I often get asked why would you want to run 100 miles and it's a question I always struggle to reply to.
Seriously how do you answer this when the person asking has probably never even set foot in the fells.
How on earth can I even start to explain to this person why I would want to put myself through 100 miles, and what would they think if they realised how many like minded people there actually are that would also join me and my yellow army team on the start lines at the Lakeland 50/100 event this year.
Couch to 50 miles...
September the first... what a crazy morning with all our potential 50 runners taking on their first challenge -battling the computer system to try to secure their place at the event in July...
9 'lucky' people got themselves a place and so began their couch to 50 mile training package with the aim of building fitness, confidence, strength and endurance through long hard days in all weather conditions on variable terrain.
It's as much about mind as it is body- and the training is vital to test and push their mental ability helping them build resilience so they can endure the endurance events. By spending long days out during the winter in horrendous weather conditions, with early starts the team had to dig deep and ask themselves how much they wanted to do the 50 mile challenge. Often the mind fails before the body.
In December a new member joined the group, by may 2 members broke and left the group,
8 members reached the Lakeland 50 starting line along with some of last years yellow army who returned for round 2.
There was 100 percent success rate from all yellow army members, and what great feedback we got-
"I can't count the number of times during the race I reflected on how fantastically well prepared we were, thanks to the advice from Kayleigh and Daddy Dave"
This year after swearing I would never attempt the Lakeland 100, knowing it's a totally different beast of a race altogether from the lakeland 50 miler, I was persuaded and took on the challenge with my dad aka Daddy Dave.
Already committed to training the yellow army it was essential to get extra days for our own training when we could. Our 50 training package is fab but it's designed to get people around 50-60 miles not 100 miles so we often did back to back 12 hour days in the lakes spending time on our legs building stamina and strength.
At times it looked like the race would never happen for me, 12 weeks out and I was struggling with my planter and a spur on my heel. Then I really badly sprained my ankle on Scarfell decent and had to carry on for another 6 hours back to the car with my ankle nearly as fat as my head! No pain no gain.
So why do you want to run 100 miles?
As I said I never really know how to answer this, I'm not the best with putting my feelings and emotions into words, so I just say because I can!
But really why not? I have enjoyed being able to spend weekends in the Lake District meeting new people, building friendships and seeing my yellow army work as a team and grow and progress whilst having fun and a laugh.
I work part time in a carers role and before making the leap to be full time with the yellow army I worked full time as a carer for a little boy with complex medical and physical needs. Knowing that they will never have the chance to experience this why would I not have a go if the opportunity is there?
I'm rubbish with words, but the feeling I experience whilst being in the mountains is just life lifting, all the worries and anxiety in everyday life just doesn't seem to exist, time is irrelevant, no one cares if your make up has run, or your not carrying the latest designer handbag it's a liberating experience.
The race begins at Ambleside...
Friday 26th July, 6pm, how on earth have I ended up in the starting pen, trying all day to keep calm, rest, stay in a bubble and here I am, and it's to late to do anything about it, am I ready, erm nope!
No faffing, no real frills, the front runners are off and we all follow yellow army members everywhere supporting us, shouting and encouraging us along with everyone else!
I soon got into my slow plodding stride and the bubble I surrounded myself with is working pretty well! The checkpoint are awesome so much time and detail gone into making them a fantastic experience. Daddy Dave has his schedule right down to the amount of time allowed in checkpoints and how long we have to change clothes - we knew we had to look after our feet as much as we could so plenty of sock changes!
Night came and went really quick, and as I plodded along, I realised we were no longer the 5th from the back as we were slowly overtaking other runners. Our legs steady, calm and strong, our heads strong and focused, all along I knew if I entered this race there would be no option for me not to finish,
I'd visualised the finish for months now. I hadn't bigged up my challenge on social media etc only people really close to me knew what I was going to attempt.
The goal once the night was out of the way was to get to Dalemain, hot pudding and custard, fresh clothes and a chance to see some friends and family. Running into Dalemain with our little team Owen and Rachel who we met en route really helped seem like we got to the half way point in no time.
I can't say I really thought much about the distance at this point- mainly because i'm all too familiar with the next part of the route and now I was thinking time, knowing that at my slowing pace and the fact that this part goes on forever with fresh legs it was going to be tough with 50 miles already under my belt. My head started to melt and negative thoughts popped in. I was cold, wet and not even the cheesiest sound track was helping. Through out the second section my head was weak, a friend said to my mum, her head is tired but her legs are strong.
Running with Daddy Dave is always an experience! 3 miles from Ambleside I started slowing, faffing over the rocks etc, I got told off for being slow, I got one of his famous words of wisdom... the slower you go the more its going to hurt and the longer it will hurt for... damn why is he always right.
We fell out near Ambleside for about half hour, I tripped over a rock and cried, not sure why I didn't fall or hurt myself but it was like the end of the earth! Emotional tiredness kicking in!
I got my head down we made friends and we pushed on. Once the sun came up and I could see the unmanned checkpoint I felt much better knowing it was nearly over. I felt so much better we even managed a good jog.
Tilberthwaite came and went. I felt like I flew up the steps floating on adrenaline, I've done it, then I bloody knew he would- he changed the goal..."if we get a move on we can get down before 38 hours". No pressure! My legs just needed to negotiate down the final rocky decent and then just a little jog to the finish. My legs started to warm up and we ran the whole tarmac section off the hill into the finish in 37 hours 48 mins.
3rd mixed pair and I was the 20th lady- That's all actually a bonus. What matters most to me is that I finished whilst so many others who attempted this race did not and most individuals who enter this race fail at their first attempt. A definite case of mind over matter.
Thank you so much to all our friends and yellow army family for all your support you guys are just amazing and we appreciate your love and cheers and sleep deprivation.
If you have been inspired by the Yellow Army or anyone else this year and would like to embark on a new fitness challenge or push yourself to the next level in ultra running, we offer a couch to 50 mile training, or contact for a bespoke package suitable for you.
Contact www.kayleighsfitnessrunclub.com for more information