With Katrina still with Hollie in the Highlands helping her move into her new flat in Alness I decided it would be rude not to head to the Lakes for the weekend. My plan was to cheer on the Lakeland 100/50 runners on Saturday and go for a recce run on the Lakes in a day route on Sunday but things didn’t quite work out as planned!
I left Paisley about 8.30pm on Friday evening and drove down to the checkpoint 6 at Blencathra arriving about 11.45pm. My initial plan was to get a couple of hours sleep before the first runners came at around 1.30am but I decided to wander down to the checkpoint and say hello.
It was great to meet Dave, Jason and their team and I ended up chatting with them until the first runners started arriving at 1.45am.
I was keen to see how Marco was doing so I went outside at the car park to wait for him. He came in at 2.05am which was about 15mins after the leader in 7th place. Marco said his legs didn’t have much power especially on up uphills but I was sure that things would turn round in such a long race.
I waited around until about 3am then set off to run back to Keswick along the route cheering on the runners as they ran towards me. I realised that I may well be confusing them when they saw my head torch coming towards them so I did try to take it off and point at the ground when I saw them approach.
I hope I was able to encourage the runners. I was able to tell how far to go to the checkpoint and more importantly tell them about little Dave’s Mum’s chocolate cake. It was slowly starting to get light by the time I reached the turn off to Latrigg Fell.
I was going to stay at that point for a few hours waiting for Andy C, Vicky H and Noanie amongst others but the flies were so annoying I decided to head down to Keswick and then head back to Blancathra along a lower route. As I headed down I cheered on the runners as they made their way up the hill. Having done the race a couple of times I could appreciate how they were feeling.
I stopped outside the pub and sat on the picnic tables and cheered on more runners as they came past. It was good to see Mike C (who was chuffed to be 45mins up on last year), Andy C (looking as comfortable as ever) and Vicky (who said everything hurts from the neck down!).
I had 4G so could see when they left the previous checkpoint and estimate their arrival. I knew Noanie was going to be near the cut-offs as she has been struggling with a long term undiagnosed injury. John D arrived waiting for Noanie so we chatted about next weekend’s Devils race where I am doing the timing and sooner than we thought Noanie arrived.
Noanie was limping but in high spirits as she was loving the course and event and was more determined than ever to get as far round as she could keeping ahead of those cut-off times.
Once Noanie had gone I left John and ran back to Blencathra arriving just before 8am. I got my porridge from the car and went back to the checkpoint to scrounge some hot water which Jason very kindly gave me. When I went back to my car Paul was there with Annabel & Daniel so I decided to wait with them for Vicky come through.
The cut off was 9am and so it was good to see Vicky coming down at 8.20am but not so good to see that she was walking down the hill. Annabel was so pleased to see her as she had been telling me her Mummy was going to finish this race on Sunday.
I think Vicky was pleased to see us but the first thing she said was ‘that’s me …. I’m stopping.’ Vicky went down to the checkpoint and I wondered whether Paul would be able to keep her going. I left them to it, jumped in my car and drove to Pooley Bridge.
It was sad to drive over the temporary bridge that has been built after the floods washed away the original stone bridge. I drove up the lane and parked just before the gate where the track heads up the road. I cheered on the 100 runners as they made their way up the hill.
It was good to see Peter Wilkie going well. Peter and I marshalled together in 2013 so I had been hoping to see him again. I then got my chair out and sat for about 90mins. Not long after Kirsty William’s husband came up the hill on his bike followed not too long after by Kirsty. I ran with Kirsty for a bit on last year’s race so it would good to be able to cheer her on.
I was about to head up the hill to get a good viewing point for the Lakeland 50 runners who were due to start at 11.30am and I reckoned would be through here about 12.30pm when Geoff W came along.
Geoff and I shared a lot of miles together last year as we were both aiming for a sub 30hrs. Geoff had a cracking run last year finishing in under 29hrs but he was a fair way behind that pace this time. I walked up the hill with him and sent him on his way.
Jody Y caught him up. Jody was going for his 5th Lakeland 100 completion and has also done 8 whw races. He had had some problems with his calf but was pleased to tell me everything was good and he was well ahead of previous years splits.
It was now about 11.15am so still over an hour to wait for the 50 runners coming through but it was warm and there are worse places to wait to cheer on the runners. The 100 runners continued to file past in varying states of repair.
Soon enough the leaders of the Lakeland 50 arrived. Friends Jason and Casper were in the leading group so it was good to see them going well. The first 25 or so were running but after that everyone else was sensibly walking. There is still a long, long was to go.
Tony H and Andy J were running looking good. Jon & Shirley were running together as were Carol M and Lorna S. I took photos of various friends as they passed. I good number of runners thanked me for the videos that Dave & I made of the route. So much so that a guy who had stopped to watch asked me whether I was a celebrity!!
