When Ash Lamchane moved to the Lake District to continue his career as a chef, he took up the revered art of trail and fell running. Inspired by the likes of Wendy Dodd, he admits he only “knows about 10% of running.”
However, Ash quickly fell in love with the sport, extending his distances. He looked forward to his days off, which he would spend in the hills.
It was then that he decided to create the Fairfield Horseshoe Challenge.
“I came up with the idea after I heard run every day January; I thought let’s do run every day February Fairfield.”
The Fairfield Horseshoe is a classic Lake District walking route popular with hikers and trail runners. Starting from Rydal or Ambleside, the circular route takes in all the fells surrounding the valley of the Rydal Beck.
It is notoriously known as one of Wainwrights’ favourite ridge walks as he described it as “a great horseshoe of grassy slopes below a consistently high skyline, simple in design and impressive in altitude”.
The Fairfield Horseshoe is, on average, a 16km traverse taking in 1100m (3608ft) in ascent. The route includes the peaks of:
- Low Pike
- High Pike
- Dove Crag
- Hart Crag
- Great Rigg
- Heron Pike
- Nab Scar
Ash explained how the idea to run the Fairfield Horseshoe every day of February wouldn’t be easy as he continued his career as a chef. “Most of my runs were after work at around 6 pm.”
He relied on his experience running the Windemere Marathon, Maverick Adidas Ultra, Ullswater Way and the Lakes in a Day to get him through the challenge.
“I would not have survived without my mountain equipment Saltoro hard shell jacket because my other waterproof would not stand against the harsh wind, rain and cold of Fairfield.”
“I also had my Deuter pack, and inside, I always took first aid, survival blanket, food, mountain fuel gels, small down jacket, mid layer, map and compass.”
Ash explained how of the 28 days, he got a week of decent weather. At night he faced 90km winds, sideways rain and a -18 degree windchill.
Nutrition-wise, Ash relied on Mountain Fuel gels and recovery shakes, Voom beetroot bars and at least 2 litres of milk a day. Lentils, chicken, rice and green vegetables were also essential to his diet.
He felt ‘privileged’ to have the route right on his doorstep, and despite the bad weather, he never questioned his reasoning for being there: “It was a pure testament to my resilience.”
He noted that running was the easiest part of the challenge, as living alone, cooking, and doing all the washing “tested my discipline”.
“I was sad on my last day, but I am happy with what I’ve done. I wanted to inspire others, especially younger generations and running in the mountains is not boring.
“My main goal is to inspire others and push those barriers for everyone to believe in themselves, and I want others to set themselves a challenge now and then,
I have learnt that as humans, we are capable of so many great things, and the way to find out is to be alone.”