Lakeside Runners in toughest challenge yet

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FIVE Milton Keynes runners undertook one of the toughest challenges of their careers when they lined up for the Montane Lakeland 50 Mile race at the weekend.

Staged on the hills and fells of the Lake District from the Dalemain Estate, north of Pooley Bridge, to Coniston with 3,100m of ascent, all runners had to guide them were a map and instructions plus in some cases a GPS unit to help them navigate their away around the course. There were no marshals, other than at check points.

The five runners – all members of the MK Lakeside Runners and seasoned marathon competitors – were Chris Brookman, Fiona Essam, Patricia Fairlamb, Adrian Jones and Mike Tilsley.

Unfortunately Mike, running as part of a team with Chris and Patricia, had to retire at the first check point after being taken ill on the following stage.

His team-mates escorted him back to the check point at Howtown, by Ullswater, before continuing the race – dropping 230 places in the process.

However, over the following six stages they made up 126 places with Chris finishing at 4.06am in 221st out of 469 starters and Patricia 222nd – after 15hrs 41mins.

The final six hours were spent negotiating rough fell terrain in pitch darkness, assisted by head torches!

In doing so they not only made up much of the lost time but overtook Fiona and Adrian, competing as a pair, by the third from last checkpoint at Langdale. Fiona and Adrian ended joint 278th after 17hours 17mins at 5.42am with dawn already gone!

Patricia, 54, described the course as one of the toughest she has ever encountered – particularly the final leg on loose stones from Tilberthwaite Quarry to Coniston. But still said it was as an incredible experience.

All were elated at having conquered the notorious course – completed by 404 entrants – with Chris, at least, immediately vowing to enter again next year! Chris and Patricia are pictured, right.