Once the majority of the 50 runners were past I walked back down to the car. Initially I thought I might go to Ambleside and cheer runners on but they are so spread out by now I decided to go straight to Coniston hoping that I might get there before Marco finished.
As I was driving up the Honistor Pass I was feeling really tired having run through the night so I wisely stopped at the car park and had a 10min nap! I did feel slightly wimpish knowing that the Lakeland 100 runners had been running since 6pm!!
When I arrived at Coniston Debbie and Fiona R were waiting for Marco so I quickly parked the car and joined them at the finish. At the last checkpoint at Tilberwaite he was 3rd but closing in on 2nd so it was exciting to see him coming down the road in 2nd place. His biggest challenge was staying ahead of Cairn as they sprinted to the line together!
I spend the next few hours cheering people in and chatting to friends and the time flew by. It is such a great event and whether I’m running (2012 & 2015), marshalling (2013) or just being there like this year I love being involved in some way. I know I’m not the only one!!
It was good to see Mike R finishing 14th in 23:42:59
Jayson C won the Lakeland 50 for the 2nd time in a row which is the first time that has been achieved. He finished looking like it was the end of a 10k race and not 50 miles over very tough terrain.
One of the last runners I saw finish before I headed to bed was Peter Wilkie who finished 27th in 27hrs 27mins 45secs. He had paced it really well and was very happy with his race.
I had a great sleep in the van but woke up wondering how everyone was still doing. I checked the screens and was pleased to see that friends had finished the 50/100 and that some were still going. Andy was through Tilberwaite and Vicky was through Langdale.
I had some breakfast then left the Coniston HQ and drove to Ambleside to catch the 8.29am bus to Keswick. My plan was to run from Keswick to Blencathra mountain and join the Lakes in a day route back to Ambleside. I reckoned it was going to be around 26-28 miles so a long day out.
The weather was perfect and as Katrina is away I had all day to enjoy in the hills. Sadly it didn’t turn out that way! I made steady progress up Latrigg enjoying the views.
and across to Blencathra Centre. As I arrived at the now deserted checkpoint I remembered that I had the wifi password.
So I stood at the door and was able to log on the Lakeland 50/100 results site. The first person I checked was Vicky and I was so pleased for her and really impressed that she finished in 221st in 39hrs 28mins 46secs. The last time I saw her was at this checkpoint and she was ready to pack it in so to be able to find the reserves to keep going and finish is very impressive!
I had decided to do some video clips of the day so I did some as I headed up Blencathra.
I reached the top and joined the Lakes in a day route which starts at Caldwell. It was good to be on the route and get the chance to recce the next 20 miles or so.
I stopped just down from the top for my baked beans and to admire the view. I could see Clough Head and the ridge I would be on in the distance. As I made my way down I realised it was very tricky and I would need to concentrate carefully to avoid any mishap!
After 10mins or so it eased off and there was more of a path to run down. I passed a family of Mum, Dad and two boys who were climbing up. I high fived the second boy and his mum as I passed.
Then I slipped and put out my hand on some heather to cushion my fall. What I didn’t realised was there was a very sharp rock underneath the heather. Once I got up I looked at my hand and realised I was in trouble! There was a 1 ½ inch cut on the palm of my right hand under my thumb.
It wasn’t bleeding too much and I initially thought I could carry on but within a minute or two I realised I would need stitches and my run was over for the day! I felt really gutted as the weather was perfect and I was so looking forward to the rest of the route.
To my shame I didn’t have a first aid kit with me but I did have a buff so I wrapped that round my hand to stem the blood.
I then rang my good friend Dave T who lives in Keswick. He was about to go for lunch with his parents who were visiting for the weekend. They very kindly said they would meet me at Theldkeld and take me to the hospital at Keswick.
As I made was way down I wondered whether if it wasn’t too bad I would be able to continue with the run but I knew that the run was over!
The hospital at Keswick wasn’t too busy so I was seen straight away. The nurse on duty was able to clean it and stitch me up. It was quite sore for the first bit until she injected some pain killer and then I quite enjoyed watching what she was doing as it didn’t hurt!
I took some photos so if you are squeamish look away now!!
Once I was cleaned up Dave and his Dad drove me to Keswick bus station and I caught the bus back to Ambleside to collect my car. Dave was concerned about whether I could drive but I said I should be okay but I would drive back to his house for a shower before deciding whether to drive home.
Driving was okay so I did make it home safely. I have been running ultras now for 10 years and this is the first time that I’ve had to stop for an injury in all my long training runs or races so I’ve done pretty well. It made me realise though how easily it can be to have an injury that can wreck your run. I’m grateful it happened on a training run and not a race and Dave was able to help me out.
If I had been coming of Helvellyn it could have been a different story!