In short: Phidipides didn't run on tarmac! In full: I am a Lakeland Trails fan and have been longing for a Marathon - thank you to all those who made this possible.
I have to disagree with a lot of comments below - their was no need to be taken by surprise by the terrain, height gain, or remoteness of some of the course. It was all there on the map (available on the website for weeks beforehand) and the starting instructions. Checkpoints have to be at road crossings - you can't hump water for 1000 runners up a thumping great hill - Lakeland tracks are famously rough: littered with loose stones.
In the Lakes, the trail running ethic should be towards self-sufficiency: you carry what you need and anything you get at the checkpoints is a bonus. Otherwise, we are just running on country paths - which this aint!
What a day; can't wait for the next one! Date of review: July 4, 2011
In short: The art of running slowly! In full: The Lakeland 100 is realy two events: a 100 mile circuit of the Lakes for nutters, and a 50 mile race along half of the course; also for nutters.
Me and my mates did the 50 miler - that was quite enough for us, thank you.
Starting at midday we jogged off round some beautiful countryside 'round the head of Ulswater, a nice 4 mile warm up before the climbing began. By the end of the course we would have ascended about 10,000 feet - a bit less than jogging up Mt. Blanc from Chamonix!
The weather was perfect to begin with, then deteriorated into a classic lakes combo of soaking rain and driving winds - which we were lucky enough to be running right into. The evening was better, with patches of mist to make the navigation more interesting.
You can't just follow the leader on this (unmarked) course - a couple of dozen followed us at one point and wound up in entirely the wrong place. If you can't read a map really well, don't sign up for this.
Then it got dark, and everything became more difficult, and more beautiful. Pitch dark, patches of mist, Langdale Pikes in the distance, picking our way across the bogs under Pike O'Blisco, looking back to see twenty or so bobbing headtorch lights stretching back to Blea Tarn; feeling half dead and totally alive.
They are briliant, the people who organise this, very efficient and safe: and there was great craic with the other nutters on the way round. Everyone I met thoroughly enjoyed it.
In short: The race I never miss In full: All the other comments extoll the scenery, organisation and toughness of this event - I can't add any more to that. Yet, I think that the genius of these events is that there are two races for grown ups, each run on the same course. The trail race is for faster and more competitive people and the challence race for those whose main goal is to enjoy the event and finish with dignity. I ran in the challenge (as I always do) and makes for a less intense but no less exciting day. I was near the finish when the leader of the trail race came thundering past me - what a thrill it was to be jogging home and see an elite runner go charging into the distance like an express train! Wonderful! Date of review: April 19, 2009
In short: A gorgeous finale to the Lakeland Trails series In full: I ran in the challenge rather than the trail race but the route was the same: hilly, undulating and rough underfoot, a couple of steep bits but nothing too sustained. This kind of event is a great progression for off road runners who want a stiffer challenge or who wish to transition into fell running eventually. Weather was great this weekend, organisation flawless, company convivial, but no tee-shirt... I was gutted!
Took some pictures on the way 'round - you can see them here: http://bobby-shaftoe.smugmug.com/gallery/6443276_pfZNd#408330571_vqgnp Date of review: November 4, 2008
In short: A great race in a great place! In full: This was our first Lyke Wake Race, though I had walked the route thirty years ago. We had some good advice from other racers at the start (04.30 hrs) basically they said to pace yourself sensibly and navigate carefully. We tried to keep up with one pair who were going a bit faster than us - then they made a navigational error and wound up a mile behind - sweet! The first 20 miles is firm underfoot and a bit hilly, the second half has few hills but is challenging underfoot. The challenges include rocks to stub your toe on (I lost two big toenails) and bogs to disappear into (my partner went in up to his chest) - lots of bogs and at least one swamp.
The people who organise this are very good at it, cheerful and helpful, there is a great spirit about the event from start to finish.
In short: A tough challenge through great country In full: The first ten miles of this route is hilly but firm underfoot, the second half has less climbing but very treacherous terrain. My partner vanished up to his nipples in a swamp and I stubbed my toes so many times that I have lost both big toenails! Would I do it again? Oh, yes! But next year I am wearing steel toed boots and a bouyancy aid.
The organisation was great, the checkpoints friendly. This was our first time and we learned a lot from the old hands we chatted to along the way - some of this information saved us at least 30 minutes on our overall time.
If you want to do this race prepare well, make sure you are fit enough to enjoy it, research the route properly and navigate carefully.
it is tough but it really was a blast! Date of review: July 16, 2008
In short: All this and sunshine too! In full: It was tough - 24 kms and knocking on for 2000 feet of climbing - but this is one of the most beautiful races I have ever been part of (co-equal with the Langdale Marathon) I ran alone but the company was very convivial when we had breath to talk, and the organisation not to be faulted. There were elite runners, club runners, and people like me whose only aim was to finish with dignity. As long as you are reasonably fit and train regularly over distances and hills this should be within your capability. This is one race where there is no shame in walking up the hills - on gradients like these I walk faster than I can run! Thank you to the team at VO2 Max - this was a day I will never forget. Date of review: May 31, 2008
In short: A gorgeous, stretching 15k In full: I ran this event in 2006 with far fewer competitors but the Hawkshead race was just a much fun with a bigger field and a much bigger 'carnival' attached to it. The organisation was spot on and the location is the business - (pause to shed a tear of pity for anyone who lives more than 1.5 hours drive from the lakes). Only one suggestion for next year - please loose the drummers! Date of review: April 20, 2008