Skip Navigation | Using this site

Lakeland100 – a lap of the Lake District

My plan this weekend was to take on the Lakeland100 rather rudely named so, as it is actually 105 miles not 100 miles. This is not a cycling event, its a running event using lakeland passes and hills so an event which truly puts others in their box.

When I entered I kind of hoped that my run across the country back in June would give me the training I’d need to pull it off. There is a 50 mile version but I thought need a challenge something where the outcome is uncertain and I was pretty confident I could do the 50 so elected to do the 100.

I’d spent sometime looking at the times and distances – there was a cut off at Buttermere which was the harshest on the route, by my calculation if you hit this and stayed at the same pace, it be possible to make it around in about 36 to 37 hours. History also showed most people set off too fast – great article on the subject here.


The route – clockwise this is Oli Blomfields tracker trace from the Weekend – fella did it in just over 27hrs and came 29th.

As the weekend drew near I realised that my feeding strategy as on the howfast project was not going to work here. Every 30 mins quaffing a bit of food – in theory I could be out for 20hrs.. thats almost 40 items of food. My diet of fruit pots / rice puddings / apples / custard as in June was not going to work unless I found a bigger rucksac or an off-road version of a shopping trolley.

The feed stations were also a little light on palatable food – little more than biscuits and flapjack for the first 20 miles (its bemusing that there is an assumption that people want to eat this kind of stuff particularly on a hot day). Still later on there was stews / rice puddings / pasta etc. Lisa picked up a kiddies insulated flask, my plan was to blag a bit more food or puddings and pop it in there and consume it when needed.

I intended to add palitnose (carbohydrate powder) and use SIS electrolyte drinks stations. As it turned out that was not a great plan, I should have tried the SIS electrolyte out before as I really didn’t enjoy drinking it and it became a chore – and drinking on such a hot day was vital.

Fortunately a loaned Continuous Glucose Monitor arrived from Medtronic that morning at the office so I popped by and spent sometime fitting – firing a 1/2 inch nail in to your tummy is something I’m not sure I’ll ever get use to.

Arrived at registration at 2pm, bit later than hoped. Registered and headed back to the car to snooze. Struggled to do that, was a hot afternoon and Lakeland50 competitors were chortling away next door (they could sleep that night). Hey hoo, beef stew and roll, briefing and got changed. Corralled in to a start pen ready to go at 6pm on Friday night

My plan was to WALK anything with an incline and jog the flat / downhill bits. That plan was fine but within 10 mins I was spat out of the back of this field of 280 runners and I was 2nd from last – that was it I was on my own. Beginning to regret that I put my headphones in the halfway bag.

I realised I forgot to set the temp basal (reduces insulin coming out of the pump). I set it up on the move.. my heart rate was flying high in the 150/160’s was not going much faster than howfast pace but I was carrying a rucksac FULL of food and kit. My blood sugars were descending fast, the worry is if they go below 6 they really do have a negative effect on performance and maybe the reason why I get hypothermia on these events (yep even in this heat).

My blood sugar was at 4.8 – I’d set the pump to alarm when it gets to 5.0 – trying to quaff jels / shotblox / slow down but it was still descending. And there it hovered between 4 and 5 for the next 20 miles. I suspended what delivery of insulin it was putting in.

No amount of food / pasta would bring it back up. One fortunate part of doing this event is I knew where I was going I was pretty confident I could get to Dalemain without the use of a map (55 miles) and would only need it for a short section over to Mardale. The hassle of reading a map was not on my mind, I was travelling at a steady pace jogging down hill and on the flat. I was making quality time on the CP’s and if I kept this up I’d be in around 35 hrs and in at Buttermere about an 1hr early.

As I left Boot (Eskdale Valley) my meter was still in alarm with blood sugars low, it was a full moon as I headed across the moor in the dark, picking my way across the myriad of paths on my own sure that no one was behind me. This is really not a situation I should be in with low blood sugars and heart rate of a 140.

There is a school of thought amongst some diabetics that the world doesn’t have to change when you get diabetes. I think that is wrong, try and ignore the fact you have a broken pancreas and it will bite your ass. There are some things I won’t do now that I may have done before. Blundering through life pretending you don’t have diabetes is not going to help or any other T1 get the best out of life.

On that moor jogging across nearing midnight with an insulin pump that was bleeping every 10 mins telling me I had a low blood sugar – I realised that I needed to can this trip out in the lakes. To get myself on top of this needed some good food and a bit of rest.. and to be honest I needed to be with someone else in this remote part of the Lakes.



Picture above is a trace of my blood sugars the event started at 6.00 pm you can see the rapid descent which replicates me ascending Walna Scar Road.

I arrived a Wasdale feeling pretty OK, but knowing that for me bouncing over to Ennerdale and then on to Buttermere in the early hours of the morning was not going to happen today. The checkpoint was coloured by geordies dressed up in 70’s disco outfits, all a bit surreal talking to Elvis about diabetes.

Couple of the fellas gave me a lift back to Coniston – to this day I’m not sure they appreciated that I only understood half of what they were telling me. Still Elvis made me laugh when he jumped out on Corney Fell at 2am bouncing around like Big Bird trying to shoe the sheep off the road – not sure what the farmer would have though if he had been about.

Why did this all happen? am I destined not to be able to do this stuff? I’d had some stew + brown roll about 2 hrs before I started the event and given myself my normal dose of insulin. I think when I started not all of that insulin had finished its job, when my heart rate went high it was like someone put the foot on the accelerator. I’d also forgot to put a temporary basal (setup on the insulin pump to reduce background insulin during exercise) on until after I started when really I should do it an hour before. Harsh lessons that probably ruined my day – still not got the pace to get up with the crowd, need to loose a few pounds.

The car was found and I dived in my sleeping bag and before I knew I was sound asleep. At 6am I was woken up by my pump squarking at me – blood sugars 2.6! this game has not finished, and can I be arsed to get myself out of bed to find some food. I’d better had.

Well done to friends who completed the 100 – Joe Faulkner, Oli Blomfield, Zac Poulton, Sharon McDonald, Gill Kisler and David Spence a very special group of people.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.