Great Britain’s Andy Berry was the victor at the Lakeland 100 as he overtook Jarlath McKenna in the closing stages to record a time of 20:03:11 – the third fastest in the race’s history.
Berry was running in second place for the majority of the race, and was in fact 18 minutes and 40 seconds behind McKenna heading through the final checkpoint at Tilberthwaite with just one hours running remaining.
However, McKenna’s tracker shows he stopped just after Sweeten Crag, allowing Berry to overtake his rival in the dying embers of the race. Berry eventually claimed victory by 10 minutes and 55 seconds from McKenna, with Rob Forbes completing a Great British 1-2-3 in third.
Berry snipes victory
It was an event to remember for Berry, who admitted to ‘meticulously planning’ his preparations for the Lakeland 100 in an effort to be in top condition for the race.
The British runner has been in fine form in 2023 setting a new record for the Lake District 24-hour Fell Challenge in May – beating Kim Collison’s record by over 22 minutes. He followed that up with podium finished at the Cheviot Goat and The Lakes Sky Ultra.
But success in the Lakeland 100 looked to be out of his grasp as McKenna built a commanding lead late in the race.
McKenna, in fact, made his presence known early in the race, reaching the first checkpoint in a time of 1:01:01 – joined by American Ryan Smith who had a lead of over four minutes to third-place Berry.
Smith then took command of the race at the Wasdale Head checkpoint. He opened a considerable gap to McKenna, with Berry moving into second by Black Sail Hut.
McKenna, however, upped his pace between the first compulsory checkpoint and Howtown – recording the fastest split in there of the next four splits – with only Berry able to match his times. From there, McKenna seemed to build an insurmountable lead through to the final checkpoint.
The final mile
Somehow, Berry overcame the challenge, recording a time of 42:48 for the final 3.5 miles – 29 minutes and 45 seconds quicker than McKenna’s final split (1:12:23).
“I probably took the lead in the last mile!”Andy Berry said live on the Montane Lakeland 50 and 100 Facebook page following the race.
“It was on the final descent, where you come over the top of the ridge, the technical bit a the top, it was about a third of the way down that.
“The only other time I had seen Jarleth [McKenna], really, was at Black Sail and I knew I couldn’t touch him on the flat parts of the course, but on the technical parts I had a chance so I was just peddle to the mettle on the technical parts and hold on for dear life on the roads.
“I’m a little spaced out,” he joked, “I’ve just run 105-mile, definitely a week off after that.”
Hydration troubles for McKenna
Berry speculated following the race that McKenna had suffered from hydration problems, stating he was sitting on the side of the hill getting water as he passed on the final stretch.
“He was getting help from two hikers, he seemed dehydrated, it looked like he was having water off them so I assume he just got cramp or something like that,” Berry commented after the race.
Even despite the late disappointment, It has been a year to remember for McKenna. In addition to the successes above he also topped the podium at the Adidas Terrex Keswick Mountain Festival 50K Trail Race and finished 11th in Three Peaks Race.
In March he lifted the British Masters Cross Country Championship title before also tasting victory at the Anglo Celtic Plate in Northern Ireland in April. McKenna was picked out by Lakeland 100 expert Paul Wilson to go well this weekend prior to the race, and he duly obliged with a podium finish.
Men’s Lakeland 100 Results:
- Andy Berry (GBR) – 20:03:11
- Jarlath McKenna (GBR) – 20:14:06
- Rob Forbes (GBR) – 20:56:36
- Martin Wilson (GBR) – 21:43:12
- Patrick Brennan (GBR) – 22:07:10
- Samuel Skinner (GBR) – 22:07:10
- Geoffrey Cheshire (GBR) – 22:31:46
- Seth Kennard (GBR) – 22:33:00
- Ryan Smith (USA) – 22:33:00
- Matthew John (GBR) – 22:50:16