Category Archives: Sport

Welcome to the Running Concierge

A new service for city-based runners to have a taste of Lakeland trails is launching in Cumbria.

The Running Concierge is a new concept in the UK, offering busy people with demanding jobs the chance to have a running weekend in the Lakes organised entirely for them.

It’s being led by UK Athletics coach Wayne Singleton who has just hosted his first visitors on a bespoke run-centred visit to the Lakes.

“If you’ve watched running coach and social media star Ben Parkes in action, you’ll know the feeling,” says Wayne. “Ben’s a fit guy with a marathon best time of 2.25 but in one of his videos, he’s racing in the Alps and recognising that as a Londoner he doesn’t have the climbing – or descending – in his legs.

Wayne Singleton

“We know there are runners who long to experience the trails and fells here, but don’t have the time to plan, and don’t know where to start.”

The Running Concierge arranges everything, meeting the train from London Euston or elsewhere to Oxenholme, taking guests to a hotel booked for them, and taking them on guided runs in the South Lakes area, including an ascent of Loughrigg fell.

There’s also the chance to add a cultural dimension to the weekend with a visit to Rydal Mount, home of the poet William Wordsworth. The Concierge recommends restaurants near where the visitors are staying, and can even book tables for dinner, if it’s not provided at their hotel.

The running concierge concept exists elsewhere but on a smaller scale. Hotels in Chicago and Moscow, for example, offer running tours of the city for their guests. And at the Ritz-Carlton, Vienna “guests can enjoy a smooth run throughout the area, with the hotel’s Running Concierge, who is not only a brilliant jogging partner, but also a fantastic guide to the Imperial city, with incredible insight and stories to tell.”

Wayne says: “We’ve taken that idea and developed it into an entire weekend break with trail or fell-running at its heart. We can take runners of all abilities and levels of fitness, and we can tailor route choices and distances to suit our visitors.”

A weekend break might start with a run or walk up Orrest Head on the Friday night; Saturday might be a combined run and sail on one of the steamers on Windermere or Ullswater; and Sunday could be a fell-run taster, followed by cream tea at Rydal Mount. Hotels range from the Burn How at Bowness to b&bs in the Windermere and Ambleside areas. “Our visitors will be in the heart of the Lakes and because we are local experts, not a moment of their weekend will be wasted,” says Wayne.

Richard Askwith, who wrote the best-selling book about his attempts to complete the Bob Graham round, Feet in the Clouds, was based in London throughout his time training for that. He says: “It’s certainly a challenge training for the fells when you’re based in London. But it can be done. I did it for years, and I even got quite good at it for a while. There really aren’t many better ways of motivating yourself than thinking about your next run in the Lake District.”

The Running Concierge with Mathew and Tayler on the summit of Loughrigg

Mathew and Tayler Carver spent three days on their first-ever visit to the Lakes organised by The Running Concierge. The couple, who run a chain of cheese restaurants, the Cheese Bar and the Cheese Barge, and a cheese shop London, stayed in Windermere and were taken on guided trail and fell runs, fell walks, and a swim in the lake with Wayne.

“It was really relaxing to have everything taken care of,” said Mathew. “If you are time-pressured as we are, it’s difficult to make plans about where to go and where to stay.”

Tayler said: “We could have come here on our own but not known where to go and wasted time on such a short visit. It was good to have expert advice and local knowledge, so we’ve learned much more about the Lake District.”

For more details: https://www.runningconcierge.co.uk/

Winding down after their run: Mathew and Tayler visiting Wordsworth’s house at Rydal Mount
Chloe runs

International runners head to the Lakes

Athletes from around the world will parade through Ambleside to launch a weekend festival of mountain running next summer.

The streets will see flags from more than 15 different countries carried by youngsters arriving to take part in the International Under 18 Mountain Running Cup, the organisers are hoping.

Susa runners

The English team in Susa this summer

And along with the world’s premier competition for young runners, to be staged in England for the first time, Ambleside will also host an uphill time trial race to the summit of Wansfell, and an open race over the championship course.

Chloe runs

England international Chloe Rylance in action. Photo: Steve Ashworth

The youth event has been a stepping stone for under-18 fell and mountain runners to race internationally since 2006.  Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee are among those who have started their international racing careers at this championship, and for the last 12 years teams from across the world have converged annually at mountain locations in Italy, France, Ireland, Bulgaria and Czech Republic to compete for the trophy.

handing over the flag

 

The event flag was handed over to Ambleside AC’s Duncan Richards, chair of the organising committee, by Jonathan Wyatt, president of the World Mountain Running Association, after this summer’s race in Susa in Italy. A fundraising push is now needed to finalise the plans; the organisers are close to their £30,000 target but need a little more help.

The races will start in the town’s Rothay Park and cover marked courses on Loughrigg fell. The athletes will be accommodated at Ambleside YHA over the weekend, with a few youngsters staying at Windermere and Coniston YHA hostels on the first night.

 

Ambleside AC has had to raise all the funding to stage the event, including the cost of accommodating 150 athletes and officials, and they are nearing their target. The championship is supported by a number of leading companies including Epic Events, Inov8, Pete Bland Sports, and Kong Adventure. There have also been contributions from AFWM wealth management and the Ambleside Masons.

Juniors on Loughrigg

Ambleside AC junior runners test the international course on Loughrigg

“This is a fantastic accolade for our local club and will bring the international spotlight on Ambleside,” said Duncan.

