Event Updates

Northern Traverse Acknowledgement

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By Shane Ohly, Event Director 

27th April 2022  

I am passionate about organising brilliant running events, and my measure for success is quite simple: what would I like to have experienced if I were taking part? This means that I set high standards for myself and the team I work with. Over many years, Ourea Events has built a hard-earned reputation for excellence. We have been able to do this because we have listened carefully to the feedback and comments of our participants, and have a culture of constantly evolving and improving our events.  

Part of our culture is an open and blame-free working environment, where we can acknowledge problems, learn and improve. Everyone in the Ourea Events team is safe in the knowledge that I’ll take responsibility for any error or omission made in good faith, especially in the heat of an event when we are tired and stressed. Ultimately responsibility stops with me, and this is one of the occasions when I need to recognise that certain elements of the Northern Traverse were under-resourced. That’s my responsibility, and the root cause for some poor feedback after the Northern Traverse.  

Typically, the feedback we get from participants at our events is excellent. However, after the Northern Traverse last month, there has been a trickle of negative feedback from a small number of participants (less than 5%). This feedback has a consistent theme, largely focused on sleeping and eating arrangements at the Support Points. All the feedback we get is read, considered and debated by the Ourea Events team, and it is clear to us that this negative feedback is valid and warrants action on our part.   

What happened? 

There were occasions during the event that Support Points became extremely busy, and we struggled to provide the full range of catering options, and/or the provision we made for participants to sleep became overwhelmed by the demand. Additionally, we were only able to offer the participants towards the back of the field a reduced catering service. It is also clear that, as Support Points reached their peak periods of activity, they were simply not sufficiently resourced to provide the full range of services to everyone all the time.  

Whilst I recognise that our meat and fish free menu is not to everyone’s liking, and this does cause a bit of friction with a small number of participants, the issue here is not about sustainability, it’s simply about ensuring that there is sufficient food on the table of the type and variety that we have promised.  

For any participants who were affected by these issues, please accept my sincere apology.

It is painful to read negative feedback from participants who have had a poor experience when your overriding goal is to deliver excellence. I would like anyone reading this to be 100% confident that I will treat this as an opportunity to improve. I see the negative feedback as absolute gold in terms of how the business grows and evolves the event, so these issues are not repeated, and the event is improved for the next edition. In fact, I’d like to thank the participants who have taken the time to clearly describe to us their experiences at the event. 

Why this happened? 

I am not writing this section to excuse what happened, but rather to provide the context and also give confidence to our participants that we have identified the issues, so they can be resolved for the next edition of the Northern Traverse.  

There was a very short period of time between taking on the organisation of the event (November 2021) and delivering our first edition 3 months later. To provide some context, the build-up to the first edition of the Cape Wrath Ultra® was 2 years. During this 3-month period, we solved some of the known issues from previous editions, such as the lack of park and ride, but created some new problems, like the extended time period between the arrival of the park and ride bus, registration and the start. Our previous Catering Manager resigned with zero notice for personal reasons at the beginning of February, which really complicated our preparation for this event.  

Both the Northern Traverse and Lakes Traverse grew considerably between the last edition in 2018, and our edition in 2022. The large increase in participants would clearly create new challenges, and we planned for this. What caught us by surprise was the change in behaviour from previous editions. At the 2016 and 2018 editions, the self-sufficient ethos underlying the event resulted in a far greater number of runners using the Support Points as pit stops: breaking for shorter periods of time, eating a meal or two, and then carrying on. This year, a larger number of participants were treating the event more like an expedition stage race, stopping for 5-8 hours, and eating 3-4 meals. The compound effect, especially with the larger numbers, impacted the provision of sleeping arrangements plus the quantity and quality of food we were able to provide. You can probably imagine that the experience for the runners got worse the further back in the field they were.   

As I hinted at above, at the heart of this is a resourcing problem. Nothing beats the experience of delivering the event for the first time, and I know we can resolve the issues that have been identified.  

Runners’ Covenant 

Some of our participants will be familiar with the Armed Forces Covenant. Essentially, this states that the nation will treat fairly and with respect service personnel and their families. Reflecting on this feedback, it is clear to me that we have a similar obligation to the participants in our races. We expect our participants to universally abide by the rules, format and ethos of our events, regardless of whether they are first or last. The quid pro quo is that our participants should expect that their race experience and the services offered by Ourea Events should be universal, regardless of whether they are first or last. That’s my covenant to our participants.  

