It’s a race of two halves. The first 28 miles is all mountain paths with spectacular views. The last 22 miles are a gentle trail run through woods, fell, and lakeside. So, you can just cruise home (downhill) on tired legs.”
I run a creative marketing agency in London but I’m a lover of all things mountain based. I run, bike, climb, hike and ski as much as I can. Fitting it in around a full time job and 2 kids is a challenge but if you love something, you find a way.
I was looking for my next challenge and wanted a Lakes adventure but I don’t yet want to go through the whole night. Lakes in a Day looked like it fitted that bill. I loved the completeness of the concept – a journey that goes from the very top of The Lakes to the very bottom in one day. A BIG day out. Plus, my parents live in the south Lakes so I knew that once I finished, a comfy bed was not far away!
The excitement at the start was high. I saw lots of people ‘bumping’ into each other. There were many runners who had come back year after year to do it. Most of the chat on the hill was ‘have you done this before!” Even though there were some high calibre fell runners participating, LIAD wasn’t elitist in anyway. The staff were lovely and kind. I even recognised a few familiar faces from other events I had done (Lakeland 3 Day and Dragon’s Back 2019).
The sense of journey at Lakes in a Day is the best thing – that you had to make it to the end to get your car back (I left mine at the finish); the river crossing made it feel very adventurous, thank god there was a hand to hold onto as I crossed, it took me far too long to let go; the full moon coming up as I ran through the woods at High Wray; the fluorescent signposts from this point onwards; the moonlight on Windermere; the last check point at Finsthwaite felt magical – a brightly lit oasis in the dark night!
It’s a race of two halves. The first 28miles is all mountain paths with spectacular views. The last 22 miles are a gentle trail run through woods, fell, and lakeside. So, you can just cruise home (downhill) on tired legs. It’s totally worth it and you will get a real sense of achievement once you’ve done it. It makes for a mighty fine Strava post!
I prepared for it too little – a handful of long runs (3 hours max); a couple of day mountain hikes with the kids (time on feet in the Alps) at the end of August; I did some very poor attempts at hill reps in the flat lands of Hertfordshire; plus, a couple of months of twice-a-week leg strength conditioning in the garage at home. Not really enough to get a good time, but enough to finish.
You need to be fit and prepared for an extremely long day. You need to be comfortable with getting four seasons of weather in one day (we were lucky this year with just a little rain). Because it is signposted, you don’t have to be a doomsday navigator, you just need to be determined to keep plodding on, especially once it gets dark.
My advice would be to spend as much time on your feet in the hills as you can (any hills, doesn’t have to be The Lakes), and be comfortable with being totally self-sufficient – the checkpoints are an added bonus. Practice running in the dark by yourself (safely of course!). And the best bit of equipment that worked for me was having poles to run with.
My nutrition plan was to eat as normal on the day before, no booze! Then during the race to eat every hour, on the hour. You need to just keep stuffing it in. You’re not eating for hunger, its fuel to keep going. The hardest part for me was actually driving up from the South on the M6 on Friday evening, checking in late, and then getting back up at 4am to get to the bus at the start!
Doing a Durty event was new to me but I was impressed! It was also lovely to see some of the Nav4Adventure crew. They always make it a totally down-to-earth event. Lakes in a Day was run with the same efficiency, precision, and kindness as the Shane Ohly events.