“This event is all about developing and inspiring young people, be it international athletes, local athletes, local schools, clubs and communities.”

Duncan, who has been the England team manager at the last six Youth Cups, added: “I have seen the benefit such an experience can bring to young athletes, the confidence born from the shared experience of international competition.”

On the same day, (June 20) the FRA English Junior Championships will take place in the morning, followed by the international races, and then an open race for all runners over the championship course. “So Ambleside will be full of junior fell runners who can support England teams and be inspired by world class young athletes racing over Loughrigg.”

On the Friday night, after the athletes’ parade and the opening ceremony, there will be an open, uphill-only time trial event on Wansfell, starting from Ambleside town centre.

The world’s top tri-athlete Alistair Brownlee, who came 4th in the event in Italy in 2005, said: “The Youth Cup holds many special memories for me. It’s a fantastic event that motivated me to carry on and continue in sport. It will be really special to bring it to Ambleside.”

PLEASE help Ambleside AC to reach the fundraising target :

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/youthcup2020

WATCH the video about this event here

 

 

 

First woman at the helm of traditional Lakeland sports

 

A new chair has taken the helm of the committee which organises England’s oldest traditional sports event.

Marjorie Blackburn is the first woman to lead Ambleside Sports, now in its 132nd year. Mrs Blackburn takes over from Jak Hirst who is stepping down after 13 years. He will keep an advisory role, and retain responsibility for attracting sponsorship.

Marj and Jak

Mrs Blackburn, who lives in Ambleside, has been a member of the organising committee for 18 years, alongside her husband, Mike, himself a former chairman.  Her professional career includes teaching and training, personnel and business, and she is a keen golfer, walker, and member of a local singing group.

Many tributes were paid to Mr Hirst’s “total dedication” to the Sports and he was described as a great team leader.

Ambleside Sports is run entirely by volunteers who spend months in planning and organising, and then a full week of setting up and taking down the sports field equipment. One of the highlights on the Cumbrian calendar, the event includes fell racing (with a new category for under-9s in the popular Guides race this year), hound trails, track cycling, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling and many stalls and sideshows.

The committee has also given £14,000 in the last five years in sporting scholarships to young people in the area, to help them develop their sporting potential.

Also stepping down from the committee was Tom Harrington MBE, the Cumberland and Westmorland wrestler who won 44 world championships.

This year’s event will be held at Rydal Park on Thursday July 26. Space is still available for anyone wanting to book a trade stall in the “craft” marquee to sell local produce, art, jewellery etc, and these can be booked for £35, including table,  via the website http://amblesidesports.co.uk/

 

 

Motivational running team head for awards night

A young business which has led more than 400 newcomers to take up running is in line for a sports award.

Jogging Pals has been shortlisted in the finals of the Cumbria Sports Awards, which will be celebrated on Friday night.

Founded three years ago by Glyn Rose and Wayne Singleton, both England Athletics coaches, the Jogging Pals programme has taken former non-runners from couch to 5k throughout Cumbria and North Lancashire.

glyn, wayne and helen - Copy

Glyn, Wayne and run leader Helen Pye

The scheme has  been so successful that the business now has six running leaders and is organising “improvers” programmes for runners who want to continue to 10k, 20k or even further. There are also guided runs in association with the National Trust and the Forestry Commission at Sizergh Castle and Grizedale Forest.

“It’s a great honour to be shortlisted for this award, and a tribute to our team,” said Wayne Singleton, a former smoker and drinker who now competes in triathlons, has run marathons, and is a keen open water swimmer. He works at the Alpkit store in Ambleside.

He started running again, after being a junior athlete, when he was breathless walking up the stairs. “It changed my life, and I wanted to do something to help others,” he said.

Those “others” include couch-potatoes who have lost weight, taken part in competitive races and even trained as coaches themselves. Some run for fun, or for the social side of running. “We wanted to prove that running is for anyone, even if they have never run before.”

He and Glyn Rose, another “convert”,  have since taken part in the Great Manchester 10k, Great North Run, London Marathon, New York Marathon, and Lakeland 50. Wayne has also competed in the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert.

Their aim was to encourage newcomers to achieve 5k with encouragement, with one training session a week and two other runs. “The plan was then to let them loose in the wild, as we put it, as there are so many running clubs in the region” said Glyn. “But we found that our members wanted motivation to do more, so that’s why we introduced programmes to extend their distances.”

Jogging Pals pay £45 for an eight-week programme, and members are encouraged to join up together to run at other times. “One of the keys to our success is enabling people to ‘pal up’ as the weeks go by, to train with other people who may live close by, and to make friends,” said Glyn. “The social aspect of jogging is massively important to us, and we make a lot of friends through this. But we also acknowledge that for some people, we are improving their health and fitness, and even saving their lives.”

Their website (https://www.joggingpals.co.uk/)  carries testimonials from newcomers, often seriously overweight, who have benefited from the programme, and have carried on running.

One wrote: “In the final night of the course I jogged without stopping once for the full 5k and I was elated. By the end I’d realised I’m a tortoise. I’m slow but steady and I get there in the end.” He now has an entry for the Great North Run.

The annual Cumbria Sports Awards will be held on Friday at The Low Wood Bay Hotel, Windermere. The event recognises the outstanding talents, commitment and successes of teams and individuals throughout Cumbria who are involved in sport.

https://www.joggingpals.co.uk/

 

pals jogging