The World Mountain Running Trials

510m of ascent over 3.7km up Skiddaw, probably the hardest race I have ever raced. This year’s World Mountain running uphill only trials for GB and Senior Home Internationals was held in Keswick, Cumbria on the 30th July. I searched and found the race course map to analyse and work out where I was going. The weather was reported to be sunny with some cloud and around 17°c, perfect weather for a mountain race.

The night before the event I made sure that all my kit was ready: bum bag packed with waterproof kit, hat and gloves etc, my vest, crop top, shorts, and socks were all sorted. I made sure that I had extra kit in case it rained or was cold and that my inov8 x-talons were ready and that my watch was on charge. I was ready and prepared for the race.

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Photo: My race kit ready (taken by me)

On the morning I had to get up at 6.30, last minute cheek over my kit to ensure that I have everything I could possibly need for the race. Then down for my race breakfast, 2 Weetabix’s. At 7:30 my dad, Matt and Myself set off to Cumbria, on the way picking up Tom Adams (Ilkley Harrier) who was running for England in the Senior Home International and in the GB world trial race.

We arrived in Keswick at 10:00, that gave me 1hr 20 until the Junior women’s race was due to set off. I registered and had some food before my race. Back at the car, I packed my bum bag with my waterproof jacket, hat, and gloves for when I finish at the top.

When 10:45 came around I rechecked that I had everything for my race, said good luck to Matt and Tom, then I had a warm up jog with my dad in prep of the start of my race. I did some drills and stretches when arriving at the start. I began to feel nervous as I could see that the competition was high, the girls I would be competing against are really good. 11:20 was quickly approaching and we got our final brief from Duncan Richards, completed our last bits of warming up and then it was time to go. 10 girls on the start line (Heidi Davies, Bronwen Jenkinson, Emily Nicholson, Scarlet Dale, Fiona Bunn, Mairi Wallace, Lily McGuinness, Elizabeth Apsley, Robyn Bennett, and Victoria Merrick), on your marks, GO!!! We are off.

We were climbing from the start, Heidi Davies (from Brecon AC) took an early lead with Scarlet Dale (Lancaster and Morcambe AC) following close behind. Knowing that I will still getting my base fitness back, I let the rest of the girls go, and I just ran the race by myself and performed how I wanted to do it. When I reached Jenkins Path I saw how steep this race got. I started to put more effort into this part of the race. My steps started to get smaller and being able to keep going up the steepest part of the race. I saw my dad further up the path and this kept me going, along with all the walkers cheering me on when I passed them. I keep going steady. Half way up I got encouragement for a fellow runner Harry Greenbank which encouraged me through the toughest part of the course. The support on the mountain side was incredible. The next part of the race it started to flatten out, I was able to speed up and I could nearly see the finish. When I heard Heidi and Luke Davies shouting my name I knew I was nearly there and I could just see the finish in the mist! Then I could hear more shouts and cheers from the other girls and I gave it my everything I had up the final section of that climb. 35.38 minutes later 510m up, I had completed the hardest race I have ever done. FINISHED!!!

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Photo: Me running up Skiddaw (taken by Stephen Wilson – Grand day out photography)

I walked down with Emily Nicholson (from Pitreavie AAC) who came 3rd in our race. On our way down we got to see the Junior Men (the race Matt was in) and Senior Women’s race and got to cheer on the athletes up the tough climb. Having Emily keep me company down the mountain was great and getting to talk about some of our running experiences was very interesting. When we reached our start we were able to see the Senior Men come through and cheered them on going up the Latrigg loop.When Matt and my dad came back we ran down to the field where registration was. When we got back we talked to some of the girls from mine and Emily race and some of the coaches. I went to get some lunch and then got some photos with Emily.

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Photo: Me and Emily Nicholson back in the field (taken by my dad)

Around 2:30 the Senior Men came back and Matt, Emily and Myself sat and talked with Ben Mounsey and Tom Adams. When the organizers got the results sorted out it was time for the presentation. We watched the junior top 3 and the Senior Home Internationals presentation. When it was over we said bye to Emily and drove back to Yorkshire.

The race was the hardest I have ever done, but I was very happy to have completed it. It was also amazing to watch some of the best mountain runners from across GB that day.

Until next time

Vicki x

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