Langdale Horseshoe fell race

If you are not confident running and route finding in the hills in very poor visibility, strong winds and torrential rain, it might be worth giving it a pass this year...
Such was the advice of the race organiser for the Langdale Horsehoe this year. Along with the mandatory requirement to carry (in addition to full waterproof cover, hat, gloves, map, compass, whistle etc.) a bivy bag, thermal top, additional insulating layer, full length running tights and extra food (I was sent back for an extra banana before being allowed to run). There are of course certain things one should not say to a fell runner. Rather like those climbs described as character building, a magnet to the trad rock climber, such instruction only serves to encourage those of a certain mindset, all the more.
Credit: James Appleton
 Not all were of this mindset. Of the 500 plus that had paid and entered the race, less than half were to be seen at the start. Rather less still were found at the finish. For those that ran, it was a grueling race, completed in dire weather, the rain incessant, the rivers in spate, visibility nil at times and the winds knocking many from narrow trods, blasting through the cols and buffeting from all directions on the tops. Like those poorly protected climbs whose lines passed through crumbling rock, it was character building stuff. And for those of the mindset alluded to, great fun.
Credit: James Appleton
But more than that, it was a race which exemplified the spirit of the sport. Runners waiting to check others had crossed a river without stumbling, helping each other to pass steeper rock sections where a slip would have proved painfully serious, pausing to make sure the fallen resumed running...and the marshalls, volunteers, huddling in their tents for hours on the high fells in the storm so that the others might rise to the challenge of this, the last of the year's Lakeland Classic fell races.

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