Lakeland50, UK

This weekend saw the 3rd "Ultra-Trail de Lake District", the UK's answer to the UTMB.  Up from 75 entrants the first year there were 500 runners with 350 in the 50 mile event and 150 doing the 100 miler.  The latter start at 6pm Friday and the 50 milers start at noon on Saturday at a point 1/2 way round the 100 mile loop. Both races finish in Coniston with a cut off at noon on Sunday. The location is perhaps the most beautiful rural area in England and features a series of ~1500 ft ascents for a cumulative elevation gain of about 10,000 ft for the 50 miler. 

I took part in the 50.  The weather started grey, though luckily the cloud was above the summits, but quickly deteriorated as a front swept in from the west.  Even after donning the protective gear that is mandatory I was bloody freezing in the wind.  Then my back seized up on the 3rd leg rendering me unable to run even the downhills. I hit the 3rd checkpoint in a total funk but after a massage and some manipulation and pain killers I managed to get moving again and the weather improved considerably as the wind dropped and the rain turned to drizzle and then mist.  The best bits were the last couple of legs which were run in the dark.  Runners were bunching up at that point to try to avoid getting lost in the mist and much fun was had trying to avoid peat bogs and getting scared by the sheep! 

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