Rhys Findlay-Robinson pushed through the pain barrier to win the Teenager With Altitude race. He reflects on an eventful victory in this blog.
The Teenager With Altitude may boast arguably the worst name for a fell race in the UK, but it also boasts one of the finest pure fell routes!
Held in April and at 16.2 miles with 7,000ft of ascent, it’s an early season tester for upcoming longer races such as Jura and the Lakeland Classics.
The first half holds the majority of the climb, visiting iconic Lake District tops such as Causey Pike and Grasmoor, with some superb ridge running in the second half as you take in summits like Dale Head and Catbells.
Having come within four minutes of the course record last year, following a bout of illness, I fancied having a real go at it this year.
The main competition I could see on the start line was Macclesfield’s Simon Harding. Simon has posted some good results recently so I was determined not to give him too much of an opportunity to take me down. Combined with my primary aim of lowering the course record, this meant I went out quickly from the start and with real intent.
I pushed hard and ran the entirety of Causey Pike and Outerside. This put me over a minute up on last year’s time. The record was on!
I headed for my rough traverse to Coledale Hause and the mind started to wander slightly, as it does in races form time to time. All of a sudden BANG, I went over on my ankle.
I have only ever rolled my ankle twice previously, but this felt more painful, cue some excessive profanities!
As usual I decided to ‘run it off’. The pain eased on the climb up to Grasmoor but I wasn’t moving with the surefooted confidence of before.
In truth, there wasn’t much to report from Grasmoor to Catbells, as I ran alone and in increasing discomfort.
The foot and ankle was relatively fine on the climbs, so, pardon the pun, I put my foot down on these sections to keep the gap back to Simon. However, I found the flat and down hill parts really difficult.
I was relieved to finally reach the top of Catbells and hobble down to the finish line.
My time was 2:50:36, which was marginally slower than the previous year, but given the way I was moving it was still good. We’ll go again next year!
Hopefully my ankle will be recovered in time for the second English Champs counter, to be held at Coniston on May 3.