Set to be a highlight of the first day of the festival, Friday 20 May, organisers of the weekend KESWICK MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL (KMF) have added a new sporting event to the programme for 2022. The Rab Skiddaw Vertical will challenge runners with almost 1000m of ascent in under 9km. Racing from the market square in Keswick to the summit of nearby Skiddaw, it will have a similar format to popular European vertical runs.
Sponsored by UK-based mountain and OUTDOOR BRAND RAB, the race is open to 200 participants in the first year. They will start in waves from the iconic Moot Hall from 4:00pm. On leaving the market square, runners will head into nearby Fitz Park. Then, out of Keswick and up to the top of Latrigg. From there, their next target will be the south-eastern flank of Skiddaw.
A steep climb to subsidiary peak Little Man follows before the final push to the finishing line on the main summit. At the finish, runners will have completed a distance of 8.8km, with 997m of climbing. After their race, runners will make their own way back down to Keswick.
With camera feeds at key locations along the route, the race will be streamed to a big screen in the market square. Flares will be set off on the summit to signal the arrival of the first runner with answering flares in the town centre.
The Rab Skiddaw Vertical is the latest addition to the opening afternoon of events at the 2022 Keswick Mountain Festival, joining the popular Town Trials in the centre of the town. They are followed by the first night of open-air entertainment in the Festival Village in Crow Park, headlined by Celtic-folk-punk band Ferocious Dog.
Founded in 2007, KMF is now one of the UK’s best-loved outdoor festivals. Each event attracts thousands of visitors to the iconic fells and lakes of Cumbria with its unique mix of live entertainment, sports races, outdoor adventures, high profile speakers, taster activities, exhibitor stands, KMF Accessibility Zone and camping for all of the family.
The heart of the event is the Festival Village in Crow Park, with the backdrop of Derwentwater and the Lake District fells. The packed schedule of sports and outdoor races and challenges includes 18 other running, cycling, swimming, multi-sport and hiking events over two days.
KMF director Nicola Meadley said, “The Rab Skiddaw Vertical is a mouth-watering prospect for Keswick Mountain Festival. In recent years, we’ve been able to bring a bigger taste of the festival into the centre of the town with the KMF Town Trials and this new race will add even more to that.
“Anyone who has witnessed vertical races in the Alps will already know what great atmospheres they can generate and we aim to introduce that to Keswick in May. It’s going to provide a really exciting start to this year’s festival and I hope that the runners have enough left in their legs to celebrate their achievements with a dance to the live music in the Festival Village later that evening!”
Daniela Giannini, Rab’s UK marketing manager, adds: “Having long supported the festival, we feel their values and those of the mountain people who attend it align with our own. With our new Skyline Skyrunning Collection launching for this spring, it felt like the perfect opportunity and ideal race to build our partnership further.”
The full programme is available on the KMF website and organisers are offering ‘early bird’ entry prices for anyone who books a place before the end of January. Follow @keswickfestival on Twitter and Instagram.
Main photo: Keswick and Skiddaw Credit – Keswick Tourism Association