For years, the Great Lakeland 3Day™ (also known as the GL3D™) was an event known only to a select few; indeed the first race in 1998 had just seven participants including the then race organiser, Joe Faulkner. Since then it has been building up a loyal following of mountain runners.
Above: GL3D 2001 / Day 2. Paul, Garry Perratt (centre) and Bryan on Green Gable. Photo: Garry Perratt.
2013 is the race's fifteenth anniversary year and it looks set to mark a turning point in the GL3D's™ evolution as, with the support of race sponsor Lowe Alpine, the event has sold out for the first time. The famously relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the GL3D™ remains unchanged but Race Director, Shane Ohly, has added two shorter courses to broaden its appeal to a wider audience of mountain runners. He explained, "The GL3D™ previously offered one long course of approximately 45 km per day, which was roughly equal to an elite mountain marathon course in terms of difficulty to complete. For 2013 we have added two new courses; an A course and a B course". He continued, "The really novel aspect of the GL3D™ is that competitors simply enter the event and then mix and match the courses as they like each day".
The new format seems to have worked with a sell out entry lining up to take part this year. However, Shane Ohly revealed that, "Whilst the new courses have certainly helped to attract new competitors, the real appeal of the GL3D™ is the mountain marathon experience with benefits!" By this he means that rather than being about complex navigation, the emphasis of the GL3D™ is on long mountain journeys, spectacular scenery and enjoying an amazing mountain experience. Competitors are told to expect mountain trails and footpaths, along ridges and through valleys, rather than contouring and bogs. Plus they get their kit transported and access to hot water, beer and cakes at the overnight camps. Luxury indeed!
Lake District local, Charlie Sproson, who also planned the 2012 GL3D™ and Marmot Dark Mountains™ earlier this year, has devised three courses that the website promises will "cover a wide-ranging area within the Central and Northern Lakeland fells. Each of our three courses mixes classic summits, valleys and ridges with hidden gems and rarely visited tops in stunning combinations that will provide a compelling weekend of mountain running adventure".
Above: Heather Dawe and Shane Ohly on their way to winning the Elite Mixed at the 2007 OMM. Photo: SleepMonsters.com
In a nod to its roots, painter and 2005 GL3D™ female winner Heather Dawe will be providing a limited edition print to the fastest male and female competitors on the elite course this year. Heather Dawe is one of the UK’s leading endurance athletes and she is publishing her first book Adventures in Mind with Vertebrate Graphics in May this year.