One of the advantages of a forced layoff from running, as long as it’s only a short one, is that you come back rested and with a little extra bounce. And so it was that I did the Windermere marathon on 20 May with an extra spring in my step, even though my ankle was still complaining. You should give it three weeks after an injury of this sort, not three days, I think I heard it saying. But I didn’t lock the car key in the boot for a third time, so off I set on a sunny Sunday morning to join around 800 others for a lap around the lake. These included the 18 hardy souls for whom Sunday’s marathon would be their tenth in ten days around the same circuit, the culmination of the fourth year of the formidable ’10 in 10’ challenge to raise funds for the Brathay Trust.
I’d originally planned to run Windermere at an ‘easy’ jog after a week on the Lakeland fells and the day after the 26-mile Settle Saunter. My ankle and car key escapades put paid to that but after gingerly seeing how the ankle would hold up for the first few miles, I felt good enough to step up the pace for a 3hr 42.55 finish. I had to work extra hard to find those five seconds because of a vicious little hill that I didn’t know about immediately before the finish after you enter the Brathay grounds. That was good enough to get me third in my age group (and yes there were more than three in it) and 132nd overall, so it was some compensation for seeing the 2012 miles target slipping further from my reach.