Sunday, January 11, 2009


I don't USUALLY watch celebrity based dancing/talent shows, but have just seen Le Saux dancing on ice! He went for a burton in practice and danced like a block of wood ( still did better than I could!), out of his depth and in a strange place - that's just how I felt this morning when I turned up with Rhiannon at the second Kendal winter league fell race.

I can heartily recommend this series of races as you don't have to set out particularly early to do them, nor are they particularly long, in fact, on todays experience they'd be quite any other time of the year. At this time of the year, on the hills above the M6 with nothing between us and the Irish sea, the entry fee of a mere £2:50 buys you a masochists delight!

We were soaked just running from the car to register, the howling wind and driving horizontal rain had even driven the sheep out of the fields, so nothing particularly attractive in the way of livestock to look at either, which brings me to a most unusual occurrence as we lined up for the off, when many of the runners started howling and yapping, not unlike a pack of hounds ( perhaps it was the extreme cold)?....

I'd originally been told this was a flat run twice round a field; this morning before leaving I was told there was a 'hill' to go up (in fact there's two on each lap), and, just before the off Rhiannon let slip that there was a river to cross ( there were two on each lap) and the water was the coldest I've ever been in, apart from the endless cold of the driving wind and rain when we were running.

The starter had what had once been an umberella, but by the time we were ready it was little more than a few tatters of nylon and some spokes. I was a bit concerned that running round a field twice was serious enough for the organisers to count us before we started, but now realise that the 'field' was at least two with a large open common at the top, deep boggy bits in which a short bloke could easily be lost forever, and raging torrents which, if you lost your footing would probably discharge your body at Arnside, just next to the sewage outfall pipe, appropriate really as I felt like a piece of **** as I plugged my waterlogged and weather lashed way round the course, overtaking a youth in a buff which he wore in 'Rumanian woman style' to keep the weather off, and a bloke in full wet weather gear, waterproof walking jacket and leggings, who got away from me on 3/4 of the course, but on the return leg home into the wind he got blown back as the full force of the wind got hold of his loose gear - Ha Ha I thought , how people laughed at my tights but they now proved their worth as I slipped through the squalls!

Anyway, eventually, it was over. No warming cups of tea and cake, just back to the car, heater full on and home to a hot bath and a cup of tea in it (that's luxury, me in the bath, the tea in me).

We both said 'why do we do it'? Rhiannon eventually came up with 'it makes me feel more alive' and, strangely, I think I know a little of what she means - anyone want to come with us to the next one at 'Whitestones' - I think I'm addicted to pain!


Rhiannon said...

Yes, it really was like that!

But Andy, you forgot to mention the chunks of ice that we had to sidestep round. They were new for this year...

Smashing blog entry- there's just nothing quite like the Kendal Winter League!


Alan M said...

Andy - can someone explain the 'howling and yapping' thing? I'm a little intrigued, and maybe a little worried...

Good work though. I think you should come to a couple of MidLancs XCs to broaden your experience even further.


Rhiannon said...

Hmm, I can illuminate.

The ladies of Dallam Runing Club were extremely cold after standing for an hour in a bleak, open field to cheer on the under 17s.

So by the time the senior race started, they were on the edge of hypothermia, and howling did seem to help a little....