This is Episode 116 of Talk Ultra and We speak with Beth Pascall who obliterated the female record at the UK’s Lakeland 100 and placed 4th overall in the process. We also speak with Donnie Campbell who won the Lakes Sky Ultra. We have the news, results and Niandi Carmont co-hosts while Speedgoat Karl goes for a jog on the AT!
Luis Alberto Hernando and Caroline Chaverot were crowned champions for the ULTRA in 12:53 and 14:41 ofthe 105km course with 8000m of vert. Andy Symonds and Javier Dominguez were 2nd and 3rd and Eva Moreda and Jasmin Paris were 2nd and 3rd in the ladies. HERE
Stian Angermund did a double winning the VK and SKY. He ran 3:56 for the SKY to beat Tom Owens and Ismail Razga. Maite Maiora won the ladies race in 4:42, Azara Garcia placed 2nd and Elisa Desco 3rd. HERE
In the VK it was Stian Angermund and Christel Dewalle who took top honours. HERE
KENDAL MOUNTAIN RUN
Dakota Jones and Emelie Forsberg both had two great runs and returns to form to win in 1:37 and 1:59. In the men’s race Daniel Hadis placed 2nd and Timmy Parr 3rd. Sarah Pizzo and Taylor Nowlin were 2nd and 3rd respectively in the ladies’ race.
Pete Kostelnick set a new CR** of 21:56 beating Valerie Nunes 2007 record. Harvey Lewis placed 2nd and Dan Lawson from the UK 3rd.
Alyson Venti won the ladies race with a new CR**too in 25:53 – 23 minutes better than the old CR. Brenda Guajardo was 2nd and Nikki Wynd 3rd.
** The race now starts at night as opposed to the morning start and may very well influence the new CR’s?
Donnie Campbell and Sarah Ridgeway, champions at the 2nd edition of the LAKES SKY ULTRA their respective times 07:30:40 and 8:38:46 and new CR’s.
Second place went to Neil Talbott and Sophie Grant with Alexander Beaven and Katie Boden placing 3rd.
00:26:22 INTERVIEW DONNIE CAMPBELL
Yassine Diboun and Scott Loughney set the new Supported FKT on the Oregon Section of the PCT running the length of the state in 8 days 12 hours & 5 minutes (Finishing the 453 mile journey yesterday). Brian Donnelly still holds the overall FKT of 7 days 22 Hours & 37 minutes (Respectively unsupported).
Gonzalo Calisto, 5th at 2015 UTMB tests positive for EPO
Lizzy Hawker has just completed a solo foot circumnavigation of monte Rosa on the Tour de Monte Rosa. Approximately 170km and 11,700m of elevation change in just over 37 hours. She returned to grachen after leaving the church square at 4am on Friday.
Controvery over UTMB, the Polettis and the term, ‘ULTRA TRAIL’
What an incredible weekend of racing in the stunning English Lakes. The Montane UTLD 100 and 50 mile races certainly have become two of ‘the’ must do events on the 2014 calendar. With the long term continued sponsorship of UK brand, Montane. The event has grown from very humble beginnings as an alternative to UTMB to an outright ‘must-do’ for any enthusiastic ultra runner.
Although run on the same course, the 100 and 50 events are two very different beasts. Both races are point-to-point. The 100 starts in Coniston and does a circular route around the northern lakes dropping back down from Pooley Bridge towards Windermere and then heads around Windemere Lake via Ambleside taking in the Langdale Valley and then a push over Tilberthwaite concludes what is unanimously called a ‘brutal’ event.
Not surprisingly, the ’50’ starts pretty much halfway around the 100 route, in Dalemain and is run over the exact same course as the latter half of the 100 event.
Sun and the Lakes can be a rare commodity but participants in both events had plenty of relentless heat to partner them over every step. Even during the first night, temperatures were ridiculously balmy with nothing more than a short sleeved shirt required. The second night however did throw a curve ball for 100 runners entering another night on the trails or for 50 runners finishing after 2100 hours. The heavens opened with some biblical rain… I guess for some it was a welcome cool down and refresher from the oppressive heat.
