The Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 returns this July, promising a weekend running extravaganza exploring England’s largest National Park. For those unsure of what to expect, hear from the race founder and director Marc Laithwaite to learn all about the race origins and his favourite route highlights.
With a 50-mile route and a 100-mile loop to conquer, the Montane Lakeland race attracts a wide variety of running abilities to take on the tough, undulating Lake District trails - more so than any other ultra event we work with, such as the Spine Race and Dragon’s Back. This makes the Lakeland a uniquely accessible challenge!
Alongside the many runners taking part this year are several of #TeamMontane, including members of our HQ office, as well as athletes we work with externally. We caught up with them to find out how they got into running, what attracted them to take on such a challenge and the Montane kit they’ll be relying on, en route…
Liam Steinbeck - Montane Materials Manager
I have always had a genuine love for the outdoors, including hillwalking, scrambling and rock climbing. I was looking for an accessible outdoor activity I could do from my doorstep at any time and I eventually found running, albeit quite late in life. Starting as everyone does with couch to 5K, I progressed through the distances, mainly on trails, through to ultra distances. From here, I added a couple of 100-milers under my belt and have completed about 10 ultra events to date. I would describe myself as a slow and steady runner with a steely determination!
This year I am doing the Lakeland 100, having achieved the qualifying time on last year’s Lakeland 50. I thought I knew the Lake District quite well, until last year and the 50 route took me to places and paths I’d never been before. A fantastic route on a brilliantly organised event with a festival atmosphere, I simply have to experience the rest of the route. I am looking forward to the sunrise on Saturday morning. After a night out moving in the hills, the sunrise brings a new lease of life and refocuses the mind with a fresh desire.
Regardless of the weather, my primary piece of kit will be the Men's Dragon Zip T-Shirt. I have been using this style throughout training and it’s simply fantastic. Exceptional moisture management, dries quickly, provides outstanding comfort and Polygiene treated, this is a firm favourite due to its incredible performance properties. If the forecast looks like rain, it will have to be the Men’s Spine Jacket, using Gore-Tex active shell. Very lightweight, reliably durable, incredibly breathable and, of course, waterproof. Every bit of kit needs to pass the race requirements - minimum 10,000mm hydrostatic head and taped seams for a waterproof jacket, for example. If I intend on carrying a piece of clothing and not wearing it, it needs to be as lightweight and as packable as possible, while remaining functional if I need to use it.
Hannah Campbell - Montane Sell Through Team Manager
My grassroots in running kicked off when I was about 12, running cross country on dusty field tracks for after school. My love for running didn't start until much later. When I was about 26, I adopted a little dog and my love for running came when I wanted to have 'big mountain days' with her, but in a shorter period of time - just an evening, rather than a full day out.
As I got stronger, this eventually transitioned into ultras - I'm definitely not the fastest, but I can stay out there for a long time! This year, all the training has gone into the Lakeland 100 bucket. I ran the Lakeland 50 the summer before COVID and those undulating trails have been calling me back ever since. There isn't a big sense of 'why' I'm doing it... I just know that I'm supposed to be there. I love the Lakeland atmosphere - it's not something you'll ever really get a grasp of until you're on those trails yourself. The sound of the crowd echoing up the streets in Ambleside, the gruelling trudge up Fusedale Beck, the hot soup at Mardale head, #TeamMontane hugs at the Kentmere checkpoint, the headtorch line coming down into Coniston, the finish line tears - I love it all; I'm just looking forward to being there again!
After packing and repacking I've managed to get all my kit into the Gecko 5+; that and the Spine Jacket will probably be my two most used pieces of kit. I know I need kit that I can be comfortable and safe in for potentially 40 hours and these two pieces have been well tested - I know they'll perform perfectly! My Podium Pants will also be in my bag (hopefully for the whole day!) as my mandatory waterproof trousers - they pack down tiny but I know they'll keep the weather out if I need them.
Want to hear more from Hannah? Don't miss her handy How to Pack for the Lakeland 50 & 100 video guide over on YouTube.
Mike Stevenson - Montane Athlete
In 2013 I was introduced to running at the Lakeland 100 by being reluctantly roped in to help at the event due to owning a van. Listening to the competitors, I was in awe of the mindset and the determination that carried these athletes across the finish line after such a test of endurance. I was given two pairs of trail running trainers as “payment” and two months later I completed my first marathon. I have been hooked ever since and I am now participating at this event for the 3rd time.
This year I'm taking on the Lakeland 100. The buzz and the atmosphere at this event are nothing short of electric. I would like to push my limits and achieve a much better time than during my first completion in 2015, which was less than 2 years after I had started running. I am aiming to complete the 100 miles route in under 30hrs, running through the night and hopefully being greeted by a mesmerizing sunrise. As for my training advice, it would be to run in the moment, one step at a time. I’ll also have the Minimus Stretch Ultra Waterproof Jacket to hand as I navigate the route! This piece of kit will be useful to protect myself from the good old British weather, being waterproof and extremely breathable whilst lightweight.
Dan Armstrong - Montane Sell Through Content Manager
I have been working in and around the mountains for the last 15 years, either with an outdoor brand, via events or as an instructor. I got into trail running progressively, built upon the need to move quickly and cover more ground. Even today I wouldn’t admit to being a runner. I have entered the Lakeland 50 this year and I have no idea why I’m doing it… maybe a bit of a challenge? Maybe a right of passage? Maybe I’ll work it out on the day? I am looking forward to all of it really… it’s a big grand day out where I can be in mountains, eat, run and meet some cool people. Plus there is beer at the end, right?
On the day, i’ll be relying on my Gecko running vest pack and Dragon Twin Skin running shorts… I don’t really do t-shirts. The Gecko is a brilliant running pack with loads of places to store stuff and access it without taking the pack off, as, for the Twin Skins, my chunky thighs need separating over such a long distance. I’ve used Montane kit extensively and I know I can rely on it which is exactly what you need when you’re taking on a big challenge!
Feeling inspired? Keep up with the Lakeland Action
Head over to our Lakeland event HUB to find out more about the Lakeland 50 & 100 race. This year we are also releasing a new crash course video, giving a unique insight into the event, learn more about what to expect from this and watch the Crash Course video to see the race come to life. Or for those feeling inspired to take on a running challenge this summer, however big or small, hear from the Montane community to get motivated this season.