2014 Race Directors Report

8th May 2014

First of all, I must sincerely thank all the volunteer marshals who helped on the weekend. For a small event like the Great Lakeland 3Day™, their input has a huge impact both in terms of the event’s viability but also in setting the atmosphere. These superb marshals set the tone for the weekend and instigated the relaxed and friendly feeling of the GL3D™ from the start. Many thanks to you all.


Above: Volunteer marshals Beverley Notton and Alex Kemp lead the procession of 200 competitors through Pooley Bridge to board an Ullswater Steamer for a memorable boat journey up Ullswater to Howtown Quay. © Ian Corless


...and of course there are all the competitors who I would like to thank. Many had long journeys to get to the event with competitors coming from Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, USA, Hong Kong and even Cornwall! It is hard to pin down exactly what components of an event all add together to give it that unique feeling but certainly the camaraderie, cheerfulness and a shared search for mountain adventures is a potent recipe for a great weekend. Plus a little beer and cider perhaps!

I would also like to thank Rachel Brine and Joe White from Lowe Alpine who between them helped considerably over the weekend. Both Lowe Alpine and the Climbers Shop in Ambleside have helped promote the event. Ian Corless from TalkUltra joined the event and took all the amazing photos in this report despite the dull and overcast weather. There will be gallery od his photos shortly.

Above: The Ullswater Steamer ‘Raven’, which was our early morning transport. The surprise boat trip went down well the competitors and Race Planner, Charlie Sproson has been tasked with a suitably impressive start to the 2015 GL3D™. © Ian Corless


As the Race Director I look at the event with harsh eyes and I am constantly asking others, and myself “what could I do better?” Whilst I have dozens of pages of notes from this year, the two things that standout for me would be a more efficient registration process and start, especially if we have a mass start. This will be sorted for 2015.

Although many had guessed we’d be taking a boat journey up Ullswater, some were surprised and I think the ride on ‘Raven’ was a great way to start the 2014 GL3D™. The weather on the Saturday was superb for running with a little cloud keeping the sun at bay but with no rain and little wind. The ridge running heading up to High Street and then south, either via Kentmere Pike or Yoke, is some of the best in the Lakes and it was clear as competitors finished the first day that they had enjoyed the experience greatly.

Above: Peter Juthberg and Tomas Albinsson from Sweden – both of who are hoping to complete the Dragon’s Back Race in 2015 – start the climb towards the summit of Place Fell at the beginning of the Elite Course. © Ian Corless


On the elite course, Jim Mann established a huge lead on the first day of nearly 40 minutes after finishing in 05:19, and he was to be untroubled by any of the other competitors for the rest of the weekend. However, with the majority of the elite field taking between 6 and 7 hours, there was plenty of friendly competition for those who were seeking it.

Our B Course leader, Edd Charlton-Weedy raced round the course in 03:31 and that includes a short wait as one of marshals rushed up the hill to place the final 203 control! Certainly, even for a control so close to the finish, we will ensure that it is placed the day before next year.

As always the provision of hot water, beer, teas/coffee and cake seems to be a winning formula. We invested in a much larger competitors’ tent this year and also had two water boilers rather than one. This allowed us to keep pace with the increase in numbers from 2013 and if the event grows again in 2015, we will ensure that the provision of facilities keeps pace.

Above: Day two and our eventual B course winner, Alexander Beaven, tackles a steep climb in misty and damp conditions, which hung around for most of the day. © Ian Corless


The damp weather of Saturday, particularly in the morning, was an immediate worry for us because the Kentmere overnight camp has soft ground. Loading the drybags and event paraphernalia with the vans parked on the hard standing was an essential albeit slower way to decamp.

Above: The Café class checkpoint at Bilbo’s Café in Ambleside was also used by the Elite, A and B Courses. However, we never expected so many competitors, from all the different courses, would choose to stop and take a break! Apparently bacon butties were the first choose snack and the queue went out the door at times! ©Ian Corless


All the courses had a checkpoint at Bilbo’s Café as they passed through Ambleside and it seems that many competitors, not just those on the Café Class, took the time for a warm and dry pit stop.