Marco Consani (21:14:52) was very much a dominant force in the 100 event. Over the early stages Marco had close competition and ran side-by-side with eventual 2nd place, Charlie Sharpe. However, when Marco took over the lead he never looked back. Climbing out of Howtown with the start of a new day he had a 30-minute lead which he continued to extend all the way to the line finishing almost 90-minutes ahead of Sharpe in 2nd (22:47:56). Lee Knight finished 3rd, 23:21:48 after pushing relentlessly for the duration of the event.
In the ladies race, Beth Pascall proved to be a revelation. Having never run longer than 60-miles before, this lady started at the front of the race and at Buttermere one wondered if she would pull off something quite special. However, experienced ultra runner and Montane athlete, Debbie Martin Consani (yes, Marco’s wife) slowly pulled back the gap and extended the lead away from Beth. Apart from a rough patch at Mardale Head, Debbie never looked in doubt of winning the race but Beth really was charging and at the line it was 25:28:33 to 25:48:36. Impressive. Nicky Taylor was 3rd lady in 29:37:08.
One thing must be said, the Lakeland 100 is a tough event. Even contemplating the start and the race deserves respect. Each and every runner who toed the line achieved a great deal. For those who finished, they have memories and experiences to take to the grave. For those who didn’t finish, they will be back… the UTLD100 get a hold like no other race.
The Lakeland 50 was a British Championship event and as such competition was higher than normal. The men’s race had Lakeland 100 winner and Montane athletes, Stuart Mills and Iznik and Spine Challenger winner, Marcus Scotney. In addition, we had Danny Kendall who just this year placed top-5 at the Marathon des Sables. Add to the mix, Kim Collison, and Lee Kemp a fast race was always on the cards. Fast it was… maybe too fast! Starting at 1130am, the heat of the day was already pushing down and when Danny Kendall says ‘it’s too hot!’ then you know it’s hot… In the early stages, a small group formed but it was Collinson who eventually snapped the elastic. Scotney came from behind and charged into 2nd place and then behind, Kendall and Mills had a tough battle for 3rd. At the line, Collinson finished in 7:48:01, Scotney 2nd in 8:06:42 and Kendall 3rd in 8:13:39.
The ladies race had Lakeland 50 course record holder, Tracy Dean racing against the female Lakeland 100 course record holder, Lizzie Wraith. For sure, it was an exciting head-to-head. However, add to the mix Jo Meek and a real battle was always going to unfold. Meek as expected pushed ahead of Wraith and Dean and never looked back. Running with 100% conviction, Meek dominated the race and never for a moment looked under threat. Dean unfortunately dropped due to illness leaving the door open for Wraith to take 2nd place and Bonnie Van Wilgenberg ran a controlled and impressive race for 3rd. Meeks run was so impressive that she placed 6th overall in a time of 8:43:14. Wraith ran 9:18:22 and Wilgenberg completed the top-3 in 9:31:05.
The epic ML100 race starts from the John Ruskin School in Coniston on Friday 25 July, while the shorter, speedier ML50 sets off from Dalemain on Saturday 26 July. The 50-mile event this year is a British Athletics Ultra Trail Championship event and will without doubt see some fast racing from the top ladies and top men. Will course records be broken?
Several Team Montane members will be participating and hopes are high for spots on the podium. Stepping up to the endurance ML100 will be Debbie Martin-Consani and Steven Major. Both have tackled the event before, however, as veterans of the course will readily admit, prior experience doesn’t necessarily make it any easier.
Debbie is an experienced ultra distance runner with various podium finishes under her belt, amongst which finishing 1st in the 145 mile Grand Union Canal Race in both the ladies and overall categories. She has also been selected to run for Team GB for the International Association of Ultrarunners. In 2013’s ML100, Debbie finished with a very respectable time of 26:02:00 in the ladies category, second only to Lizzie Wraith, who smashed the course record by just over 4 hrs 30 mins.
