It took about 6 months of training, an injury, and onther challenges but on the 9th of July it was finally the time that I could start at hte Lakeland Ultra 100k together with Dafne! I didn't have the confidance in a good result in the last few weeks prior the start. I had the feeling the disturbance in training due to injuries and other stuff that happens would make a finish difficult. So I had an agreement with Dafne I would at least run with her during the night, it is also nice not to run alone in the dark.

Our stay

We booked a hotel about a mile away from the start/finish area in a typical British hotel restaurant. The food was... Britsh. For us it was mainly a bit fatty but okay if you are not planning on running a 100 km utratrail. But I did enjoy the local beers with low alcohol, for Dutch understanding. And our hotel was located at the Windemere lake, a beautiful spot to enjoy the view!


I bought a new race pack for this race, the Black Diamond Distance 15. And after using it on a view training runs and this race I can conclude that I do mis the handy pockets that Salomon has and also an easy way to use a water reservoir. But okay, I had to pack some mandatory items in the pack like a head torch, full waterproof jacket and trousers with taped seams, base layer top with long sleeves, emergency food and drink you have to cross the finish with and other things. And there were 9 check pints (CP) we would run to and we made a package with food for every CP we needed to eat before the next VP going partly in our pack and partly in our drop bag. Also in the drop bag I put some extra shoes, clothing, liquid  food and other things. You never know what you are going to need, right?

Just before the start

I was realyy looking forward in starting at 00.01. On Friday we tried to do things easy, also I went to ly on the bed and hope I could get to do a power nap. So, there we were just before 12 o'clock for the last minute talk. The organizer noticed the posts Dafne did on socials tagging the run and said there were two Dutchies present and asked where we stood. So we raised our poles and got applauded. So far trying to hide in the back...

The start

The countdown commenced and there us trailers started. We ran out of the park, through the city and starting climbing out of the town. The first climbing was on asphalt but it soon went into an unpaved path and at the start of the climb we grabbed our poles. We Dutchies are not used to elevation in our flat country so we need to safe energy where we can.

When we left the Ambleside it also went dark, this is the part I was lookign forward to. I really enjoy running in the dark so much and back home running in the nature after sun set is mostly not allowed besides roads. Also the other trailers were getting ahead, we had fewer and fewer people around us. Bizarre to see the big diiference in speed in the dark, lights already far away. I didn't mind, we kept our own speed just faster than the cut off times. In the two first hills I hoped to run ascending but sadly the path was that rocky that we hiked as we're not used to those surfaces to run an. Better to do it hiking than spraying an anckle!

Tail runner

The first CP came into sight, not hard to miss since it was the only building with the lights on at 2 am. When we entered I noticed the tail runner was just behind us. I had to ask him if we were the last two runners, "sadly" this was the case but we didn'nt mind. We we're easily in front of the cut off time. And ofcourse leaving the CP we went straight into the dark again and just a little bit further we took a turn into a meadow and immediatly didn't see the next course flag. So we turned our head torches on the brightest setting and went looking where to go. Luckily I saw a flag in the distance and we could go running again.

So we started running towards our third climb that night and could see a few head torches in fron of us again. That is nice to see where we are running towards to. After passing another gate I wanted to see if the trail runner was far behind and looked back and saw lots of eyes brightening. Seemed we were passing some sheep just far enough away not to see when looking in front, that was rather nice.

Sun rise getting close

The biggest part of the hill went bye rather easily, which was a little surprise since it looked steep on the map. But I'm not complaining though! And as we were climbing up hill I took notice I could see distances more easily, it was already getting light again at 3 am. And I enjoyed climbing this hill, seeing the torches up ahead getting a little bit closer, chatting with eachother and getting to seeing more of the surroundings. We climbed and climed and just a bit below the top we were almost behind the people in front of us.


What surprised me a few times was the in the dark of night there were marshalls present at the top of the hills we were climbing. What a spot to be be supporting the race, it is a long walk toward the top from either side in the middle of the night. It was a warm welcome from the marshalls though, giving information on the part we were going to. Hats off for those volunteers!

Again, the sun rise

After eaching the top of hill 3 we started our descent. We were just about 30 metres behind the people in front of us. I initially thought they were people running the red flags we also noticed on our course but I reconignised a woman we talked to earlier in the night so they were also 100 km trailers. And at that time I noticed Dafne going down hill at record speed. Normally she takes her time while descending but now she was flying! We could pase the runners in front of us and immediatly making some distance on them. Go Dafne!

And then the most beautiful part of the ultra started, the sun rise! The clouds in the sky were pink, the lake in front of us became pink, all the water was pink! It was that beautiful I had to take pictures of it before seeing CP in front of us.

