My First Timers Guide to Great Lakeland 3Day Event

Becky running with lake in background

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If you’ve followed my previous adventures you’ll know that I love a good challenge, with many UK long distance hiking trails ticked off from Cumbria Way, Beacons Way and the Pennine Way, which I’ve hiked three times, including a winter hike.

I’ve set myself a new challenge for 2023, the Great Lakeland 3Day challenge. My friends Jess and Aggie entered last year and it looked awesome so it gave me the idea to take part.

Here I’ll explain what the event is, why I’ve decided to do it, plus what kit I’m planning to pack and carry during the event. If you have entered or thinking about entering then pop your questions in the comments or give me a follow and message via Instagram @beckythetraveller.

Also, when I’ve completed the event I’ll update how I did and also update my top tips for the event.

Great Lakeland 3Day

What is the Great Lakeland 3Day?

Firstly, the Great Lakeland 3Day organised by Our Events is based in the Lake District National Park, and you’ve guessed it, takes part over 3 days!

It takes place over a weekend – next year it’s Friday 29th April to Sunday 1st May 2023

The event has a mix of different courses you can take part in, mostly it’s aimed at fell runners but they also have a route that’s suitable for hikers too so it is an event for everyone! 

There’s one special thing about this event, you don’t get to know the routes until the actual event, even the official race location isn’t shared until a month before the event. Each year they change their location so you can come back every year and experience a different part of the Lake District, how cool!

Another important thing about this event is that your luggage is transported for you each day, which means you can run, walk or skip along the trails without needing to carry a heavy backpack. And from someone who lugged nearly 18 kg on their Pennine Way winter hike I can tell you that’s a huge bonus!

Running with Jess in the Lake District in March

What are the GL3D courses?

The courses are planned by you at the event, you’ll be given a map, don’t forget you’ll need a compass too, so navigation skills are required! In 2023, there are five choices of courses you can run. The brilliant thing is you can decide on the day which one is right for you and also mix and match with the course so you can start with one course and switch if you find it too easy or too hard. Or if the weather is awful and you decide you want a more comfortable route!

Here are the five courses:

  1. Cafe 
  2. Herdwick
  3. Wainright
  4. Fellrunner
  5. Extreme

As you’ve guessed it the Cafe route is the easiest option, with Extreme route being the toughest! The distances increase for each course, but also the ascent for the day which is what makes them tougher. These are the approximate distances and ascent over the 3-days for each course.

  1. Cafe – 50 km/2,000 m
  2. Herdwick – 65 km/3,000-3,500 m
  3. Wainright – 80 km/5,000-5,500 m
  4. Fellrunner – 100 km/7,000-7,500 m
  5. Extreme – 120 km/8,000-9,000 m

One thing to factor is that day 1 and 2 will both be longer and tougher days with the final day being shorter to allow for travel times to get home after the event.

Which GL3D course will I do?

Since I’ve started trail running and I don’t have the hills on my doorstep I should aim for maybe the Herdwick or Wainwright courses. But my determined and tough side of me wonders if could I do the Fellrunner route, maybe a bit ambitious but I’ve done some big challenges before and I know I have the mental strength to get me round. I just need to ask my legs to work with me!

Becky with backpack on and mountains behind
Carrying all my kit for 5-days on my Bob Graham Round hike

In September 2020, I hiked the Bob Graham Round over 5 days (in some awful weather), with 15 kg backpack. That was a total of 106 km and 8,230 m ascent. I’ve always thought that with a few kit alternatives I could do it over 4 days, and with someone carrying my kit maybe 3 days so that’s not a mile away from the Fellrunner and even the Extreme route (don’t worry I’m definitely not doing the Extreme route).

And in July of this year I hiked the Snowdonia Slate Trail over 4 days, 133 km and 4,100 m ascent. Although the terrain on this trail was pretty tame compared to what I can imagine the Great Lakeland 3Day will be but at least I have some knowledge that hiking I can do the distances and ascent so running should be doable!

Anyway, I’ll let you know on the start line which route I’m doing!

Great Lakeland 3Day Kit List

Here’s the big one, well for me anyway, I do love planning what kit I’ll be taking on my adventures, especially when I have weight and size limits to adhere to.

For the GL3D you’ll carry some kit with you each day but the rest will go in your dry bag which will be transported. There’s a strict weight and size limit for your dry bag – 60 litres and 13 kg of weight. This needs to include all your camping gear, spare clothes and food. I’ll tell you now, your tent and food will be the heavier items, you certainly don’t want to go light on food so if you can get a lightweight tent that will give you more for fuel!

Read more about what dry bag to get here, including the option to order one from GL3D.

Here I’ll share what I’m planning to pack in each of my bags for the event and I’ve also included my shopping list of things I need to buy.

Running in warmer climates – holiday run in Ibiza!

What I’ll wear for running

This is my rough list, as weather conditions might dictate otherwise, in that case I’ve either included the item here or in my running pack kit below.