Steven took up running originally to fundraise for his son’s football team. His first race was a 5 mile local fun run: “I found the run quite difficult, not having done enough training, but even so I got round in one piece and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie between other fun runners and organisers. After experiencing this, I thought ‘I want to run it again’”. Since that first 5 mile run, Steven has run longer, more difficult trail races. This will be his third ML100.
The ML50, although it uses the second half of the ML100 course, is a completely different event. Competitors are more tightly bunched together and competition is generally fiercer as the race distance is shorter. Whereas ML100 participants take on average 30 hours to complete the course (the record stands at 19:50:37), the ML50 racers cross the finish line on average after 16 hours. The current course record is 07:39:26.
Team Montane members Marcus Scotney, Tony Holland and Stuart Mills are raring to compete and there will be fireworks aplenty! All three have competed in either the ML100 or ML50 before – Stuart has previously focused on the ML100, Tony has experience of competing in both distances and Marcus has participated in the ML50.
Marcus began running in 1994 and took on his first ultra marathon in 2008. He has run trail, fell and road races and now concentrates on trail. A high achiever, Marcus has numerous race wins to his name, most recently a stunning victory in the 130km Iznik Ultra in Turkey. He returns to the ML50 after having to pull out of 2013’s race: “DNF’d at 28miles suffered with chest pain was like running up hill whilst running down down hill & breathing through a straw”.
Tony was propelled into the world of running in 2010 after being inspired by his son, who has Down’s Syndrome and regularly fundraises for the Northumberland Down’s Syndrome Support Group & Disability Activity through his running. Initially a means of fundraising for Tony, it has transformed his life. He is a regular on the trail running race circuit and last year set up his own specialist running store, http://www.ultra-runner.com/. In 2012, Tony took on the ML100, but was forced to withdraw at checkpoint 9 of 14. In 2013 he was back to tackle the ML50 and completed the course in a time of 12:18:49. This year he will be on the start line once again for the ML50.
Finally, after winning the 2013 & 2010 ML100, legendary runner Stuart Mills will try his hand at the ML50. He joined his local running club at the age of 14 and began training in earnest in 1978. He ran his first marathon in Rotorua, New Zealand aged 17. Stuart’s wealth of experience has led him to a set of core race tactics: “Run as fast as I can, while I can!”
But whether all or none of our fantastic Team Montane runners cross the finish line, one thing’s for sure – this year’s race will be electric.
For further information on the Montane Lakeland 100 / 50, click here
It started like this, ‘Pardon for the last minute message, but I just found out I will have this Friday free when I arrive in London. Are you available to do a run? Is there something we could do in the mountains-trails within striking distance of London. I fly into Heathrow at 7am Friday.’ Scott Jurek
Now Scott and myself had discussed running together at some point in time, however, this message came as a bolt out of the blue. Ironically, I received this email as I was leaving Colorado after covering the UROC race in Vail. Scott lives in Boulder, so, we were actually only 90-mins away from each other!
I initially looked for trails close to London but Scott insisted, he wanted to come to the Lakes. So committed was he and Jenny that he changed his flights and arrived in Heathrow at 0500 on Friday after a 9-hour flight. They travelled across London and then jumped on a train to arrive midday in Windermere.
I was well aware that this was Scott’s first ever trip to the UK, so, it was important to provdie an opportunity for people to join us. I offered the chance for 8 people to join us. Quite simply, email in and names would be selected out of hat.
I contacted The Climbers Shop in Ambleside and they offered a venue for us to meet and they also provided the facilities for a ‘meet and greet’ with Scott later in the day at 5pm.
Needless to say it was a memorable day for all involved and Scott loved the Lakes, the views, the trails and the terrain.
Will he be back…?
Nothing is 100% but don’t rule out a return trip for an attempt on some ’rounds’ and you never know, the UTLD may just be on his bucket list before he retires.
I’d like to thank Scott Jurek and his wife, Jenny for a memorable day and being so committed to run with some serious jet lag and fatigue.
Marc Laithwaite, RD for the Lakeland 100 and 50 who gave up his day to join us. Not a difficult decision I imagine.
I’d like to thank The Climbers Shop for great last minute help and cooperation with a venue. The 8 runners who joined us for a memorable run on the trails and all those who came to the shop for autographs and photographs later in the day.
