Athlete Q&A: Lakeland 50 & 100

The Lakeland 50 & 100 is the UK’s premier trail race, taking in the undulating trails of the Lake District National Park. Meet some of the brave athletes who will be towing the start line at this year's ultra…

The legendary Lakeland sees thousands flock to the Lake District for a whirlwind weekend of long-distance trail running. It’s challenging, hugely inspiring and one of the best ways (in our humble opinion) to take in the stunning Lake District National Park. 

With either 50 miles or 100 miles to choose from, depending on your level of fitness and experience in ultra running, 2 brutal options await. This is not a race for the faint-hearted. We chat with two 2 racers taking part, including experienced Lakeland racer and #TeamMontane runner Marcus Scotney, as well as Ukrainian racer Dariia Bodnar (Dasha) who will be tackling the 100 route for the very first time.

Running in the Le District

Tell us a bit more about yourself

Marcus: Hi there - I am a coach and athlete based in the Peak District. I have been running for 35 years and started taking on ultra marathons in 2008, including the Cape Wrath Ultra and Dragon’s Back Race. I have also represented Great Britain at the World 100km three times. As well as a coach, I am a Sports Therapist and I have also been an actor appearing in several TV shows including Peaky Blinders, Victoria, Brief Encounters and Car Share.  I am married to Jen who supports me so much and we have the infamous beagle Sherlock who appeared in Vassos Alexander's book Running Over that Hill. 

Dasha: I was born and am based in Lviv, Ukraine. Besides being an athlete, I work as an Environmental Engineer for the construction industry. I started running quite late, at the age of 29, and the first trail running competition I completed was when I was 33 years old. In addition to running, I also enjoy alpine and rock climbing, orienteering, mountain biking, swimming, cross country skiing and ski touring.

As you can see, most of the activities involve being in the mountains! I’ve taken part in quite a few races but some of my proudest achievements to date include being a finisher of the Swiss Peaks 360k Trail in 2022 and being a three time finisher (2019, 2021, 2022) of the Monte Rosa Sky Marathon in Italy. 

Ukraine Runner

What’s the appeal of the Lakeland 50/100?

Marcus: I first ran the Lakeland 50 in 2010, when it was a much smaller race. We had a thunderstorm as we came off Gatescarth, and I was suffering with such bad cramp in my quads as I came into Ambleside that I had to stop to get my legs massaged (yes, you could get a massage back in 2010). Despite this, I finished the race in third place in 8 hours 26 minutes. Since then, I have run it three more times with two DNFs and finished 2nd in 2014. 

The Lakeland 100 has been a race that has always inspired me. The route looks so iconic, covering some fantastic and beautiful parts of the Lake District, and it has been on my list of races to tick off for many years now. 

Dasha: Overall, my favorite competitions are ultras – they have an unforgettable adventure feeling, and are challenging both mentally and physically. The Lakeland 50/100 takes place in a very beautiful location, in a country I have not visited before. So I am just looking forward to enjoying the trails here and seeing where the race takes me!

Marcus Scotney Montane Athlete

Best running advice you’ve ever received?

Marcus: “If it feels easy, then you’re running at the right pace.” It's too easy to go off hard at the start of the ultra and get caught up in racing which isn’t necessary, especially when you have 100 miles of Lakeland mountain trails to cover. 

Dasha: This advice I was given before my first 100 miler: “The most important thing is to show up on the start line – you will reach the finish line just using your stubbornness.” As per experience I accumulated through the years, the main thing is to enjoy the process and believe that nothing bad can happen to you during the race.

Running Tips from the experts

What are your top 3 Lakeland race packing essentials? 


1. Montane Featherlite Jacket - it’s a brilliant lightweight windproof jacket that’s perfect for during the colder, darker hours of the night and brilliant for when the wind blows over the cols at the top of the climbs. 

2. Montane Trail Gloves - these are the perfect lightweight windproof gloves to keep the hands warm if the weather ends up being typically Lake District conditions. Yes, it can definitely rain in the Lakes.

3. Montane Gecko 5 Vest Pack - the best running pack I have ever worn; I have used this in many races. It is so comfortable, fits snug to the body and doesn’t move about when full. The front chassis set up is perfect, with the bottles high enough to easily drink from and plenty of pockets to store trail food and easily needed items. 

…Throwing in an extra one because, why not! I would also add Gurney Goo - the best thing to keep blisters and chafes at bay. Essential on a race like the Lakeland 50 & 100.

Dasha: On the day I'll have my women’s Slipstream Twin Skin Shorts, Dart Nano base layer T-Shirt and Spine Waterproof Jacket. This kit is very lightweight and exceptionally comfortable to wear; we have had a lot of adventures in the mountains together. The rainwear took even the most challenging conditions like a champ and kept me comfortable and dry.

Which song should we queue for you at the Montane checkpoint?

Marcus: It has to be - New Radicals - You Only Get What you Give.  

“One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don't give up
You've got a reason to live
Can't forget
We only get what we give”

Dasha: Був'є – Я Біжу - it’s a Ukrainian band, here is a link for those who might be unfamiliar. 

Get excited for the Lakeland 50 & 100

Loved hearing from #TeamMontane’s Marcus? Discover what will be in his running pack in our dedicated How to Pack for the Lakeland video. This year, we have also built a special Spotify playlist to get you feeling nicely excited - it will be playing at our now iconic Kentmere checkpoint! You can keep up with all the Lakeland 50 & 100 race action on our dedicated event hub.