Set amongst the stunning backdrop of the Lake District, the inaugural 13 Valleys Ultra took place in late September to great acclaim. Almost 1000 runners took on one of the four distances set out. Opting between the 2 Valleys (20km), 5 Valleys (55km), 7 Valleys (110km), and 13 Valleys (180km), participants all end in the same place in Keswick, creating a fun, inclusive and exciting atmosphere.
Brand Manager Alice Peyredieu and her team created the 13 Valleys Ultra in collaboration with Lake District National Park to draw people to other areas of the Lake District: “We thought of this idea of linking all the 13 valleys of the Lake National Park because they are part of the UNESCO World Heritage, which is something that I don’t think many people know about.”
Linking all 13 valleys in succession, covering 180km (111 miles), the main route and its smaller counterparts all travel in a loop. The idea of the shorter distances came about as the event team wanted to open trail running to the broader running community.
“We want to invite people that either have never done a trail race before or might be interested in doing an ultra, but they’re not sure yet. The finish line is exactly the same as the runners doing the 13 valleys, so they feel part of the atmosphere and the race but do a shorter run.”
Alice explains that the event strives for sustainability within its race structure; five per cent of the entry fee is donated straight back to the Lake District Foundation to continue to keep the trails accessible and cared for in the area.
The event works solely with local businesses and people, bringing it back to the surroundings and the importance of the trail-running community. Inov-8, Petzl and Voom Nutrition were all on board, with medics and mountain leaders all local to the Lake District National Park.
“It made complete sense to work with local people as they are the ones with the local knowledge and could help us best regarding the route.”
Checkpoints were available across all the distances, again giving all racers the experience of running an ultra. The basic ones had your standard food, including bars, electrolytes, and sweets, with the longer distances featuring hot soup, potatoes and pasta. They also had vegan, veggie and gluten-free options for all racers.
Alice hopes that the 13 Valleys will hold merit in time, with people flocking from all over the world to experience a different side of the Lake District; however, Alice states that the longer race distances shouldn’t be underestimated.
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