Lakeland 50 race report

Trying to sum up my weekend at Lakeland 50 is extremely difficult, as there just aren’t words that are expressive enough to describe some of the feelings and emotions I felt on my wonderful adventure.
I woke up that morning totally hyper, as Is usual on race day. Quick shower then into my race kit which was laid out the night before. Was ready with loads of time to spare so sat in the car trying to keep dry. The heavens had opened the night before after it had been brilliant sunshine all day. So lovely, in fact, I’d spent the afternoon sun bathing on the grass next to the tent.
It was soon time for the briefing and I picked up my packed lunch to eat for breakfast. Grated cheese and cucumber wrap, crisps, banana and a penguin. Lush.
Briefing over and Jo, Alan, Paul and I all got on the coach for the trip to the start. Skinny country roads and large coaches are not the best combination but we eventually got there after over an hours drive.
Queue for the portaloo then we were on the start line. Can’t explain the excitement, nerves, fear, sickness I always feel on the start line. I always visualise wearing my medal before I start and it’s worked every time up to now. Nothing was going to stop me getting that medal. All the hours of training, the missed nights out, the early nights and early morning training sessions were all in aid of this moment.
We set off and I ran the first 4 miles with Mike. Was a lovely start catching up and I soon got into a rhythm I could hopefully carry on for the next 46 miles.
The scenery was to die for, the checkpoints were totally awesome. Free food, friendly, motivational marshall’s who couldn’t do enough for you. The camaraderie of the other runners make this race so special. Even though you may run many miles on your own there’s always someone not too far off to have a chat too to help the hours pass.
The weather started off lovely and sunny then quite quickly got worse. My jacket was on and off, the sleeves were up and down so many times lol. Climbing Fusedale we had driving rain, gale force winds, hail stones that felt like needles on my legs and made them bright red.
Coming into Mardale head we had full on thunder and lightening and the heavens opened. A beautiful rainbow met us at the top but I was too tired to get my camera out ??. I continued to make steady progress throughout the day and survived on the soup and sandwiches at the checkpoints, Scottish tablet, pork scratchings, love heart sweets and candy shrimps lol.
Met so many amazing, likeminded people on the way. Ran a few sections with a couple of 100 runners called Richard and a lady called Rebecca. Totally mad, awe inspiring individuals.
Got into Ambleside at around 9.30 and decided to change into my leggings and get my head torch and gloves prepared for the night time section. Got an amazing cup of coffee here by Johnny Fling and have to say it was my favourite checkpoint.
Upon leaving I met up with a man called Dominique. He was a 100 runner and had started running with Jason. They’d met at a couple of races and our meeting just felt like fate. We didn’t know each from Adam but running the last 16 miles to the end with him was perfect and I can’t thank him enough for his companionship. I had been worried about running in the dark tired, but I was pretty confident I knew the way as I’d recceed this section a few weeks before with Jo. We made up a bit more time and overtook some runners as we made a fantastic team.
Dominic finished incredibly strong. He’s a fantastic downhill runner and actually sprinted to the end.
I ran all the way in from the bottom of the last hill and felt amazing finishing strong after 50 miles. Jason was waiting for me to run me in and give me gin.
I love how they introduce you to the finishing tent as a ‘lakeland legend’ to applause and whoops of joy and congratulations.
This really is one special event and I hope to go back next year and further better my time. I ended up knocking 3 hours, 3 minutes off last years time. Which I’m over the moon with. If I can knock another 18 minutes off that I’ll be sub 16 hours which I never in a million years thought I’d be able to achieve.
Sorry for the epic post. Well done if you’ve got to the end ??. It’s more for my benefit so I can look back in years to come and see what can be achieved if you put your heart and soul into something.
Thank you so much Lakeland for making me so very happy and giving me a wonderful challenge.
I’ll be back 2019. ?
Kirsty West