Team member Helena Skinn raises £700 for Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team at this years Lakeland 50.
A Tale of Tans, Trench Foot and Trophies.
Stood in the start pen with my team mates ready for the off. Nervous. Excited. Sense of dread.
We’re off. It’s hot. It’s humid. After nearly a year’s build up to this I can’t believe that it’s here and I’m running. I’m worried that I’m running too fast for the team. I’m amazed and humbled when I pass or am passed by a 100 runner. Spectators clap us through towns. 10 miles in. It’s too hot. We struggle with the heat. We start the biggest climb on the 50 race. We walk. Finally we reach the top. A runner near me vomits another has cramp. I wonder what I have signed up for. We start to run. I’m concerned that I’m going too fast for my team.
15 miles in. Still unbearably hot and humid. The views are spectacular. We come across a collapsed runner. I stop to help. It’s scary at first but within 15 minutes he stabilizes. I send my team mates off to the next check point to refuel. Mountain rescue and the air ambulance are on route. A thunderstorm starts. Waterproofs on. I reach my team mates and we head on up. I have a cup of soup and a sarni in hand as we walk up desperate not to lose any more time. I’m getting wet on the inside from sweat and wet on the outside from torrential rain. It’s still hot and humid. We reach the half way point and another checkpoint. Hurray. Pasta! Yum! Gradually it gets dark. We head out back into the rain. It starts to get cold. Woolly hats on. Head torches on. It’s still raining heavy. The heavy rain sometimes makes it difficult to see where to go in the torchlight. We run. We walk. We become tired. I’m no longer sure if my waterproofs are waterproof. I’m drenched to the skin. We reach Ambleside at midnight. Spectators still cheer us on. Music plays and I dance happy in the knowledge we only have 15 miles left. Many fellow runners are struggling now and many retiring from the event. We head back out into the rain. The paths are now streams and our feet have been sodden for 6 hours. I wonder what I will find when I finally take my trainers off. I’m really cold. All of my layers are now on. All my layers are wet. We walk and run onwards. 10 miles left. In the distance we see the next checkpoint at chapel stile in a field. As we get closer I feel like I have stepped into the film Big Fish. In the darkness all i can see in the distance is a marquee with fairy lights and wood burners. Is this a mirage? Inside it has sofas and chilled music. There are a number of runners sleeping wrapped in foil blankets. A fellow runner asks if I would like to sit on the wet sofa and share her wet blanket. I do. I’m wondering if I will be able to keep going being this cold. I’m shivering uncontrollably. I’m drenched to the skin. I eat thick warm soup. It’s warming affect last only minutes. I’m cold again. The race game has now shifted from getting round in a good time to just being able to complete. I’m wishing I hadn’t got sponsorship. I don’t want to let my team mates down either. There is a bus on its way to collect retired runners. I’m tempted. I’m 10 miles from the end. I need to try to go on. We persevere and head out back into the dark. Into the rain. I run and fast walk loops to and from my team in an effort get warm. It starts to get light and the rain eases. We are mainly walking now. The paths are still streams. It’s cold. I’m excited of the prospect of a decent up section to get warm. Finally, I’m warm and much happier. 47 miles in and we reach the last check point which has a Caribbean theme including grass skirts and palm trees. We are so close to finishing this. I just want it done. I want it done now. We are tired. We are wet. We want this done. Our feet have been sodden now for 14 hours. We head into Coniston and we each try to see if we can muster the energy for a run. We can and we feel positive. We run through Coniston. It’s early morning and the locals still cheer us. We reach the finish. I can’t believe it. We finally made it. We get ushered into a busy hall where our arrival is announced to all. Everyone cheers and claps. I’m overwhelmed. A medal is put over my head. There are tears. Tears of relief. Tears of exhaustion. Tears of happiness.
Much to our surprise we are named as the 1st female group at the presentations.
Thanks to Ann, Judith and Paul for sharing such a special event with me.