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.
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.
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 Thurlowand 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!
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.
“This is a long run in wild terrain. If you are at the start line wearing a t-shirt and shorts carrying nothing but a bum bag, expect us to be asking a few questions. If the weather is bad, then pack extra kit. This event is not like many other ultras in the UK calendar – it goes up on to the high fells and STAYS up there so don’t take any chances.”
The ‘Lakes in a Day’ is a point-to-point race that starts in the northern Lakeland town of Caldbeck. The route heads directly south all the way to Cartmel passing through four major points; Threlkeld, Ambleside, Finisthwaite (a small hamlet) and then Newby Bridge before the finish in Cartmel.
It’s a race that requires endurance, technical skill and the ability to navigate – this is not a race with a marked route! 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.
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 route is almost split into two halves. The tough and challenging terrain of the high fells in the early stages takes in some classic Lakeland terrain such as Blencathra, Hall’s Fell, Helvellyn and Grizedale Tarn before heading up Fairfield and dropping down to Ambleside.
After Ambleside, there is a transition into the lowland fells from Ambleside. The second half of the race is all about survival after the tough opening miles.
The route heads to the west of Windermere and heads down in an almost straight line passing through Newby Bridge an on to Cartmel.
Kim Collison was the champion in 2015 and his time obliterated the old course record, his time of 9:12:07 won him £500 which is also on offer in 2016 for the fleet of foot!. 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!’
Helen Leigh was equally impressive in 2015 and it turned out an expensive day for race director James Thurlow – Helen also set a course record 11:00:10 to bag £500.
The 2016 line-up can be viewed here and the race website is available here for any last minute information. The race route is available to view and download here and on race day, it is possible to follow live by tacker here.
Race start is 0800 Saturday 8th October.
Over 400 runners will toe the line for an epic, if not lengthy and challenging day in the Lakeland mountains and fells.
This is Episode 113 of Talk Ultra and We have a show with a selection of audio from participants who took part in the 8-day, 400km Cape Wrath Ultra (Ita Marzotto, Jenny Davis, Louise Watson, Luke Robertson, Richard Beard and Ted Kristensson)and the 190-mile, single stage, Northern Traverse (Angela White, Clare Turton and Eoin Keith). We have the news and Niandi Carmont co-hosts.
David Gatebe 5:18:18 new record
Ludic Mamabolo 5:24:05
Bongmusa Mthembu 5:26:39
notable 8th – Max King 5:37:27
Charge Bosman 6:25:55
Caroline Wostmann 6:30:44
Kajsa Berg 6:39:04
2 Americans in the top-10, Sarah Bard 4th in 6:42 and Colleen De Reuck (aged 50) 7th 6:50:21
Eoin Keith is on fire, he is blasting through checkpoints and burning up the trail. I tried to catch him this morning and missed by about 10-minutes at Nine Stands. I even expected a faster pace and navigated ahead on the trail so that I could run towards him…. a lack of 3G failed me and when I finally goy an update on my tracker it told me the bad news. Eoin had passed but by the narrowest of margins.
I remained on the higher ground and was blasted by the strong icy winds to John Knapp and Matt Neale come through. The front three are relatively equally spaced at the time of writing (1400 Tuesday), Eoin is probably getting close to Richmond? If only I could get 3G.
The 190 mile journey is taking its toll and runners are now spread over a large area, the last runner is David Taylor (I believe) and he is climbing out of Patterdale – puts Eoin Keith’s pace into perspective.
Day 2 conditions are good with great visibility, just a strong, cold wind to contend with.
Ship will be a key aid station in the coming hours and evening for the back markers, equally, Richmond important for the from markers.
How long will Eoin Keith stay in Richmond? My guess, not long… Robin Hood Bay is starting to appear quite close
St Bees on the west coast of the UK witnessed the start of the 2016 Northern Traverse – a 190km route that crosses the north of England through three National Parks finishing in Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast. Taking in iconic mountains, valleys, moors and over 16,000 feet of ascent, the Northern Traverse is a truly spectacular and challenging event.
Starting 1000 today, the race has now been going for 12-hours and pre-reace favourite and SPINE winner, Eoin Keith is charging away into the night. It’s been an incredible first day with wall-to-wall sunshine.
As darkness envelopes the fells, it’s head-torch time or sleep time. However, you can follow ‘live’ on trackers and watch the action unfold HERE.
Here are a selection of images from day 1 primary the start in St Bees, Ennerdale, Honister Pass and Patterdale.