In short: Well worth all the training In full: A fantastic race. I'm a big fan of the Lakeland trails, have run several of the other races and knew as soon as the marathon was announced I'd have to enter. I agree the website did not give the correct impression re the difficulty of the course, but concede that if I'd studied the information provided hard enough I could have read between the lines and worked it out. The pre race info, news letter and weekly updates on the website were very good and informative. The last big downhill was a challenge due to tired legs and the uneven terrain, as was the run over the tree routes along the lake side. My wife, who was running with me very nearly took a tumble, as it appears many did. The fact that it was harder actually did add to the enjoyment and achievement factor making all the cruelling off road training I'd done feel that much more worthwhile. I also enjoyed the river crossing and think it should be kept in. Re the feeding stations, it was clearly advised on the website that a minimum of 2 litres fluid of choice, should be carried and appropriate gels/bars/ to get you around the course. The 4 choices available at the stations, Zero, Energy drink, water and mint cake were a great supplement to my own provisions, but I'm a big believer that, as much as possible runners should be self sufficient. Drinking water was available at the end, but I spotted this sometime after I finished the race and didn't need to use it. The medal is very generic, but I only throw them in a draw so don't find that much of an issue, but if I'm getting one for a race like the marathon it would be nice to have the race and date on the back. The t-shirts are always excellent and I was glad to see that the event shirt did have the year and race on it. I'll be wearing that with pride. I normally run the races and not the challenges in Lakeland trails events , but on this occasion decided to opt for the challenge to give me two hours of cooler weather in the event it was going to be hot ( it was) and also so I could pretty much ignore the cut-offs and enjoy the run The cut-offs were brought in quite close to the race start date, so think next year these should be clearly advertised at the outset. The marshals and the support around the course were both fantastic and the atmosphere after the event, relaxing in the sun, with Pete providing the music was also great. Graham, Christian and all involved made it a really great day. In view of this being the first Lakeland trails marathon and the logistics that must have been involved I think it was excellent. I'm sure lessons will be learnt and it will only improve. It's worth doing just for the fantastic views. Date of review: July 6, 2011
In short: A very tough race. In full: I have ran several of the Lakeland Trails runs over the last few years and have definitely got the bug for the off road! However despite this I did all of my training on road which wasn't really ideal preparation. Note to self, train off road for next year!
I would also take water with me. I'm aware that people have mentioned that on the web site it said take additional water however this wasn't really clear.
Despite all this though I'll definitely be there again next year! Bring it on!
This has to be one of the toughest and best marathons in the UK. Date of review: July 6, 2011
In short: Glorious weather, beautiful scenery, great terrain. Definitely one of my favourite races. In full: Really enjoyed the course, certainly tough but as expected, it definitely kept you interested. I wore my road shoes and found these ideal for the dry, hard packed trails. I found everybody very friendly and helpful. My only suggestions for improvement would be a courier bus for those who drop out and girl sized T-shirts (for my girlfriend, not me), oh, and somebody or something pointing to the water at the end. Overall, a wonderful race,my girlfriend and I would definitely do it again. Date of review: July 6, 2011
In short: A thoroughly rewarding race - not for the feint hearted! In full: Amazed at the number of people I've heard say that this was their first ever marathon... they certainly know how to throw themselves in the deep end!
A really enjoyable experience - assisted by the glorious weather which meant that supportors and spectators had a great time too with plenty of attractions to keep younger minds active.
The course was easy to follow and the number of marshals adequate although a bit light in the finish area. The terrain was tougher than advertised - probably to avoid scaring off people who ultimately pushed themselves out of their comfort zones and were rewarded for doing so.
I agree with comments regarding the need for emphasising self sufficiency at future events as I saw several road runners taking the risk of setting out carrying nothing - safety is our own responsibility, not the race organisers...
Let none of the above take away from the fact that this was an absolutely superb event. A challenge to anyone and, subject to other events next year, I intend to come back and do it again. Date of review: July 6, 2011
In short: Glorious scenery, weather and great atmosphere but tough! In full: I had failed to get through the lottery for the London Marathon so had opted for this event for my first marathon – how glad I am that I did this - no road/city marathon could compare with such a stunning and challenging course. I had done a couple of the Lakeland trail runs last year (including Coniston) so had some idea of what the terrain would be like. There was plenty of information on the website and in email newsletters regarding the route, a map, hill profile and what to expect at the feed stations. I took the advice regarding carrying sufficient food and drink, especially given that the hot weather was forecast days beforehand. As others have said though, the website slide show does make it look a bit like a "walk in the park" which it definitely wasn't. Again as others have noted, the distance may have been short of a full marathon distance - my Garmin (non-GPS) footpod (normally very accurate) registered about 2km under, but at the end of a gruelling course I was glad of that.
Although the whole event was very friendly and great for families I could not say that the course itself was beginner friendly. I wouldn't advise tackling something of this distance without previous off road experience. Some descents were particularly challenging and I imagine could be very dodgy in wet weather. As it was I took a tumble on the first downhill on Holme Fell, no serious damage apart from a couple of scrapes and my pride. I treated the remaining downhills with more respect and managed to stay upright for the rest of the course. I did have a few close calls towards the end when it was hard to lift tired legs over rocks and tree roots (of which there were plenty on the run down to the lakeside). The wade across the river was an enforced last minute amendment but certainly added another talking point to the event - I think it should be a permanent feature!
On a such a brilliantly sunny day, the views around Tarn Hows, across Coniston from Grizedale and around Beacon Tarn were fabulous and delayed me as I stopped to take photographs.
Thanks and congratulations to Graham and all concerned for successfully staging the first running of a fantastic event – perhaps a few website tweaks to emphasise even more the need to be self sufficient on the course and allow for weather conditions but not so as to deter people from missing out on a tremendous experience. It was well worth the entry fee, the technical tee shirts are far better than the cotton ones given at some events and the post race entertainment and catering were excellent as ever. Date of review: July 6, 2011
In short: Tough and challenging race. Treat with respect and you will enjoy it. In full: This is definitely the hardest race I have ever entered, and pushed me up to and beyond the limits O had previously come across. The course was excellent and challenging. I would agree with the other comments about this being harder than advertised. i have run all the other Lakeland Trails races, and had set my expectations of the terrain from these. In reality the section after the river crossing, through to the lake was far more technical than I expected. Having said that, all this means is that next time I had better train and prepare better. The web site did make it very clear that runners should expect to be self sufficient, and therefore was not disappointed by the level of support, in fact this adds to the challenge. At the price it is not a cheap race, and I think could be made to feel better value. Although I will probably do it again. Date of review: July 5, 2011
In short: If you've never loved and hated something at the same time this is the one for you. This and marriage! In full: The scenery was stunning and the organisation was slick. Registration on a Saturday was a great touch and the early start at 9 o'clock is something I hope lakeland trails would consider for all of their future races. Even on a marathon you didn't feel like you missed most of the day. Hot weather and some great big hills made this tough (probably not the best one for my first marathon in hindsight) but all in all it was a glorious race with superb marshalling and support. Just gutted I had to go straight after finishing. A lakeland trail isn't the same without Pete Lashley serenading your victory. Good work Lakeland Trails Team Date of review: July 5, 2011