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.
“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.”
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/