A FELL runner who took part in the abandoned Lake District endurance race has poured scorn on media reports which he claims have blown the truth out of all proportion.
Clayton-le-Moors Harriers Simon Halliday and Paul Thompson were well placed in the top 20 at the end of day one when the race was called off due to 18 hours of torrential rain, which flooded routes between Seathwaite and Gatesgarth, as well as gale-force winds.
But while admitting the conditions were "tough", elite class runner Simon was bemused by the media reporting of the Original Mountain Marathon, which included claims that most of the 2,500 strong field were stranded on the hills overnight.
He said: "It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as people have said. Neither of us even put our full waterproofs on until they had cancelled the race.
"And you have got to bear in mind that everybody was fully equipped and prepared to spend a night out there.
"It’s supposed to be tough, that’s the whole point. Some people say it’s the toughest of its kind in the world."
He added: "Both of us were bitterly disappointed that it was cancelled as we were hopeful of making up places on day two and we were looking for a top 10 finish."
He also praised the event’s organisation, which has come in for widespread criticism after the race was abandoned for the first time in its 41-year history.
"I’ve nothing but praise for the organisers," he said. "I don’t think it could have been handled better. When myself and Paul got back to headquarters the roads were flooded but there were hot drinks and everybody was in good spirits.
"We were delayed on the Sunday morning getting off the field but we just waited for the tractors to turn up and pull us out.’’
The race was originally known as the Karrimor Mountain Marathon after the Accrington outdoor equipment company.