Tag Archives: running

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

Full steam ahead for Lakes runners

Runners have kept their passion for events in the Lake District in spite of lockdown, according to a new survey.

They have been training hard and planning for the time when races and fun runs can start again.

The survey was carried out by Kendal-based Jogging Pals who have been coaching and inspiring everyone from beginners to ultra runners for a number of years.

When lockdown forced the cancellation of trail races and other events planned for the spring and summer, Jogging Pals director Wayne Singleton took the opportunity to find out what runners really wanted in the future.

The survey, published via social media, attracted hundreds of responses from around the country. “It proved that there’s great enthusiasm for the Lakes as a centre for all kinds of running, not just the ultra-endurance efforts we’ve seen this summer,” said Wayne, a UK Athletics coach.

As a result, his team is working on plans for some unusual running events, which will include sailing some of the most iconic Lakes as well – and taking a ride on a steam train. RunSteamRun will launch next month and the date will be announced shortly.

lakeshore runners

Wayne also found a lot of affection for the Lake District among the parkrunning community; Cumbria has a dozen regular parkruns which attract runners of all abilities.

“Our runners want us to provide real Lakeland experiences for them, not just races,” said Wayne. “And they show a real spirit of adventure too – many of them would like us to organise trips to running events throughout Europe.”

One who took part in the survey was the lucky winner of a £100 voucher to spend at running specialists Pete Bland Sports. The winning name was pulled out of a hat – literally – by Wayne when the survey closed.

Wayne draws the winning ticket

“We are really pleased to see that runners have found the motivation to carry on training,” Wayne said. “Now we are listening to their requests and will organise some special events as soon as we are allowed.”

 

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