On the Elite Course, our two leading ladies swapped positions with 2013 winner Cath Holloway finishing 4 minutes ahead of day one leader Kerstin Rosenqvist from Sweden.

Above: After the pit stop in Ambleside runners headed up the classic Loughrigg Fell before heading further west to Lingmoor Fell. © Ian Corless


Day two highlighted the problem of competitors ignoring our timing guidance and arriving back at the overnight camp hours after the courses should have closed. Historically, we have been relaxed about this but as the event grows I’ll need to look at this again, as it is unfair on everyone: competitors kept awake because the generator needs to stay on, and marshals staying up hours later to ensure everyone is safely off the hill. I suspect next year the timing guidance will become compulsory.

©iancorless.com.IMG_6679 2GL3D_Day3
Above: Jon Barker (who had travelled from the USA to take part in the GL3D™) and Cathy Holloway (our 2013 Elite winner) clearly enjoying the Elite course on their journey back to Pooley Bridge on Day Three. © Ian Corless


The introduction of the new Café Class (the C-Course) was a definite success and it was great to see some of the less speedy competitors have a route that they could complete without the stress of bumping up against our closure times. We had imagined that the C Course would attract slower runners and walkers but were surprised at just how quick the leading competitors were. This nearly broke our logistics with competitors arriving at the overnight camps only minutes after we had begun unloading! Whilst we are very happy for faster runners to tackle the C Course if that is what they wish to do, we will have to ensure that they start later than at 0730!

Some of the faster competitors on all the courses will have experienced my reaction to this on Monday morning when I prevented them from starting until 0830. Apologies that this was not communicated to you in advance but I had to take some action to allow us to get back to Pooley Bridge before you. In our defense, the website does make it clear that leading competitors on each course should not start until 0900. For 2015 I suspect we will not allow anyone to officially finish before 1200 noon regardless of what time they turn up at the overnight camp. This puts the onus back on the competitor to plan their day appropriately, which is the ethos we want. Obviously, we’ll need to look at how this affects mass starts.

Above: We always say that Day Three feels easier than Day Two as with each step, the finish gets closer and closer. It’s all smiles for Amy Freeman as she heads for home on the A Course. © Ian Corless


The weather on Monday wasn’t sunny but it was perfect for running in the hills and for many the final run back to the event centre is something of a victory lap. I can certainly recall from the GL3D™s that I did in the 2000s that I felt more and more fresh with every step towards the end on the final day (or is that selective memory?!). It is exciting to finish and also a relief after three quality hills days.

We don’t want the GL3D™ to become an event focused on prizes and positions but I do like to mark the effort of our two leading elite runners. Jim Mann dominated and finished 1:45 ahead despite a few misunderstands with the map! Kerstin Rosenqvist had a superb final day to secure the female win and, I would bet, a secure place at the Dragon’s Back Race next June…

Above: Homeward bound, three runners on the B Course start the decent from 208 – our final checkpoint – to the Pooley Bridge Event Centre. ©Ian Corless

Photos and Video
If you have any photos that you would be willing to share on the Great Lakeland 3Day™ website please send them to me and I’ll put together a gallery of competitors photos. Any video is welcome as well.

Lost property
The following items were handed into us over the weekend. If you think any of them are yours, please contact us with a description and we will arrange their return:

  • Beanies x1
  • Waterproof Hat x1
  • Sun glasses x1
  • Glasses x1
  • Also, were you the elite competitor lent a beanie by Braddan (who sprained is ankle)? He's like it back please!

Competitors who were unable to Attend
For competitors who had paid for an entry but were unable to attend the event, we will be posting a map to them in the next week.

Competitor Feedback
We would welcome any feedback from competitors… good or bad! If you enjoyed yourself, just a few sentences about your experience that we could include on the website would be greatly appreciated. If you feel we could have done something better please let us know. Email info@GreatLakeland3Day.com

Shane Ohly

Race Director