Images available for personal and commercial use HERE
Scott Jurek, arguably one of the most dominant ultra marathon runners of our time will come to the English Lakes on Friday 04th October.
Scott Jurek, seven times winner of the iconic Western States 100-mile run, winner of the Hardrock 100 in 2007, winner of the Badwater Ultramartathon in 2005/06, winner of Spartathlon 2006/07 and 08, previous US record holder for the 24-hour running a distance of 165.7 miles in Brive La Gaillarde in 2010 and most recently author of the book, Eat & Run will come to the English Lakes on Friday the 4th October as part of a whistle stop journey to the UK.
Scott will be attending the London Vegfest on the 5th/6th October at London Olympia (here) and will be at the Bloomsbury Institute on Monday 7th October (here) in the continued worldwide promotion of his book, Eat and Run. Despite an extremely busy schedule, Scott has found the time to coordinate a run and impromptu meet and greet with Ian Corless (photographer/writer at iancorless.com and host/creative director of ultra running podcast, Talk Ultra) in the English Lakes.
Ian has interviewed Scott multiple times and they have often discussed the possibilty to run and enjoy the best of the UK’s trails and mountains. ‘It’s a conversation Scott and I have had several times. He told me the last time we chatted that one day he would make the trip and run in the Lakes. Of course, I never thought it would happen’ Ian explained.
‘It has been extremely short notice, ironically, I was in Colorado when I got Scott’s message. He was literally just ninety minutes away. He expressed interest to run on Friday and so I went to work immediately’ explained Ian, ‘Originally we looked at London possibilities due to time pressures but Scott came back to me and inisisted that it was the Lakes that he wanted to come to. In some respects, this was better for me. I know the Lakeland 100 and 50 routes very well so I contacted Marc Laithwaite, the Lakeland 100/50 race director and a plan was put into place’.
Scott is a legend of ultra running and as such demand to run with him is expected to be high. Therefore Ian is providing the option for eight people to join Scott, Jenny his wife, Marc and of course Ian on the trails this Friday with an estimated start time of 1:00pm. Location and details to be provided via email.
If you’d like to be in with a chance to join the run, you need to email firstname.lastname@example.org before midday Thursday 03rd October providing your name, email address and telephone number.
To avoid disappointment and to maximize the opportunity of Scott coming to the North West, Ian has contacted The Climbers Shop, Ambleside and they will host a meet and greet opportunity at 5pm, Friday 4th October. This will be an open event allowing everyone the opportunity to get a photograph, autograph or maybe even get a copy of Eat and Run signed.
Ian went on to say, ‘I was well aware of the interest and demand that Scott would bring and of course, just eight peoiple joining us on the trails leaves many people disapponted. So I contacted The Climbers Shop and they have kindly stepped in at the elevnth hour and are providing a venue for everyone to meet’.
The Climbers Shop is located in the centre of Ambleside on Compston Road, LA22 9D2.
The MONTANE® Lakeland 100 is widely regarded as the ‘premier’ ultra trail race in the UK. 2013 was the event’s sixth year and the third time that I had run it. On my first attempt in 2010, I managed to win in a time of 24:10:54. When I returned in 2012, although I ran twenty five minutes quicker, finishing in 23:45:48, the standard of UK ultra trail racing during the two year gap had improved significantly and I only managed to finish in fifth place. So coming into this year’s race, although I was satisfied with my preparation and was therefore expecting to race quicker than 2012, what my finish position would be was totally unknown.
#The variety of pacing strategies adopted by ultra trail athletes during a 100 mile race is huge. Some prefer to start slowly, progressively working their way through the field. Others adopt a consistent pace approach and attempt to run steady throughout the entire race. Me? I have a simple pacing approach; “Run as fast as I can, while I can!” I therefore start extremely fast while I am fresh and feeling strong and then simply try to ‘hang on’ and not let too many runners overtake me. This approach was therefore implemented at 6:00pm on Friday 26th July 2013, as the race commenced at Coniston in warm, sunny conditions. Take a look at the data in the image gallery above this report which illustrates the amazingly large variation in pacing strategies adopted by the leading runners.
