Iron Man’s gruelling Lakeland challenge

John Gilbert (right) competing in the Lakeland 50 last year.
John Gilbert (right) competing in the Lakeland 50 last year.

Forton’s own iron man, John Gilbert, has revealed he has a special ingredient when it comes to ultra marathon challenges – pizza slices and mince pies.

The energy packed snacks are made for him by his two younger children, Zach (15 )and Harriet (13) and will be powering him on when he tackles the gruelling Lakeland 100 later this summer.

John, of Forton, is now in serious training for the 105- mile event on July 25 when he hopes to raise funds for what he says is a little known but much valued charity which provides country holidays for disadvantaged children.

He is seeking sponsorship and explained: “CHICKS is based in Devon and I’ve supported them for about 20 years. It’s quite harrowing – they take children and young carers and they give them a break in the countryside for two or three weeks.

“For some kids it’s like a beacon in an otherwise grim life. It’s not a very glamorous charity, but it works very hard and has done for a long time behind the scenes.”

Last year John tackled the Lakeland 50 and recalled: “I had a very bad time at the 50. I am genuinely entering the 100 in the hope I will finish – 50per cent of the field goes out.

“It’s a very serious race. Last year only two people in my age group finished.

“The chances are statistically I won’t finish, but I have been training very hard for it.”

The event starts in Coniston and heads south before taking in the Dunnerdale fells, Eskdale, Wasdale and Buttermere plus Keswick, Matterdale and Haweswater before returning via Kentmere, Ambleside and Elterwater.

There is no time to stop or sleep in the weekend event and with ascents involving 20,000 feet of climbing John has been preparing by making six different ascents of Nicky Nook on training outings, running in Bowland and, more recently, travelling north to train on Cumbrian terrain.

John’s business, the Work Life Balance Company, specialises in providing training for medics and he says he is practising what he preaches:

“I’m a medical training’s important to be a living embodiment of that I espouse professionally,” he said.

He said he already knows what he will be most looking forward to after crossing the finishing line - a nice cup of tea, mince pies and pizza.

You can sponsor John at Gilbert2 and his justgiving page sums up the reason for his major effort: “Running for CHICKS because we all need some happy childhood memories.”