My 5th race so far this year and this one was an uphill battle! 1600ft of inclines over these fantastic hills over a 10 mile course. All in the name of cake! That’s right. Get to the end as quickly as possible because someone else might eat everything!
This was a new one for me. A cake race? What a brilliant idea! You can either pay £5 to enter the race on the day, or bake a cake and bring it with you for a free entry place. Personally, I chose the latter as I thought I would get fully in the spirit of the occasion. An Oreo cheesecake was my donation to the day. A donation that I discovered went down very well, having only just got in the Church hall in time to get the very last piece!
When you arrive near the start line, you know what you are in for. The surrounding areas don’t have a flat few metres in site. This is the place to run if you want to build those legs up good and strong! Forget your flat, inner city 10km runs…if your legs can’t handle a few flights of stairs here and there, this race could ruin your morning! ha.
This course starts with a no-nonsense approach. There’s 700ft of steady incline…now get your backside up that hill! It begins a little bit packed with the runners starting on a corner. I wasn’t actually sure when we began… if I was at the start and we were setting off or whether we were just heading further round to the start of the race. As it turned out, that was the start of the race and I had started right near the back of the pack. This left me with a mixture of feelings. I always want to start nearer the front than the back so I can work my way into a high position, but starting too near the front can get me caught up in running like a mad man too early. So today would be a challenge to see how many people I could overtake. Happy days!
The first 700ft involved a tricky narrow route for the beginning part, so overtaking can be tricky. You need to keep your whits about you at times if you are going at a fair pace. Yes, you want to overtake the person in front, but concentration on the surface in front of you is key, especially on this day where there was still bits of snow along the trail and large boggy puddles which made it a little slippy in parts as I constantly went between contrasting surfaces.
After the first 700ft of inclines, the course seemed to ease up a little before climbing a further 200ft. Then you know there is some damn good downhill action on the way! This can be a relief, but you also have to watch yourself coming down! It can really smash your knees in if you aren’t careful and there’s plenty of places that you could twist an ankle. Touch wood, I have been injury free since I began running over a year ago, so I am either running these routes with good form or Mr luck is on my side.
Somewhere around the 2/3rd mark, you complete the downhill part of the course with a huge downhill set of stairs. At this point, you can see a huge uphill set of stairs over the other side of the reservoir. Brilliantly demoralising for most, I’m sure, but I have a sick love affair with stairs. Yes, they hurt. On this level they can damn right murder your legs, but I actually enjoy the burn (to a certain extent!). No pain, no gain! hahaha.
Once those stairs are out of the way, you still have a little more work battling uphill to reach the top of another 700ft of inclines (starting at the bottom of those stairs), but then it is all fairly flat followed by an excellent downhill to the finish line. I absolutely loved the finishing 1km of this race. I felt like a child. Running like a mad man down the gravel paths, letting the downhill do some of the legwork for me whilst almost needing actual breaks just to stop myself going into that crazy overrun speed you can find yourself in when sprinting downhill where your momentum almost overtakes the pace you are actually capable of! Luckily for me, I got to the finish line without going arse over head!
As for as a fell race goes, this was awesome! Probably my favourite race of the year so far. Here is The Cake Race’s website for anyone who wishes to find out more about this awesome event.