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Lakes in a Day Ultra Run

12-Oct-2019 Caldbeck, Cumbria, UK (England)


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Mountains Race Race Terrain
80KM / 50Miles
1 Day - 500 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

Entry From £70 GBP

50 miles, 4000m ascent - a journey on foot from the very top of the Lake District at Caldbeck to the very bottom, at Cartmel, via the stunning Helvellyn Ridge and the western shoreline of Lake Windermere. It might not be the easiest traverse but it will be the most spectacular! It will be a day never to be forgotten.

This event has been awarded 2 (4 new) ITRA points

Fee includes:
Electronic timing / live tracking
3 well-stocked feed stations.
Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed male / female.

Current records are;

Male (Kim Collison) - 9 hours 12 mins
Female (Helen Leigh) - 11 hours 0 mins

Read the Ian Corless review of the 2015 edition HERE.

We also organise:


Event Organiser
James Thurlow



Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Review Lakes in a Day Ultra Run

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07:30 26-09-19

2015, 2017, 2018
The first year I did this the weather was so perfect we were sunning ourselves on a windless Helvellyn admiring the infinite views and I knew I should never do it again as it could never be this lovely... I was so right! 2017 was tough, with tremendous sidewinds and rain on the long ridge from White Peak to Dollywagon and then all the way to Ambleside but the second half - and this is a very much a race of two halves, the high brutal spectacular half and the milder Windermere-hugging (with some sharp stony ascents to Claife Heights and High Dam) second half - was moonlit and peaceful, as if the previous nine hours had been a long, wild dream. And then there was last year, with Storm Callum full in our faces, and Lake Windermere round our waists. It was epic and crazy and I immediately signed up to do it all again. If you really want a challenge you have found the right race. And it's beautifully organised by James, with excellent indoor check points and the right balance of wild adventure and safety. A stunner, whatever the weather. For some reason the website won't let me give it 5 stars but if I could I would give it 6!

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09:57 16-10-18

The huge band of blue heading east across the Atlantic on the weather forecast was a warning shot for those running this years LIAD. The Friday night camp had to be moved from the school at Cartmel to the racecourse due to the wet weather. A few hours sleep with the sound of rain hitting the tent and the hourly chimes from Cartmel Priory really helped add to the mix.
At 05.45 we were on the M6 northbound heading for the start at Caldbeck. The windscreen wipers on our coach worked tirelessly while the passengers sat in tired silence. To our west was the silhouette of the Cumbrian fells looking at us silently and with complete indifference. I'd done the climbing and the miles but the forecast was having none of that.
Upon our arrival at Caldbeck two groups quickly formed, those at the start and those at the toilets. Pre-race brief from James Thurlow and we were off. 50 miles and 4000 metres of ascent to go. A climb up to High Pike and the running began. Past Lingy's Hut a walker watched us pass as he packed away his sleeping bag from his overnight stay up top. Down towards the river Caldew a rope had been installed to assist our crossing. Heavy rain had swollen the river and a man in a dry suit and life jacket cheerfully helped us cross. A dry suit would have been useful for the latter stages.
A slog up to Blencathra and then a fantastic decent into Threlkeld along Halls Fell. The rain had stopped and the predicted wind was none existent. The Helvellyn range looked wide open and perfect. Maybe the forecast was wrong?
Food and tea at Threlkeld was a welcome rest before the relentless march along to Ambleside. The rain persisted but the wind was deceptive and kept himself out of view until we poked our Buff clad heads up on the tops. The next few hours were wet, stormy and bleak. Gale force winds battered our faces and the rain felt like pin *****s. Running was difficult and the cloud cover added to the sense of (almost) despair. Going forward seemed the best option as coming down any other route didn't look any better.
Water from the sky and on the ground made for difficult conditions. Passing Griesdale Tarn it was nice to see waves and water spraying off the surface. Conversation with my running partner was none existent other than the occasional laugh at our situation.
With Ambleside in the distance we descended and our energy levels returned. The wrong descent in fact and it later cost us a 45 minute penalty. Fair enough. Our mistake.
After a change of clothing at Ambleside, along with a mountain of food and tea, we headed towards the shore of Windermere. The volunteers were outstanding by the way. The fresh shoes and socks were soon wet after a number of paths were flooded. Waist deep flooded. This persisted along Windermere with footpaths now part of the lake and using our head torches for guidance. In a lake with waves gently lapping over us was not something I'd considered but there it was.
There was a surreal moment amongst all the wading as we could hear a rowdy wedding party signing along to James somewhere through the trees.
Finsthwaite feed station felt like home but by now we just wanted to finish. The last 7.5 miles seemed to take ages and we finally ran into Cartmel. It was late and other runners heading off would whisper a well done to us so as not to wake the locals.
Crossing the finish line was a great moment and one I'll remember well. All that was left was for a shower and walk back to our tent followed by the hourly chimes of Cartmel Priory to gently keep me awake until sunrise.
The LIAD is a well organised event with a great route through the Lakes. The feed stations and the volunteers are a welcome support in what is a long but rewarding day. Get signed up for 2019 and pray for blue skies!

