Saturday saw the first running of the high Terrain Kielder 32k trail race as an addition to the regular 50k and 100k events. There was a good turnout for Elswick Harriers as Laura Clegg, Mandy Kennon, Tina McIver, Kay Thompson, Christiane James and John Ryan turned up sporting the red and white vest.
On a cool overcast day the race began at Kielder castle at 10am prompt sending the runners up the first challenging climb of the day from the castle up past ‘The Devil’s Lapful’ and on towards ‘Wainhope Bothy’. At this early stage it was John Ryan who held the lead Elswick vest…but would it stay that way?!?
The beautiful scenery didn’t stop and we were soon wading through a small stream (It’s not a trail if you don’t get your feet wet, right?), next came the hardest climb of the day up to the top of ‘Black Belling Fell’ at 323 metres this was no easy ascent but the views were well worth it and this was the highest point of the route for the 20 milers. A nice casual descent though boggy heather and forest trails took us to the check point at Kielder Dam with our very own cheerleader Michael Clegg waiting to cheer us in.
The second half of the race followed the north side of the lakeside path all the way back to Kielder castle, this presented a different challenge. There are seemingly no flat sections here you are either running up or down a hill but a clear day gave us all great views of Kielder reservoir to spur us on. It was three quarters of the way along this path where the Elswick lead changed hands, the fresh and spritely duo of Tina and Christine hardly broke a sweat as they took over as the lead Elswick vests.
The grounds of Kielder Castle saw the finish line where Tina and Christine were the first Elswick Harriers to finish (Joint second in their age group) closely followed by John Ryan, shortly after Mandy, Kay and Laura came smiling over the finishing line to cheers and congratulations for completing a challenging and brutal 20 miles. All results can be found here
***An extra special mention must go to Amy Brown for completing her first ultra-marathon on Saturday by running in the 50k event. Well done Amy***