Lakeland 50 - A stroll in the hills...
According to its website the Lakeland 50 is:
“one of the greatest ultra-running and walking challenges in Europe, perhaps the world. It is run over the second half of the Lakeland 100 Ultra Tour of the Lake District, completing the final 50 miles of the 100 course. As it's only half of the Lakeland 100 course it's the easy option... right? That's the first and worst error you could possibly make. The Lakeland 50 is 'half of the course', it's almost double the distance of a marathon, it's on rough terrain and there's approximately 3100m of ascent to deal with.”
Before we left on the coaches that morning we were told that ‘no-one regrets finishing’ but it may be more important to not regret the starting. Whether that is starting the race but finding that it was not your day so having to stop but still staying on to cheer through every other person that you see. Whether it is starting each training run over the last few months only to have injury hamper you in the final weeks but offering support to everyone involved either in person or through messages. Everyone who attempted these things should be applauded.
As a team I am proud of what we did on the day but my memorable moment, when it all sank in, was lying on the floor of the finishing marquee (the chairs were full) at 1am surrounded by everyone still cheering every finisher who was brought in. These were friends, this was the Lakeland family.
A special mention must also be made to Helen Carter as our self-appointed communications director. She was there at key points for everyone, loaned out a shower at the pub at the end and proved that even when hampered by injury she still has the turn of speed needed to document a sprint finish.
Below are a few stories written in other people’s words to explain what happened on that day at the end of July:
Janneke van Beijnum
“How was it?” many asked. I can’t find the right words to fully describe my Lakeland 50 experience. Not in English, not in Dutch either… Many ups and downs, not only in altitude… (Unexpected) support, both at the start and on the course, lifted me off my feet. The atmosphere was absolutely buzzing.
The first stage wasn’t too bad (bright smile as Helen made a photo). So only a quick pit stop at Checkpoint Howtown, as I was aware of the challenge ahead... Unfortunately, several days of rain preceding the race had transformed the course into a mud bath with difficult boggy ascents/descents. The climb up Fusedale was a true struggle, the “flat top” not as rewarding as I remembered, and the descent descent. As I am a rubbish descender in the best weather conditions, I really suffered on these muddy, slippery descents. Luckily, I managed to stay on my feet on the track around Haweswater this time round and after checkpoint Mardale Head up and forwards again onto Gatesgarth Pass. I quite enjoyed the subsequent descent and managed to get down reasonably well. As I was “smashing” downhill towards the Kentmere checkpoint, I suddenly saw Sinead who had come up to the Lakes to support and provided me with an update of the SHM LL50 squad. The next goal was to get to Ambleside where Olivier and Richard had decided that it was better for them to leave it as an excellent training run. They gave me a big mental push to get to the next Checkpoint. The last 9 miles were the toughest as the sun set, boggy bits had changed into swamps, and rocky paths into streams. At the last checkpoint, the stairway to heaven did not feel like anything it suggests. The last descent from the Old Man in darkness was a true challenge on its own for me. But finally, with 0.97 miles left to go, back on tarmac and heading for Coniston. Thrilled and extremely happy to have finished after 13.15, I was reunited with my Lakeland buddies at the finish line!
Andrew and Chris completely smashed their LL50 and won male pairs prize (14th overall) in 9:01:30. Duncan Hill finished in 9:47:24, Richard Edwards accomplished his challenge in 10:16 and Tim Rainey finished after 15:22 despite some torrential rain at the end of his 50 miles.
Thank you everyone, it was an epic day. Major nerves before the start, lots of emotions through the race, made some new friends, I have progressed to master level on managing cramp which started at the top of the first major climb 20 miles in. Big thank you to my beautiful amazing fiancé Helen for all her support and massive congratulations to the rest of the Sale runners for taking on this mammoth challenge, Chris and Andrew only went and won the pair! Janneke, Duncan and Timothy all smashed it and Olivier, Richard and Mike all live to run another day. #survivalisvictory.
Posted 01/08/2017 15:07