Running 50 Miles Over the Mountains of the Lake District In a Day
Over 500 runners will be heading to the village of Caldbeck on the northern edge of the Lake District National Park this weekend to start Open Adventure’s ‘Lakes in a Day’ race, a journey that is inspiring, daunting and stunning in equal measure.
The iconic 50 mile ultra, now established as one of the UK’s blue ribband long distance mountain runs, will challenge them on a course which traverses the length of the National Park and finishes in Cartmel. The route crosses the summits of Blencathra, Helvellyn and Fairfield, follows the path alongside Windermere for a time and will entail river crossings and steep ridge line descents that require a good head for heights.
The runners will navigate a route which includes 4000m of climbing, setting off from Caldbeck soon after sunrise at 08.00am, and aiming to complete the distance within 24 hours. The challenge is made harder by the October weather on the high fells, and the forecast is that it will be wet at times this year, though not as wet as the past two years which have seen torrential rainfall.
The race is now in its 6th year and while the majority of runners are from the UK there are visiting athletes from Sweden, France, Ireland, Germany, Hungary, Holland, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland and Canada.
Clarens Olsson of Sweden was the male winner last year in a time of 10 hours 45 hours 01 minutes, crossing the line together with the female winner Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn who broke her course record from the year before by one minute.
The male record of 9 hours 12 minutes and 07 seconds was set in 2015 by international runner Kim Collison. There were good conditions that year but Collison thinks the record can be significantly reduced and maybe this is the year.
The men’s starting line up includes Salomon sponsored runner Ricky Lightfoot, a former World Trail Running Champion who lives in Cumbria, adventure and endurance runner Tom Gibbs, who also lives locally and has won many titles including trail and fell runs and mountain marathons, and Damian Hall who is a record breaking ultra runner and an inov-8 ambassador. If anyone can break the male record time they will claim a £2000 prize as there is a £500 prize for a new record time, which rolls over each year.
In the women’s race the target is last year’s time set by Kaars Sijpesteijn, who is not returning to try for a three-peat. The field here is more wide open but Karen Nash, a previous winner of the 190 mile Northern Traverse (another Open Adventure event) is one of the favourites to do well.
Of course most runners are not out to set records, just finishing is a huge achievement and that will be the target for many of the starters. Others will have their own objectives, be that beating a previous time, raising money for charity, running in remembrance of a loved one or friend, or using the training and the race to help overcome personal tragedy.
As they run they will be in the experienced hands of the Open Adventure team who have a peerless reputation for race organisation and supporting competitors. Most runners will register at Cartmel and be transferred by bus early on Saturday morning, but there is also the option to register at Caldbeck. There will be marshals at many key points along the route (who will be staying on the fells for long periods) and the route is broken up by 3 aid stations which will offer a spread of food and drink no other race can match, as well as medical help if required and at Ambleside a bag drop for a change of footwear. All of the competitors will also receive a double sided A3 waterproof map with the route marked.
The race service extends to those who want to follow the progress of friends and family who are competing as well. There will be live tracking on the day, which can be found at http://live.opentracking.co.uk/lakesday19, as well as commentary on the Open Adventure Facebook page. Photographs of all the competitors and a race video will follow in the days after the race.
It will be an inspirational and emotional day as the competitors try to succeed at Lakes In A Day, and if you are already inspired by the idea and want to get a place for next year, then 2020 entries are already open at https://www.lakesinaday.co.uk/, where you can find out more about this incredible race.
For information on all Open Adventure Events see https://www.openadventure.com/