GL3D: Tips for your first time at Great Lakeland 3 Day

See Jessica's "5 Things I learned from my 1st GL3D" and get tips for your first multi-day event.

Jessica Mather
By Jessica Mather


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The Scarpa Great Lakeland 3 Day is an ever-popular Lake District running/walking event which makes a perfect introduction to expedition style racing. As the name suggests it is always set in the stunning English Lake District but uses a different location each year to keep you on your toes and test your navigation skills. Either way you're pretty much guaranteed to cover some of the best terrain the lakes has to offer.


Female runner in the lakeland fells on a clear day


The event always attracts a good mix of GL3D regulars, seasoned ultra runners and multi-day newcomers, so before taking on a multi-day running event like the GL3D what should you consider?


We spoke to VOOM ambassador Jessica Mather who took part in the GL3D for the first time in 2022 and is excited to return in 2023. Learning from your mistakes is one thing but learning from other people’s experience is certainly preferable, so read on to see what Jessica learned during the GL3D!



5 Things I Learned from my first GL3D


Packing for GL3D isn’t easy!


What to take on a three day running race? Well, squeezing everything into your <60L dry bag weighing under 13 kg can take a good few tries pre-event - it’s probably even worth a practice run a couple of weeks before! This limit includes all your camping gear, spare clothes, food for the whole weekend and anything else you might want! Make sure you have everything on the mandatory kit list - there will be kit checks and everything listed is on there for good reason.



The importance of fueling!


I spent a lot of time figuring out what foods work for me on my long runs before the event. This included a variety of things with some savoury items, fruit/nut/chocolate mixes and some VOOM bars, my favourite are the lemon & lime Pocket Rocket Electro Energy and the Hydrate electrolyte drink to help stay hydrated. This year I’m also excited to include the new Powr Plant Endurance Energy bars in my strategy for some different flavours.




It’s also really important (but easy to forget) to make sure you have enough evening food to refuel yourself and recover for the next day. You can take things to heat up and I found freeze dried meals worked well for me. The main thing here is making sure you've tried your fuel strategy prior to the event weekend.


Ultra runners eat an evening meal in camp during a multi day running race



Tailor your training 

During your preparation for the GL3D have a good look at the courses and tailor your training to the average distances and elevation. Another unique aspect of the event is you can change courses each day to suit your fitness and abilities. Spend time in the hills and on a variety of terrain in order to best prepare yourself as the Lake District can be very hilly!


A female ultra runner at the summit of a Wainwright fell during the Great lakeland 3 Day event 2022



Respect the Weather!


The Lakeland weather can throw anything at you - hence the importance of the kit list. In 2022 Day 1 was glorious sunshine with excellent visibility on all the tops, day 2 was cold, wet and windy and a very challenging day of navigation. Obviously there are a number of routes you can choose from each day; I did all three days on the short course last year, which made for a challenging weekend covering 80km with 6000m ascent. The terrain was varied but you really have to prepare for everything - it will make the event much more enjoyable and safer for you too!


Bad weather closes in on three ell runners on a mountain ridge in the Lake District



The GL3D is truly unique!


It's like no other event or race! From day  1 the comradery out on the courses is fantastic, you arrive back into camp and chat with other participants, share advice, trade tips and discuss plans for the next day. It really is a fantastic atmosphere and people are friendly and supportive, whichever route you’ve taken on. Be prepared for a good old quiz and a few beer tokens to finish off your days. The atmosphere is great and I really can't wait to head back for 2023!


Multiday race competitors sit around a camp fire in the evening between stages of racing at the GL3D event.


All images used with permission. credit Steve Ashcroft photography copyright.

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