- Tarbo Fukazawa
Borrowdale Fell Race
Updated: Aug 12, 2021
Three Cambridge Harriers made the journey up to the Lake District for what is usually considered the premier event of our fell running calendar. Individually run but always feels like a team effort, this year was a little different.
Clem made the effort to arrive early in order to recce an alternative route recommended by Ian Marshall, a faster track down the last descent off Dale Head. I packed a map for an entirely different but topographically similar looking race. You need to carry a suitable map to navigate the course as a requirement of entry so I was very grateful for Christian who gave me one of his many spare maps.
All of this was made rather pedestrian as the race organiser decided to announce on the eve of the race that the course was to be shortened due to forecasted risk of lightning. Race day turned out to be drizzle and our mood was mixed. Disappointed for sure but also secretly glad. To be fair to the race organiser he would tell us at the start that his decision was mostly based on pressure not of the barometric kind.
What usually takes 4 hours to complete 27km with 2000m elevation was changed to a race profile that looked more like 12.5km with 1000m elevation and it predominantly featured Dale Head. We would all be climbing up instead of descending the path Clem had recced the day before, and
it was tough. Christian's watch had recorded his heart rate at 194bpm at the top of the peak. This goes some way for excusing his next course of action which left a competitor thoroughly convinced of one Cambridge Harrier stereotype: "They all have PhDs but can't read a map."
Thankfully our club president would be restoring our reputation by overtaking everyone in his sight on the uphill's, while I showed some that descending skills are not entirely based on where you supposedly live. However not to be outdone, in the last mile Christian would then go on to zoom past two runners he had been battling with for the entire race, easily beating them to the finish line and thus reinforcing stereotype number two: "Cambridge is flat".
The changed course did not change who would finish at the top of the field, while unfortunately the tradition to engrave the winner's name in wood seems to have changed.
If we had known beforehand that the race would be cut short I am not sure any of us would of made the effort to travel up for the weekend but as it turned out, this year's race and post-race analysis was valuable experience for future editions of Borrowdale.
Winner: Ricky Lightfoot 1:16:00
1st Female: Sharon Taylor 1:33:14
43rd Tarbo Fukazawa 1:37:17
61st Christian Poulton 1:42:36
101st Clem Dixon 2:03:28