#Although the race is called the MONTANE® Lakeland 100, it is actually 105 miles in length, split into fifteen legs, where one is able to refuel and rehydrate at the checkpoint at the end of each leg. Even though I was running probably ‘ridiculously’ fast, I arrived at the first checkpoint at Seathwaite in second place around one minute behind the lead runner, Ken Sutor. Following a short stop where within an instant I had consumed a cup of water at the checkpoint, the two of us left together and continued to run extremely fast, especially when taking into account that we still had a little less than one hundred miles to go. We reached the checkpoint at the end of leg two, located at Boot, pretty well together. I again passed through the checkpoint very quickly and continued on to leg three, now running on my own, as Ken spent more time refuelling.
#My fuelling strategy for this race was slightly different to previously. As there is a large range of food available at each checkpoint, previously I had tended to consume probably only one or two gels during the entire race and get the majority of my fuel by eating the checkpoint food. Earlier this year I discovered TORQ Gels. Apparently they have been available for nearly ten years, but tend to be used mainly by mountain bikers or triathletes. They are awesome! So this year, the plan was to take on one gel every 45 minutes. I therefore started the race carrying fourteen gels, which would fuel me to the Dalemain checkpoint, where I would be able to pick up more gels to get me to the end of the race from my drop bag. I also decided that I would be very strict on myself in consuming one gel every forty five minutes. In some of my previous races I perhaps had not taken on board enough fuel, so I didn’t want to make the same mistake again. The evidence from scientific literature suggests that probably one gel every 20 – 30 minutes is ideal for endurance performance, but the research is not carried out on 100 mile running events, where “the normal limits do not apply”! So I decided every 45 minutes should be plenty.
#During the next two legs, as I ran through Wasdale Head, then over the two tough climbs of Black Sail Pass and Scarth Gap, the surrounding scenery was unbelievable, with a sunset creating amazing colours to light up the landscape. As I approached checkpoint four at Buttermere, I had no idea how far ahead of the other 273 runners I was. Whilst I am racing I try to focus on what I am doing and try to ignore what others are doing. I can’t control their pace, so I try not to pay my competition much attention. I run hard and fast in order to get to the finish line as quickly as possible, therefore let my actual finish position ‘look after itself’!
#I started leg five (over Sail Pass to Braithwaite) and although night had fallen, it wasn’t actually that dark. There was an amazingly bright moon within a clear night sky. On occasions the headtorches of the chasing runners behind me attracted my attention and reminded me that I was in a highly competitive ultra trail race. However, I reminded myself to focus on the present moment, not to worry about what other runners were doing, to enjoy the amazing journey that I was on and appreciate just how fortunate I was that I was fit and healthy enough to experience this truly amazing challenge that I was part way through. The night time just seemed to ‘fly past’ and it became daylight as I reach checkpoint eight located at Dalemain, having completed 59 miles since leaving Coniston.
At each checkpoint, in addition to taking on food and drink, one also has to ‘dib’ into an electronic timing box. This information is then automatically loaded onto the race website, enabling all my family and friends to track my progress from anywhere in the world, including my brother tracking my progress in New Zealand.
Having dibbed 1st at seven consecutive checkpoints, I reflected on how my family and friends would be reacting to my good progress and found myself getting excited about the prospect of holding onto my lead for the remaining 46 miles and getting back to Coniston to record the win! At that point it was nine hours since I had seen another runner, way back at checkpoint two, however at the last two checkpoints I was informed of the time gaps to the following runners – 14 minutes at the end of leg six, but only 10 minutes at the end of leg seven. I found myself wondering what may happen during the upcoming legs; would they catch me? When might they catch me? Would I be able to keep in contact with them? Etc. Fortunately, I managed to snap myself out of this potential performance inhibiting thought process and reminded myself to take one leg at a time and most of all just enjoy every moment, during that moment!
