That's the Ultra Tour of the Lake District for those of you not already in the know. It's an ultra distance race of either 100 or 50 miles in the Lake District. More information can be found at the Lakeland100 website if you want all the details.
I first came across this race when we were camping at Bays Brown Farm this time last year. When we were checking in at the farmhouse, the farmer's wife was having a bit of a hissy fit because her phone line was down after a thunderstorm in the days before and the general lack of a mobile signal. She told us that she was expecting around 1000 runners through the farm over the next day or two and didn't want to be incommunicado. Sounded intriguing.
We ended up seeing the leader of the 100 mile race coming through the site and at the local pub (the Wainwright) watched many, many weary runners passing through. We clapped and cheered them all. They had names on their race numbers so we cheered them individually as well. It was fabulous. At this point I was only about 6 months into my running journey. I'd graduated from the c25k (Couch to 5K) program and was out running about 3 times a week. I watched all the runners come through and I wanted desperately to do it myself.
A week or so later himself and I were back in the lakes for a week on our own. The girls had jetted off to sunny climes for a week with the grandparents. We'd researched the race and had pretty much decided to give it a go. We'd downloaded the roadbook and we started to recce the bits of the course near to where we were staying. We even ventured further afield and had a look at the dreaded Fusedale ascent. We were hooked. It was on. We were going to give the 50 mile race a go.
Ulp! Typical me. Never do anything by halves. First race I ever entered turned out to be a 50 mile ultra marathon!
Opening day for entries came along. Sunday 1st September 9.00am. We were both at the computer, debit cards in hand, and waiting for the clock to strike 9. It struck, we clicked on the pay button and held our breaths. Would we make it and get a place. YES! Confirmation we were both in. Much jubilation followed as we followed the comments on the Lakeland 100 Facebook page. It sold out within 3 hours. There was much sadness from those that weren't able to get a place. How lucky were we?
Erm.... the only thing was I certainly needed to do a bit of training. Don't think I'd even run 10 miles at that point. I decided to take it gradually and found the Lakeland 100 sister site, Trail 26 and entered a 10k (Rivington - Nov), a half marathon (Grizedale - Feb) and a marathon (Howgills - May). Also went along to both recce dates for the 50 mile route. I joined a running club and had a go a few local fell races as well (Aggies Staircase, Great Hameldon Hill Race, Reservoir Bogs, Trawden Trail Race) and got out and about on my own around Pendle when I could.
I was about as ready as I could be....bring it on!