This year's Montane Lakeland was such a fantastic weekend for my own result but also I am so grateful to be there and involved with such a brilliant atmosphere. I may be slightly biased as I have had some great experiences there, then again I have also had a not so good one, but the weekend really stands out as one of the best not just in the UK but out of all of the ones Kim and I have done overseas too, it is really special.
Jayson winning the 2019 Montane Lakeland 50 (video credit: Kim Cavill)
I viewed the race as a chance to see what shape I was in. Having two previous decent times it seemed like it would give a good reference point for future aspirations, and I knew what I had to do and how fast I could run it so wanted to see if I could squeeze out a bit more. If this meant running off the front or being behind anyone then I was confident that it wouldn’t matter - only two other people had gone sub 7:40 and they were not there so I felt if I could run my race at my pace then I would be in a good place position-wise towards the end.
As it happened I ran with Andrew to Howtown and then started to creep away on the more technical terrain. By Mardale I had a clear gap and could not see anyone behind me but was also only just keeping to the times I had run in the past. By Kentmere - just over halfway - I was at the top end of the times I had ran before and didn’t feel as good (or as ready for a strong push) as I had felt in previous years. I pushed a bit more to Ambleside only to loose another 5 mins on my own splits, though I was slightly relieved to hear I had a 15 -20 min gap on a group of three behind me. My only worry was that I knew I was fading more than usual at this stage. If the group behind was working well and on a charge then they could soon swallow that time up. Like the breakaway on a tour de France stage I was determined not to be chased down and spat out in the final throws of the race!
I had to work really hard in the last 10 miles. I was still keeping a good even effort going and running nearly all but a few steep parts, but everything hurt and ached, screaming at me to stop and rest. I was digging pretty deep into the delves of my mind to keep moving, using some new found mental tactics and self belief, imagining some of my fantasy support crew running along side me or just ahead; you wouldn’t argue with the Rock when he is stood at the top of a hill telling you not to f****g quit! like I said I was delving into some deep places...
Jayson finished with a time of 7:55.42
The final CP left 3.5 miles, one steep-ass climb and a super fun descent to go. I got nicely through the CP and given another huge boost by everyone there. As I was leaving I was told that I only had a 7 min lead at the previous CP. This may sound good but it also told me I was either slowing or they were moving really well. This was also at the previous CP so the gap could be less now. It gave me the kick up the ass I needed and I wanted to get out of sight and to the top of the very steep climb as soon as I could.
"The Geko pack is the dogs nuts! And yes you can get ALL required race kit in it!"
It wasn’t pretty anymore, and i was really starting to fade. Keeping my legs turning over and trying not too do anything daft, I was so relieved to hit the top of the final descent with no one in sight behind. I just needed to get down the last quite rough and technical descent in one piece. Finally hitting the road into Consiston, I had imagined and visualised coming into Coniston for the finish and win so many times before. I knew these chance don’t come around very often so I really wanted to savour it this time, take in the support and atmosphere into the final straight. Kim ran behind filming and the immense feelings of relief, joy and pain hit me like a wall. I crossed the line in a medley of emotions and physical feelings, taking a minute to let it sink in. I had held on and done it!
Terry Conway finished 3rd with a time of 8:16.02
Andrew came in at 8:03 so 8 minutes off but had had an incredible second half, after being caught around halfway he had managed to push on, Terry Conway followed him home in 8:16 and it was super to see him have such a great run after a few years away from the Lakeland weekend.