World’s toughest race comes to Windermere: new partnership with YHA

Ambs YHAThe world’s toughest extreme triathlon is moving into the central Lake District. Triathlon X, staged this year at Wasdale, will start and finish at YHA Ambleside at the head of Windermere next June.

The event, with steeper ascents than any “ironman” triathlon anywhere in the world, this year attracted 133 competitors, of whom 98 finished.

The race was won by Ryan Brown from Effingham in Surrey in 13 hours and 51 minutes. The first four athletes finished within seven minutes of one another.

In a new partnership with YHA (England and Wales), organiser Mark Blackburn has created a route which is already generating excitement among triathletes.

Competitors will swim twice round Seamew Crag island in Windermere, and then cycle all the Lake District passes on the route of the Fred Whitton challenge, some 112 miles. The marathon run of 26 miles will take the athletes out and back to the top of Scafell Pike via Elterwater and Great Langdale.

The total ascent on the cycle and run routes is 5150m, the highest in the world, with a projected winning time of four hours longer than Norway’s Norseman extreme race.

Anthony Gerundini, veteran of 99 iron-distance triathlons, said after finishing this year at Wasdale: “I was extremely happy to be in the Top Ten of the hardest extreme triathlon in the world.”

Another finisher, James Cooper, said: “It amazed me how we all managed to go through hell with a smile on our faces.”

Mark Blackburn said: “We are thrilled with the new arrangement with YHA which will mean that our race will be much more accessible to competitors from all over the world. It will be another great sporting event for Windermere, Ambleside and the Lake District.”

Andy Barnett, YHA (England and Wales) Operations Manager, said: “YHA Ambleside is the perfect setting for Triathlon X and I’m delighted that it will be starting and finishing here. Being a Lake District Youth Hostel, we’re geared up for outdoor events and have the facilities for competitors – whether that’s bike storage, a drying room for clothes, a bed for the night or simply a hot meal and drink.

“We’re delighted that Triathlon X and its participants have chosen to support YHA’s bursary fund for disadvantaged young people, Breaks for Kids. The sum of £5 from each entry will go to this cause. Every penny raised from this event will go towards creating opportunities for young people to stay with YHA and have new, life-changing experiences.”

Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism’s head of operations, said: “As the UK’s Adventure Capital the Lake District, Cumbria has an adrenaline-fuelled calendar of outdoor challenge events every year and this event is no exception. There are plenty of events for the first time competitor, and others for more experienced athletes that require total endurance and dedication.

“Hosting TriathlonX on Windermere will allow even more people to access this high level event and allow them to come and embrace their adventurous side here in the Lake District.”

Entries are now open at

spectacular route runnersPhoto: Steve Ashworth/MovieIt


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