Conway demolishes the Lakeland 100
There are three times per year that you can be guaranteed of hot humid weather. The London Marathon, The F.A. Cup and the Lakeland100. The Lakeland 100 AKA the Ultra Tour of the Lake District has fast become the most important 100miler on the UK race calendar…
It has the beauty of the Lake District (a circumnavigation from Coniston-Wasdale-Buttermere-Dalemain-Ambleside-Coniston), it has the distance and it has over 20,000ft of vertical gain!
The day will ultimately be remembered for one man- Terry Conway (Ambleside AC). Terry was the Reigning champion and course record holder and he spent 19hrs and 50 minutes (new course record by 2hours and 8minutes) consolidating his position as the UK’s number 100 miler (ok we have the Likes of Bragg and Sharman but they haven’t run a UK 100 for a few years).
Terry made his move shortly before the halfway mark when he decided to swiftly run down Ed Batty and open up a resounding lead over the rest of the field, from here he just sliced through the lakes like he was racing a road marathon. His Ultra Amigos teammates Paul Tierney and Barry Murray kept him company for almost 50 miles before they jointly finished 2nd in 22:01.
Despite the dominance the race would not have been the same without a small side plot. 2 guys stepping up from impressive performances in last year’s Lakeland50 decided to give this a real crack and ultimately provided the catalyst and the Prey for Conway. Ken Sutor, 3rd in the 2011 50, took the first two checkpoints as the leader and pulled the chasing field along at a remarkable pace.
The chasing field including the bold 24year old, 5th in 2010 50, took over Ken after 17 miles and not only kept the lead but slowly built it until mile 56 when Conway decided the 26min lead was getting too much and by mile 66 Batty had been swallowed up by the marauding train. It was brave taking on some incredibly experienced Ultra Distance runners which also included 2010 Lakeland100 champion Stuart Mills and Scott Bradley the 2012 Highland Fling winner but Batty gave it a shot and opened up the race wonderfully, this could have easily been Terry Conway from start to finish but Batty provided the what if?
The Woman’s race really was a start to finish job. Rachel Hill went peddle to the metal for 105miles to become only the second woman to run sub 30hrs. The winning time was 28:47 which was only 23mins behind Gaynor Prior’s 2011 record.
We knew Rachel, a member of the Fell Runners Association, could run but this was sheer class. Julie Gardner and Nicky Taylor seemed to be the biggest threat and kept her within 50minutes for the majority of the race but it was Catherine Holloway who came through strong for second with a time of 29:49 a tremendous feat for someone with only flat ultra credentials until this point (Country to Capital winner 2012).
The strength in depth last weekend has only added weight to the argument that the UK has some athletes ready to breakout into the international Ultra World.
With the ISF just announcing that they are adding a 100mile race to their calendar it’s a perfect time for the UltraAmigos, especially Conway, to think about venturing further a field and making a name for themselves.