MONTANE LAKELAND 100 UTLD (103.9 miles, 21,760ft of ascent) Friday July 27th 2012
I am floating through the landscape. I feel the wind caress my body. The sun touches my skin with a tender kiss. The ground beneath my feet narrates earth’s history, with each stone, root & plant holding its own story. Water trickles and meanders through the landscape. I stop to take a sip of nature’s life force and touch the ground around me. I have become one within my environment. I have been stripped of all pretensions. My bare soul has been exposed.
To strip a human of all pretensions and reveal the true soul of a person is difficult in days of infinite technological advances, social media, television and consumerism. Ultra distance running through nature’s landscape will allow one to achieve this if one is a willing to undertake a journey of discovery and ultimately spiritual enlightenment. One cannot be told how to do this. There are no facts, figures or charts that will guide one in the right direction. It is a personal journey that one must undertake. There is nothing that I can say that will provide you with the answers. You have to take this journey yourself and discover your bare soul.
100 has been the catalyst to my journey. Through this event I have followed a path of discovery that continually evolves, allowing me to reach further into my soul then I ever thought possible. The Lakeland 100 will strip you of any notions of elitism, self-importance or arrogance. Any who try will find that the Lakeland course will quickly remove any of these traits and you will be stripped back to reveal who you really are. You will be exposed. Lakeland
I am very privileged that through my journey I have discovered like-minded people who share similar passions, aspirations and an outlook on life. Family, friends and loved ones are an important part of this journey, and without them the journey would be lonely and fraught with difficulties.
Two of my fellow journeymen are Paul Tierney and Barry Murray. Together we have shared a voyage that has opened our minds to the potential that we have as humans to enjoy and discovery the world around us and the love we have within ourselves.
At 17:30 hours on Friday 27th July 2012, we continued our journey with the start of the
100. We had made no prearranged agreement to run together for any amount of time. We did not impose any time restrictions or any goals. We simply went out to run and enjoy the experience. Sure, we knew that we would probably run together for a long periods of the race but we had no expectations to stay together for the whole duration. The only objective we had was to run within the moment and further our journey of discovery. Lakeland
It is through pain and suffering that one can really begin to unravel the complexities of human emotion. One must accept that to embrace life you must embrace pain. Buttermere to Dalemain provided the perfect opportunity to discover the deep emotional turmoil between the body and mind. The point at which everything in your body and mind tells you to stop is an enthralling battle. We all fell silent to fight with our demons within. The thoughts of self-doubt, tiredness and fatigue creep in and one must be strong and overcome them. It is a time to stand-up and be counted. Will you let the pain, suffering and doubts consume you, or will you embrace it and feed upon it. I began to feel that I was losing the battle. My body was strong but my mind was wavering. I contemplated stopping at Dalemain.
It is in these moments that undoubtedly reveal who we are. One can choose to relinquish to ones demons, or one can take on the challenge and use drive and determination to become the best one can be.
I left Dalemain with one focus, and that was to be the best I could be. I relinquished the shackles of pain, suffering and doubt and moved forward with my journey. I was now on my own with the knowledge that Ed Batty was 25 minutes ahead. The sun had risen and there was still plenty of trails to test my ability to endure and embrace. I began to use the beautiful countryside of the
Lake District to inspire and propel me forward. Nature was my friend again and I embraced her with open arms. My body took on a whole new lease of life and I felt invigorated and energised.
Leaving Howtown, I embraced the climb up Wether Hill, touching the ground with my hands when I could and drinking water from any source I passed. My hands were not dirty and I was not parched, I simply had an unquenchable thirst for nature. I stopped at the summit to look at the array of fells that had been scattered before me. It was a beautiful morning and they were in full glory. The
Lake District has so much to offer and has given me so much. In return, I give my all. I allow the challenge to deconstruct me. I want nature to accept me as its equal so feel compelled to prove my worth. I pass Ed just before Haweswater and I have nothing but the open fells in front of me.
I arrive in Ambleside to be greeted by familiar and friendly faces before I’m on my way to continue my adventure. I pass through
and onto the Langdales. A bitter cold wind and rain ads to the experience. The beauty of the fells is almost incomprehensible and I am filled with pure emotion. I glance down at my watch and realise that I will finish faster then last year. I haven’t quite worked out the exact timings but I know its sub 21 hour. As I run in towards Tilberthwaite I realise that I’m actually closer to finishing within 20 hours. I was shocked but also inspired. I left Tilberthwaite with a new valour and ran. I floated over the steep rocky steps like they weren’t there. The final descent quickly followed and I took it all in my stride. I was truly living an incredible experience and I soaked it in. I reached the gravel path and my bare sole was exposed. Pure emotion was cursing through my body and I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. I did both. Skelwith Bridge