Yep, I did it last year and couldn't recommend it more. The course is tough, yes, but absolutely stunning. I do hope the fording of the river at the 18-mile mark remains this year!
The Lakeland Trails was my first marathon but didn't put me off, as I'm now in training for my second. The atmosphere and camaraderie with the other runners was brilliant as well. The whole event was fantastic fun, especially the finish in the school field with the real ale bar at hand.
The only thing is, I wouldn't approach it with the idea that you're going for a particular time. I was used to trail running - or so I thought - having done all my training in the Peak District. Until the day, I thought I was on for a sub 4.30 time. However, a combination of the blazing heat and the course being much hillier and rockier underfoot than I'd expected meant that I came in at 5h40!
Even this didn't disappoint, though, as the event was nothing short of spectacular. Very hard, yes, but it remains the most picturesque run I've ever done. Do it!
Elli - I would echo Jennifers comments. Its a really tough run in a really beautiful part of the world. I too made the mistake of thinking about time. I was hoping to do it in around 4 hours and it took me over 5! MInd you the winner 'only' did it in 3.15 which shows what a challenge it is. If it's as hot as it was last year then good luck.
Would I do it again? Would I hell!
Elli - if you're still doing the Wall run, I admire your stamina tackling this 6 days later, I have thought about it but I'm taking it cautiously after June, I've done the Cartmel race a couple fo times and the scenery is stunning as I'd expect this to be also, the hills make it hard and don't expect a decent time, my time for the 11.5 mile Cartmel run is generally on a par with my normal half marathon time
Hills, surface, everything - it's all really, really tough. I was flat on my backside at one point after tripping on a lot of loose shale - it would have been at around 16 miles, on the bit above the lake before the river crossing. But at that point a cut hand was really the least of my worries.
The slideshow makes the course seem much flatter and easier underfoot than it really is. Hence why I got my time estimation out by more than an hour!
I completely echo what Costanza says about the last three miles, too. I remember narrow paths and stumbling over tree roots in complete dizziness, barely able to stay upright. By that point too, the super-fit runners who'd started two hours later than me were passing me, and I was trying to keep moving and get out of their way. What really touched me was how supportive they were, though. I'd have thought they'd be annoyed to find people like me in their way, slowing them down, but no - the fastest runners, with no more fat on them than a greyhound, were telling me "well done" as they passed and even giving me jelly babies. That's what I meant about the camaraderie earlier - the runners were absolutely lovely.
Would I do it again? Yes, one day - though this year I'm doing a flat marathon instead! I remember crossing the finish line, being handed my medal, and telling the woman who gave it to me that the Lakeland Trails Marathon was the "hardest thing I'd ever done." I still stand by that. But it was also one of the greatest days of my life.
Not doing it this year (doing one of the shorter races in the lakes), but did do it last year. Would agree with what has been said. Great race although very hilly and challenging course – don’t underestimate how difficult it is. I think people also forgot to mention the muddy bogs at about mile 20 or the limited drinks stations – you need to take some water with you on this one as I found out the hard way!
(The icon I use on the forum is me crossing the finish line – you can’t really see it, but I am still smiling, just!)
Oh god, the bogs. I remember those. I must have added at least a mile onto the 26.2 by trying to run around them, before giving up and just ploughing through.
I also wouldn't have got round without my Camelbak. The water stations were scarce (were there four?) and not evenly spaced. That's not a criticism of the event though, as it would have been both impossible and irresponsible to set up water stations up in the hills, far away from any roads.
As this was my first marathon, I think it was a bit of a baptism of fire, but I still think of it as being one of the most incredible days of my life.
Those bogs were fun – and considering it was probably the warmest day / period the lakes had in years then I bet they are even more fun under normal weather conditions!
I only remember 3 drinks stations. One at just before the small lake (where we had to dodge cows on the path), the one after the river crossing where everybody stopped and stuffed their face on chocolate Kendal mint cake and the one just after the bogs. Maybe there were others? I do remember deciding it was better to risk drinking at a stream between stations 1 and 2 rather than get anymore dehydrated. Would definitely take water next time and don’t blame organisers, as much of the marathon was in the middle of nowhere anyway.
Oh yes, and what about the rocks in the woods to start with – racing flats were such a bad idea for me!
I've decided not to do this one this year. My goal for 2012 is to pick up some speed so signing up for a lovely trail marathon would be great if I wasnt bothered about my time... but I am. So I've added this in my list TO DO and I will look into it next year.
I must say I was so tempted but I think having to pull out a lot of races lately I didnt think it was a realistic option for me this year. Good luck for those going for it and I might see you in 2013
I've entered and it's my first marathon as well. I'm in for the race rather than the challenge and have to say the cut off times are worrying me based on peoples descriptions of the course......I think ~13 min/mile is roughly the slowest you can be to make it through?
Getting nervous now but I've got the Poters 'Arf to deal with first.
I've also entered this race. It'll be my second marathon of the year after Brighton, and will be followed by the Ultra Race Peaks in August. Not bad considering I hardly ran before this year.
Having said that I don't really know what i'm throwing myself into with Lakeland or the Ultra Race.
Like Lee I have entered the race and the cut off times have me worried too. I have a good idea of elevation and terrain from holidays in the Lakes but what I'm reading here is disturbing.
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