The Ambleside duo tackling the world’s toughest race for charity

Ambleside GP Dr Paul Davies is to tackle his first iron-distance triathlon to raise money for St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston.

Paul, 50, who works for the Central Lakes Medical Group, will be among 200 competitors in Triathlon X, the world’s toughest extreme event, on June 25 starting at YHA Ambleside.

And he’s been training with Ambleside fitness instructor Ursula Brendling who’s also doing her first triathlon to mark her 50th birthday.

Paul and Urs 3

Paul is a keen athlete who has previously completed shorter distance triathlons at Wasdale and Buttermere. He said: “I chose to fundraise for our South Lakes hospice because as  a GP I know what valuable  work they do. They provide in-patient care, out-patient care, and clinics and hospice-at-home care  for patients and their families [ including nursing staff to  stay overnight in patients’ homes ] as well as all round holistic care  and support at the Hospice itself.

“I live and work here in this beautiful place and  really look forward to  doing our local iron-man triathlon, particularly as its been created  by one of my  close  friends  Mark Blackburn.”

Paul said that he was looking forward to the race for many reasons. “Swimming in  Windermere at dawn will be beautiful. Then the Fred  Whitton cycling route is iconic and  spectacular , particularly  going over Kirkstone, Honister , Hard Knott and Wrynose passes. And I love the Great Langdale valley and what better route than scaling  Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England.”

He said that the challenge would be physically and psychologically fascinating: “I feel it will be a way of fundraising for such a good cause , while celebrating and being mindful of  this  beautiful place, by being literally fully immersed in it over  a long  and challenging day.”

Paul has been using an unusual training technique for the triathlon: he’s been reciting his lines and songs  for the character  he’s playing in Grasmere Players’   summer production, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which has just opened for a six-week run (Weds and Thursday 8pm Grasmere  Village Hall ).

As part of his training regime he tackled the Great North Swim with training partner Ursula Brendling. Ursula is raising money for Nurture Lakeland with her triathlon attempt “because I believe being in nature promotes health. The Fix the Fells project in the Lake District enables us to walk, cycle, run, gain wheelchair access to many spectacular places that really do improve the quality of our lives.”

Triathlon X will start at 4.30 am on Saturday June 25 with a two mile swim from Waterhead to Seamew Crag island and back, twice. Competitors will then cycle 112 miles along the Fred Whitton route over all the Lakeland passes, before returning to base, and setting off on the 26 mile run to the top of Scafell Pike and back.

Spectators will be welcome along the route, during the day on the passes, and in late afternoon and evening in Langdale, with a checkpoint at the New Dungeon Ghyll hotel. There will be music and entertainment, and a barbecue, throughout the day at race HQ at YHA Ambleside, and the first entrant is expected back at around 6pm.

Windermere-based Lakeland UK and the cottage company Heart of the Lakes have each donated £1000 prize money for the first man and woman to finish. There are also prizes from Hawkshead Relish, and competitors’ goody-bags with items from Willow Water, Romneys Kendal Mint Cake, Blue Seventy wetsuits, and Mountain Fuel.

People can donate to Paul’s  cause at Ambleside  Health Centre or  Hawkshead Surgery  where there are donation boxes,  or by donating on-line  via

Ursula’s fundraising can be accessed at

You can read Ursula’s training blogs here:


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