Lakes-based 100 and 50-mile race success reflects booming trail-running scene.
Last week's Montane Lakeland 100 and Lakeland 50 were a huge success, says the NE-based lightweight mountain brand, with the race selling out its 900 entries in just ten days and a waiting list of 300 would-be runners on stand-by.
It makes the race arguably the leading British ultra-running race and one of the leading events on the world stage, with a further expansion on the cards for 2013. Run over the weekend on 27-29 July, the 100-mile race started in with a festival-like buzz from race HQ in Consiston, while the 50-miler ran from Dalemain, near Penrith, and follows the second half of the longer race's course.
Friday Night's All Right For Racing
The 100 kicked off at 5.30 on the Friday evening with competitors setting out to run 100 miles with a cool 6,300 metres of ascent across the fells. Incredibly, the winner, Terry Conway, completed the course in just 19 hours and 50 minutes, two hours faster than his existing race record and an incredible two hours ahead of second and third placed Paul Tierney and Barry Murray. First woman home was Rachel Hill in 28 hours and 47 minutes.
Meanwhile the 50-hour race was won by Steve Angus in 8:30 from Grant Macdonald and Matty Brennan with Tracey Dean taking the women's title in 8:38 - just eight minutes behind the men's winner.
Checkpoint Charlie, erm, Jo...
It's not just about the winners though, it's a huge challenge for anyone taking part and spectators and support crew were blown away by the effort and focus of the racers right through the field in both events. Montane's marketing officer and head smoothie maker, Jo Allen, was one of the volunteers at Checkpoint 11 in Kentmere, some 82 miles into the 100 and 27 miles into the 50-mile race, which was run by Montane staff, friends and family.
Astonishingly - given that the checkpoint was 82 miles from the start - their first 'customer' was eventual winner of the ML100, Terry Conway, who rolled up at 08.54 on the Saturday morning, around 90 minutes earlier than anyone had expected.
He was the first to benefit from a mix of ' pumping tunes, smoothies and lots of food and drink' though he was, apparently, 'in and out like a flash, stopping onlyto grab a drink and refill his water bottle'. And that was just the start, as more runners arrived, the team were joined by a volunteer physio, who was kept busy tending to injuries and cramps, and the race doctor.
Underlining the high level of oganisation behind the event, the team could actually keep tabs on the progress of competitors courtesy of timing specialist Sport Ident, helping them to prepare for peaks in arrivals, plus a satellite phone meant they could stay in touch with race HQ in Consiston.
From Pasta To Smoothies...
On the menu for hungry competitors were pasta (with and without sauce), squash, water, smoothies, rice pudding, cake, biscuits, tea and coffee... which meant checkpoint staff getting stuck in en masse to cook, serve, mix drinks and, in Jo's case churn out multiple smoothies. Meanwhile Montaine's marketing supremo, Paul Cosgrove manned the dibbing station.
Things got really busy when the ML50 competitors started to come through late on Saturday afternoon and it was all hands to the pump until the traffic eased off at around 22.00 on Saturday night and the lull after the storm descended.
Brilliant stuff. You can read Jo's entire report from the race at www.montane.co.uk/news/archive/187.
And if that all triggers off a strange, slow-burning plan to tackle the Montane Lakeland 100 or 50 in 2013, you can find out more at www.montane.co.uk/ultra-events/montane-lakeland-100-and-50.