#As I completed legs nine and 10, that took me first to Howtown and then over High Kop (the highest point of the route at 670m) and onward to Mardale Head, the heat from the sun on another glorious day was making its presence known. It was getting pretty hot! Having lived in Britain for over twenty years since emigrating from New Zealand, the one thing I have learnt to deal with is the contrasting British weather, often being colder than one would like. So at that point, with the British weather finally coming right for a decent summer, the last thing I was going to do was to complain about it. As the sun seemed to get brighter and more powerful, making me feel hotter, I was absolutely loving it. “Yes, give me heat! Yes, give me more!” I was chanting out loud, knowing that other runners may be reacting less positively to this beautiful hot summer’s day.
From Mardale Head, there were still five legs to complete totalling 29.4 miles, however, there was an overarching feeling that one is now on the ‘home straight’, not that the route is flat. No, there were plenty of tough climbs to get over including Gatesgarth Pass on leg 11 and then Garburn Pass on leg 12, before reaching checkpoint 12 at Ambleside.
#Whether it was the effects of the heat, or the tough climbs, or the technically challenging underfoot conditions of loose boulders/gravel, or simply that I had run non-stop overnight for over 18 hours (I don’t really know), getting through legs 11 and 12 had been pretty challenging. So when I was told at Ambleside that I was being chased down, not just by Ed Batty, who had been in 2nd place at around 10 – 20 minutes for the previous 15 hours, but also by two other runners, Charlie Sharpe and Richie Cunningham, who are known for adopting the ‘start slow / burst through the field and finish strong’ strategy, I wasn’t really surprised. But the key issue was, how was I going to respond to being hunted down?
I’ve highlighted that I attempted to focus on myself and disregard my competitors. But by now, having been in the lead for now nearly 18 hours, the thought of winning was getting strong – the desire to win, the anticipated satisfaction of crossing the finish line first… The thought of losing the lead at this late stage, as at Ambleside there was only 15.6 miles to go, would be ‘heart breaking’, it would be devastating, it wouldn’t be fair! Was I going to simply let it happen? No! I decided that if they were going to beat me, they were going to have to work extremely hard. So I started on leg 13 with a really determined mind-set, which resulted in a substantial increase in my running pace.
#The section of the route during leg 13 that travels through Elterwater to Chapel Stile is simply ‘picture postcard’. Therefore whilst maintaining my determination, I also had to remind myself continually to ‘take it all in’, enjoy this amazing moment, during this present moment. Although I was working really hard and finding it pretty ‘tough’, this section of the race was probably the most enjoyable, the most satisfying. I was extremely pleased with myself and the way that I had responded to the news of being chased down at Ambleside. I was also happy with the substantial increase in my running speed since Ambleside. Although ‘suffering’ I was really ‘buzzing’!
As I reached checkpoint 13 I interrogated one of the volunteers – what was my time gap now? How far behind were they? How much time had they gained during the last leg? He informed me that the gap had been further reduced! I couldn’t believe it. How could that be? I had been running really well for the last five miles, but they had still gained time on me.
As you may have gathered, with it now being nearly 20 hours since the race had started, my mind wasn’t functioning correctly. The time gap the volunteer was referring to was the time gap change from checkpoint 11 to checkpoint 12. Not leg 13 that I had just run strongly over. I didn’t really take this on board, so I panicked even more. Right, let’s now give it everything. I just can’t get overtaken now! Some supporting runners who I knew were doing their best to try to calm me down, but I wasn’t really listening to them. I took off on the penultimate leg knowing that even more effort was required!
#In what seemed like barely a few minutes, but was in fact one hour and thirty minutes, I reached the final checkpoint at Tilberthwaite. Although the leg had been tough, it also had been extremely satisfying. I had run well. In fact comparing this leg time to my leg 14 times from my two races in 2010 and 2012, I had run it 25 and 24 minutes quicker respectively!
The last leg involved one final tough climb before dropping down to the finish at Coniston. I worked hard up the steep incline and then as I reached the summit I asked two runners who were watching to have a good look back along the track to see if they could view those runners that had been ‘haunting’ me, chasing me down for the last few hours. They were nowhere to be seen! The watching runner wanted to shake my hand to congratulate me, as I crested the summit. I refused as I hadn’t yet won the race, but at that moment in time I knew I would win the MONTANE® Lakeland 100 for the 2nd time. This realisation drained all of my focus. All of my energy immediately vanished. I therefore absolutely struggled on the steep descent, struggled along the gravel road and then struggled even more along the final half mile of smooth road as I ran through Coniston to reach the finish line.
