The Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge route leaves Pooley Bridge to traverse 30 summits over a distance of 48 miles and climbs 17,000 feet (77km, 5182m).

The inaugural run from Pooley Bridge to Wasdale was made by Joss Naylor in 1990, at the age of 54; in very bad weather with heavy rain and a strong SW wind Joss completed the run to Greendale Bridge in 11 hours and 30 minutes.

Chris Brasher offered engraved pewter tankards to the first 20 runners to do so with the proviso that they raised at least £100 for a charity of their own choice. In January 1997, with 17 tankards already awarded, Chris extended his sponsorship. In 2001, with 33 tankards awarded, Joss secured on-going sponsorship for the tankards.

The challenge is offered to fell runners over the age of 50 to complete the run in set times according to their age group. The challenge is intended to be a "supported run" for individuals - each contender is to be accompanied on every leg for safety reasons and unaccompanied attempts will not be recognised. There is more information on the Challenge Details page below.

If you are interested, please have a look at the Challenge Details, download a schedule or contact me using the "Email Ian Charters" form below.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Caryl Hartwright (W65) - 21st June 2014

I decided to go for it on Saturday June 21st to maximise daylight and after my final recce decided to go for a 21-hour schedule.  

I hated the taper.  Not enough to do.  Too much time to worry - was I getting a cold?  Had I forgotten anything?  Would it rain? I needed to be well rested but couldn't sleep.  I made lists and fretted.

Saturday 21 June:  after very little sleep, up at 2am, breakfast etc then at Pooley Bridge by 3am with runners Steve D & son James wearing our head torches.  Waved off by the long-suffering Archie, Steve T & Barbara.

We ran steadily, didn't push the pace and chatted up the first few hills to Arthur's Pike.  We were able to turn off our torches less than an hour later and it was clear that the weather would be good.  James kept a log of times and kept telling me that we were getting ahead of schedule.  We stopped for me to put more vaseline on my feet at High Raise and set off again at a nice pace over Kidsty Pike, High Street, Thornthwaite Beacon and several others, continuing to make good time until we got to checkpoint 1 at Kirkstone Pass 49 minutes ahead of schedule.  There were worries that we had gone off too fast and I would pay for it later.  Also there was a bit of a panic as one of my pacers for Leg 2 hadn't arrived and my cup of tea wasn't yet brewed and my bacon sandwich was still in the bottom of a plastic bag somewhere. 

I spent longer than planned at the checkpoint then set off with Jeremy & James hoping that Janet would arrive soon and catch us up.  She did - and after legging it up Red Screes she arrived smiling and joined us for the rest of it, going over Hart Crag, Fairfield, Seat Sandal and so on down to Dunmail Raise and checkpoint 2.  We were now 1hr 16 mins ahead!  But all the team were there, including Lucy and my youngest supporter - the very cute baby Molly.  With too much chatting and faffing, again I was longer than planned at the checkpoint but not worried as we were now so far ahead.

So, up Steel Fell next with Paul, Pat & Andy Mac.  Again we did a nice steady pace, chatted a lot and enjoyed the fine weather and great views.  We found our way over High Raise (yes, there are two of them) over to Rossett Pike and then for the first time straight up Bow Fell on a good line known as Billy's Rake after the great Billy Bland.  There are some big hills on Leg 3 but we continued to make good time, I was reminded to eat and drink a lot and I think we all had a good time.  Pat took over the notebook duty and we continued to get further and further ahead.  Surely this couldn't last?  Surely I would hit a wall (or at least a very big hard rock) and run out of energy after 30-odd miles after a week with not enough sleep?

We got to Checkpoint 3 at Sty Head an unbelievable 2hrs 29mins ahead of schedule and I now realised that this really messed up the plans.  There is virtually no mobile signal in Wasdale but Archie had managed to get word to people that I was about an hour and a half ahead - but not two and a half!  Neither of my Leg 4 pacers were at Sty Head.  Jeremy had arrived to meet Pat & he had some food & water for me.  James had also legged it up and he had clothes, food (and the emergency tent in case of cold wet weather!!) so I was able to eat, drink, change my shoes and socks again, slap on some more vaseline, but after all that there were still no Leg 4 pacers and I was stiffening up.  Arch & Steve T arrived - the dicky ticker team - and Andy Mac said he would start off up Great Gable with me and we hoped that others would catch up.  Steve D did soon after and then Colin too legged it up to join us and Andy was able to return to Lucy & Molly who were due to arrive shortly.

I found Great Gable hard, particularly on the way down when I started to get wobbly legs and we went slightly wrong (my fault!).  However, maybe the food kicked in and I began to feel better again going up Kirk Fell.  I then realised that if I could just keep going steadily I would definitely make my time limit with lots to spare and I might even do it all in daylight.  This encouraged me to keep at it.  Steve D was a big help talking me step by step down the tricky top part of Red Gulley and over the big rock wedged half way down.  Then the long slog up Pillar just came and went and some sort of weird elation came over me - the classic runner’s high I guess -  and I started not only enjoying it even more but I caught myself actually grinning like a maniac as I plodded and ran on out and back to the lovely Steeple, then after another bacon sandwich and some flat Coke, on up to Haycock, a trudge up Seatallan and finally the final absolutely final peak of Middle Fell before dropping down to Greendale Bridge, where a bunch of the support team and the wonderful Joss Naylor were standing on the bridge to meet me.  I was just over the moon, hugging everyone, laughing and crying and just loving every minute of it.  Steve T took lots of photos (including ones of me sitting on the river) and produced some bubbly.  Without a doubt it was the best running experience of my life.

Massive thanks to the team - my pacers and recce helpers were fantastic - Steve D, James, Colin, Pat, Jeremy, Janet, Paul & Andy Mac who not only ran with me but carried all my stuff whilst on the move.   My road support had a tough job with tricky logistics and timing but they were also just wonderful - Steve T, Barbara, not forgetting Lucy & Molly and a special big thank you to Archie who has put up with a lot all year.  What a team! 

A hug from Joss for Caryl

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