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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