To date I have completed 3 Lakeland 100 races. This race is a circuit of 103.5 miles, so starting and finishing at the same place, Coniston. This year I decided on a different challenge, and as the 50 starts at approximately the half way point at Dalemain. The added novelty being that a coach ride to the start was required, and that it was then a run home. Or to the campsite anyway. Its always nice to run point to point like this.
It was a hot day but my problems were largely down to my sausage bun at breakfast not agreeing with me. I started off fast on a hot day, and with high hopes of finishing at the sharp end of the field. But by the top of High Cop (the first big climb 10 miles in) I realised this was to be a very unlikely outcome. I had to do something that I really don't like doing, and thats go way off the trail and find a place for a "comfort break". 5 minutes later I was back on my way to the 2nd CP at Mardale head. I felt a bit ropey, but hoped it may pass. It didn't. By the time I reached Mardale head CP I needed to make good use of the Portaloo. I seriously considered retiring here, but thought my discomfort may pass. So after a long break and some food, that I hoped would provide more energy than breakfast, I headed on up the tough climb of Gatesgarth Pass.
Although I never needed a "comfort break" again, I had other issues caused by my previous episodes. I felt lacking in energy and had to stop maybe 10 times to stretch out cramps in just about every muscle in both my legs. The first time being at the start of the little climb just before Kentmere. I felt instant clenching pain in both my hamstrings that reduced me to embarrassingly writhe about on a grass verge. Cursing and grunting must have been an odd sight for all the competitors passing me. Then Debbie Martin Consani (went on to be 2nd Lady finisher) passed asking if I was ok, I said yes.
But really meant no. But what could anyone do, apart from carry me to the finish line. So I carried on and accepted my slowness, and muscles vibrating into spasm now and again. Sometimes I would stop for 20 seconds, other times for 2 minutes or more. But I must have stopped 15 plus times. Its hard to say how much time I wasted with this, but i would say at least 30 minutes. Plus the amount of time moving slow; that is harder to estimate. Before the race I did feel that I was in the shape to go well under 9 hours. Thats the main disappointment.
Towards the end I felt like I could run a bit better, but I still had to stop for a little stretch now and again. When the little vibrations in various muscles felt like they were going to clasp into spasm, it felt sensible to stretch them out before they really grabbed. The feeling of racing had long gone, and I knew my time was going to be a long way from what I was capable of. But I toughed out a very bad
day, and took a bit of joy from that.
I came 25th out of 615 in 9 hours 38:09. Jayson Cavill won the race in 8 hours 04:24.
Whilst at the race I realised that they now hand out a plaque for 5 Lakeland 100 completions. As I have done 3, it is incentive enough to get 1 nearer to it next year. So I'm up for the Lakeland 100 in
Paul Tierney near the start, in about 8th place. He went on to win the Lakeland 100 by over an hour. Proving its not a race for a fast start. No photos of me as I didn't consider them worth buying. Best to try and forget my first Lakeland 50.