Emotions run high for Ben at Langdale

Posted in At the Races by Matt Ward on Wed 17 Oct '12

© Paul Dobson

Ben Abdelnoor at the Langdale Horseshoe 2012

Top Cumbrian fells-man Ben Abdelnoor showed his class at the Langdale Horseshoe this weekend, winning this historic race for a second time. However, with sadness still pervading the fell community it was an emotional race for the Ambleside runner…

Here he retells the events of the day – the racing, the emotion and amazing spirit that this sport holds – in a moving account the race.

© Pauline Charters

Pike o’Stickle

“A minute’s silence before the start of the race gave everyone a chance to reflect on the passing of a much-loved and friendly face in fellrunning. Daz had run the Langdale Horseshoe the previous two years and competed against many of those present on the start line.”

“A steady climb up to Stickle Tarn and onto Thunacar Knott saw myself, Tom Brunt, Kim Collison and England orienteering International Jonny Malley make up the lead group. None of us three had met Malley before and it’s always slightly unnerving to have an ‘unknown quantity’ racing at the front!”

“From Thunacar to Angle Tarn the pace had remained fairly comfortable, so I decided to up my effort for the climb from the Tarn to Esk Hause. It’s a fairly long climb and would give me a chance to gauge the competition. I’d opened up a small gap by the Hause and so continued to push hard along the rough, slippy traverse beneath Esk Pike.”

“Heading onto Bowfell I could make out my pursuers perhaps a minute or so behind. The weather was better than it had been that week, although that didn’t stop the odd snowflake and spot of hail from falling between Esk Hause and Bowfell.”

© Paul Dobson

Ben on the descent

“Good visibility and a reasonable idea of the traverse around the Crinkles brought me out onto Long Top without concern. A quick manouvre around the Bad Step and it’s a fast decent to the botttom of the final climb onto Blisco. Here, folk assured me that I had a decent margin, perhaps five minutes was the estimate. I knew that as long as I kept pushing hard I could be fairly confident of the victory.”

“It’s the second time I’ve won Langdale, admittedly my winning times are not particularly fast, in fact I’ve come 4th and 2nd in faster times. I enjoy running around the course; I know it well having lived just down the valley, and I love to race this event, but this weekend I’d never felt less interested in going to race. It must have been a really tough week for the family, club mates and close friends that knew and loved Daz.”

“And for many of us, like me, that knew him through a passing nod of the head, word of encouragement and friendly grin it’s been a great shock and caused much sadness.”

© Pauline Charters

“Twice during the Langdale race I burst into tears – spontaneous, yet brief, some sort of emotional release. Firstly as I ran off Thunacar Knott and looked out at the cloud lying low in the valley, with the bold mountains rising up and a blue sky rising higher. I saw this beautiful scene before me, one that Darren wouldn’t get to see again, and I felt like giving up.”

“I doubt that’s what Darren would have admired; so I kept going. Later, as I hit the bottom of the climb up Blisco and I heard words of encouragement washing around me, followed by feelings of exhaustion and submission, my thoughts turned to Darren. He’d have mustered up the strength to keep going, never one to give up in a race. So I kept going.”

“I don’t think Darren could have realised just how many happy memories and thoughts he could trigger in the fellrunning community, generating a warmth and positivity that will go from race to race.”

Results are yet to appear, however, there are some great race images by Paul Dobson here with some lovely landscape shots here courtesy of Pauline Charters.

Reactions so far
  1. Carl Bell Oct 17, 10:57 PM

    Some very nice words said by a truly great guy.I haven’t been running on the fells very long but the friendliness and good nature of people involved is just amazing.

  2. Al Fowler Oct 18, 01:38 AM

    Ben, true respect in both your win and your story.

    Daz was an irreplaceable legend, who we all aspire to be like.


  3. Sue Jeff Oct 25, 01:09 PM

    Beautifully said. A story I read through blurred tear filled eyes. Well done on your win and an amazing account of the day.

Comments closed

Report an offensive post

Latest comments

  • Adair Broughton 03 Jun '14(Andi and Katie are Great in Keswick)

    Fantastic event to watch and …

  • Don 03 May '14(Bragg settles for a podium place at the Fellsman)

    Didn’t the leading 2 have …

  • Peter Mackie 24 Apr '14(3 Peaks - the joy of winning)

    The closest I’ll get to …

About MST

Mud, Sweat and Tears was dreamt up some time ago. I had returned to the sport of running (competitively) after around a 15 year layoff due to injury.

Read more…

Alex Vero
Great story. Great film making...
Athletics Weekly
The don dada of running magazines
Fell photos
These shots are top notch emotion
The FRA's site, still strong...
The all-seeing eye
The very best coverage for all things ultra-trail, and much more!
Jonathan Wyatt
The greatest hill runner of our time...
New and eeeven better!
Original Mountain Marathon
Does what its says on the tin
Run Snowdonia
Iain and Sarah Ridgway's excellent mountain running guide service!
Runner's World
The mag for the masses
Running over Mountains and around the World
International blog from Moira O'Sullivan
Dont sleep on this one!
Trail Running
Great trail running resource, take a peek
Trail Running Magazine
UK magazine devoted to the exciting, adventurous world of off-road running!
UK Athletics
Track and field, and other stuff
Welsh Fell Runners Association
World Mountain Running Association
IAAF's global up hill, down dale, site
Friends & Family
  • After Market logo
  • Block Interactive logo
More Videos

Check out the MST collection: