I have previously run the 50 mile event twice so after completing the UTMB last year I decided to give the 100 a try. It’s actually 105 miles to be precise. I contacted Paul Hainsworth from NFR and suggested we run the first night together for a bit of company.
The race started on the Friday at 5.30pm from the school at Coniston – personally I much prefer morning starts for races but hey ho! So off we went at 5.30 on a very pleasant sunny evening with a light breeze, perfect for running.
I had planned to try and get round in about 30 hours but unusually for me got a bit caught up in the race and completed the first two legs to Boot (14 miles) an hour quicker than I’d intended. This was my first mistake which would cost me some time later. The next leg was a leg I felt a bit nervous about as it goes across a fairly featureless moor on the way to Wasdale Head so was worried I could easily get lost if the light was poor. As it turned out we moved quickly and got to Wasdale (19 miles) in fading light.
This section from Wasdale to Buttermere goes over two serious passes Black Sail Pass and Scarth Gap and it was on these climbs that I started to feel nauseous finding it difficult to drink or eat (not great on this kind of distance running). We got into Buttermere (26 miles) and I was able to drink some tea and eat a few biscuits. I was very pleased with my navigation on the next leg over into Braithwaite we were spot on and I had a few other runners tagging along on a very dark evening. We got into Braithwaite at stupid o’clock in the morning just as the heavens opened and gave us a good soaking. We were fed spicy pasta which was a bit odd for a running event it certainly did not help my already queezy stomach. I had to start walking sections of the next leg which I would normally have ran so I was getting pretty frustrated, suggested to Paul that he could do his own thing if he wanted but he said he was just fine doing the pace we were plodding along at. Dawn broke as we headed back down the valley to checkpoint 6 at the Blencathra Centre and 41 miles in. I had a couple of jelly babies and started to feel my appetite return.
Just as I was starting to feel positive the pain in my feet began. The pain gradually increased over the next stages to Dalemain and the 59 mile mark. I managed to get some dry socks and shoes as well as tape up my badly blistered feet. I also managed to get a serious amount of food and drink inside me which was a relief. This is now when the race really begins, unfortunately my feet weren’t playing ball so I couldn’t really get into a good pace but I kept going and Howtown and Mardale head came and went.
I met up with David Gibson at Kentmere who was running the 50 mile event. We had a really good feed of pasta followed by rice pudding with a dollop of jam in it. That powered me up the Garburn Pass. On the way into Ambleside I hit a bad patch when I felt a blister on my heel tear causing me quite severe pain with every step. I must say I was all set to drop out but as I hobbled into Ambleside the pain eased and I decided I would keep going. It was only 16 miles to go!
The second night hit as we ran down Langdale and it got pretty cold so the hats and gloves came out of the pack. This was all a bit of a tired blur but 33 hours and a 105 miles after setting off, Paul and I walked into the school hall at Coniston to a round of applause a cup of tea and a bowl of veggie chilli. That was a tough event.