We'll be bringing you some longer reads and features to give you insights and information about all things Lakeland Trails

Andy on ultra course

The Ultra 100k from 'the other side'...

Andy Letheren is a long-term regular at Lakeland Trails, first running the events whilst his young children volunteered to now (usually) playing an important role in the Crew, ensuring the day runs smoothly. Having been on the Ultra Crew for a few years, he decided to run the Ultra 100k this July and here's his 'feedback' which just shows how much effort goes into the day...for everybody!

"This feels odd - me writing you a message of thanks after a LT event rather than anticipating one coming the other way - but it's been that sort of weekend.

Part of the reason I wanted to run the 100k was to judge just how hard it is. I had joked that it had to be easier than the jobs that so many of the Crew do - having completed, that no longer seems a joke; in many respects, running the thing actually is easier. My heartfelt thanks to everybody who made it happen.

It would be easy, after several years on the event delivery side, for any of us to become blase about the notes of thanks that we receive after each event, to just shrug and say something like 'that's just what we do' but, by swapping to the other side, I've a renewed appreciation and understanding of just how big a difference we can make. I'd like to offer my sincere thanks to everybody who worked so hard over the past few days to make Saturday such a memorable experience.

It seems wrong to single anybody out for special mentions but, to give a flavour, some notable memories

- Susan for being patient with me whilst she checked off all of my kit
- Viv following me round the Kentmere checkpoint with a jug of water trying not to get too frustrated while I faffed in my pack for the fuel I needed in my bottle first
- Andy Dobson patiently sharing his light at the top of Nan Bield after my torch had given the three death flashes telling me the battery needed changing
- Geoffers warning us at Mardale that we could ignore all the lights we could see heading up Long Stile towards High Street
- the team at Bampton not looking too upset when I had a minor moan about the bacon sarnies being 'contaminated' with ketchup
- the marshal in the car leaving Askham who was happy to chat about 'Type 2 fun' at 7am (or whatever time it was!)
- Gareth and Erica for the pre-made porridge in Howtown - sorry I couldn't eat it
- the marshal with the very detailed route direction off the top of Boredale Hause
- the team in Glenridding who convinced me a Coronation Chicken sandwich seemed a good idea
- Sandra and the team in Grasmere who had somehow remodelled the carnage from the past couple of events into a seeming oasis of calm (apologies to Sandra for the alarm caused when I was relaying my past experiences on Friday)
- the marshal at the drop off from the Wrynose road who happily converted '2.5k to the water stop' into 'old money' for me
- the two stood down marshals at the Wall End water stop who repeatedly checked I was OK while I was stood in the shade faffing with my bottles (again!)
- Isobel and Louise who both leapt to their feet at their marshal positions in Langdale to lie to me about how strong I looked
- Gareth (again) for the big shout at the finish
- Dawn for making sure I picked up my medal and T-shirt rather just wandering off at the finish

Clearly, it's easy for me to name lots of people in person - and there are many who I have missed/forgotten - but I could see exactly the same level of support being offered to everybody who was out there on the course. I'm also well aware that so many people put long hours into course marking, setting up and taking down the event field, sorting gear for the checkpoints, making sure we were properly registered before the start, accounted for at the finish and generally ensuring that things went as well as they did."

CW marshalling

Fuelling for your next race

Through Meal to Medal Nutrition, Lakeland Trails Crew member Christina Wiejak offers several nutritional support packages for runners of all levels to optimise their training, performance and health through nutritional intake.

Performance Nutrition is not just reserved for the elite athlete; if you want to be the best that you can be, your nutritional intake is a key component in your preparation.

Christina has a huge amount of experience in sport so she understands the demands that we put upon ourselves when training for and competing in Lakeland Trails events. She has also competed to a high level in road and fell running, recently focussing her efforts into cycling, winning the iconic Three Peaks Cyclocross twice, as well as success at elite level in road, time trialling and cyclocross racing.

Nutrition for Ultra Programme – Event Preparation

This is an in-depth, specific and highly focussed 6-week programme to ensure that you are ready for your race. The key to fuelling for long events is practice, and therefore we will look to fully optimise your training fuelling to ensure that, come race day, you will have a strategy which you know works for you as an individual.

