The Endurance Store Trail Team have a day our at the Lakeland 50 & 100

The Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 is our bucket list event, especially as we organise it! This year the trail team descended on Coniston, determined to do themselves justice and not knock themselves out on low hanging branches. Richard Bardon reports:

It is always a good feeling to arrive in Coniston on the weekend of the Lakeland 50 and 100. There is a mix of fear, trepidation and excitement. Virtually every conversation involves missed training, the fact that everyone is coming down with a cold and all the injuries are making themselves known. All of which is forgotten about once the gun goes off.

This is a very different feeling from 10 years ago. There were 34 starters of the Lakeland 100. None of the competitors really had a clue what they were doing. I can remember Steve Birkinshaw (the winner of the first L100) asking how do you pace a 100 mile race! Roll on 10 years and there were 360 starters and the village is brought to a standstill as the runners set off. It gives me goosebumps to lead out the route up to the Copper Mines passing all the supporters lining the roads and it amazes me just how quickly the lead runners set off.

I chose to run the Lakeland 50 this year as it had been 4 years since I had last completed the race. We had the full Endurance Store Trail Race Team racing, Richard Smith, Dan Miller and me. Driving up to Dalemain on the Saturday morning the main topic of conversation was about pacing and for Dan and Rich Smith not to go sprinting off (as usual). (Editor: As the person responsible for leading the first 4 miles round the Dalemain Estate, i can confirm that both Dan and Rich Smith set off too quick.. as usual.)

I always find the run around Dalemain quite tough and as I completed the 4 mile loop Ang told me that Dan was at the front and Rich S was in fourth, sounds like our chat about pacing was useful. I am not going to describe the route as there are so many blogs describing it step-by-step and Marc will just add some sarcastic comments (Editor: Me? Sarcastic? Fair point.)

The highlights of this race include the checkpoints as nothing is too much trouble. Mardale Head is one of my favourite stops as I generally struggle up to this point- you forget that you have actually ran 20 miles by this point. The soup (and the Delamere Spartans) is a brilliant pick me up. Gatesgarth Pass, both up and down, I always enjoy and then the view of Windermere on the section after Troutbeck Bridge is worth the entry fee alone. Another highlight is the camaraderie amongst the competitors, I always try and encourage the L100 runners who I am passing and it amazes me that they have the energy to respond!

Dropping back into Coniston is fantastic with the support, no matter what time of the day or night people are finishing.

The presentation on the Sunday is a must, and is a brilliant finale to the weekend (I can’t believe I said this as I am sure the editor is going to add a comment here). (Editor: I don't need to add anything, you have hit the nail on the head, in particular the word brilliant). It was really good to see Tony and Giselle being acknowledged for having been there from the very beginning. They have ran the checkpoint at Braithwaite from the very start. I also have to thank them for making me realise that rice pudding is actually really nice and very easy to digest.

Well done to Dan and Rich Smith who finished 21st and 22nd (I think) in around 9.15. I was pretty chuffed with a pb of 9.48, as always it can only be a good day running in the Lakes. If you get the chance you should try this event, if 50 miles is too far try marshalling. It is a brilliant weekend.

Well done to Michael Jones for retaining his L100 title in an impressive 20.20 and to Casper and Katie for the course records in the L50 and well done to the following (daft) people for completing the L100: Wayne and Craig Gregson, Guy Illingworth, Paul Swindles, Graham Johnston, Dave Cowburn, Maria Cook. Apologies if I’ve missed anyone.

PPS Was I the only person who saw Alistair Brownlee running over Loughrigg Terrace? I can’t have been hallucinating, although I did miss the mountain-biking sheep on Gatesgarth Pass this year.

Until next year, enjoy the trails.

Richard Bardon (Trail Team Elder)