Tag Archives: triathlon

The toughest triathlon ever comes to the Lakes

Photo by Steve Ashworth/MovieIt

warning steep descent

A  triathlon to be staged in the Lake District this summer looks set to be the world’s toughest ultimate race.

The Wasdale X is a full distance extreme event with a total distance of 140 miles (226km) and a record-breaking 16,994 ft (5,180m) of ascent – more than comparable events anywhere in the world.

It involves a 2.4 mile swim in Wastwater, England’s deepest and coldest lake, a cycle ride over the passes following, largely, the route of the Fred Whitton challenge, and finally a 26-mile mountain run: out and back over Whin Rigg and Illgill Head, followed by the ascent of Scafell Pike via Sty Head and the Corridor Route, to achieve the marathon distance.

The cycle section covers 112 miles around the Lake District, taking in climbs of the Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose passes. The event has already attracted some 200 elite entries from athletes from around the world.

The organisers have already successfully staged the “half iron-man” distance event at Wasdale each September, the “deepest, steepest, highest, hardest” (http://wasdaletri.co.uk).

“The shorter event was immensely popular, and we knew that we had the location and the terrain to attract competitors for something even tougher,” said one of the organisers, Mark Blackburn. “The bike section, for example, will be the hardest of any ultra distance triathlon anywhere in the world.”

The event will be staged at midsummer on Sunday June 21, to take advantage of maximum daylight. Competitors will be warned that mandatory cut off times must be met to

ensure that they finish the event within the 20 hours of daylight available.

Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Operations said: ‘’Hosting an event like this in Cumbria provides us with an excellent opportunity to showcase our beautiful County, the UK’s Adventure Capital. As an outdoor events destination we have so much to offer, after all Cumbria’s landscape was made for events of this type and those competing in this unique and very demanding triathlon will certainly appreciate all that our natural environment will throw at them along the way.’’


Ambleside’s Chris joins world’s toughest athletes


Ambleside athlete Chris Stirling has gained an elite place in the world’s toughest triathlon.

He will take part in the Norseman Xtreme in Norway next summer, a point to point race that starts by jumping off a ferry into a fjord and ends on a mountain summit.

Chris, 32, who works at the Climbers Shop in Ambleside, was this year’s winner of the Wasdale triathlon, recognised as the world’s toughest at the half “iron man” distance. He finished second in the Celtman, the Scottish extreme triathlon, half an hour inside the previous course record.

Originally from Portishead, Bristol, Chris moved to the Lakes 10 years ago to live and train in the mountains. He has a background in climbing, mountaineering and fell running, and decided to start racing in 2012, triathlon and fell running. He  represented Northern Ireland in mountain running events in 2013 and again this year.

He said: “I am very happy and honoured to make this list of international athletes. Norseman was part of my original inspiration for taking up triathlon in 2012 so you could say this is a dream come true. It certainly feels that way.”

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is considered the ultimate triathlon on the planet, and the race that “any hard core triathlete should do at least once”.

The course runs point-to-point – or fjord to peak, starting at sea level, with a four-metre drop off a ferry into the Hardangerfjord, crossing the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, and finishing at the rocky peak of Gaustatoppen, at 1,850m above sea level and 220km away. There’s a total ascent of 5,000metres.

Chris, who trains six or seven days a week, often two or three sessions a day, is now looking for sponsors and supporters; he will need a back-up team to accompany him to Norway and transport.