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11:43 06-11-17

This tough 50 mile ultra from the north to the south of the Lake District offers one of the most amazing challenges for any runner. A mix of terrain with over 4000 metres of ascent with some of the most beautiful scenery you could wish for to enjoy along the way. That said, I have run it each of the past four years and, whilst three of those afforded great weather, it was a different story in 2017. However, despite heavy rain, winds blowing me over, a white out and sub zero temperatures on the tops, having the right kit meant it was a challenge to be relished. Each check point was manned by caring and supportive staff for whom nothing was too much trouble. Additionally, event safety staff were out on the tops themselves to monitor runners and make sure all were well and coping with the adverse conditions. Feed stations were well stocked and there was something for everyone. This is an incredibly well organised event. They even put on recce days for some of the sections to help those who may not be so comfortable with their own navigation. Highly recommended.

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11:05 11-10-16

Completed the Lakes in a Day Ultra and can honestly say that was the hardest medal I've earned yet and that's after doing a 106 mile trail ultra and Ironman Wales! Once you throw mountains and open fells into the equation the severity of the challenge increases exponentially! Starting in Caldbeck at 8am and heading South over 50 miles of mountains and fells to Cartmel was never gonna be an easy task but I couldn't imagine how tough it would be. A knee deep river crossing within the first few miles set the tone for the day. After that it was relentless leg burning ascents and thigh crushing descents on some very technical underfoot conditions. Throw open fells, swamps, dark forests, scrambling, near vertical climbs (some actually vertical), day and night navigation, changing temperature and many more things in the mix and what you have is a brutal race which would challenge any level of athlete. DNF reared its ugly face a few times throughout the race but as always, "not today" was the response it got. Many fell along the way and it was heartbreaking to hear their stories on training for this event and disappointments at not finishing. Some I spoke to had completed such demanding races around the world including MDS and UTMB and had done sub 12 hour Wall and numerous sub 24 hour 100 milers and even these people said it was the toughest challenge they had faced! Says it all really! If you love suffering then this event is a must. Stunning route which throws everything at you, amazing marshals and very well organised event but absolute misery from start to finish. That's why I loved it so much!

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10:41 13-10-15

I ran this Ultra on the 10th 0ct 2015 I normally run mainly fell races so this is why i was attracted to this race and the fact it covers my local area, the first half of the race would give allot of long fell races a run for the money and should be given the respect it deserves, of the 14000ft of climbing in the race 10000ft of it comes in the first 25 miles to Ambleside, from there to Cartmel the going is fairly flat following the shores of Windermere and climbing over Caife hights.
The event was well organised and the feed stations were really well stocked with a good variety of food and drink.
having managed a 3rd place this year I'm sure ill be back for another go at this well organised tough race

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