Bell secures Lakeland Classics trophy with Borrowdale victory
THE Borrowdale fell race — arguably the most popular of all the Lakeland fell races — took place on Saturday.
At a distance of 16.5 miles with 6,000ft of climbing, it is always a tough day out for any fell runner.
After wet weather leading up to the race, it was very boggy and energy-sapping underfoot. A downpour welcomed runners to the start line, but the weather brightened up as the day went on.
The race began outside the Scafell Hotel, in Rosthwaite, and headed out along the valley bottom before the climb up Bessy Boot, which is the first checkpoint.
Some runners hold back on the first part to save their legs, but Keswick AC’s Carl Bell and Josh Jardine (Helm Hill) set off as though it was a 10k road race.
After Bessy Boot there is a long, runnable section over to Esk Hause. This is where Bell pulled out a commanding lead over the chasing pack. Then it was up over the boulder field of Scafell Pike and down the gulley to the corridor route towards the foot of Great Gable.
There were plenty of people out cheering and it was nice for the runners to see friendly faces at Styhead, which set them up well for the climb up Great Gable.
Then came the descent into Honister slate mine. Again spectators helped to keep runners going as they reached the final climb of Dalehead.
Bell led through all the checkpoints and went on to win in 2min 50sec, ahead of Rob Jebb, formerly of Bingley Harriers, but now with Helm Hill, in second in 3.02.28, and Simon Booth (Borrowdale) third.
Bell also secured the Lakeland Classics trophy after winning the Wasdale race in the fastest time since 1990 and setting a new course record in the Buttermere Horseshoe.
Keswick’s Catherine Spurden had to finish strongly to fend of Claire Nance (Lonsdale). Her winning time was 3.45.14 as she continued her amazing form of this season which saw her run for England at Sedbergh earlier in the year.
Special mentions should go to two Keswick runners in particular, Lesley Malarkey, who continues to make good progress in her bid to do all the Lakeland Classics races, and Jacob Tonkin, who is relatively new to fell running and has already embraced many races this season and ran sub four hours at Borrowdale.