Lakeland 100 2017

Lakeland 100, July 2017, Round 4

Well I'm a shell of the man i was 6pm Friday. Tough day in the office but Lakeland 100 done and dusted in 32 hours, my silver target time. I could have been quicker but some tricky conditions underfoot in places and a poor footwear choice meant i slowed for safe passage (me and Harriet are hitting the Pennine Way for a few days from Thursday 😱 so i was under strict orders to finish in one piece). As it was i must have been on my bum a dozen times when my feet just slipped from under me. Lakeland mud appears to have some sort of superglue component as finally it took scrubbing with a nailbrush to get my legs clean (ouch). 

Bumped into Gary Chapman, Iain Murray and Peter Smith at teh start waiting for the operatic send off. They were all three exuding nerves, which added to my own. This may have been my fourth start but I was still next to useless stood on that start line.

Pushed hard for the first three sections (not conventional wisdom but it was important for me psychologically to have a strong start and get ahead of plan). Put a lot of work in and was borderline stomach wise, but then pulled the situation back with a steady leg to Buttermere all to plan. 

To say that Gary was getting into the spirit of things at the overnight checkpoints may be putting it lightly....

Bit of a mental wobble on the long climb out of Buttermere as someone appears to have made it longer this year without informing the race organisers!! Refueled with rice pudding at Braithwaite and as a result felt and performed strong through to Dalemain (60 mile mark) where my drop bag was. Full kit change and feet reset plus much banter with the magnificent marshal team and i was ready for the off. 

Teamed up with Iain Murray by this time in a solid partnership that saw us through to the finish.... Thanks Iain. Wonderful to see so many Hardmoors friends at Checkpoint Chia Charge at Howtown, thanks all, you were a real pick-me-up. 

Fusedale valley was its usually bitch-of-a-climb and i struggled for traction all the way to Mardale head. Plain sailing from there to kentmere (thanks Jen for the "secret bread" and looking after first me, then shortly after Hari so well) with Harriet hot on my heels. 

Brilliant to see Robert at Troutbeck... Our Lakeland history is long and we first failed, and then finished, our first two Lakeland 100's together a few years back. The support was great though the race rules forbid him from supplying his usual pork pie which was a travesty. 

Harriet finally caught us at Ambleside and was doing amazingly well, opting to push on solo to secure a 14:03 finish, a pb by a brilliant one and three quarter hours!!! (She puts a lot of this down to spending less time sat down chatting in checkpoints!!). 

It feels like almost job done at Ambleside but there is still much to do. Some good running along Elterwater was interrupted rudely by inhaling a swarm of midges. 10 minutes of coughing ensued. Loads of midges and mossies this year presumably because of the wet warm conditions. 

I passed on last years unplanned nap by the fire at chapel style and we pushed on through the last major leg without incident, other than almost being blown over by Shirley Steele as she jetted past us up the Langdale valley. The final sting in the tail came with simultaneous head torch battery failure and the arrival of heavy rain just as we started the descent into Coniston, but the we made up for it with a devil take the hindmost style sprint finish from quarry to the finish line that almost killed me. 

So, 32 hours, and a 3 hour improvement on my pb which i put down to upping my training significantly and losing 6 kilos in weight! Who knew?! A huge thank you to everyone at the cp's, you were wonderful as ever, and to supporters on route. 

People i met but forget, names i got wrong, stories i told to the same people twice, people who i was grumpy or sarcastic to, I'm so sorry, it is the nature of these races that we dig deep both physically and mentally and the social niceties can slip under such circumstances! Finally well done to all who started the race. I have many friends who were racing this year and sadly more than a few who didn't complete their journey this time around. Its a bitch of a race and in my 4 times I've toed the line this was the hardest one. Rest and recover, learn and return. Lakeland 1, Karl 3. Never say never but that's me done with the L100 for a while, time to explore new summer races. 


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