Kate loved the personal discipline of working hard, loved sharing with people and was humbled by the beauty of the world she passed through. The Sea-to-Summit fell race hoped to capture some of these. 10.2 kilometres, 950 metres of ascent. From the lowest point to the highest on the Isle of Man.
Kate’s father, Graham Burge, started the race and 119 runners swarmed down the beach. Touching the sea, with minds set on the summit trig point.
A well organised string of marshals shepherded the runners out of Laxey. Minorca Hill woke bodies up to what was about to be demanded of them. As legs complained and will’s started to listen, a loan piper stirred a deeper resolution; a refusal to be defeated.
The terrain progressively deteriorated: tarmac to track, track to grassy footpath, grassy footpath moorland. Then what? The quickest route to Control Point 1 is still disputed, even by Lloyd Taggart who helped me recce the route a year ago. This is exactly what we hoped for. Some went left, some heather-bashed straight on, some even went right.
Control Point 1, a reassuringly big Manx Flag in descended clag. Even the locals were getting disorientated (a hare ran into Lloyd – or was it the other way round?). Runners started to bunch up, trying to convince each other they were going the right way. A descending traverse through heather, tussocks and bog. And behold; the fluorescence of marshals, with Jelly Babies!
With renewed faith in their navigation skills and marshal encouragement, runners set off up to the wilds of Control Point 3. Hands on knees, calves burning; cursing at the false summits. Runners circulated around in the clag of Clagh Ouyr, following a trail of confusion. But the highest point, is the highest point and that’s where the last Manx Flag snapped in the wind.
Slip-slidy down to Black Hut, with the comfort of marker-flags, like landing lights, guiding runners to safety.
Having negotiated the check point and crossing of the famous TT mountain road, the final sting, Snaefell. Atmospheric cloud billowed around. The tram tracks, a hint of a building and then the trig point.
The high point. A tepee of prayer flags communicated the runners delight as they descended the short distance to the finish in the lee of a building. Spent competitors congregated, sharing with fellow adventurers.
Many runners availed themselves of café warmth and refreshments before winding back time for the vintage tram ride back to Laxey, and tea and cakes. What a grand day out!