The fourth Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 took place over the weekend of July 29-31 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.
The weekend promised to be a hot one, the first time the race had experienced anything other than carwash conditions. The 100 milers lined up at the John Ruskin School in Coniston like cool cats, pacing and stretching, focused on the phenomenal distance ahead of them. As soon as the race started they leapt across the start line and chased each other up into the fells above. They worked hard through the moonless dark, dark night and the front runners swished through checkpoint after checkpoint.
As the sun rose early Saturday morning Terry Conway, who set an impressive early pace which many believed to be 'suicidal', held true and 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 24 minutes.
The 50 started at 12:30pm on Saturday and in the heat the pack determinedly launched out of the Dalemain estate. The weather conspired against many and the dropout rate climbed as the weekend drew on. The checkpoints worked hard to support the participants ensuring plenty of water, food and motivation where on hand for each runner.
Kentmere checkpoint run by Montane, served over 600 bowls of pasta, rice pudding and gallons of fruit smoothie. "I've never made so many smoothies," commented Jo Allen of Montane. "I don't want to see another blueberry or strawberry for a very long time!"
Despite the soaring temperatures there were some great performances with Craig Stewart winning the male 50 mile title in a time of 8 hours 18 minutes. The female title went to Poppy Lenton who completed the course in 11 hours 4 minutes.
Montane Marketing Director 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 truly is the highlight of our year and we are so proud to be involved in what must be one of the greatest races in the UK. We are already looking forward to next year's race!"
Link to the full results from our Race Listings page. See a great selection of photographs from the event at flickr.