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Loopy Latrigg Fell Race 2024 Kong Winter Series 4

Date: 27/01/2024

Distance: 6.2miles

Ascent: 1,200ft

Organiser: Kong Adventure

Time: 01:03:57

Position: 167/217

Cuisine chosen: Bourbon Cream

map of loopy latrigg fell race
Race route 2024: made using Outdooractive

Race Description

A fast 10k route starting and finishing by the cricket pavilion in Fitz Park. There is a short section of road before you head up a steep track. Turning off the main route up to Latrigg from Keswick, you instead take a right-hand turn into the woods, running around the side of Latrigg on narrow earth trails. Around 2.5 miles in, you will almost double back on yourself and start a long ascent to Latrigg, don’t be fooled, you won’t be at the summit on this ascent. A small descent towards a car park, before you double back on yourself yet again and start up the final ascent to the summit. From the summit, there is a contouring descent before you regain the tourist path down. Beware, this is more difficult than it may seem on the map as the path is gullied and washed out in places. Soon you will pass where you turned into the woods and, from there, it is the same short section on the road before you make it back to the finish.

Race Report

Well, it's certainly loopy. Not the course, which admittedly had many loops in it, but the thought process that agreed the chosen race route was a logical way to go up Latrigg. Surely the people involved knew there was a car park just below the summit? A direct, out-and-back race from there would have been an efficient 0.9 miles and 240ft of ascent. Should there have been a requirement for a round race, then a loop could have been made easily, bumping the route up to a cool 1.3 miles and 246ft. “Well Matt you silly sausage”, you may be writing in the comments, “there isn't enough room for 217 people to park up there”. That is a valid point and taken on board but, should the race have to start at Keswick cricket pavilion for the sake of logistics, you can still ascend Latrigg (including a little loop) in only 3.2miles and 948ft. Why, in this busy world of hustle and bustle, where time is indeed money, was it acceptable to add an extra 3 miles and 250ft? 

Arriving at the cricket pavilion, I saw the epicentre of a catastrophic disease that causes people to wear vests with a town name on, have muscular legs and wear very small shorts. I entered the registration hall, and signed up, baffling the marshal by managing to spell my own name wrong, before grabbing my number and exiting before I caught the spreading plague. Before long, I was showing one of the symptoms as I was in my little shorts and beginning a half-hearted warm-up around the park. I have discussed the concept of a warm-up with one of my friends, as, personally I think they are a waste of time. Why, if you are going to be going for a run, would you think it is a good idea to do a short run to prepare? If I were tasked with eating a pie the size of a sofa cushion, I would not prepare by eating a smaller pie just beforehand. While I am certain I am correct it may be relevant to note I have personally kept two different physiotherapy practises above water during this cost of living crisis.

A voice hails us over a loudspeaker and we make our way to the starting point. I find a spot near the back and attempt to set my watch up. Normally a matter of pressing three buttons until the run mode is ready, it has now picked this precise time to demand a re-calibration of the GPS. To do this, I am required to move the watch (and, by extension, my hand) in a figure-of-eight motion. I did so, muttering oaths, until I realised it looked like I was trying to put a spell on the people around me (which I believe is frowned upon but not forbidden under FRA rules). Just as the race began, my watch bleeps happily and begins to record my run.

My first issue of the day came in the form of my shorts. They were small. This was not unusual, either for me or the company I was in, but the shortness was exacerbated by the interesting design choice of putting a split on each side of the leg. This was made even worse by the fact they were made of very light, floaty material which made me fervently hope I would not stray over any air vents. I half expected to hear people being sick behind me or to receive a citizen's arrest from a heroic marshal. Fortunately, none of these things happened (to my knowledge) and I ran, unshackled, to the beginning of the first ascent, beginning my climb. 

The race was relatively straightforward from here, an obvious path leading us around the side of Latrigg before turning us sharply and taking us towards the summit. I had many happy memories of this summit. One fond memory involved a first (and last) date I went on with someone who claimed to love hills. We sat on the bench after 0.45 miles of walking and, as she edged closer towards me, I asked her if she wanted to go further. She stared into my eyes and, just as she was about to lean in, I pointed out the path which we could go further on. In hindsight, I maybe should have asked if she wanted to continue the walk. This memory entertained me greatly and I barely even noticed the final ascent and, before long I was at the summit and ready for a long run down to where we began. 

I had made a revolutionary discovery the previous day. My hair, as lengthy and lustrous as it may be, can be quite the irritant when running, especially on descents. The constant bouncing motion causes it to slap into my face and, if I have my mouth open for even a split second, it clumps into a dense spear and ram itself to the back of my throat which is, unsurprisingly, not conducive for a good run. Telling this to someone at work, they asked why I don’t tie it back and, upon telling them that it falls out of a bobble, they told me just to loop it round again. It seemed fitting that, on Loopy Latrigg, I found that my loopy hair could be tamed by an extra bobble loop. I had completed this look with a newly acquired Vaga headband which, upon receiving it for Christmas, was asked why it said Viagra on it (well I guess running is hard). Anyway, this combination worked a treat and I hurled myself down the slope, even managing to overtake two people before nearly collapsing across the finish line.

I grabbed my clothes, and a biscuit, and began to head off, walking along the same path I had done my warm-up on. My legs were beginning to stiffen and I was beginning to cool down. I stopped on a bench, putting my coat on and realised I had lost my trousers, not something a real adult would ever do. Sighing to myself, I waddled back, spying my trousers in a crumpled muddy heap on the floor, before finally dressing and heading back into town, happy with another fun morning of fell running. 

A big thank you to all the marshals and helpers and to Kong Adventure for an excellent race:

Image credits Stephen Wilson:

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a fell runner on latrigg
The sinister slit. Credit: Grand Day Out Photography

a fell runner in the lake district
Technically, I am flying

a biscuit
Quiz-eene innit

trousers in a field
Much like the cheese, my trousers stood alone

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