The process will start with a detailed review of your current nutritional practice and any particular areas in which you feel that you struggle with. With your input, we will then formulate a plan for your training and racing, paying particular attention to the unique demands of ultra-racing.

Regular discussions will allow us to adapt and improve the programme as we develop the ideal strategy for you.

This is an individualised and dynamic two-way process, which will allow you to arrive on race day feeling confident.

To enquire about this specific packages or to find out how Christina may be able to help you with your running nutrition, please drop her an email.

Meryl winning ultra lower res

How to best prepare for Lakeland Trails 55K or 100K ultras

Winner of the women’s 2021 Lakeland Trails 100K Meryl Cooper is an inov-8 ambassador, ultra-running coach and health & lifestyle coach. In this new blog post (published November 2021) she shares her knowledge and experience so you can better prepare for the 2022 Lakeland Trails 55K or 100K ultras.

Although July might seem like a long way away, these races require a lot of endurance. You can’t rush endurance development so you really need to start your training as early as you can (i.e now!). This will allow you to have a really good, long specific endurance block before race day.

Around this time (8 months out from the race), I would recommend lower overall weekly volume in terms of miles, but for you to include higher intensity intervals in a couple of sessions each week. You wouldn’t want to be doing this kind of higher intensity training nearer the race, so getting a good VO2 max block done now – then a more lactate threshold focused block afterwards – will allow you to raise your easy effort pace.

This will then set you up nicely for your endurance block, which will involve long hilly runs with around 200-350m of elevation gain per hour, depending on your target time for the race.

Recce the course:
I would include some recce weekends in the endurance block of your training plan so you know exactly what to expect on race day. This helps to ensure you pick the right ultra running kit and plan a really good fuelling strategy. You will also then have a better idea of how long each section might take you on race day.

Make some notes at the time as, if you are like me, you will have forgotten everything a few weeks later! I’ve been guilty in the past of sitting down to plan out my race and realising that I didn’t write any notes post recce. Trust me, it’s worth the effort.

As the 100K starts at midnight, I did my recce of the first few hours of the course in the daytime so I could actually enjoy and see the surroundings of this section too. In total I did the 100K route as a recce over 3 days.
Day 1 – Ambleside to Askham 41K, 1487m.
Day 2 – Askham to Grasmere 32K, 1190m.
Day 3 – Grasmere to Ambleside finish 28.7K, 946m.

Practice running in the dark and eating your race day food:
If you are racing the 100K or if your 55K might go into the night, I really recommend some late night running at some point in your endurance block training. As the nights are very light in the UK summer, it might mess a little with your sleeping pattern, so don’t try it too close to race day.

I went out around 11pm one night in June for a long run and finished around 2am. I discovered on this run that my headtorch wasn’t holding power and also that my stomach didn’t like running after what I’d had for dinner. It was a brilliant learning curve and I was so glad I did it before the race as I was then able to correct these mistakes. The end result was no issues on race day with my head torch or stomach!

Starting a race at midnight was a first for me and a bit of a concern, but testing things out beforehand removed my worries and once I started running the actual race, any feelings of tiredness disappeared. During the day of the race (before the midnight start), I stuck to eating quite plain carbohydrates (e.g. pasta, oats), included some protein and kept fibre and fat low. I did a big carbo-load for a couple days before this too.

Running for long distances in the hills uses a huge amount of calories. You need to practice your fuelling strategy as much as possible in your endurance block and train your gut to take on carbohydrates whilst running.

In all runs over 2 hours I would recommend practising with full fuelling. If you do not fuel much at the moment, then start with 60g of carbohydrate an hour (e.g two TORQ gels). Build this up to 90g an hour. Some runners will have up to 120g an hour but this will take a long time to train for.

I am not the fastest ultra runner out there, but I fuel well, and this played a crucial part in my win in 2021. Test everything, discover what you like and stick to fast fuelling carbohydrates. For the 100K you might benefit from a small bit of protein (e.g a protein bar or shake in the halfway drop bag) but avoid fats.

