DOZENS of spectators lined the shore of Windermere and enjoyed an “oarsome” evening of entertainment as they watched the 20th running of the Lakeside Gummers How Fell Race.
Helm Hill’s Alastair Dunn (28-31) won Saturday’s race – which involves athletes twice rowing across the breadth of the lake – for a third successive time ahead of Ambleside’s Chris Robinson (28-44).
He first won the event in 2000 and this was his fifth victory of this historic race which was revived in 1994.
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It was previously run 60 years earlier when it was so popular that special trains were laid on from Barrow and Ulverston and crowds of up to 3,000 people attended.
“The first three of us reached the boats close together,” said Dunn.
“Chris Robinson rowed strongly and was just behind me at the other side. John Brown (Broughton-in-Furness) didn’t fare so well and got stuck next to a moored boat.
“Chris ran strongly but was caught by John Brown (30-04) by the top of Gummers How. John said he gave it his all on the climb but couldn't prevent Chris running away from him on the descent.
“Despite having run the route a dozen times before, I managed to veer off to the right on the descent, got lots of cuts on my arms having to take the decision to run through some gorse bushes or climb back up the hill.
“I then ended up in a wood and ended up 400 yards away from the road crossing point. I had to sprint to catch back up with Chris who did a double take as he saw me approaching the boats from completely the wrong direction.
“I got a good push off and just missed one of the moored boats. Chris just behind me had to steer round the boat, but was rowing strongly and starting to catch me up. It wasn't the straightest line I've ever rowed, but managed to steer the boat back to the shore to win.”
His prize is a weekend for two at the Lakeside Hotel.
The team race was won by Rob Jebb, Mark Addison and Tom Addison who would possibly have broken the course record of 25 minutes 51 seconds if they had perfected their rowing.
They posted at time of 26-47.
But the most exciting finish saw the Procters (Proc It to ‘em) – dad Billy and sons Leigh and Ben - row arrow staright to the shore in front of the Lakeside Hotel to pip a more wayward Team Inov-8 (30-42), who had Dufton’s Morgan Donnelly as one of their team members, by six seconds.
Helm Hill Ladies - Kathleen Aubrey, Lauren Munro-Bennett and Donna Whitehead – were the first female team to finish in 36-52 and came home in ninth position.