My attempt on the Lakeland Ultra on Strava


And then it a little bit wrong as we couldn't see the markings anymore. We had a choice of going left side uphill or to the right. I quickly loaded the GPX track and tried to see if that would help. It took a little bit time to see but to the right was correct.  We first went just a little bit off track but then again got on it again.

And then we we're a group of five since the runners we passed going down hill now also got where we were looking for the route. From there the route was in an area loaded with ferns and our path was also somewhat covered ith rocks. Enough of the not to go running but hiking instead. As we're not used to rocks hiking is more secure and not spraying an ankle. This went on for about 5 km, which had a bad influence in our mood. It's flat but you can't run so you're only moving slowly... But eventually the surface became runable again and on we went.


By now we reached an asphalt road getting towards our third CP, but it took more time getting there than we hoped for. Eventually we got there, made a stop at the toilet, got our bag of food to eat until the next CP, drank coffee, grabbing something to eat and went on walking. The route went by a stream and after a little while crossing it and eventually reaching an asphalt road. Here I noticed my achilles was getting sensitive because my shoe was hitting it too hard. I applied a few layers tape on it and we went running again.

Asphalt became trail became asphalt again and we entered the village Asham. That village looked picturesque and people were already awake here. While leaving the village again we went by another marshall, we chatted a bit and the went on running on a grass path looking at a beautiful area in fron of us!

It went sour

Here we were running in a hilly scenery with an awesome view of the area. But in my mind I was thinking about my achilles, it became more sensitive and already a bit painfull, and I already thought that this was not going to be my day. I still had over 50 kilometers to go, What was the best thing to do, try to reach CP 5 where I had a spare set of shoes in my drop bag? That was still about 15 kilometer away, how would my achilles feel then? Perhaps stop? Is finishing this ultra worth getting (badly) injured?

And after a kilometer, after running for 46 kilometers, I made the desiscion to DNF. I told Dafne, we hugged, I said she could do this and wishe her success. I let go of some tears and sobbed, DNF-ing is no such fun. But it was a wise thing to do. I sat down, loosened the lace of my left shoe and went hiking while still enjoying the landscape. It was still another 5 kilometer to go but after 3 kilometer the sun was burning quite hard and I started slow jogging a bit ti get to the CP, and shade, more quickly. And after reaching it I put my dipper in the device to check-in and then said I was going to DNF and needed a ride back.

Did Not Finish

While waiting there, eating and drinking some, the last runners of the 100k also came in and we chatted a bit. And after between 30-60 minutes my ride back was there. Driving back we chatted, stopped regurly because of traffic on the small roads and we reached CP 5 where another ride would bring me back to the finish area. And when I was just started chatting to someone Dafne was there! So I helped here repack, mixing drinks and there she went again, towards the next CP. Luckily my ride was so friendly to drop me at our hotel because now I also had both our drop bags and my trailpack with me. It saved my hiking back a mile with those.

After eating a hamburger, drinking a DNF beer and a shower I tried to sleep a bit no such luck. The original plan was I would still be running for hours so now I had no plans. So put on my barefoot shoes, those were not touching my achilles so hiking was luckily no problem, and went to the finish area to cheer all the finishers.

Dafne and I stayed in contact, she messaged me reaching the next CP and told how long she thinks needs to get to the next. And at CP 9 she thought she would finish around 22.00 - 22.30. At that time I was getting a bit tired, doing nothing in a field and having missed a night sleeping, I started feeling sleepy. So I was walking in the finish area a bit and when I heard people clapping I went towards the finish to also cheer. When I was at the far point at 21.40 I heard clapping again, I looked and saw Dafne already making her way towards the finish! No way! So I ran to the finish line for a finish photo. It took her 21.43 hours of running 104 kilometers but she did it!

In retrospective

Looking back I can be satisfied with this ultra. No, I did not finish it. But when I made the choice to DNF my legs were still feeling just fine, I wasn't tired and still had high motivation to reach the finish. Still I believe the that would've been possible if my achilles would'nd gotten injured. I had no muscle strain or any other pains. So I really am glad how I survived this mini ultra I did. I'm not sure I will be trying another 100k soon, my thoughts now are shorter trails with nice elevation and the possibilty of some running downhill on technical terrain.

Thank you

And I also would like to thank the organisation and all its volunteers that made this trail possible. Having marshalls on the top of a hill was a surprise for me. I can understand why they are there but I just didn't expect it. All people I met were friendly and helpfull. Thank you all!

All photos made during this ultratrail

My attempt on the Lakeland Ultra on Strava

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