire me. Everyone can run downhill on the roads so there’s absolutely no advantage for me on the descents. I tried to combat this by just running as fast as I could. Down to Stair, past Matko, to see Stan and Gill marshalling “Go on Jacob Tonkin!” Gill said. The climb to Swinside felt hard, but it was over quickly. I couldn’t help but think about my last run up that hill. When I was about to be dropped by Jack Kuenzle on his BG. That wouldn’t have happened today I said. At the corner Chris Knox told me I was first Keswick. I’d forgotten about Sarnie! Oh god if he catches me now I’ll be gutted. So I pushed on again. Clocking in at 6:09 for mile 9. As we climbed up to the Portinscale Road I clanged over my shoulder. No sign of Sarnie, but 0.75 of a mile to go. Steph and Guy Illingworth were there for some encouragement, mainly telling me how good I looked in my shorts.
Coming through Portinscale felt tough. I was catching the guy in front of me. Lamby appeared and told me to start sprinting now. It felt really early for that, but he’s got the heart of a lion and can do such things. At the Chalet I thought of Boris, and I could see David Crout’s cheery face. “Keep pushing! Go for it!” So I sped up, pulled up level with the guy on his outside shoulder, just for him to start sprinting and finish a second ahead of me. Mam, Norm, Rachael May and Janine (RMK’s Mam) were right at the finish and I nearly ran into them. I glanced at my watch and saw 1 hour 3 minutes 15 seconds, and first Keswick AC runner.. “OH MY GOD! I’ve done it!! I’ve got my road standards!” I was wobbly but elated.
Rachael May could see me wobbling and asked if I was ok “I was just trying really hard!” I spluttered. I had so many people come and ask if I’d done it in under 1 hour 6, it was really lovely.
I’d managed to beat Sarnie and Jordan. But not Adam, who did 1 hour 1 minute. Meaning he was the fastest former Keswick School pupil of the day. I had a good bit of crack with them before hobbling back to me van.
For a fell runner who always slags off road running, I’ve really enjoyed putting my mind to my road standards. It’s given me a real target and helped prove to myself that I can actually run. I’d really recommend giving something like that a go.
A big thanks to the legend that is Phil Winskill and everyone who helped for a fantastic event.
Full results here