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It was 8 years since I’d last run the round Derwentwater 10-miler, and this time I thought I might get under the hour.

Race registration at Keswick School is like home from home to me, given the hours I spent here with Cumbria Youth Orchestra back in the early eighties. Anyhow, the school looks a lot posher and smarter than it was back then.

The race starts a reasonable distance away in Keswick town centre – so runners delayed until the last possible moment before jogging along. Luckily the squally rain showers had stopped when we needed to make a move.

The actual start point for the race was slightly mad, since it involved sprinting straight into a sharp right-angled turn with a knee height slate wall and various items of street furniture to avoid.

There was little choice but to start as quickly as possible, and the entire front row started on “1” rather than “go” on the 5 second count down.

I wanted to settle into a sensible pace, and not get too caught up in the initial charge out of Keswick. As we passed George Fisher’s, I was sitting around about 6th place, and itching to move up, but instead relaxed and let a small group get away.  I realised later that this was the group I needed to stay with to get under the hour.

Anyhow, I backed out of racing from the start and went through the first mile in 5:40. I thought this was an OK pace I could sustain until 5 miles but forgot about the small choppy hills along the east side of Derwentwater. At 4 miles I checked my watch, and was disappointed to see 23:59, which meant I’d slumped to 6 min/mile pace already, with no leeway to account for the massive hill after 5 miles. This meant I would be lucky to get under 62 minutes.

I felt a bit demoralised after that, and lost a couple of places going through Grange. Once up the big hill under Catbells I pressed on and chased a couple of runners ahead, but with no real chance of catching them. 

I kept up the pressure through Portinscale, and at mile 9 decided to reel in the one runner who was catchable. As my Garmin bleeped 15km, I made a move and ran the final kilometre as fast as I could, opening up a 12 second gap.

My time was 61:45, which was 3 seconds faster than 8 years ago.

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