The Stan Bradshaw

Early in 2010, I spent several wonderful days among the Cuillin, kayaking in to Loch Coruisk to camp beneath the Dubhs Ridge. The dramatic ridge of gabbro slabs rises 3,000ft from the loch - a superb mountain day in its own right or a brilliant prelude to the summits that follow. It is also a ridge I would like to take in as part of a run, from Elgol perhaps, returning via the southern end of the main ridge and the rough descent from Gars-bheinn.
I had been pondering on such a run, while paddling in on glassy seas, shortly before learning of the death of Stan Bradshaw. A legendary fell runner, deserving of a knighthood said Joss Naylor, and the second to break the 24 hour barrier on the Bob Graham. I knew little then of his involvement with Clayton-le-Moors Harriers or that I would run the race which bears his name almost a decade later, in the distinctive white and orange vest of the club over which he presided for more than 20 years.
A moments calm before the off. In good weather, the ground remarkably dry, it was always going to be a fast race. 
And among a field of top runners - more than one of whom smashed the previous record, I set off stupidly fast, leading the charge up the lane towards the fell, quickly losing places on the climb to the trig. I took quite a few back on the long fast stretch across the top and down to the third checkpoint but the damage was done. Passing the reservoir the sun was warm and running alone for a short distance, the only sound was that of the skylarks. 
With nothing left in the legs, what places I'd gained I lost again on the last two climbs, somehow summoning enough for a kamikaze finish to take one last place.
A disappointing performance and lessons learned (36th | 1:17:00) but a brilliant race, a record turnout with more than 250 running, and a fitting tribute to one of fell running's greats.

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