The Lowther Lakeland Fell and Trail Race is a 13 mile run with 1400 ft of ascent that starts and ends at the Lowther Castle in the lake district near Penrith.
It is run as part of Lowther Country Show. It cost £10 to enter and includes 1 adult entry to the show. You can buy additional tickets to the show at a discount too.
The show did look good with plenty going on, although I didn’t check it out
Someone from my running club mentioned they were running it and when I looked at it, it sounded good with running over the fells, heather and tussock with some road but mostly on trails. The length fit in with my training plan too at 13 miles (not quite a half marathon missing out on that all important 0.1 of a mile).
The weather outlook looked good too when I signed up but the forecast got slowly worse with rain predicted for the day.
It was the 32nd running of the race on 12 August 2018.
Registration is quick, you get a tracking id card/chip to wear on your wrist. There are plenty of toilets in the castle grounds you can use – most are shared male/female that looks like it could have been horse stables at one time – all proper toilets with doors.
Running The Race
After a quick race brief with a warning on possible rain and suggesting slower runners might want to take a rain jacket plus watch out for horses running on part of course the race starts just after 11.00 am. 130 of us are on our way.
The first section is a nice downward grass path on to a gravel path, onto a road, across a bridge to the start of the first hill. It’s on a sealed road, followed by an unsealed road and then on to a grass trail but the climb continues on and on.
After running the sealed road part I slowed to walk the rest of the way. The climb is worth it with a magnificent view across to Ullswater and this is where the ID chip pairs with a monitor for tracking purposes.
After this it’s slowly downhill with some ups and downs on a grass path through ferns and some heather. There is some road but the toughest part here on this long stretch is running over tussock which makes it difficult to get good footing. After struggling for a little time I choose to walk it after almost rolling my ankle.
There are a few people ahead of me and very few behind me at this stage, that I can see.
There are some sharp down hills and some “steepish” up hills but nothing to drastic for a while. It is a good running in the countryside.
There are some sharp down hills and some “steepish” up hills but nothing to drastic for a while. Once it levels out you cross over a beck where I attempt to keep my feet dry but fail. Not that it matters as there is a river crossing soon after where there is no chance of keeping the feet dry – it is cool and refreshing coming up to just below the knee at the deepest point.
There’s a small climb up the bank opposite and then you can get a good look at the obstacle in front of you. There’s the second big climb of the race and it is a long steep climb. It took a big effort going up there at walking pace and it seemed to go on for too long – great challenge – hopefully it will make me stronger for the Snowdonia Marathon at the end of October.
The 2nd water station is also the 2nd check point at Knipe Scar after completing the climb and a short run across an undulating trail where the ID chip pairs with the monitor. After this point there is a slight climb through a field followed by a good for running farm track that is on a nice slope down to the finish. I wish I’d had a bit more left as you could make up some good time.
I was running 6 minute kms but could have been much quicker with the gentle slope down on a farm road that is so good underfoot. I also wished I could have run faster to get away from the annoying flies circling around my head – they just didn’t want to leave me.
There is a small steep climb just before you come to finishing stretch and at this stage I walked it which was probably quicker than I’d have been able to run it at that stage.
I didn’t feel like I got a benefit from the missing 0.1 (13 miles was plenty) and got full value for my money by not finishing too quickly – my finishing time was 2:39:21 over an hour behind the winner. My finishing position was 112th.
Once over the finish line you could get a printout out of your time once they plugged the chip timer into their computer and there it was printed on a receipt. Really good – only problem was I couldn’t read it straightaway as my glasses were in my car. Plus water and an unexpected bottle of beer.
My heart rate averaged 166 bpm and with a maximum of 181 bpm just a little over my MAF of 124. It might explain the struggle with the race again I guess but alternatively I’d probably still be out there long into the night. Along with the lack of good preparation and the 4.8 m interclub race on Wednesday.
When you come into the finish you do need to be careful of horses as the last 100 meters or so is shared with them as they do their National Championship event. Fortunately, when I finished there were none running on that section of the road so I didn’t have to jumping out of the way.
I didn’t take any drink with me. I wish I had now as I needed more water and more often than was available, it was hotter than I’d expected. My own fault as I had left a bottle of zero electrolyte drink and my waistband in the car.
Lessons Learned And Race Summary
I’m still not back to where I was and not sure I’ve improved since the Scorcher Running Festival Marathon.
There were marshals on the course when you needed them to direct you the right way. Most of the course was marked by red and white tape and black arrows on a white background. I didn’t have any doubts where to go.
Lessons learned – take water with me and be sure to stretch properly after races – a 20 minute yoga routine and be sure to prepare properly even for the “shorter” races.
It’s a good priced event with a bottle of beer for finishing and entry to the show thrown in. It is a tough run with two big climbs with a spectacular view even when it is overcast and not at its best.
I’d run it again. The castle and show look worth exploring too.