Local runners tackle 100-mile race

Athletics.
Athletics.

Stainland Lions’ James Penson, in another of his trademark challenges, took on the Lakeland 100 last weekend.

The race has a massive 23,000 feet of ascent – including the summit of almost every hill in the Lake District.

The course consists of a 100-mile loop travelling from Coniston over to Wasdale Head before it goes up to Keswick and over to Pooley Bridge.

There it joins the Lakeland 50 to travel down the side of Ullswater to Kentmere and Ambleside and finishes over High Tilberthwaite and down Coniston Coppermines.

The event is renowned as the UK’s most spectacular long-distance trail race.

Challengers had 40 hours to finish the 105-mile course and Penson completed his epic feat in 38hrs 33mins.

Clubmate Aileen Baldwin took on the Lakeland 50, which poses a similar test but is 55 miles shorter than the 100 event.

It is still almost double the distance of a marathon at 50 miles long, on rough terrain and with 10,000 feet of ascent to deal with.

Aileen ran with her usual commitment to finish in 15 hours 11 minutes.

Five Calder Valley Fell Runners and one athlete from Todmorden Harries also took on the Ultra Tour of the Lake District last weekend.

Calder Valley’s Kevin Hoult, Simon Bourne and Johnnie Watson completed the 100-mile route and Micheal Hyde and Dan Biggs opted for the 50-mile trail.

Bourne is familiar with the route, having completed it last year in eighth place. This year he came fourth and third male in 24hrs 11mins.

However, his running buddy Hoult finished one place in front of him in an impressive 23hrs 30mins.

Bourne said: “Kevin and I both started the race steadily in around 20th place then moved through the field. We’re both delighted to have achieved our best-ever result in the UK’s toughest single-day race.

“Weather conditions were challenging with hail, rain and strong winds which meant only 50 per cent of the 420 competitors finished within the 40-hour time limit.”

Watson was 41st in 23hrs 4mins while the 50-mile competitors, Hyde and Biggs, came 25th and 221st respectively.

Harrier Kim Ashworth fought valiantly, battling sleep deprivation, blisters and punishing climbs as well as all the elements including gusts of wind, stinging rain and strong heat to finish the race.

She set off from Coniston on Friday evening and arrived back on Sunday morning, completing her 105 miles in 39hrs 41 mins.

A page of athletics reports and pictures in Friday’s ‘Courier’