The Three Peaks Yacht Race 2016

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A Big Day Out in the Lakes

Rob Howard / 13.06.2016See All Event Posts Follow Event
/ © Rob Howard

It’s been a busy day in Whitehaven for the 3 Peaks Yacht Race. 

It is rare for all the teams to arrive on one day, but today all the boats arrived within a little over 10 hours.  On a very wet morning the leading 6 boats arrived before the first low water of the day closed the harbour – and it was a close call for White Clouds as they bumped the bottom on the way through the lock.  Alistair Morris, one of the runners on the team told me, “Someone shouted ‘Brace’, then the engine came on full and we were in!”

Not so lucky were Sail4Cancer, one of several boats locked out at low water in the middle of the day. When they did eventually get into the lock they still ran aground at the first try, but at the second try were finally in the harbour to set their runners away on their bikes.

They had better conditions than the torrential rain the first 6 pairs of runners faced, though the weather was at least warm. It was a day where it’s too hot to wear waterproofs and too wet not to.  The earlier runners had mixed fortunes. Race leaders into Whitehaven were Pure Latitude and their young runners had a good stage, setting a time of 8 hours 35 minutes.

They were overtaken by runners from Moby J and Wight Rose who set the fastest times. Alex Pilkington and Pavel Paloncy were once again the quickest with a time of 6 hours 25 minutes. These two pairs of runners are also on the leading boats, making the race at the front very tight, and after the second stage it is Moby J who are still just in the lead.

In contrast the SUOTC runners were having a hard time. They left at 09.56 and some 12 hours later are still struggling back to Whitehaven, now on their bikes for the final ride.  This long stage is a real test for the athletes – the ride is a hilly one, and there are two climbs on the way out and one on the way back.  It will stress any injuries runners are carrying and test pairs who are not well matched.

Jo Jackson from Aparito Digital Health is struggling with back and leg problems and was finding the descent on Scafell Pike a painful one, and her running partner Lowrie Morgan was carrying both packs and encouraging her all the way.  The runners from White Cloud had never met before and come from different running backgrounds. Alistair Morris is an endurance athlete and adventure racer who before the race described it as “3 short runs”, while his Australian running partner Charles Brewer is a marathon runner with no mountain experience.

When I saw them descending Scafell Pike Morris was well ahead and stopped to wait for Brewer who he’d told to keep moving at his own pace and not risk injury. (He’d already fallen a couple of times.) The pair stuck at it and finished safely keeping their team in amongst the race front runners.

The runners who set off from mid-afternoon onwards are now out on the land stage in the darkness, which will inevitably slow their progress a little.  As it is such a long stage they will check in at the Wasdale Head in before and after climbing Scafell Pike.

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