The evening before the race I report for duty at the registration. We get a GPS chip pinned to our backpacks, so we can be tracked by family and friends during the race. We also receive a map of the area with the route on it, although we have some navigational freedom, as long as we prove we reach all the 10 mandatory peaks and we “punch” the boxes on top of them. The race organization also checks our kit. The Lake District obviously isn’t the Alps, but they are serious mountains nonetheless and the weather can be harsh and unpredictable. We have therefore brought a whole range of mandatory kit, such as a compass, survival blanket, first aid kit, whistle, headtorch, and waterproofs. There are only a few support points, so we also have to carry all our food and water.
After a short night in a tent, we get to start the race at 4 o’clock in the morning together with 120 other competitors. I quickly stop being nervous after we depart. Even though I am still unsure whether I can make it, I only think about the current moment and I just want to go for it! We start with the ascent of Helvellyn (951 m). Even though I have only slept for a measly 3 hours I feel fit. On top of Helvellyn we have an impressive view of the whole mountain range and I realize that we will be crossing all those peaks that day. We run quite fast on the descent and overtake quite a few people. We decide to go a bit slower, as we still have a whole day to go.
Registration in Keswick.
Going up the first peak: Helvellyn
The view when descending from Scafell
We reach the finish in the middle of the night and although I’m feeling happy and euphoric, I am also completely exhausted. All my joints and muscles ache and I’m starting to develop “trench foot”, because my feet have been wet for hours on end. We are very happy to see our family again, and the pizza and hot chocolate are very welcome.
The finish in Keswick in the middle of the night.