I crossed the finish line having completed the most amazing clockwise journey of the Lake District in 22:17:50. Nearly one and a half hours quicker than my 2012 finish time. There was a large crowd cheering me which I tried to take on board, but not only is the body pretty shattered, the mind is also not fully functioning. However, over the next hour or so, I gradually recovered and enjoyed welcoming and chatting to the other runners as they finished their equally challenging but amazing journey of the Lake District.
Although the time gap had only been 13 minutes at my ‘panic attack’ at checkpoint 13 at Chapel Stile, the huge increase in focus, effort, intensity I put in following this point resulted in the gap increasing to 45 minutes at the finish line, with Charlie Sharpe finishing 2nd (23:02:45), having managed to overtake long time 2nd place holder Ed Batty during the final leg, for Ed to finish 3rd in 23:07:40. The wait for the 1st women to finish wasn’t long, with Lizzie Wraith winning in the time of 24:15:06, finishing in 8th place overall; an outstanding performance.
Over the next 16 hours there was a continuous stream of weary runners crossing the finish line. As the 40hour cut-off time passes, the final two competitors to complete the 105 miles, Steve Harvey and Paul Brown, cross the finish line in the time of 40:21:58 in 123rd and 124th place.
Out of the 274 runners that had taken on the challenge of the 105 mile journey of the Lake District, 150 of them were unable to successfully complete it. There are many reasons for such a high non-completion, which equates to a 55% drop-out rate, however, no matter what the end result, every runner that stepped up to the start line to take on the amazingly demanding challenge of the MONTANE® Lakeland 100 is in essence a winner. Some may be disappointed with their performance; however I would imagine most, like myself, are feeling a real sense of pride at having really challenged and extended themselves. Each runner will have their own individual story, but if their story is anything like mine, the end result is that they are a stronger and richer person.
Thanks to absolutely everyone that was involved in making the MONTANE® Lakeland 100 the most fantastic successful event one could ever do. Thanks to everyone that helped me on my journey in both the preparation for and the accomplishment of it. Your support is really, really appreciated, and I know one thing for sure, I would not have been able to achieve such a successful performance without this support. A huge thank you.
Terry Conway at Cavalls del Vent copyright iancorless.com
Lakeland 100 winner and course record holder, Terry Conway speaks to Ian ahead of the 2013 Ronda dels Cims. This will be Terry’s biggest race challenge yet. A race over 100 miles with altitude gain over 12,000m is not something that is easy to prepare for while living in the UK. However, Terry has paced his home in the English Lakes and has trained hard to prepare himself for the challenge ahead.
Aagh, the bucket list! Is it a good thing or is it a bad thing? Some runners get so obsessed at ticking the races off and working through a list that they actually forget the most important thing; the experience.
I would much prefer to run for a lifetime with targets, goals and a ‘to do’ list than get it all over and done within five years and maybe not be able to run again through an injury.
So, to that end ‘findarace’ asked me what I considered to be the five best ultras in the UK. Now of course I am potentially opening a can of worms here. What one runner likes, another doesn’t. So, instead of trying to second-guess and be politically correct I am going to list five that I would choose.
To clarify, it’s all about experiences, views and challenges for me, so, you are not going to see a road ultra in this list as I don’t think we have anything in the UK that could compete with Comrades. Had London to Brighton still been a road run, it would have almost certainly made the list. Also, your not going to see the GUCR (Grand Union Canal Race) at the risk of some abuse from those who ‘love’ this race I just personally think life is too short to run for hours and hours on a canal tow path. Also, distance isn’t everything. I am not a distance snob and therefore for me, a good race is a good race, 30 miles, 50 miles or 100(+) miles makes no difference.
