Mike Mallen Memorial Fell Race – 14th June 2023

by Brad Wight

Wed 14th June 2023

Four of us made it over to Keswick for the local club’s annual ‘Round Latrigg’ fell race which skirts around the summit of the hill rather than going over the top. This year the 5.5 mile race was dedicated to Mike Mallen, a much respected member of both Keswick AC and Crook AC who passed away suddenly last year.

One of Mike’s former training partners, Martin Harbisher, was with us and he introduced the rest of us to Mike’s wife Karen. I was able to pass on the messages and apologies from Sharron, Sam B, Geoff and Gerry for not being able to make it due to other commitments.

The weather was extremely hot and it was clear there was going to be no escaping the sun so myself and Martin decided to run with water belts. The race is pretty much 3K up, 3K down, 3K flat(ish) to finish.

100 of us gathered at the start where a few words were spoken about Mike then we were off literally without any warning or countdown!

Sam Etherington went storming ahead with the fast pack whereas myself and Jon Rose took it much steadier. I’m not a fell racer so my aim was just to make sure I didn’t exhaust myself in the early stages. Jon and I probably power hiked around 50% of the uphills, averaging 10 minute miles to the highest point. At this stage Jon shot off and in true tortoise and hare fashion, caught up and passed Sam who perhaps paid the price for his start!

I really enjoyed the fast downhill section; once you learn to stop braking with your quads and put your trust in your eye/foot coordination, you can just lean forward, lift your knees and go for it.

I got to the bottom of the hill feeling great but unfortunately I came unstuck in the last two miles. Had I known it was on tarmac (Keswick parkrun course for those familiar with it) I’d have worn road shoes! Indeed lots of the local fell runners did exactly that. A combination of my trail shoes slapping the tarmac hard and heat exhaustion meant I fell to bits and the last two miles were slow and tough. I fell back about 10 places and finished three minutes behind the runners I’d been with for the first 3.5 miles. It didn’t spoil my day out though, just one of those things. You win some and you lose some!

Martin trotted round looking very comfortable, we all commented how he seems to just run everywhere at the same metronomic speed regardless of whether there’s a mountain in the way. He looked like he’d barely broken a sweat at the finish line!

A very well attended race with club vests from all over the north of England and the Scottish borders, only cost a fiver, no roads to close, no t-shirt or medals, just a good honest friendly, well marshalled event with fantastic scenery to boot. I’d travelled over with my wife and kids and along with Jon, Sam and Martin, went and had a bite to eat and a cold drink before heading back across the A66.


Winner: Mark Lamborghini Keswick AC 31:14:00
1st Female: Emma Bramley Keswick AC 38:11:00
20th Jon Rose Crook AC 39:38:00
27th Sam Etherington Crook AC 40:37:00
48th Brad Wight Crook AC 43:27:00
87th Martin Harbisher Crook AC 54:07