Races 2021

With lockdown slowly easing and more people being vaccinated, there is a certain amount of optimism regarding races in 2021. Pretty much every race last year was either cancelled or postponed, although both me and Helen are being cautious with what we enter.

Ullswater Trail Race

In two weeks time we will be racing around Ullswater. I’m doing the full race, 20 hilly miles, while Helen is doing the 10 mile version which includes a ferry ride to Pooley Bridge. Way before anyone had heard of Covid we did something similar with Nelly (read about it here).

Backyard Ultra

When I first stumbled upon the concept of the Backyard Ultra I knew that at some point I would have to have a go. The idea is simple, every hour you run just over 4 miles, and you keep going until only one person is left standing. The one I’m doing is in North Wales, but there are hundreds all over the world. Unlike Ironman, the original organisers are happy to support anyone who wants to put on their own version.

Coniston Swim

This was one of my cancelled races from last year, and it is the full length of Coniston Water, just over 5 miles. I’ve only managed two swims this year, however, this race isn’t until September so I should have opportunity to get a few longer swims in before the event.

Cancelled/Postponed Races

The Oldham Way Ultra has been postponed for the second year running, so possibly I will manage this hilly 40 mile race in 2022.

My amazing wife had entered us into the Castle to Coast Triathlon, which was cancelled last year, but we’ve deferred our entry until 2022. Neither of us had done enough cycling to enjoy what could be one of the best races we’ve ever done. The swim is in Windsor, the bike ride heads towards Brighton, and the run is 13 miles into Brighton, hence the name – Castle to Coast.

Hopefully we’ll enter a few more races as the year progresses, and we’re also looking forward to parkruns starting up again. It does appear that there are some issues and that they are looking to commence towards the end of June. Fingers crossed.

That’s us for official races. Helen will also be doing the Bay Limestone Round in a team once again, with me and Nelly supporting, and we’d also like to have a go at the George Fisher Tea or Espresso Rounds.

What races have you entered?

Ullswater Run

A couple of weeks ago a few friends had uploaded a run onto Strava which me and my beautiful wife thought looked brilliant. It involved catching the Ullswater Steamer from Pooley Bridge to Glenridding and then running back.

The day after Boxing day we grabbed our kit and Nelly, and headed off to the lakes. The Bridge in Pooley Bridge is currently being rebuilt after it was washed away during storm Desmond four years ago, but you can still cross the temporary bridge on foot.

There were a few of us waiting for the steamer that we chatted to, including a couple who were planning on walking back from Aira Force along the Ullswater Way.


Obligatory selfie on the steamer 🙂


It was a bit cold on deck, so after taking a few photos of Nelly we remained below deck until the boat arrived in Glenridding. Nelly wasn’t too sure what to make of the boat, and her nervousness was released in the form of a few sprout smelling pumps.


Off the boat and the first mile is flat along the road to Patterdale before crossing Goldrill Beck towards Side Farm. We camped at Side Farm almost four years ago, made memorable for how cold it was. From here to Howtown the trail undulates, with some good running sections and some very tricky sections where we walked.

At Howtown, one of the stops for the steamer, we followed the signs for the Ullswater Way. However, we opted to take the lower footpath which went through someone’s front garden, and a very nice front garden it was too. A couple of fields later and the signs ended, so we tramped up a hill to an abandoned cottage, shared a bar of chocolate, and continued along the more obvious trail.


A bit further on and the trail split, with one route heading up Barton Fell and the other going along the lakeside. The top of Barton Fell was covered in mist so we picked the low route, which dumped us onto the road. Fortunately the road on this side of the lake has very little traffic and after a mile we were on the lakeside footpath heading through a campsite and back into Pooley Bridge.


We were surprised during our run by how many people were also out walking. I’m guessing that Howtown back to Glenridding is very popular. Just as we were almost at our car we met the couple from the steamer returning from Aira Force. They looked fresher than we did.

Our route was just over 18km (11.4 miles), and while we didn’t push it, all three of us were tired when we returned to the car.


At some point next year we’re looking at running the Ullswater Way from Pooley Bridge to Aira Force on the northern side of the lake, catching the steamer to Howtown and then running back to Pooley Bridge over Barton Fell. There is also an organised walk around the lake using the whole of the Ullswater Way each year, which is about marathon distance. Alternatively you could take the steamer and follow our route, which I will be honest was an absolutely brilliant day out.