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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Dunn and dusted as Alastair wins Gummer’s How Fell Race

ALASTAIR Dunn made it a hat-trick of wins – all achieved in Olympic years – when competitors took part in the Gummer’s How Fell Race.

The 39-year-old from Kendal previously won the event in 2000 and 2004 when the Games were held in Sydney and Athens respectively.

On Saturday night the father-of-two completed his unique treble – in the year of the London Olympics – with a comfortable victory.

Entrants in both the individual and team races battled it out over land and water, in an event that tested both their fell running and rowing abilities.

Having sprinted down the opening road section in the lead, Dunn – a seven-time British Open Fell Runners Association champion – leapt into his boat at Lakeside, near Newby Bridge, and rowed the quarter-mile across Windermere.

Further adrift of the speedy leader there was rowing mishaps galore, with one of the pre-race favourites, international mountain runner John Brown, of Salford Harriers, among those to struggle on the water.

Exiting on the eastern shore, Dunn, of Helm Hill Runners, then set about running to the 1,054ft mist-engulfed summit of Gummer’s How.

Spectators back at Lakeside watched through binoculars as Dunn remerged from the mist and bounded down over the fell’s rocky outcrops, made slippery by a day of torrential rain.

He then rowed back across the water and crossed the finish line on the steps of Lakeside Hotel in a time of 26 minutes and 45 seconds.

Dunn said: “I set off fast as I wanted to be in my boat first to try and avoid the congestion of everyone taking to the water at the same time. I managed that and had a good row, despite the breeze. I pushed it hard on the run because I knew John Brown would be quick and trying to catch me.

“It was great to win the individual race for a third time. Once again there was such a good atmosphere on the night – that’s why it’s a race I always look forward too.”

Dunn’s winning prize was a weekend for two at Lakeside Hotel. Brown, meanwhile, recovered from his rowing nightmare to finish second in 29:39, with Keswick-based Chris Robinson 24 seconds adrift in third.

Having finished second last year, the Wee Beasties went one better to claim a narrow victory in the team race.

The team containing Lizzie Adams and Richard Watson, both based in Ulverston, and Mark Saunders, who won the Energy for Life Walney Family Fun Run 10.2k race the following day, clocked a time of 31:02 and claimed the top prize of £90, sponsored by Playdale.

Just eight seconds adrift were Titanic Syncopators – a team made up of Adam Crowe, from Rusland, Windermere’s Richard Stevens and Ambleside-based Paul Knowles. Horwich RMI placed third in 31:59, with 12 teams completing the course.

Race organiser Dave Birch, who first re-staged the event in 1994 after a 60-year gap, thanked the sponsors and everyone who made the evening a success.

• Ambleside’s Ben Abdelnoor used all his navigation skills to win the Great Lakes Fell Race, held in dreadful conditions on Saturday. The 13-mile race, which started and finished in Langdale, was a counter in the English Fell Running Championships. Entrants had to battle against strong winds and driving rain as they competed over the Lake District’s highest mountains.

• Bowness athlete Rebecca Robinson won the women’s 10k Home Nations Trail Challenge, held in Keswick on Sunday.

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