Lakes in a Day 2017 Summary

The 2017 Lakes In A Day (LIAD) in contrast to the idyllic 2016 LIAD was a brute! Renowned for beautiful landscape, blue skies and rolling and splendid mountains, the Lakes can also be a grey and brutal place.

As hundreds of runners arrived in Calbeck before the 0800 start, much of the talk was about the day ahead. It wasn’t the 50-miles north to south and the 1000’s of meters of vertical gain, it was, rightly so, what will the weather do?

Initial forecast earlier in the week had looked horrendous, trace morning greeted the runners with a brighter prospect. It was going to rain, that was for sure. The winds come and go and as the day progressed, the grey and wet would gradually clear bringing a drier conclusion.

The dry start gave everyone a false sense of security.

By the time the summit of Blencathra came, what lay ahead was clear for all. The winds were already gusting between 45 and 50mph. At times, it was difficult to remain on the ground as runners angled themselves into the wind fighting the force of nature. Dropping down from the summit, Hall’s Fell provided an intimidating and technical descent all the way to the first control at Threlkeld.

Hall’s Fell for some can be an intimidating section in dry and beautiful conditions, this year, it was intimidating for all – the rock sections ran with water and became like ice. It was four-points of contact for much of the technical sections with steely eye focus (or fear) written across many faces.

From Threlkeld, some easier running precedes the climb to High Fells and Helvellyn. The winds continued to throw the runners around making for a tough section before the drop down to GrisedaleGrisedale Tarn, traverse and then the climb of Fairfield before dropping down to Ambleside via High Pike.

From Ambleside, the course changes completely. The high ground covered, now it’s a journey down the Western side of Windermere though lower-ground, despite prevailing wind and rain, tree cover now offered a blanket of protection all the way to the finish, via Newby Bridge, to Cartmel.

The day was dominated by a strong and consistent performance by Marcis Gubats who crossed the line outside Kim Collison’s course record in 10:18:39. Gubats was an ever-present on the early stages biding his time and by the time he had crossed the Helvellyn summit he had opened a gap which he held all the way to the line.

Much of the talk pre-race had been about Lakeland 50 champ and course record holder, Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn. This lady has been on fire in 2017 with a string of top performances, her most recent coming at Salomon Glen Coe Skyline just 2-weeks previously. The form was there but would she be recovered? On the descent of Hall’s Fell she was 8th and full of smiles. At Grisedale Tarn she was 3rd and still full of smiles. Down the western fells, she moved into 2nd and was in a battle with Jack Casey. By the time the finish line came, Casey had edged away to finish in 10:43:49 and Kaars Sijpesteijn finished 10:46:29 for an overall podium place and an obliteration of the ladies’ record to win the £1000 bonus for a new CR – job done!

Nick Green rounded out the men’s podium in 11:04:07 and Elizaveta Ershova and Liz Barker placed 2nd and 3rd ladies’ respectively in 11:52:54 and 12:50:31.

It was seriously tough 2017 Lakes In A Day reflected in the battle the runners faced to cross the line, some taking almost 24-hours for the 50-mile journey, darkness bringing a whole new dimension to the journey.

Full results HERE

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Lakes In A Day 2017 Preview

The 2017 Lakes In A Day is upon us.

50 miles, 4000m of vertical gain, a journey on foot from the very top of the Lake District at Caldbeck to the very bottom, at Cartmel, via the stunning Helvellyn Ridge and the western shoreline of Lake Windermere.

Endurance, technical skill and the ability to navigate are all required to complete this event. Maps for the race are provided with a very clearly defined route which must be adhered to,  unlike many ‘true’ navigation events, the use of a GPS is allowed and a GPX route is provided for runners in advance so that they can download it.

The summit of Blencathara comes early in the race with wonderful exposed ridge of Hall’s Fell leading runners to lower ground before the tough and challenging climb to Helvellyn.

Grizedale Tarn follows before heading up Fairfield and dropping down to Ambleside.

From Ambleside, the course profile and route changes considerably taking in the lower fells as the route weaves around Lake Windemere. Newby Bridge is the gateway to the final section and the finish in Cartmel.

