Great Lakeland 3 Day 2016 #GL3D – Day 3

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‘Well almost,’ is becoming a theme on the GL3D. Last night during camp 2 bivouac the wind increased – then increased – then increased! As sun rose, the carnage was clear to see. Broken poles, ripped tents, lost dry bags due to being blown away in the wind and in addition, the rain just kept on coming and coming. Some may call the conditions ‘character building!’ However, bloody brutal was the general consensus amongst camp.

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Race director Shane Ohly, although extremely sympathetic to the runners needs was a little distracted… the large marquee that provides a shelter and eating environment for the runners was about to take off and provide a vey unique kite in the stormy skies. It was all hands on deck; poles were being rammed in the ground, straps were being added and luckily, the improvised actions secured the imminent flight.

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The gale force winds, torrential rain and a bunch of tired competitors gave Shane no option – bad weather courses were announced at 0600. This was then adjusted nearer 0700 removing a key control that would have taken all runners over Grizedale Peak. The winds were just too strong and dangerous.

Only 7 elite runners were left in the race and they ran a full bad weather course, several runners attempted an improvised A/B route but most people just made a direct route to the ‘C’ finish causing a logistical headache for the Ourea Team. Buses had been arranged for approximately 50 runners, however, on the day, the numbers escalated beyond 100.

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As one would expect, just as the day approached midday, the rain stopped, the wind reduced, the sky turned blue and white fluffy clouds occupied the sky as the sun broke through… you couldn’t make it up! Really?

Shane Ohly confirmed at the finish line, ‘this has been the most testing event and conditions we have encountered in any race we have organised. I don’t like to reduce courses but safety is key and we make the right call. It’s been a tough weekend!’

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The runners confirmed the severity of the 3 days but it’s funny how morning grimaces turned to afternoon smiles. The GL3D ethos rose above the surface and talk soon started about 2017.

Images available at iancorless.photoshelter.com HERE

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Great Lakeland 3 Day 2016 #GL3D – Day 2

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Yesterday I said, ‘The Lakes really are a special place any day, anytime, in any weather… well, almost?’

‘Well almost,’ hit today with some seriously torrential rain, gusting to gale force winds (particularly on the tops and in exposed areas) and at times slippery conditions underfoot. That’s the Lakes for you… the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Despite the onslaught of the weather, the scenery and the landscape still remained beautiful and spectacular. Despite the odd patch of white at higher levels, the complete blanket of snow that had covered about 500m was gone! It really is amazing the difference a day can make.

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Warmer temperatures overnight certainly made camping a more pleasant experience and for those runners who were up early and packed away by 0615, they will have dry gear and a dry tent to pitch tonight! Anyone who slept in will have a different story to tell. When the rain came, it really did come and although Shane Ohly (race director) had said it was on it’s way, we had all secretly hoped he was wrong.

The forecast was bad and Shane had contemplated running a bad weather course but many runners, even those in the Elite category decided to run the much shorter ‘C’ route. In all honesty, it was a wise decision. The C route although easy navigation had plenty of ups and downs in it and in the conditions, it was far enough.

This was confirmed at the Cafe at Honister Pass which contained a gathering of GL3D competitors throughout the day. They all found solace in some food and a warm drink before pushing on past Buttermere and to the day 2 camp at Loweswater.

Despite the harsh conditions, temperatures were good. However, wet clothes and serious wind chill did make many a runners journey a tough one – hands in particular were constantly being banged together and rubbed in an effort to bring them back to life.

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In the true nature of the GL3D, many of the participants had nothing but smiles and laughter for the conditions, particularly after the picture postcard scenes of day 1. The race did have its casualties though with many participants not completing any of the race categories (they just wanted to be back in camp asap) and others deciding to end the 3 day adventure early; the lure of warm clothes and a bed just too much of a temptation after such a tough day.

Post race the rain slowly reduced to a persistent drizzle, temperatures were relatively good but the main priority for all was to get out of wet clothes and into dry clothes. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, ‘thank goodness this is not a full self-sufficient mountain marathon!’

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Dry bags were opened, tents were pitched and in the safety of one of the large marquees provided by Ourea Events, stories started to be told about the days challenges. Of course, as per the previous day, free cake was consumed and energy levels were topped up with a pint of beer.

Day 3 concludes the 2016 GL3D and the runners will navigate back to the start location via Elite, A, B and C courses. However, I heard someone say the weather forecast is worse for tomorrow; oh joy!

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Skyrunning UK – True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra – The Movie 2015

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I was told 2-years ago that Skyrunning in the UK was not possible.

You don’t have the mountains…

You don’t have the technical terrain…

Ridges – pah!

Climbing – pah!

You have nothing over a 1000m… 

and so on and so on.

The V3K launched our series and in doing so we showed UK runners that Wales, the 3000’s and in particular Crib Goch can test even the hardiest competitor.

The Mourne Skyline MTR had Skyrunner World Series champion Stevie Kremer come over and what did she say?

‘That is the hardest race I have ever done!’

In 2015 we stepped it up a notch with the mind blowing Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and Emelie Forsberg, Skyrunning World and European Champion for the Ultra distance half way through the race said,

‘This is the best course I have ever run for this distance!’

And then just last weekend, the first edition of the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra took place under horrendous conditions. Torrential rain, gale force winds and and I am pleased to say we have it all on film.

Enjoy!

Skyrunning in the UK? 

of course we can! With bells on….

Film by Steve Ashworth – MovieiT

Images from the race to purchase HERE