The Montane Lakeland 100 ‘Ultra Tour of the Lake District’ bills itself as the most spectacular long distance trail race to have ever taken place within the UK and remains one of the sport’s most coveted finisher’s medals to achieve. The 100-mile route takes in all the lakeland fells and features around 6300m of ascent. Its sister race, the Lakeland 50, takes place over the same weekend, and covers the second half of the full course.
Here is our full guide to learning about the event, following it live or even taking part.
Date, start time & live tracking
The 14th edition of the Montane Lakeland 100 starts at 1800PM on Friday, July 28 2023 and runners have 40 hours to complete the course. The Lakeland 50 race starts at 1130AM on Saturday, July 29 2023 and has a 24-hour time limit.
Each competitor carries a GPS tracking device and a ‘dibber’ – provided by OPENTracking – which allows race organisers to monitor their progress and to ensure everyone stays safe. The GPS device also allows fans to follow the race online. Failure to register at any of the checkpoints on the course will result in disqualification.
Dot watchers can follow the race live here:
Montane Lakeland 100 and 50 2023 Route
The Lakeland 100 route starts and finishes at John Ruskin School in Coniston. Competitors initially head south before completing a clockwise circuit taking in the Dunnerdale fells, Eskdale, Wasdale and Buttermere before arriving in Keswick. From here, runners proceed to Matterdale and continue over to Haweswater before returning via Kentmere, Ambleside and Elterwater to the finish at Coniston. It has 14 checkpoints, which must be reached and exited by set times if runners are to continue in the race. The Lakeland 50 starts from the northern end of Ullswater and follows the remainder of the 100-mile route.
More information on the route can be found here.
Facts, Tips & FAQ
The Lakeland 100 and 50 were first run in 2008 and have taken place each year since, except 2020 when Covid-19 put paid to racing.
Organisers have deliberately designed the route not to pass any of the Lake District’s better-known summits, instead claiming it will take runners to places in Cumbria “you may never have visited before and it’s likely you’ll wonder why”.
While a 40-hour cut-off point for a 100-mile race may seem generous and sleeping is permitted at checkpoints, the Lakeland 100 still has a 40-50% failure race most years. Organisers state: “Seasoned ultra runners have tried and many have failed, a finisher’s medal in the Lakeland 100 is possibly one of the most treasured possessions you will ever receive.”
The Lakeland 100 is renowned for its unorthodox race briefing, which “will make you laugh and cry” and themed aid stations with characters such as Gene Simmons from Kiss in attendance.
Since the Lakeland 50 has a 24-hour limit, it is achievable for walkers and runners, but experience of fell walking or running is required for both races.
Organisers publish a list of the food that will be available at each checkpoint, but consider stashing supplies on the course or taking some from supporters en route to be against the spirit of the rules.
Husband and wife Marco Consani and Debbie Martin-Consani completed a family double with victories in the 2014 Lakeland 100, while Caspar and Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn matched their feat in the 2017 Lakeland 50.
How to qualify and enter the Montane Lakeland 100 and 50
To gain a place in the Lakeland 100, competitors must have achieved at least one of four qualifying criteria:
Completing the Lakeland 50 in less than 16 hours in the previous three years.
Previously completing the Lakeland 100 in any year.
Completing another 100-mile plus trail ultra in the previous three years.
Completing a 50-mile plus race on mountain terrain in less than 16 hours in the previous three years.
There are no specific requirements for the Lakeland 50, other than that you need to be an experienced long-distance runner or walker.
The ballot for both races in 2023 will open on the resultsbase website on September 1 at 9am for a 24-hour period. All competitors will be notified by September 4, as to whether their application has been successful. Entry cost in 2022 was £130 and £110 respectively.
Montane Lakeland 100 and 50 records and past winners
Mark Darbyshire set a new men’s record for the Lakeland 100 when winning the 2021 race. Darbyshire’s time of 19 hours 10 minutes 27 seconds took more than 40 minutes off the previous best set by Terry Conway. Beth Pascall set the women’s record of 21:29:36 in 2016 – a time no other female has got within 90 minutes of.
Lakeland 100 winners (since 2011)
2022 – Men: Ali Bailey 20:46:02. Women: Emma Stuart 23:05:54.
2021 – Men: Mark Darbyshire 19:10:27. Women: Anna Troup 25:09:20.
2019 – Men: Rory Harris 21:27:05. Women: Anna Troup 26:19:27.
2018 – Men: Ken Sutor 22:55:50. Women: Sabrina Verjee 23:05:47.
2017 – Men: Mike Jones 20:22:19. Women: Sabrina Verjee 23:15:22.
2016 – Men: Mike Jones 20:30:03. Women: Beth Pascall 21:29:36.
2015 – Men: Paul Tierney 20:42:07. Women: Carol Morgan 25:47:32.
2014 – Men: Marco Consani 21:14:52. Women: Debbie Martin-Consani 25:28:33.
2013 – Men: Stuart Mills 22:17:50. Women: Lizzie Wraith 24:15:06.
2012 – Men: Terry Conway 19:50:37. Women: Rachel Hill 28:47:52.
2011 – Men: Terry Conway 21:58: 19. Women: Gaynor Price 28:24:12.
The men’s and women’s course records for the Lakeland 50 are held by husband and wife Caspar (2017) and Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn (2022). Caspar’s time of 7:34:07 was almost beaten by Oliver Thorogood (7:36:11) the following year, while Katie has the three fastest women’s times with 8:02:19, 8:02:32 and 8:12:32.
Lakeland 50 winners (since 2011)
2022 – Men: Andrew Siggers 7:56:25. Women: Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn 8:02:19.
2021 – Men: Runar Sather 7:41:11. Women: Emma Stuart 9:15:21.
2019 – Men: Jayson Cavill 7:55:42. Women: Bethan Male 9:26:02.
2018 – Men: Oliver Thorogood 7:36:11. Women: Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn 8:12:19.
2017 – Men: Caspar Kaars Sijpesteijn 7:34:07. Women: Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn 8:02:32
2016 – Men: Jayson Cavill 7:38:48. Women: Sabrina Verjee 8:54:39.
2015 – Men: Jayson Cavill 8:04:24. Women: Sally Fawcett 8:43:43.
2014 – Men: Kim Collison 7:48:01. Women: Jo Meek 8:43:14.
2013 – Men: Ben Abdelnoor 7:39:26. Women: Katherine Brougham 9:44.10.
2012 – Men: Steve Angus 8:30:51. Women: Tracy Dean 8:38:08.
2011 – Men: Craig Stewart 8:18:18. Women: Poppy Lenton 11:04:33.
Entrants for the 2023 race can be viewed here.
<h3> Montane Lakeland 100 kit list</h3>
Runners are required to wear and carry certain kit, without which they will not be allowed to start, while other items are recommended.
Base layer – vest or short sleeve top (no cotton). Must also carry long-sleeved base layer
Waterproof trousers and jacket – Must be fully waterproof with taped seams (wind / showerproof not acceptable). The jacket must have a hood.
Spare base layers – Long-sleeved top and bottoms. These should be sealed in a bag and only used in emergency situations.
Hat and gloves
Map and roadbook – Supplied at registration
Compass – First aid kit
Emergency food – Sealed in a bag to be used only in emergencies
Head torch – With spare batteries.
Back pack – Or similar to carry all the above
Quality off-road running shoes – Not road shoes
Mobile phone – fully charged
Blanket – Or survival bag
Solid plastic cup – For hot drinks or soup
Second cup / bottle or flask – For cold drinks
A spork (or similar) – For eating food at checkpoints.