There seemed like a nice mix of technical terrain, whilst being mostly runnable on good paths. This ticked the right boxes for me as did having a tangible goal, and a sense of achievement to literally traverse the whole of the Lake District.”
I live in Skipton, along with my wife, three kids, and the dog. I’ve been running for 14 years after making the move from triathlon. I’ve previously done 14 road marathons, where I spent lots of years chasing PBs on the road, but over the last 4 or 5 years I’ve moved onto the fells.
I completed the Bob Graham Round during lockdown in summer of 2020, then started entering more longer events during 2021 when fewer, shorter events were being organised. I now focus on 50k trail and longer Lakeland classic fell races (Borrowdale, Ennerdale, Buttermere). The longest race I had done this year was ‘Pendle Way In A Day in February – 45 miles in the wind and heavy rain!
I run most days and race as often as possible, although I’m trying to limit it to once a week in peak season. My training for ultras mostly tends to focus on long walks with the family (6-7 hours) carrying a heavy rucksack. I also do two seasons of BOFRAs (1 mile up and down fell races!) to keep a bit of speed and racing nous.
Some friends had previously done Lakes in a Day. I liked the ‘journey’ aspect. Legs 1 and 2 were also familiar ground for me from the Bob Graham recces. There seemed like a nice mix of technical terrain, whilst being mostly runnable on good paths. This ticked the right boxes for me as did having a tangible goal, and a sense of achievement to literally traverse the whole of the Lake District.
The race instructions were very pointed – you must do this and follow this route etc. It was nice to see that this obviously had the desired effect since you’re left to yourselves on the fell – in other words, the rules are being reinforced beforehand, to make no further reinforcements on the day necessary.
I ate plenty of carbs on the 3-day run up to LIAD. Then, on race-day morning I ate porridge, and bagels alongside drinking tea and coffee. I also had a few drinks on the walk to the start – you need to start the race hydrated.
To run Lakes in a Day, you need to train the stomach, eat on the run. I’d recommend practising this at home. You need to get used to being out a long time (with a headtorch if you’re planning on being out all night!). I think you need to enjoy the process, and suggest doing a recce of the route. Definitely get the correct kit and shoes – train and look after the feet – I didn’t have a single blister/hot spot after the day.
I particularly enjoyed LIAD’s clear split into sections. I also liked Halls Fell descent (more technical ground would have been excellent), the Dodds Ridge and Hellvelyn which were – great (good but chilly weather) and had great views. Overall, the course is a mixture of road, boggy fell, rocky ridges, bridleways over big hills, paths, fiddly ginnel around a lake, and a road ‘sprint finish’ end.
The people at the checkpoints, the start and finish were all very lovely. I found the Start and checkpoints to be very efficient. I had a brief chat on the first bit of road section but was then I was alone for the next 9 hours. But there was lovely support in the valleys.
The hardest part for me was the path around Windermere which was overgrown, twisty and flooded, and felt like it would never end. And it comes 40 miles into the race, when there’s still an hour or two left.
I’ve now got a renewed respect for recovery. I was very run down for 2-3 weeks afterwards with a virus, very congested, runny nose, hungry, and tired. For anyone thinking about entering, take the time to think about the route. Go up for a recce then get your name down to take part. Consider your nutrition, pacing, kit, and how to deal with certain scenarios. Learn to love your pack. Don’t make it too big. Invest in proper, light kit.