The Northern Traverse 2023 

There is a tonne of other feedback (mostly excellent I might add!) we have received about this event, and I am confident that as we share our vision for the next edition, many runners will notice how their comments are now shaping the event. I would like to emphasise though, that if you don’t share your experiences and feedback with us, we do not have the opportunity to react, so please do not be shy about getting in touch, especially in the next few weeks as we shape the 2023 edition. 

Northern Traverse Acknowledgement© No Limits Photography


2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s report

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by Shane Ohly, Event Director

Please note: if you would like to get a fully rounded perspective to the SILVA Northern Traverse, you’ll also need to read the SILVA Lakes Traverse Event Director’s Report.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportParticipants race off from the start line in St Bees © No Limits Photography

 

My recce of the SILVA Northern Traverse

For the Lake District portion of my recce, look at the SILVA Lakes Traverse Event Director’s Report.

Once we had finalised the deal to organise the 2022 edition of the Northern Traverse, the very first thing I did the following week was walk the route between Shap and Robin Hood’s Bay with my wife Heather. We didn’t have sufficient free time to complete the whole route, so settled on doing the Shap through to Robin Hood’s Bay section, as I already knew the Lake District section well.

The coldest temperature in the UK (-10°C) was recorded in Shap that morning as we set off across a very snowy and wintry landscape!

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s report

The first recce in the snow, November 2021

 

We took a much more leisurely approach than participants in the Northern Traverse, opting to stay in accommodation each night and get a meal in a local pub. It was a really wonderful week of walking and exploring sections of Yorkshire that were unfamiliar to us.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportNine Standards Rigg is beautiful in the daylight © No Limits Photography

 

Observations during the event

Now let’s fast forward over the next 3 months, when the Ourea Events team and I excitedly prepared for our first Northern Traverse race. The handover from James and his team at Open Adventure was faultless, but nothing beats the experience of organising the event for yourself. We have all been acutely aware of some uncertainties in our own planning, and conscious of the unknowns lying ahead of us.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportThe mines of the Yorkshires Dales are a dramatic backdrop for a race © No Limits Photography

 

The importance of mandatory kit

After a fantastic start to the event in the Lake District, with relatively stable weather, the weather turned wild as the Northern Traverse runners ventured further east on Sunday evening. For the runners caught on the high ground of Nine Standards Rigg, they experienced rough conditions with poor visibility, strong buffeting winds, that made progress arduous, and rain showers. Many participants were extremely cold when they arrived at Support Points, and the event staff and media deployed on the course witnessed this first-hand.

From a race management point of view, this was all within acceptable limits, but it does emphasise the importance of the participants being properly equipped. It shows how important our mandatory kit list is, and participants should understand that the mandatory kit list is the absolute minimum recommended clothing and equipment – with weather conditions as unstable as they are this time of year, extra clothing and equipment is often advisable.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportGreat to see participants smiling even in the tough conditions © No Limits Photography

 

The wind posed some challenges

The strong winds throughout the event were also a continuous challenge for us as the organisers. One extreme gust blew a blue tent away at the Richmond Support Point and it ended up wrapped around a neighbouring house. Fortunately, there was no damage or injuries, but it does highlight the risk wind poses to a temporary event campsite.  It is only the second time in a decade of organising events, that any item has taken off, and this will prompt another review of our own internal process and procedures.

As you all know, the Lion Inn Support Point is located at an extremely exposed position on Blakey Ridge, and we planned accordingly pre-event. However, on Tuesday afternoon, the deteriorating weather forecast prompted us to enact our contingency plan to take down the majority of the temporary structures and move all the sleeping, catering and administration into a corral of Enterprise Hire vans. This was far from ideal for both participants and the event crew and we will be reviewing the viability of the Lion Inn Support Point for future editions.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportThe weather was wild in the North York Moors © No Limits Photography

 

Sleeping and catering

This leads me to one of the clear observations I have made during the event, and that is to review the provision of sleeping throughout the event. This includes how, where and when participants sleep at support points. The same goes for making sure the event team have good sleeping provisions. Certainly, we hope to improve the experience for everyone who does choose to sleep at the support points.

