running the brathay 10in10

The Brathay 10in10 is one of Brathay Trust’s biggest fundraising events annually, raising invaluable funds to support their work improving the life chances of young people. We look in some more detail, with insight from multiple 10in10 completer Malc Collins and first time 10in10’er Chris Littlewood.

Who & When

Later this year 22 determined runners take on the 2022 edition of The Brathay 10in10 with each of them aiming to complete 10 marathons on 10 consecutive days. The event is organised annually by Brathay Trust, a youth charity who improve the life chances and opportunities of young people in challenging circumstances, typically in urban areas. Starting on Friday 13th of May the runners will attempt marathons on consecutive days up until the Asics Windermere Marathon which is on Sunday 22nd May and will be their 10th marathon!

What

The challenge to run 10 marathons back to back is based at Brathay Trust’s headquarters near Ambleside in the Lake District. This stunning route takes in a full lap of England’s largest lake, Lake Windermere, with the 10th day coinciding with 1000 other runners taking on the Asics Windermere Marathon. 

Chris Littlewood, who will take on the 10in10 for the first time in May remembers learning of the challenge whilst at the Windermere Marathon back in 2013. 

I was in complete awe of the athletes who walked out, many of whom looked ‘broken’, and then set off to do their 10th marathon in 10 consecutive days. The seed was sown, I just thought I fancy a crack at that.”

man and woman running

Where

The event centres around the stunning Brathay Hall, built in the 18th century, at the Northern end of Lake Windermere with the runners staying in the accommodation on site during the 10 days. This helps build a real sense of camaraderie amongst the runners as they take on this staggering mental and physical feat. Impressively, the route is the only marathon in England to be run entirely within a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Malc, who has previously completed the 10in10 says “The course has so much wonderful natural beauty, with carpets of lovely bluebells and the smell of wild garlic. Any marathon runner needs to experience the beauty of this course at least once!”

Why

In order to participate the accepted entrants must raise a minimum of £3,000 for the charity whilst training and preparing for the event, although many significantly exceed that figure. The fundraising is obviously a big goal of the event, but each runner tends to arrive at the event with their own reasons to run.

Malc has already completed an astounding eight Brathay 10in10’s and takes on his ninth this year, “I love the challenge this event offers, not just running but also having to raise money for Brathay. I love spending time at Brathay and being in the Lakes.”

He goes on to light heartedly point out “Joss Naylor threw down the challenge for me to complete the event 10 times and I’d love for him to see me achieve it!”

supporting racers

Training for back to back marathons

Undisputed veteran of the event Malc says “Like training for a normal marathon, you have to build up your training and mileage. Where it differs is you have to get used to regularly running a marathon. Blocks of heavy mileage day after day help to make you experience the tiredness and fatigue you will experience during the event.”

However, as debutant Chris Littlewood points out, it’s not just about banking miles, “The first thing is that I’m trying not to get too overwhelmed by what all the other amazing 10 in 10’ers are doing! My only aim is to enjoy every step of what will be a life changing journey. I am thinking a lot more about race nutrition and recovery though while preparing for the 10 in 10. In the past I have been one of those runners who didn’t drink so much while running or really think about eating. I’ve been experimenting with the various VOOM products including the Caffeine Kick bars before a run (wow, the first time I had one I felt like Forrest Gump!), the Electro Energy Bars while running plus the electrolyte drink before, during, and after runs, and the protein Rapid Recovery shake post-run.”

Chris is wise to have a practised fuel and hydration strategy and additionally, perhaps inadvertently, has found a new way to test his endurance and simulate the fatigue of back to back marathons. “Three months away from the start of the 10 in 10 I did a torturous 20 miler after going out into town with my wife for Valentines the night before! Still, I felt like I needed that because every step, from the very first, was a challenge and will help develop the mental toughness needed.”

VOOM Nutrition Partner to Brathay Events 10in10

VOOM are proud to partner the 10in10 and play a small part in supporting the charity as well as the runners involved. For VOOM, the 10in10 is an ideal testing bed for new products and those still in development. 

With such an extreme endurance challenge VOOM’s hydration, energy and recovery products can be tested and new flavours trialled whilst also offering benefit to the runners. It can also be interesting to look at the taste of a product, which might go down great in the first few hours but may not suit the palette after many hours or days of running! Ironically the runners tend to have a good amount of time, whilst they’re resting each afternoon/evening, to pass feedback to the product development team.

All photos courtesy Michelle Atkins

Find out more about Brathay 10in10 here

Find out more about Voom here

"Joss Naylor threw down the challenge for me to complete the event 10 times and I’d love for him to see me achieve it!"

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