Race director, James Thurlow of Open Adventure is nut shy of putting some pounds up for a course record… In 2015 he gave £500 to the respective male and female winners. In 2016 the records stood and no money was claimed. For 2017, the purse rolls over to £1000 for a ladies and/ or male course record.

  • Men will need to to beat the speedy Kim Collison who set 9 hours and 12 minutes.
  • Ladies will need to beat Helen Leigh and her time of 11 hours 0 minutes.

Who stands a chance?

Well, Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn is coming from a stunning Lakeland 50 win and course  record and a solid outing at the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline. Katie has been out on the course checking the route and looks prepared to give it a go!

The nature of the event, the distance and the elevation gain means that pretty much every runner will go onto the night. Remember it’s the UK in October, with luck, the weather gods will be kind!

Notably, Richard Leafe (Chief Executive of the Lake District National Park, England’s largest National Park) has chosen The Lakes In A Day as his first ultra.

Live tracking will be available and the site is online now for you to share to family and friends: HERE

The trackers will be updating runner location every minute!  Post event you will be able to download GPX files for the strava addicts and review the event as a replay online.

Full race information is HERE

Full entry list is available HERE

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Lakes In A Day 2016 Race Images and Summary

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The stunning English Lakes provided an inspirational and magnificent backdrop for the 2016 Lakes In A Day – 50-mile point-to-point journey from north to south organised by James Thurlow and the Open Adventure team.

Renowned for putting the adventure into racing, James and Open Adventure really have created a spectacular event that provides the participants a truly amazing journey that encompasses a whistle stop tour of some of Lakeland’s highlights. For the fleet of foot the  journey may take 10 or so hours (if lucky), for the rest it can literally take 24-hours, hence, Lakes In A day!

Last year, Kim Collison and Helen Leigh blasted around the course to set two new course records and in the process they each netted £500 for their efforts. Once again in 2016, £500 was on offer for a new course record. Would the records fall? Would James be heading off to the bank again?

Lakes In A Day is a race that requires endurance, technical skill and the ability to navigate via map with a pre-marked route specified, which must be adhered too! The only exception being in the early stages when the runners leave Nether Row and head to the summit of Blencathra. From Blencathra summit, the most technical section of the route waits – Hall’s fell. A technical ridge this early in the race intimidates, for those who do not know the area or have recced the route may well think a seriously tough 50-miles awaits… not so. It’s tough for sure but less technical. Helvellyn follows, a long and hard climb up Fairfield and then a drop down to Ambleside.

Runners often think that from Ambleside it’s an easy run in to the finish through lowland fells. Think again! This terrain rolls along like a series of small rollercoasters and the final section of the route provides a surprising 1000m of vertical gain. Travelling to the west of Windermere, the route heads down in a snake like line that weaves left and right,  eventually it passes through Newby Bridge and on to the finish in Cartmel.

Weather conditions are always a critical element in any race, in the Lakes, good weather can make the difference between an incredible day and cold, wet, miserable and claggy day of survival. I am pleased to say, that for 2016, the weather was incredible. Early cloud lifted to reveal blue skies and although darkness seemed to arrive a little early, the weather remained good into the night with mild temperatures.

The men’s race was lead in the early stages by James Osborn who later went on to finish 7th. The day was won by Paul Nelson in 10:16:28 after a well run and controlled day, his time though some way off the record set by Kim in 2015. Chris Buck finished 2nd less than 10-minutes later and Nick Green placed 3rd, their times 10:25:11 and 10:32:42.

For the ladies, James managed to save another £500 with Elizaveta Ershova taking victory over a closing Kristina Jackson, their times 11:56:28 and 12:06:16 respectively. Sarah Bailey placed 3rd lady in 12:14:00 making a very close race for the top 3!

Live tracking results can be viewed here

As the names suggests, many runners ran through the night to really experience the Lakes In A Day – Helen Richards and Hugh Wright achieved notable finishes squeezing in the 50-mile journey under the allowed 24-hours, their times 23:23:48 and 23:21:25 respectively.

