Two runners from Oldham have completed a 50-mile ultra marathon.

Bryan Lawton and Janet Jobey ran the Montane Lakeland 50-mile race on Saturday, July 29.

Both work for Oldham’s Up & Running franchise, and both are members of the Royton Road Runners.

The length of nearly two marathons, the race sees runners traverse challenging terrain in the Lake District, starting from the northern end of Ullswater and travelling through Long Sleddale, Kentmere, Ambleside, Langdale, and Tilberthwaite, before finishing in Coniston.

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It was the second time competing for Bryan, who owns Oldham’s Up & Running franchise.

The 57-year-old beat the course, which sees an elevation gain of around 3,100m (10,100 ft), in 14:39:22 – two hours faster than his attempt last year.

Setting off at 11 am, this means many runners end up finishing the race in the dark.

Colleague Janet managed to finish the race in 11:16:31 – coming fourth in her age group.

The Oldham Times: Bryan Lawton holding his race buckle, awarded instead of a medalBryan Lawton holding his race buckle, awarded instead of a medal (Image: Bryan Lawton)

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A type 1 diabetic, Bryan had to keep an eye on his blood sugar levels using his continuous glucose monitor alarms and manage insulin injections as he braved rain and high winds to finish the race.

He explained: “It’s the climb that’s the bigger challenge, you go up some of the bigger valley passes in the lakes. Fusedale, the climb there which you hit early on is over 2,000 ft on its own. It’s a case of trying to keep working hard.

“Physically, you’re not going to be able to run up some of the inclines like that, but you’re working as hard as you can, then you run the bits that are runnable.

“Even on a lot of the descents you think you can make time up there, but you can’t really because of the nature of the paths in the lakes, some of them are quite treacherous, and we had quite a lot of rain at the weekend so they were a little bit slippy. You’ve always got to be mindful that you might end up falling on granite rocks.”

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Her first time running an ultra-marathon, Janet said she completed the race for her late father.

The 50-year-old said: “It’s just amazing to think you can go out and do that. My dad used to do a lot of it. He’s not with us now, so it’s something that I felt I needed to do for him really. I’m just hoping he was as proud of me as I’d hoped, I was just loving it, it was brilliant.

“In the middle of the Lake District doing something that I loved, it was just great.”

Janet encouraged people to give the sport a go, adding that you can walk the race if you want.

Asked what she would say to those who might call her mad for undertaking such a feat, she said: “They’ll never appreciate the beauty of it, you’ve got to try it and then tell me I’m mad.

“Give it a go, go up to the hills and have a look round and then tell me I’m mad. The feeling of coming back in to that finish line is indescribable, it was amazing – they were absolutely amazing.

“They made you feel so special, and you think ‘actually, I have done something pretty special’ and that’s what you can take away from it, and so can anybody else.”

Coming within 20 minutes of the leader of her age group, Janet said: “It’s mine next year, I hope.”

Both Bryan and Janet said they have no plans to attempt the longer 100-mile race in the future

From Chadderton, Bryan is already back running again, hosting the shop’s weekly 5K social run just days after his 50-mile feat.

He explained how he managed to get through the race.

The Oldham Times: Bryan Lawton at the start of the raceBryan Lawton at the start of the race (Image: Bryan Lawton)

Bryan added: “The secret is you have to break it down. Don’t ever think of the endpoint, because that can get you down as it’s so far away. You visualize the next checkpoint, the checkpoint is the feed station, so I liken it to six picnics, the first picnics in 11 miles from the start, get to that, fill up your fluid bottles and get some carbs down you.

“What you find is most of the checkpoints are at the bottom of big climbs, coming out of the first checkpoint I grab a bag of crisps, it’s like a little treat to yourself because you’re working hard up the hill munching away on crisps.

“I even do something else, I break it down into Parkruns, 50 miles is like 16 Parkruns.”

The fastest times of the race were Neil MacNicol in the male category with a time of 8:03:58, and Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn in the female category, at 08:23:15.

The maximum allowed time for the race is 24 hours.