I hope you find the above useful, helping you achieve your goals on race day and have fun in the months of preparation beforehand. Good luck!


Lakeland Trailers review the new inov-8 TERRAULTRA G270

One of the great things about inov-8 is that they're pioneering amazing new technology and are constantly improving their products. As part of that process, they go through a rigorous testing process and a couple of lucky Lakeland Trailers recently had the opportunity to try out this amazing updated shoe.

Paul tierney g270s
Paul Tierney on the trails in the new TERRAULTRA G270

Review by Guy Bettinson

Shoes reviewed against the following categories:

Weight – Why? Because when you’re lifting your foot and moving it forward tens or hundreds of thousands of times during a race every extra gram you have to lift counts, so those grams better pay for themselves in terms of cushioning, energy return, grip etc.

Fit – Why? Because discomfort is a distraction, and physical damage to your feet can slow you down over time.

Cushioning – Why? Because running hundreds of miles takes its toll on the MSK system, regardless of how lean you are and how efficient your technique is, so anything that can help minimise impact forces has to be good right?

Grip – Why? Because loss of traction equals loss of speed, either directly, or through loss of confidence.


Inov8 Terra Ultra G270 (UK 7.5)

Weight in Grams*




+/- from Dry










5mins after Wet





*Test conducted with shoes fresh from the box using my bath and kitchen scales.

Where does the weight come from? The majority of weight sits in the sole, with ultra shoes requiring at least some cushioning in the insole and midsole to help mitigate impact forces over time, and reasonable lug depth in the outsole to provide grip given most ultras are run off-road. The uppers shouldn’t weigh much, but can sometimes retain water depending on the material they’re made from and how well they drain. So given all of that, how do the G270s hold up? Very well indeed is the short answer. Billed at 270gm per shoe, my UK7.5s came in slightly under, and are a competitive weight when compared against other companies’ ultra shoe offerings. Importantly, the shoes don’t gain much weight when wet, draining very well after going through streams, and the cushioning and grip are in this case worth the weight.


Having previously been a firm fan of Inov8 shoes, I fell out of love with them a couple of years ago when the quality and fit of the uppers became so poor on some of the models the uppers felt like uncomfortable potato sacks, and wore through in no time at all. The G260s fell into that category for me, with the uppers so loose it was impossible to lock in the midfoot without lacing so tight it cut off circulation, and the heel collar so uncomfortable I actually ended up cutting mine down and resewing them before a race. The G270s are much MUCH better. More akin to the wonderfully comfortable uppers from the Parkclaw 275s, the bizarre fat green laces from the G260s are gone, and replaced with flat stretchy ones, that combine with the rubber overlays to help lock-in the midfoot really well, without impacting the ability of toes to splay naturally in the roomy toe box. The heel counter and collar are comfortable, providing the perfect compromise between some cushioning, but not so much that the shoe swells up like a nappy following a steam crossing. The cut of the collar is great, and doesn’t irritate knobbly ankle bones or rub the achilles. I’m a believer in the idea that the only time you should even notice you’re wearing a pair of shoes is when the grip allows you to push harder than you thought you could down a technical descent or up a slippery climb, or when the cushioning allows you to keep running when you’re at the stage you should be hobbling at best – the fit shouldn’t even come into it – if you notice the fit, it’s usually for the wrong reasons. Did I notice the G270s’ fit? Nope.


