Coniston trail marathon review

Well that’s me now back at work after a week in the Lake District. I had planned on plenty of walking & hiking, but the trails knackered my already creaking legs, and am still visibly limping at present. Still, only got myself to blame! And I reckon it was all worth it.

I’ll start off with some before and after pics. Before…


It was a very tough and hot trail race. Far more gruelling hills than the Mighty Deerstalker, although none quite as steep as the Deerstalker’s two main ascents. I entered myself in the Marathon Challenge (for walk-runners) which started two hours ahead of the main pack. So had the benefit of cooler drink stations, and slightly less baking heat than most folks. The organisers, volunteers, spectators, cyclists, locals and ramblers were brilliant. Properly brilliant.

Now the stats for the race.

Some people’s Garmins had the race pegged at 25.4 miles. I own two Garmins, but neither is working. There were plenty of trails where you could take a left or right fork and end up back on the same path, so on balance I’m going say it sure fucking felt like 26.2 miles to me.


Total ascent: 792 metres

How it went:

  • I was at the half way point at roughly 2 hours – I took it easy on my calf muscles, but my thighs felt great and I reckon the daily cycling and steep trail training really helped with my endurance on the long (very long) inclines.
  • But around 20k I felt a noticable drop in my pace and I lost the chap I was using to pace myself. Once out of the forest and back on grass I picked it up again for a bit but at 27k it was mostly steep downhill on loose shale and it damaged my already injured left leg and sent my feet hot with blisters.
  • I was going to apply Blisteze at the next feed station, but I forgot about the river crossing, so I had to get my wet shoes and socks off and dry my feet before I could patch myself up. It was hard to watch runners I had already left behind skip past me again.
  • I caught eight runners on the next uphill section before the final feed station. However the last 6k was hell. I had reached 36km just four hours. If I could run the next 6k in 25 minutes I’d be under 4hrs 30 mins!
  • But in the end it took me 40 minutes to run-stop-run an easy flat 6 kilometres! Ah well, you live and learn.

Official results:

  • Renny Hutchison (that’s me) of the Kilbarchan Bog Men finished in 4.42.42s. 18th overall place of 200 Challenge trail runners, starting at 7am and happily finishing at 11.42am. If I had done the 10am Race, I would have finished 201st place among 383 trail runners.
  • The chap that won it though, Alex Brooks did it in just over 3 hours. He wasn’t even sweating.

Total fluids:

  • 2 x 0.6 litre  bottles carried. 2 parts lucozade isotonic to 1 part tap water.
  • Feed station 1: 1 x cups electrolite drinks.
  • Feed station 2: 2 x cups electrolite drinks, plus banter.
  • Feed station 3: 2 x cups electrolite drinks.
  • Feed station 4: 1 x cups electrolite drink, plus banter and 0.6 litre  bottle refill. Basically, true to form, I crashed the bar at every available opportunity!

Total foods:

  • 1 whole pack lucozade glucose tablets.
  • 1 x Energy gel (didn’t care for it much).
  • 2 x Chocolate coated Kendal Mint cake slabs (cared very much for these beauties). Quite superb.

Patch ups and painkillers:

  • 3 x pre-race physio sessions and 1 metre of blue tape.
  • 3 x blisteze to right foot. Yep, new trainers just before the race!
  • Dodgy looking friction burn on my backside due to my ‘stretchy’ Nathan bottle belt (effing useless).
  • 6 x 200mg Ibuprofen, all scoffed between 27k and 38k.

Post-race liquids:

  • Half bottle lucozade
  • Mug tea, large x 2
  • 7 pints, various

Right then. What’s next?


About RennyRambles

Running, rambling, cycling, swimming and scrambling to my heart's content. Happiest on a trail, with some jelly babies in my pocket.
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