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NameRace timeOther
Bob Wells 1:42:24 ?MV70 (see below)

A MISERABLE ST PATRICK'S DAY AT THE RACES

A couple of years ago I enjoyed running three of the Lakeland Trail Races including a race that is based on Cartmel Race Course and, although I consider the entry fees excessive, I decided to blow my pension and have another go this year.

The first shock came from the online entry system which informed me I was too old to enter the 18km Trail Race and I had to settle for the 18km Trail "Challenge".

I duly followed the directions on the web for getting to the event and arrived in Cartmel more than two hours before the Challenge was due to start. That's when it all started to go pear-shaped. The allocated parking area was already full and the surrounding roads grid-locked. The radio-equipped stewards were apologetic but admitted they had no idea what was going on. After being shunted into an overflow car park at a school which was already full I finally found a place on the Race Course 80 minutes after I had first passed the entrance.

There were lots of tapes around the finish/registration area but the only way I could find from the car park to the HQ involved ducking under tapes, ignoring no entry signs and crossing the path of finishing runners in the earlier races. Then there was a queue to collect race numbers and chips. That involved 45 minutes of standing in line in the tail of the Beast from the East before I finally collected my number - 5 minutes after the race had been due to start. If there was an announcement about a delayed start I didn't meet anybody that heard it. Inevitably the wait with the cold wind put pressure on the toilets and delays got even worse after they ran out of paper.

Consequently I was not a happy bunny when I left the start line but, apart from a couple of short excursions off-course, I had no real complaints about the race itself. The marshals and medics really deserve recognition for their thankless task in freezing conditions. But for runners in the glorious Lakeland scenery, minor quibbles fade into insignificance. However, I declined a finish-line filmed interview to avoid saying anything I might later regret about the pre-race organisation.

At the prize presentation one of the fast runners dared to ask what times had been recorded. He was told to look on the web in 2 or 3 days time. So much for chip technology! These "provisional" times have now appeared and I believe that the MV70 prize was awarded to somebody who finished 3rd MV70 more than 20 minutes after me. However, what really annoyed me about the presentation was the total failure to explain or apologise for the pre-race fiascos. Neither has there been anything since by e-mail or on the web site.

And a final kick in the teeth was an arithmetic failure which deprived race number 840 of a spot prize. But as this prize was probably free entry to a Lakeland Trails event I am not disappointed!

Bob
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