I’m of an age now where I actively seek the most marginal of gains when it comes to helping my MSK system, so the cushioning vs weight compromise is a key factor for me when buying ultra shoes i.e. I want as much cushioning and energy return as I can get, but not at the expense of having to lift an extra 50gms every stride. Even most off-road ultras contain at least some sections of tarmac, and even long rocky sections and metalled roads can take their toll, but as there is also the need for a decent amount of ‘ground feel’ given the uneven nature of most off-road terrain, it’s a tricky one for shoe companies to nail when producing ultra shoes. With all that in mind I was really excited to read about the higher proportion of TPU in the G270s’ midsole, and new TPU insole. The difference to the G260s is noticeable, and there’s enough cushion and response for long sections of tarmac. The only thing preventing me from being blown away by the shoes and having a new ‘go-to’ is the inevitable elephant in the room of zero-drop. I was a little nervous about trying the G260s when first released, as it had been years since I had experimented with a transition to zero-drop, with a brief time spent running in Unshoes Wokova sandals, and to cut a long story short it just wasn’t for me. I found that late in runs when fatigue sets in and form starts to go I really appreciated a bit of extra cushioning and some assistance from a stacked heel. I’m not sure of the thinking from Inov8 on why the G260 & G270 are zero-drop, when the rest of their range have at least some, and for me, if the G270 had 6mm or so of drop to provide a little extra cushion and a helping hand when fatigue sets in, then I think I could finally stop the search for the shoe that does everything. If I had one request it would be to leave zero-drop to Altra and add somewhere between 4-8mm drop to the next version of the G270s.


Normally it’s not even worth bothering to write anything when it comes to Inov8 grip, as my experience of their shoes is the grip is usually about as good as you’ll get for whatever the intended purpose of the particular shoe is. I will put something down here though, as I feel it’s worth mentioning the significant improvement made from the G260s. The G260s were one of the first of the Graphene-Grip range, and I was disappointed by the tread pattern, tread depth and longevity of the rubber with the grip seemingly reliant on weird recesses that just filled up with mud, and the rubber on the heel section showing significant wear after only 100 miles. Inov8 have nailed it with the G270s though, and even before putting them on I was really impressed with the tread pattern and much better use of cut-outs to achieve flex and weight reduction without having the mud collectors of the G260s. I had complete confidence on all surfaces in the G270s, and having put the miles in across just about every type of terrain going the only time I lost traction at all was one time in a section of thin liquid mud on top of a smooth rock slab where nothing other than picking a better route would have helped.

Summary – 9/10. Why the zero-drop?!

Sabrina in g270s
Sabrina Pace-Humphreys on the trails in the new TERRAULTRA G270

Review by Lou Winter

Your average runner’s review - TERRAULTRA G270

I am ‘your average runner’ and profess to be nothing more than just that. What's more I am quite happy at being just that. I apologise if any of the stereotypes referred to do not sit well with some; please do not take offence, any are used with reference to myself only.

As a 40 (and a bit) professional blonde female I have little time for or interest in technicalities, data, and statistics. I run because it keeps me sane and, less so these days, reasonably fit. As a creature of habit, once I find kit that works for me I repeat buy. Why would you try to fix something that wasn’t broken?! As a Midlander until 2014 I was predominantly a road runner. I began to venture to the Lakes in 2010 and ran a little on the trails. This of course required a different shoe. My trusty provider of all things running at the time, ‘The Lincolnshire Runner’, recommended the Mudclaw 285. They fit perfectly and I still have the first pair I bought although, they were retired many years ago and are used for tootling around on the bike or paddle board.

From 2013 I started competing in the Lakeland Trail race, firstly Keswick, then venturing further afield so that by 2016 I took part in all the races in the series. The various models of the trusty Mudclaw saw me round each course and the variety of terrains they run across.

However, in 2017 whichever Claw I bought I had problems I had never experienced before; pinching, blisters. I have no idea what happened. Whether rightly or wrongly, I blamed the design alterations. Eventually, after being a little unfaithful to Inov-8 (sorry I was cross) I was drawn back by the brilliantly green Terraltra 260. They felt like slippers, accommodating my rather short wide ‘paddle’ feet perfectly. Between 2017 & 2019 I did a lot of running and racing (some would say too much). Regularly racing 5k to 50 miles on road, trail and fell. The Terraltra never let me down and I went though countless pairs.

I was chuffed to bits to be asked to try and review the new 270’s but I was also full of dread that the design tweaks and alterations to the 260’s would result in my feet falling out with them as had previously happened with the Mudclaw.