Here goes in chronological order:
January – The SPINE 268-mile non-stop across the Pennine Way HERE
Having said that distance isn’t everything and then here I go with a ridiculous 268-mile race that takes place in January. yes, January. So, if distance wasn’t enough you have to contend with cold weather, ice, snow, wind and whatever else the UK can throw at you. The appeal? Well this race is non-stop so it brings in a real element of tactics, endurance, planning and basically leave your brain at the door challenge.
Taking place on the entire Pennine Way it is arguably the most demanding National Trail in Britain. Beautiful, difficult and challenging it includes the Peak District, Cheviots, Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Park – finishing on the Scottish Borders.
Open to anyone with appropriate experience who wishes to test themselves and compete in a truly brutal race. The first edition was in 2012 and only 3 finished.
The Highland Fling Ultra, is a trail race over the southern section of the famous West Highland Way Path (you can cover the full 95 miles in August in the West Highland Way race) Starting in Milngavie (close to Glasgow) and finishing in the scenic village of Tyndrum. The route is almost entirely on trails and thus traffic-free. Varied terrain and stunning scenery makes this a truly enjoyable experience.
In addition to the solo runners, there are club competitions, and a four-person relay race. All runners must be 21 years old or over (18 for the relay). 53 miles you must cover the distance within the 15-hour time limit and you must run unsupported, however, you are allowed drop bags at checkpoints.
June – UTSW 100 miles, 60 miles and 100m relaysHERE
The UTSW is a brute… offering two distances at 60 and 100 miles believe me you are no wimp choosing the 60-mile option. The 100-mile race starts in Charlestown in the southwest corner of Cornwall. Heading east on the South West Coast Path crossing the beautiful Fowey estuary by ferry before continuing on to the to the quaint fishing town of Looe. Here you will leave the South West Coast Path for a while and head inland mostly following the Smugglers Way. Continuing north you will come to the famous Jamaica Inn. Bodmin Moor is the next obstacle.
If you plan on the 60-mile option, Bodmin is your start point. Brown Willy the highest point in Cornwall is the next landmark and then you have a cross county trek which comes to an end at Boscastle. Here you head west along the South West Coast Path to Tintage. Now heading west you will hit the Camel Estuary where a ferry will transport you across to Padstow. Padstow to Watergate Bay are the final 20 miles with a finish at the Watergate Bay Hotel. Don’t underestimate this race! This course is brutal, beautiful and challenging.
For me, the Lakeland 100 and 50 is everything that an ultra should be. A challenging course, beautiful course, great organization and an iconic race. In it’s short history the race has become possibly the premier 100 miler in the UK. Taking in a circular route of the English Lakes the race starts and finishes in Coniston. It is a navigation event but you are provided with a detailed route book and you are allowed GPS. For many participants, regular ‘recces’ are essential to ensure that race day runs smoothly. The 50-mile option starts half way around the 100-mile route and is a wonderful race it it’s own right. In actual fact, I would almost tip my head towards the ‘50’ as it can be raced and ultimately a more enjoyable experience may be obtained. It depends what you are after?
The route encompasses the whole of the Lakeland fells, it includes in the region of 6300m of ascent. The route is almost entirely on public bridleways and footpaths but does have one or two small sections of road to make connections with trail. The route takes in the Dunnerdale fells, Eskdale, Wasdale and Buttermere before arriving in Keswick. From here the route heads to Matterdale and continues over to Haweswater before returning via Kentmere, Ambleside and Elterwater to the finish at Coniston.
The race begins in Farnham at the Western end of the North Downs and works its way through some of the best of the English countryside.
Key landmarks are: Puttenham, Guildford, Ronmore Common, Box Hill, Reigate Hill, Merstham, Oxted, Knockholt Pound, Wrotham, Holly Hill, Medway Bridge, Detling, Hollingbourne, Harrietsham and Charing before dropping down into Wye and the finish.
Organized by Centurion Running this race is part of a ‘Grand Slam’ based around the American system of 4 x 100 mile races in 1 year. The addition of 50 mile options makes this a great series of races and in comparison to UTSW and the Lakeland courses this is an ideal opportunity to tackle 50 or 100 trail miles over an ‘easier’ course.