A long hot day in The Lakes by Andy Ellwood

3am in the morning and I’m sat up in bed, wearing just my navy blue Patagonia Y fronts and a head torch. I’m also smearing factor 30 sun block on my arms and legs. A guy looks in the window, he’s wearing a hoodie, we stare at each other, it doesn’t take long to workout which one of us is the “misfit”

You see I have entered the “10 Peaks Challenge”. A race around the 10 highest peaks in the Lake District. I have slept the night in my landrover, parked near the grounds of a posh Keswick hotel and the transfer coaches leave for the start in 15 minutes. This is the second year for the event. A charity event for Macmillan Cancer Research. Last year 52 people started and non finished!

The coaches leave on time and we arrive at Thirlmere. A pep talk from the organiser follows, I look around at my fellow competitors. There’s a good mix of long distance runners and walkers. Also a smattering of hard as nails fell runners, with their tatty and worn gear, obligatory holes in their Helly Hansen thermals and calf muscles shaped like spades. Contrasting with the road runners, well dressed in co-ordinated Ronhills, nattering about negative split times and mile markers.

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