True to type, I did the sensible thing when first trying out and bedding in a new shoe, I ran the virtual Lakeland 50 over 5 days in them. Now I cannot tell you what the design tweaks are but, I can tell you, the shoe I believed to be perfect has been improved by whatever has been done to the design. First time out over a 9 mile mix of road and Latrigg trails was a delight. The 270’s seemed more supportive than the 260’s and were definitely comfier. The grip more than adequately coped with wet rock, wet grass and mud aplenty. I wondered whether I was experiencing ‘new shoe glee fog’ being rather like a magpie with shiny things when it comes to running shoes but I am pleased to say the positive experience recurred again and again on each wearing.

There may be cheaper shoes available but, for the average runner who has no time or patience for trying to find a less perfect suitable alternative, for the average runner who wants, or even needs, to get out and run in comfort regularly, the Terraultra 270’s are worth their weight in gold so to speak.


Celebrating 15 years supporting (and being supported by) Coniston Mountain Rescue Team

Coniston mrt 1600wide

We're always grateful for the support we receive from Coniston Mountain Rescue Team, as their volunteers always turn up in numbers to help at both our Marathon and regular Lakeland Trails in Coniston events. As we're approaching 15 years of working together, we asked their Fundraising Co-ordinator, Liz Ribchester (who's now a converted Lakeland Trailer), for a bit of a background to the team and the amazing work they do:

Founded in 1947, following the tragic death of a walking guide in the area, Coniston Mountain Rescue was the UK's first civilian Mountain Rescue Team. Covering the fells, forests and waters of the Coniston area, our volunteers provide a highly skilled search and rescue service. Team members are qualified swift water technicians, casualty carers, off road drivers, cavers, search dog handlers, climbers and rope technicians - willing and able to help anyone, anywhere whatever the circumstances.

Over the years rescues have involved children, adults, vehicles and animals. We also train constantly, meeting regularly to cover all relevant aspects of rescue work. In addition, team members also attend external courses on off road driving, rope rescue, equipment safety, swift water, first aid…to name but a few. During the current Lockdown situation, we have been training remotely via video conference, covering additional topics including Covid-19 protocol when working with a casualty, effective use of PPE and methods for decontaminating equipment following a call out.

And our commitment doesn’t stop there. As an entirely voluntary charity, we rely on the generosity of the public and other grant-giving organisations to ensure our continued support for those in trouble. In exchange for this support, we make every effort to give back to the communities that help us - in this case, The Lakeland Trails series. Over the years we have provided marshals and support to the events held in both Coniston and Hawkshead. Indeed, many regular Lakeland Trailers will no doubt be familiar with some of our marshals, as they cheer you all on from regular spots around the course.

The team ranges in age from 18 to 76. Some of us have families. Some of us are retired. Some of us work full time. And some of us are Lakeland Trailers ourselves! But whatever our backgrounds, ages or interests, we have one thing in common: we are all proud to call ourselves volunteers for Coniston Mountain Rescue.

Thank you for your on-going support for the work of the team. Stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you all at the Coniston Trail and Marathon events later this year!


An Interview with Dr Grip

Bo content header

We sat down with inov-8 footwear manager, Dr Bodil Oudshoorn, to get some advice about choosing and looking after a new a pair of inov-8s. Bo, who is known as ‘Dr Grip’ to her colleagues, is not only a footwear genius but an accomplished ultrarunner herself so she knows her stuff!

What is drop and why is it important in your shoe choice?

Your shoe drop is the difference in the amount of cushioning under your heel versus under the ball of your foot. Usually, road running shoes have a 10mm drop, meaning there is 10mm more foam under your heel than under the forefoot. Trail running shoes normally have a bit less, and it is important to keep drop in mind especially when buying your first trail shoes. If you are used to road running shoes, I would recommend not going too low immediately. A shoe with 6mm or 8mm drop should feel similar enough to your body. If you go to a ‘low drop’ shoe straight away (I would say 4mm drop or less), your calf muscles and/or Achilles tendons can get sore!

Which drop a trail runner prefers is very personal. Some people like lower drop shoes because it makes them feel more ‘on their toes’ and they allow the heel of your foot to be closer to the ground. Other people simply don’t get on with low (or even zero) drop shoes. The best thing to remember, is to transition slowly if you change the drop in your shoes.

