12/08/2012 09:32:02

Words by tcsh

Montane Lakeland 100 – In Nick’s words!

Having completed the Lakeland 50 last year, Nick opted for the 100 this year and completed it in just over 32 hours. An outstanding and inspirational effort. He has kindly revisited his weekend to give us this report on how it all went. Enjoy!

“About 300 of us stand on the start line for the UK’s premier and toughest Ultra Distance race. I was feeling good, very relaxed and confident that I had prepared and trained well enough to complete the distance.

Why we always start these races like a 10 mile trail race, I don’t know. But, we charged off through Coniston with cheers of support from the spectators who were lining the streets. Soon enough as I climbed up through Coppermines Valley and on towards the Walna Scar Pass it was time to slow down and start finding an easy and sustainable race pace.

I ran easy down the rough descent to Seathwaite and was in and out of the checkpoint after a quick water refill. All was well on the way to Boot except for going knee deep in the bog at Grassguards and being winded after slipping and landing on my back on the drop to Penny Hill Farm.

No stop at Boot either and then a steady climb to Burnmoor Tarn to start the descent into Wasdale. I arrived here just as it went dark which was exactly where I wanted to be at 20 miles in. On with the head torch and off into the night. For me, this is the best bit of these races. You can’t beat being out on the fells for the night – just yourself immersed in nature with your own thoughts.

All night I was in my own zone and hardly spoke to anyone. I knew the route well and seemed to pass people at will, especially on the descents. A quick stop at Buttermere and then up the twisting, turning path to Sail Pass. I was glad to have recced the path through Barrow Door the week before as I saw some lost runners above me on the ridge. Then came some nice easy running into Braithwaite for a warm welcome, before the long slog on the A66 towards Keswick.

My good progress during the night was really helped by the excellent new Petzl Nao head torch. Its reactive lighting was awesome for picking out lines while descending and saved battery power while moving slowly on the climbs.

I felt strong on the climb up Spooney Lane and went through the Blencathra Centre checkpoint in just over 11 hours. Along the Old Coach Road and then through Dockray passed without incident. My first signs of tiredness came when I started the climb up the side of Gowbarrow Fell. A few people crept away from me here but my pace seemed to improve on the road section into Dacre and on to Dalemain.

Psychologically, it was great to get to Dalemain as it is 59 miles in and it feels like you are starting to head back towards Coniston. I stopped here for about 15 mins and set off for Pooley Bridge.

I sensed that I was slowing over the next few hours. Not just because there were the three major climbs of Wether Hill, Gatesgarth and Garburn Passes but because my feet had become blistered underneath some time before. In hindsight I had also been neglecting my usual eating regime for a while. This was something I would pay for later.

As I neared my home town of Ambleside, my mood improved as I knew I would be met by friends, family and plenty of familiar faces at the Lakes Runner checkpoint. After handshakes, good lucks and a couple of slices of ginger cake I was on my way through Rothay Park.

The climb over Loughrigg Fell is one I have run hundreds of times but at 7.30pm on this Saturday evening it seemed to take forever. It took an age to get to the Langdale checkpoint (I almost fell asleep walking along towards Elterwater!). I had slowed terribly over the past couple of miles and was also feeling nauseous. At the checkpoint I tried to force some soup down but ended up vomiting twice. Nothing for it but to put the torch back on (it was nearly dark again at this point!) and get on with it.

I knew I was slowing as a few other 100 runners came past me on the way past Blea Tarn but dug in and started to feel better as I led a few runners through to the Tilberthwaite checkpoint (100 miles, 3 to go!). A quick hug from a friend here, then up the infamous steps. I just had to negotiate the tricky descent down to Coppermines and then it was back into Coniston.

There was still quite a crowd outside the John Ruskin School gates at the finish which was amazing at 2.00am in the morning. All of the finishers got a huge cheer back in the school canteen area from competitors, organisers and supporters. This meant a lot to all of us who finished.

I finished in 32hours 45mins and in 66th place. Over 50% of the competitors didn’t finish the event re-enforcing its status as the UK’s toughest 100 mile race. This was my first hundred and I was overjoyed to have finished. I have learnt so much and can’t wait to get stuck in again next year.

I would like to say a big thank you to my friends and family who have supported me all of the way through this adventure. Also to everyone at the Climbers Shop who have been there every step of the way. Finally, a big thank you to Montane and all of the guys who have organised such an inspirational and amazing event.”

Nick Cox, The Climbers Shop Manager.

Lakeland 100 LL 100 1_0466
Done & Dusted! At the finish in Coniston. Only 85 miles to go – Coming into Boot.

Thanks Nick!

If this has inspired you to maybe enter yourself (how could it not?!) then take a look at Montane’s Lakeland 50/100 website for details on the event and for great photos from this years and past years race.

And don’t forget that we have our Ultra Running Day coming up next Saturday (the 18th August), where there is loads going on including:
  • UK ultra runner Andy Mouncey doing a book signing, with an evening talk, along with an ‘On the hill’ training session!
  • Terry Conway, this years winner of the Lakeland 100 in a record breaking time and his wife Annie, 2nd placed woman in the Lakeland 50 also featuring in the evening presentation
  • Montane highlighting products from their running range
  • Mark Barnes (another UK ultra runner!) promoting Hoka One One footwear & Injinji toe socks
  • PLUS Inov8 will be showcasing their brand new shoe, the Trail Rock 255 (first anywhere!), with a chance to try before buy, along with the new Mudroc 300. Any Inov8 purchases will also receive a FREE Inov8 gift!

Tickets for the evening presentation are available HERE or in The Climbers Shop, Ambleside.