The 4th Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 took place over the weekend of July 29th-31st with a record number of finishers. In the 100 mile event, 224 competitors started and 116 finished the course, in the 50 mile event there were 469 starters and 404 reached the finish line at Coniston. The event has shown huge growth since the inaugural event in 2008 when only 10 competitors finished the 100 mile event and 30 finished the 50 mile course.
In this year’s event, the weather contributed to the high dropout rate as competitors battled the daytime heat. Despite the soaring temperatures there were come great performances with Craig Stewart winning the male 50 mile title in a time of 8 hours and 18 minutes. The female title went to Poppy Lenton who completed the course in 11 hours and 4 minutes.
Whilst the 50 mile performances were impressive, it was the 100 mile event where the real excitement occurred. Terry Conway set an impressive early pace which many believed to be ‘suicidal’ but the doubters were silenced as he became the first runner to crack the 22 hour barrier, setting a new course record of 21 hours 58 minutes. Whilst the crowd were still discussing his unbelievable achievement, news filtered back that the lead female runner was on course to crack 30 hours for the first time ever. Nobody could have predicted that when Gaynor Prior crossed the line as first female and 15th place overall, the clock would be stopped at an incredible 28 hours and 24 minutes.
Competitors then continued to cross the finish line throughout Saturday night to be greeted by the support teams and spectators. Each of them had a different story to tell and a different reason for the journey, but all were united in their achievement. The final pair reached the line at 12pm Sunday and were greeted with a standing ovation from competitors and supporters.
Organiser Marc Laithwaite said ‘it’s been an emotional weekend and the organising team haven’t had a great deal of sleep. The feedback and thanks from competitors has been overwhelming and the support from checkpoint staff and marshals has been unbelievable. It’s the combination of competitors and helpers which create this special atmosphere, it’s like a Montane Lakeland family!’
Montane Marketing Manager Paul Cosgrove said ‘having been here from the start in 2008, it’s amazing to see the growth and to be a part of it. This is the highlight of our year and our staff are only just recovering from serving pasta to the competitors!! We are already looking forwards to next year’.
Full results can be viewed at www.lakeland100.com