Can you talk us through the different types of grip on shoes and explain what sort of grip you would choose for different ground?

When picking a trail running shoe I always consider the grip first. Where am I likely to be running? Will it be wet or dry, rocky or muddy, or do you expect all of those? The reason is that the best grip on your shoes is dependent on the terrain. Soft terrain such as grass and mud are best tackled in shoes with longer studs. Our X-TALON and MUDCLAW shoes have long, pointy rubber studs (8mm) that sink deep and claw through soft ground to give really good grip. So for Lakeland Trails courses like Cartmel when there is usually lots of mud and soft ground, you may want this kind of aggressive grip to ensure you stay upright on the otherwise slippery downhills!

If the terrain is hard and rocky, you don’t need long studs and instead get better grip from shoes with shorter 4mm studs (such as the TRAILROC). Because the studs are shorter we can fit more of them on the outsole, which in turn means more rubber is gripping to the hard trail and rocks when you land on them. This gives you confidence when running over hard and rocky terrain. The TRAILROC would be ideally suited to Lakeland Trails events in Staveley, Ambleside, Coniston and Helvellyn.

If you’re going to be running over a course that is a mix of soft/muddy ground and hard/rocky terrain then you want to go for an all-rounder in grip. Our ROCLITE shoes have intermediate stud length (6mm), and the studs are slightly wider. This means you can have both great grip on soft & hard surfaces! If you’re looking for an all-round shoe for the Lakeland Trails events, then it would be the ROCLITE!

Beside the shape of the studs, the rubber material they’re made from is also really important to give you the best grip. Any shoes with graphene-enhanced rubber give you a super sticky grip on slippery surfaces, and the graphene makes the outsole last longer too! Top tip: if you want a graphene shoe, look for the “G” in the shoe name – which comes before the number. For example – ROCLITE G 275 is a graphene-enhanced shoe that weighs 275g.

How important is cushioning and why?

Your ideal cushioning is again related to the ground conditions; soft mud naturally gives you cushioning, while on a hard path you probably want to get this comfort and protection from your shoe. Next to that, it also depends on your distance. If you are going a long way, like the Marathon at Coniston or one of the Ultra 100K or 55K Challenges you are likely to want a more cushioned shoe, plus a wider fit for added comfort in the toe box as your feet will most probably swell. I’d recommend looking at our new, improved TERRAULTRA G 270, TRAILTALON 290 or X-TALON ULTRA 260 shoes.

If you want to run fast over shorter distances, I would go for a lightweight shoe with less cushioning – shoes like the X-TALON G 210 or TRAILTALON 235. Again, the ROCLITE shoes are the best all-rounders, where you get a balance of cushioning and lightweight feel.

How often should you change your shoes and what are the signs to look out for when you need a new pair? If you’ve bought graphene shoes will they last longer?

The standard recommendation from shoe manufacturers across the world is to replace your shoes every 300-500 miles (500-800km). It does depend on how heavy your shoes have been used; at inov-8, we always assume our shoes are going to be put through the toughest test possible! With Graphene we have made it possible for our outsoles to provide the best possible grip with enhanced durability. Our wear testers have even worn our Graphene shoes for more than 1,000 miles! But the amount of wear does depend on the terrain and the user, so I can’t say every shoe will last that long.

Can you give us your top tips for shoe care, to make them last as long as possible?

There are a couple of things you can do to help improve the durability of your shoes, especially the upper materials.

1 Rinse your shoes after a muddy run - I normally just stand in a river at the end. The boggy terrain we often run through is actually quite acidic, and this acidity can cause the materials to degrade quicker. Rinse your shoes out, don’t let the mud ‘cake’ on them and you’ll help your shoes last longer.

2 Don’t expose them to high heat – I would not put my shoes in the washing machine, in the dryer or on top of the radiator. The glues used in the shoes don’t like the heat. Instead, wash them in a bucket with cold or lukewarm water and dry them by stuffing newspaper in.

3 Take the insoles out after arun – I find this helps the shoes to dry properly when they are wet. It makes them a lot less smelly, actually!

Bo cleaning shoes
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