The 3 rings of Shap is a Long Distance Walkers Association event held annually in Cumbria, you can choose to enter 1, 2 or 3 rings all for less then £20. It puts some of the commercial Ultra running events charging £100+ for entry to shame. I made it up to Shap by 10pm, after stopping for pork pies, bananas and other grub at the farm shop at the back of Tebay motorway services, it’s great that place.
It was raining hard as I put my tent up out the back of the Strickland Arms. This pub is the halfway check point on ring 2, and I read that a certain sir Wiggins and team Sky had visited during the tour of Britain last year after winning the tour. So if it’s good enough for them….The pub won a competition for supporting cycling and the tour ‘re France, not a bad prize:
Anyway, long story short – loop one was hilly and boggy underfoot. We went up to 700m 18.5 miles,
3:20 ish, one of 4 leaders back to the village hall. Feeling good, but wondering if I’d gone off too fast.
Lap two, flatter, warmer, perhaps the best aid station I’ve ever seen: 2 massive biscuit tins full of mixed biscuits roped to a gate and a water carrier. In the absolute middle of nowhere. Halfway round was the Strickland Arms, very quick kit stop at my tent and a pint of coke. Was moving well back to the village hall and we were now 3 runners within a couple of minutes at the front of things.
Time for pork pie. And going into lap 3, the other two seemed to have a much lighter refusing strategy and I had to let them go up the hill while I focused on a slower digesting pace. 8 miles into this lap and the heavens opened. 10 miles in I got passed by a pair of mates going at least 2min a mile faster than me.
Even with rain gear, I was soaked to the skin and getting very cold. On descending to a village in the downpour about 3 miles from the finish I found a pub. Chips, coke and a warm fire certainly saved me from a dangerous situation. I tried to get moving again again after as n hour or so but the fight had gone.
Taxi! DNF. I’ll go back to this one, it was fun.