How not to train for a trail race

To celebrate Sally’s 70th birthday we’ve all entered the Lakeland Trails Helvellyn Race. It’s 15km, with about 300m ascent – figures I would have sneezed at in days of yore. But this is now, with two snagged Achilles tendons, a crunchy ankle, a dicky hip, and a knee that can forecast rain three days in advance. Combined with 70 hour working weeks this has made for not a lot of training; in fact here’s my training log for the last few months, showing weekly mileage:

Crispin's weekly mileage in 2014

So I fear I’m going to be a mid-pack shuffler, which sadly means waiting 5 minutes in a queue at every stile in these over-priced yet bizarrely over-subscribed events. I will try to enjoy the occasion, and I will be roaring for Sally to win her first v70 prize!

But… as a fell race organiser myself, of the grass-roots variety, I feel a tiny bit of loathing of this style of commercialised profit-seeking events; please note: £29 to enter. Yes that’s twenty-nine pounds, £29 sterling to participate in a trail race on roads and bridleways adding up to about 9 miles in length.

These races have a marvellous trade-marked strapline that I confess to finding particularly obnoxious:

“Inspiring races in beautiful places” TM!

I’d like to suggest some alternatives:

“What will you be sellin’, to enter at Helvellyn?”

“Fancy going running? Yippee, we saw you coming”

“We make runners poor, yet they still come back for more”

and, if you put on that Ozzy accent,

“Disappointing races, at extortionate prices”

Only kidding, I’m really looking forward to it, and just wishing I could run free again…



Sunday, February 15, 2015 10:34:05 PM

I was a mid-pack shuffler as predicted, but I also ripped open my knee on a submerged rock and got soaked and hypothermic after the finish, so I did get my money's worth after all! Actually we all enjoyed it - I must post some pictures.