Photo by Steve Ashworth/MovieIt
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.’’