The 2020 International Under 18 Mountain Running Cup is coming to England for the first time. This event has been an important stepping stone in the career of many young athletes, including Alistair Brownlee and Robbie Simpson, so it’s fantastic that next year’s event will take place in Ambleside in the Lake District.
Young athletes from 15 different countries will come to the Lakes on 20th June 2020, to take on a marked course which starts in Rothay Park and then heads up and around Loughrigg fell. For many of them it will be their first experience of international competition and it will provide valuable inspiration for their future running careers. Find out more about the event HERE.
In order to help stage the competition the organisers have announced a partnership between two iconic Lake District brands who will provide sponsorship. The Herdy Company, with its world-famous smiling sheep, and inov-8 will be the headline sponsors of the event.
Event director Duncan Richards, the England team manager, who has been negotiating to bring the event to the Lake District, said that the organisers were thrilled to be working with two of the most important and exciting brands in the region, after needing to raise £30,000 to stage the races.
“We have inov-8, who are the technical specialists who are synonymous with fell running, and Herdy is the welcoming face of a character that symbolises the Lakes,” said Duncan. “One enables runners to tackle all levels of fell terrain, while Herdy is inspired by the Lakes’ native Herdwick sheep who know the fells even better than the best runners!”
Spencer Hannah, co-director and founder of Herdy, said: “The fit couldn’t be better. Herdy was born in the Lakes 12 years ago and the Herdy face is all about spreading smiles and sharing happy moments. We’re here to welcome the runners, their families and all the visitors to this fantastic event and the spirit of Herdy is here to inspire friendship, shared adventure, the freedom of the Lakeland fells and communities coming together.”
Michael Price, COO of inov-8, said: “inov-8 was forged in the fells of the Lake District 16 years ago and we are supremely proud of our heritage. Loughrigg and the surrounding fells form part of our testing ground where we go to test the grip of our running shoes, so we know it well and will be out there in force to support the world’s best junior mountain runners when they come here next June.”
Their sponsorship is joining other local and national partners who are contributing to make the event happen. They include Epic Events, retailers Pete Bland Sports and Kong Adventure, the wealth management company Atkins Ferrie, and Love Ambleside, the local organisation that was founded to promote the town in the wake of Storm Desmond.
Other companies, including McClures of Windermere, and the Grasmere Brewing Company, are providing items for the athletes’ goody bags.
Alongside the international race, Ambleside will also host an exciting uphill time trial race to the summit of Wansfell on the Friday evening after the opening ceremony.
On the Saturday, (June 20) the FRA English Junior Championships will take place in the morning, followed by the international races, and then an open race for all runners over Loughrigg and Silver Howe the following day.
The youth event has been a stepping stone for under 18 fell and mountain runners to race internationally since 2006. Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee are among those who have started their international racing careers at this championship, and for the last 12 years teams from across the world have converged annually at mountain locations in Italy, France, Ireland, Bulgaria and Czech Republic to compete for the trophy.
Duncan, who has been the England team manager at the last six editions of the U18 Mountain Running Cup (formerly known as the Youth Cup), added: “I have seen the benefit such an experience can bring to young athletes, the confidence born from the shared experience of international competition.”
Watch this video to find out more about how the Under 18 Mountain Running Cup inspires runners:
Mountain running: the event where GB and Ireland lead the world.