Race report by Holly White, Vegan Runners UK Newcastle.
Having participated in Keswick Half Marathon for the past two years, I could not wait to enter 2016’s race, which I knew would be as stunning as ever. Considering the recent enthusiasm for running within the ever growing group of vegans from the Newcastle area, I jumped at the opportunity of getting everyone together for this epic race.
As expected, the weekend began with copious amounts of food. Pizzas and giant sorbets went down nicely for those of us who stayed over the night before. We were accommodated well at our B&B, who served us a decent sized vegan fry-up on the morning of the race. No, not the best pre-race meal, but it was one of those ‘well….I guess if it’s vegan’ moments! You all know them right?!
With very full but happy tums, the excitement began hours before the race start, whereby a total of 12 vegans gathered on the grounds of Keswick Rugby Club. In addition to our familiar Newcastle Crew (Kerri Turner, Rosie Frater, Colleen Walker, Ian Minto, Bob Neill and Adam Malloy), we were amazed to have gathered together vegan runners from all around the country. Manchester’s speedy vegan brothers Chris and Kevin Dempsey joined us, including Lancashire’s rocket speed runner Dan Nusku. We were also happy to have been joined by Phil Davies and his family from Leeds and Mike Green from Wales.
Our team leader Kerri was quick to snap some pics of us in our ponchos, as shown in the picture below.
When we set off for the 20 minute walk to the start line, it was great to catch up with everyone and to proudly stage the Vegan Runners UK vest tops. We were in fact, the 4th largest attending club at the event! This did not go unnoticed, whereby a couple of our runners were approached by a lady on the verge of adopting a vegan lifestyle. With a bit of encouragement, and to their delight, she caught Dan a short while later to say ‘I’m going to go for it!’ I think this is a great example of how representing Vegan Runners UK can help spread the vegan message.
3, 2, 1…BANG! We were off! 12 vegan runners on a mission to tackle 13.1 miles of tough Lake District roads, which included over 1000ft ascent. It was tough, but the light rain kept us cool and the views took away the pain of climbing 2-3 ridiculously steep hills. The race was well attended and it was amazing to receive cheers and refreshments from local supporters. Legs hurting and energy depleting, it was exciting to race the last quarter of a mile where the most gigantic picnic awaited us. Not to be missed was the giant Vegan Runners UK flag, which stood confidently in the rugby club grounds. One by one we gathered around the flag, chattering in awe of the wonderful views of Lake Derwentwater that we had just looped around.
The picnic was the icing on the vegan cake. Huddling under the rugby club’s grandstand, we devoured a delicious spread of food. A special thank you to Kevin, for the superb cake which was particularly popular!
Overall, the thrill of the race, the picnic, and the enjoyment of spending time with like-minded people certainly made it a weekend we won’t forget in a hurry. I think everyone there would agree that we all left the lakes with a bit of a buzz. The kind of buzz where you just want to do it all over again! Well, we decided that is what we would do. 2017, who’s joining us?!