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Ultimate Trails 55K Challenge, Lake District

27/06/2015

On Saturday 27th June four DRC members, Kim and Christina Adamson, Jo Pennington and Gemma Leadbetter travelled to Ambleside to embark upon their first Ultramarathon event...

The Ultimate Trails 55 Km challenge was billed as the most picturesque in the UK with well stocked feed stations and the promise of being a great stepping stone into the world of ultra-running, so the quartet eagerly (and in retrospect perhaps also a little naively) signed up. The event started and finished at Rothay Park in Ambleside, taking in the Kirkstone Pass, Grisedale Hause, Silver How, Blea Tarn and Loughrigg along the way.

It was much tougher on the day than any of the girls could have anticipated, having limited knowledge of Lake District terrain and only prior experience of other Lakeland Trails events to go on. The course was very technical in large parts and involved quite a bit of scrambling up and down rocky mountain passes which was entirely unexpected. The girls had vowed from the outset that they would work as a team, start together and finish together and this is exactly what they did. It was much needed during the most challenging parts. It was necessary to draw strength and encouragement from each other along the way. Teamwork was evident throughout, not just in the help they offered each other, but also in the unexpected en-route support offered by Les Hill and his wife Margaret who had researched the event and travelled from Dumfries to offer some much needed applause at two locations during the day, firstly just outside Glenridding and then later at Grasmere. Between these two points had been the mammoth climb up and over Grisedale Hause and words cannot even describe how “much needed” the second round of applause was.

The girls were pleased to finish the event just inside the 13 hour cut off, shortly before midnight and proud to be among 311 finishers out of more than 500 on the start list. The highlights of the day were the en-route support reminding the girls what a fantastic club they are part of, the chips and banter at the final checkpoint and crossing the finish line in the dark to be greeted by family and friends.  

It is worth noting that due to a change of course during the planning stages, the 55K event was lengthened to 58K to ease a logistical issue of starting and finishing at different locations.

Gemma.

Photo: Les Hill

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