  • Trail running shoes – (Salomon Sense Ride 4)
  • Running socks
  • Shorts or leggings (Salomon)
  • T-shirt or long-sleeved top (Salomon)
  • Sports bra (Salomon)
  • Running knickers (Decathlon)
  • Head band (Salomon)
  • Watch (Suunto)

Running pack kit

  • Running vest – (Salomon 12-litre vest with 2 x 500 ml flasks)
  • Waterproof jacket (Salomon)
  • Waterproof trousers – (Salomon Bonatti)
  • Warm synthetic jacket (Salomon) 
  • Hat/buff + gloves 
  • Map (provided) + compass (Silva Expedition 4)
  • Permanent marker (to mark route on map)
  • Survival bag
  • First aid kit
  • Small penknife (includes a pen)
  • Whistle
  • Head torch (rechargeable) + cable
  • Power bank
  • Phone + cable
  • Food + snacks
  • Electro-lites – Active Root
  • Bank card + cash
  • Sun cream
  • Lip balm
  • Pee cloth + tissues/waste bag

Camping pack kit

MSR Hubba and sleeping quilt
MSR Hubba with Therm-a-Rest quilt set up

This is what needs to fit in my dry bag and total weight not exceed 13 kg so I’ve included weights of items below (I’ll add some of them later when I’ve decided on exact kit).

I’ve read that you can leave a tent set up for the duration of the event, so if you have the luxury of 2 tents, sleeping bags etc then you can pack all your kit ready for the start and sleep in your second tent. I’m lucky as I’ll be sleeping in Dennis (my campervan) but wanted to include for those who don’t have the luxury.

Tent + sleep set up – 2.35 kg

  • 1-person tent (MSR Hubba NX) – 1.4 kg
  • Camping quilt (Therm-a-Rest Corus) – 560 g
  • Sleeping at (Therm-a-Rest Uber Lite) – 250 g
  • Pillow (Therm-a-Rest Air Head) – 145 g

Cooking set up

  • Camping stove (MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe) 
  • Camping pot 
  • Gas (medium size) – 385 g
  • Lighter
  • Titanium spork – 21 g
  • Titanium mug 
  • Bowl and/or plate for finisher’s meal 🙂
  • Small dish cloth

Camp clothes + personal items

I’ll take a spare set of clothes to change into at camp each day and I’ll also sleep in these too.

  • T-shirt
  • Leggings
  • Warm top
  • Warm jacket
  • Hat 
  • Underwear 
  • Socks 
  • Teva sandals
  • Ear plugs
  • Small travel towel
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush + toothpaste tablets (Parla tablets)

Spare running clothes + other items

  • Running top x 2
  • Running shorts/leggings x 2
  • Sports bra x 2
  • Underwear x 2
  • Watch cable
  • Spare first aid items (to replenish kit if needed)

Food

The most important item on the list!

  • Breakfast x 2 (Porridge + breakfast bars)*
  • Coffee bags x 2*
  • Dinner x 2* (Summit to eat or Firepot dehydrated meals) – Order from Base Camp food for a mix of both brands.
  • Snacks x lots
  • Sweets 
  • Electro-lite sachets x 6 (2 for each day) – Active Root

I’ll update my exact food kit list when I’ve had some time to think about it!

*I’ll also pack another breakfast, coffee for day 1 and another dinner for the day before but I won’t be packing this into my kit bags!

Things to buy

Here’s my personal list of things I need to buy for the event, what better place to pop them is here so I don’t forget 🙂

  • 60-litre dry bag (I have a 60-litre dry sack but this won’t be suitable and I will need to buy a dry bag) – I’ve seen this one (Lomo Holdall 60-litre which I’ve read that many people used last year).
  • Survival bag – I do have a survival shelter and bag but I’m going to look at a better option. You can buy these from the website.

More information 

Training plan for Great Lakeland 3Day

Fab photo from Steve Ashworth on Scout Scar during the Kendal 10 km

Firstly, I’m not a qualified training coach, although I do know a few so if you’d like to be put in touch with one then let me know. This is my personal training plan for the event, it probably will be tweaked but I wanted to set myself some targets to increase my running distance and ascent, without pushing it too much and injuring myself!

I’m sat typing this now with a stupid cold so I’m already deviating from my plan, but I’m a firm believer in listening to your body and mine is asking my to rest at the moment!

A bit of background on my running, about 10 years ago I used to do a lot of running, but it wasn’t in the hills it was pretty much all road running. I loved it, I got faster but those niggles on my body kept saying hello and eventually I switched running for hiking. Although, every so often, mostly when my friend Jess asked me I found myself running in the hills. I loved it but still wasn’t overly confident in my ability, in my head I said to myself you can hike it so you can run/hike it.

In September, I started a few local runs with a friend Ben who was training for the Leicester half marathon and by October, it became a regular thing. I couldn’t believe it when I hit 100 km for the month! Roll on November, I decided to increase to 120 km for the month and I’ve already hit that target, including taking part in Kendal Mountain Festival 10 km.

And that’s the point I found myself entering the Great Lakeland 3Day!

Each month, I’m planning on increasing my overall monthly distance, keeping it constant for each week but also finding more hills to include in my schedule.

Here’s my plan for the next few months:

  • December – 150 km
  • January -180 km
  • February – 200 km
  • March – 220 km
  • April – 240 km

I feel these are achievable targets but it’s not to say it’s a rigid plan, I’ll tweak according to how I’m feeling as although I’d like to increase my distances I don’t want to get injured.

Are you going to enter?

What are you waiting for, go for it and join me on this awesome event. Or if you’ve already entered then feel free to get in touch on Instagram @beckythetraveller and maybe we can do some training runs together.

Enter here

You can also join the Facebook group  – Great Lakeland 3Day Participants

See you in April!

Becky 🙂

Pop any more questions below and I’ll do my best to answer, if I don’t know then I do know some people who ran last year so I can ask them.

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