I often get asked, ‘what is he best way to see the English Lakes?’ Well, the Lakes in A Day certainly is a stunning way to see the best of what the Lakes has to offer – it may not be the easiest way though… Take note though, with records unbroken in 2016, the prize purse for 2017 will double, £1000 for a male and/or female record.

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Lakes in a Day 2015 – Race Summary and Images

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LAKES IN A DAY 2015

What an epic day in the English Lakes. We all know what an amazing part of the world it is, however, far too often, the jewel of the UK is often shrouded in a layer of mist, clag and yes; rain!

Not for the 2015 ‘Lakes in a Day.’

The big fella up in the sky played ball and gave everyone a truly spectacular day travelling from the north to the south by some of the Lakelands toughest trails.

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Departing Caldbeck at 0800 it became no surprise that with less than a mile covered, Kim Collison (pre race favourite) had taken the front of the race and though his gap may have only been seconds, the writing was on the wall. The £500 ‘bonus’ prize for any male or female breaking the old course records surely providing a wonderful carrot.

In the ladies, the three main contenders for the podium, Helen Leigh, Sabrina Verjee and Lucy Spain all ran together in the early stages. Slowly but surely the elastic started to stretch and Helen took a stronghold of the front of the race.

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50-miles and 4000m+ of tough terrain is a challenge especially when one needs to be on top of navigation. Maps for the race are provided with a very clearly defined route which must be adhered to, the only exception being in the early stages when the runners leave Nether Row and head to the summit of Blencathara.

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This is tough open terrain! From the summit, the drop down the challenging rocky, scrambling terrain to Threlkeld found many reaching and needing 3-points of contact.

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Here, Kim Collison and Helen Leigh looked in their element moving fast over the terrain, the dry conditions making the traverse so much more simple.

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Threlkeld providing the first aid station and although Kim and Helen made this checkpoint well under 2-hours 30-minutes, for many it took considerably longer and for some, it was far enough!

Climbing out of Threlkeld, the tough climb to White Pike started the run along the high fells to Helvellyn via Great Dodd, Watsons Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd, Helvellyn and then Nethermost Pike provided the route to the drop down to Grizedale Tarn before then climbing back up to Fairfield and the long run into Ambleside.

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Behind Kim, the male positions were up for grabs with Michael Barron, Jacob Snochowski, Stuart Dickson and Mārcis Gubāts fighting for the podium places. For the ladies it was no change, Helen continued to extend her lead over Sabrina and Lucy trailed looking to have a solid 3rd place but unlikely to make an impact on 2nd.

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From Ambleside it was all change. The tough and challenging terrain of the high fells transitioned into the lowland fells and just when you can run more, the body is crying out for a walk and some easier running. Kim was now well inside course record pace as were the 2 lead ladies. It was looking like a costly day for James Thurlow, race director.

Hugging the western shores of lake Windermere, the runners weaved in and out of forested terrain to the final checkpoint of Finsthwaite. From here on in the finish at Cartmel awaited very tired bodies.

Kim Collison arrived obliterating the old course record in a time of 9:12:07. Post race he said, ‘It was one of those days. I felt really good and the conditions were perfect. I just made the most of it!’

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Mārcis Gubāts came 2nd almost 75-minutes later in a time of 10:27:48 and Stuart Dickson completed the podium in 10:49:05.

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Helen Leigh and Sabrina Verjee both broke the old ladies record and thankfully for James, he only had to provide the £500 bonus for the 1st lady. Helen’s time of 11:00:10 in comparison to 11:29:59 of Sabrina was a great time on such a tough course. Lucy Spain came 3rd in 11:58:48.

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With darkness the temperatures dropped and a clear night guided the runners back to Cartmel. A 24-hour cut off allowed many to complete an incredible journey from the north to south of the lakes and at the end they could say, I completed the ‘Lakes in a Day.’ The final finishers arrived just shy of 23-hours.

James Thurlow and the team at Open Adventure really have created quite a beautiful event. It’s not easy! But then again, would you want it any other way?

Race website HERE

Full results HERE

Race images to purchase HERE

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