Charles Sproson ascends Pinnacle Ridge, the most technical part of the race route. Photo: Steve Ashworth/www.movieit.co.uk

Charles Sproson ascends Pinnacle Ridge, the most technical part of the race route. Photo: Steve Ashworth/www.movieit.co.uk

Organisers of the inaugural Lakes Sky Ultra race are encouraging spectators to hit the hills to see competitors tackle the course.

Charlie Sproson and Andrew Burton are race directors for the gruelling 50km challenge, which will see runners tackle Swirral Edge and Striding Edge on Helvellyn, plus Pinnacle Ridge on neighbouring St Sunday Crag.

The organisers said: “With only two weeks to go, the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra team are getting their final preparations set in place.

“After the buzz that was created around the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline from the mainstream press dubbing it as the ‘Death Race’, this technical mountain running event housing itself under the SkyRunningUK series will undoubtedly take some of the same heat.

“With technical running across Swirral Edge and Striding Edge and rock hopping up one of the most classic ridge scrambles in the British Isles, namely Pinnacle Ridge, the inaugural True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra will most certainly be in the spotlight.”

An international field includes skyrunners Eirik Haugsnes, who took first place in the Tromsø Sky Race 2014, Es Tresidder, the Snowdon Horseshoe record holder and Ricky Lightfoot, winner of this year’s Three Peaks Race and the Madeira Ultra Sky Marathon 2015. Live tracking will enable spectators both on the course or in the comfort of their armchairs at home to follow the racers’ progress.

Top women runners in the race include Beth Pascal who was first woman and fourth overall in the Spine Race – possibly the most brutal race in the UK – and Sarah Ridgeway, the female Snowdon Horseshoe record holder. Victoria Mousley may also prove to be a dark horse on race day.

Ricky Lightfoot on his way to victory in this year's Three Peaks Race

Ricky Lightfoot on his way to victory in this year's Three Peaks Race

Race organisers said: “This is the first race of its kind in the Lake District, being a technical sky race, fusing fast and light mountaineering with mountain trail running.

“Although the course has some technical rock scrambles, technical scree and trails, the majority of the course is very runnable and we expect a very fast winning time.”

The True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra starts at 7am on 12 September from Ambleside and will follow a fully marked course, crossing technical rock sections, making it more than a simple fell race. The race route is highly technical, ascending some of the highest peaks in the Lake District and using some of the best ascents and descents on offer.

The race team said: “Expect a very exciting race in the heart of the Lakes, setting off from one of the most famous villages in the area.

“The True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra team would like to encourage spectator involvement.

“For competent hillwalkers and mountaineers then the summit of Helvellyn and its surrounding ridgelines of Swirral Edge and Striding Edge will give fantastic views.

“Should you wish a more sedate location to view from then the two checkpoint locations of Patterdale Junior School and Kirkstone Pass car park will allow close-quarter viewing and action. From Kirkstone Pass to the summit of Red Screes, the runners will be part of a race within the race – a timed ascent of Red Screes, followed by a timed descent to the finish line.

The runners will also traverse Striding Edge

The runners will also traverse Striding Edge

“If you are planning on spectating in the mountains please treat all fell users with complete respect and don’t get in the way of the runners. They also suggest taking a cowbell into the fells and to the roadside viewing locations to give the runners an extra special boost as they run past.”

Salewa has agreed to be sponsor for the most technical part of the race, the grade-three scramble up Pinnacle Ridge, supplying ropes and safety hardware. This will be set in place by the Nav4Adventure team, headed by Joe Faulkner, chief safety officer on the event’s technical sections.

Other sponsors of the event include Team Nutrition, Mountain Run, Mountain Lite, Suprabeam, Harvey Maps, Cowmire Hall Cider, Open Tracking and SPORTident Entries, plus Stript Snacks.

More details are on the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra website.

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