Providing the full range of catering options at the Lion Inn become impossible as the Support Point shrunk into the vans. I am also aware of other occasions when the full menu wasn’t available to everyone. Despite the GPS Tracking, it is very challenging to predict the numbers and timing of the runners arriving at each Support Point. Preparing the right quantity of food at the right time, and working within the rota of event staff is tricky on an event like this. There are some learning points for us, and we know how to improve here next year.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportOur wonderful event team building tents in Kirkby Stephen © No Limits Photography

 

Traverse Mail

There were almost 2000 Traverse Mail messages sent to participants during the race. It was great to see people receiving these encouraging messages from friends and family, and they definitely gave our runners the courage and motivation they needed to push on.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportNearing the finish in Robin Hood’s Bay © No Limits Photography

 

Event team

As always, I am hugely grateful to the event team. The full list of people I would like to thank is here, but it goes without saying, that without the hard work and commitment of these wonderful people, running an event like this would not be possible. There were some tough conditions at some of the support points, but the team did an amazing job, working day and night to support our runners, and I am hugely appreciative.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportOur awesome event team at the Lion Inn © No Limits Photography

 

My highlights from the SILVA Northern Traverse

Between the shifts working in race control, I’ve chatted with many participants. First at St Bees, later at Shap and then in Robin Hood’s Bay – both at the seaside finish line and the event centre at Fylingdales Village Hall. It is absolutely clear to me that runners have had an extraordinary adventure whilst overloading on type II fun. Perfect… that is just the kind of event I like to organise! Some of the blog posts on this event really highlight some of the incredible stories coming out of this event.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportPicking up pebbles in St Bees to take to Robin Hood’s Bay © No Limits Photography

There’s been such a high calibre of running this year with records not only being broken, but being smashed by some quite considerable margins. It was brilliant following Kim on his run across the country, even if it did keep the event team on their toes trying to stay head of him. Welcoming him into Robin Hood’s Bay early in the morning on Monday was a magical moment. Seeing Lisa Watson’s incredible run was also a definite highlight. Watching her sprinting to the finish having maintained her impressive lead will be a memorable moment for all of us who witnessed it.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportLisa Watson had an impressive run © No Limits Photography

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportKim Collison at the end of his tremendous run © No Limits Photography

Seeing final finisher, Nicholas Powell, arrive in Robin Hood’s Bay and throw his pebble that he’d brought all the way from St Bees was no less of a special moment. Whether you’re back of the pack or first finisher, it’s no less of an achievement, and it was truly inspiring to see the determination and resilience on display.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportFinal finisher, Nicholas Powell, makes it into the finish © No Limits Photography

However, for me, the real highlight of these kind of events is the camaraderie that develops amongst the participants. Seeing runners help each other through the highs and the lows, seeing lifelong friendships develop… these are the things that really make events like these special, and it’s a real privilege to have been a part of this.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportIt’s been a joy to see people forging such strong connections © No Limits Photography

 

A final note

Our Mission Statement as a business is to, “To create world-class events that inspire participants to take on challenging and life-affirming adventures”. The SILVA Northern Traverse certainly lives up to these lofty aspirations and the satisfied smiles, sense of achievement and weary looks of contentment from our 2022 participants is testament to this.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportWe look forward to another coast to coast adventure next year © No Limits Photography

 

Results

The results for the SILVA Northern Traverse are now live here.

 

Event coverage

You can view some of our event photos here and here. In time, we will also add a gallery to the website with all the event photos, so keep an eye out for that.

Our awesome film team are just putting the finishing touches on an excellent video of the event – you can look forward to this being added here and shared on social media soon.

You can also find us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram if you’d like to catch up with everything that was posted during the event. There were also blog posts covering the event which you can find under the updates tab on our website here.

 

Feedback

We would really love to hear your feedback on this event. If you have any comments you’d like to make, we would really encourage you to use the form here. If there’s anything specific you’d like to tell us about, or if there’s anything you think we can do better, please do email us at hello@northerntraverse.com. We’ve already made pages of notes after our first time organising this event, and we will keenly look through every single last word of feedback we receive from you.

 

Keen to come back next year?

Don’t forget, entries are already open for the 2023 SILVA Lakes Traverse and SILVA Northern Traverse – taking place Saturday 1st April to Wednesday 5th April 2023.

Maybe you have unfinished business or a friend you’d like to recommend or share the experience with? Either way, you can sign up for next year here.

 

What’s next?

Looking for some future inspiration? Take a look at some more events from Ourea Events below:

 

2023 SILVA Great Lakeland 3Day™ – ENTRIES OPENING SOON!

A relaxed and friendly 3-day mountain journey around the beautiful fells of the Lake District. 4 courses will be on offer from Cafe to Expert so something suitable for every level and experience.

2023 entries will open on Monday 2nd May 2022.

Subscribe to be notified when entries open.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportJoin us for a 3 day jaunt across the Lakes © No Limits Photography

2022 Cape Wrath Ultra® – LAST FEW PLACES

Interested in the ultimate multi-day racing experience? Come and join us for 8 amazing days of running through the stunning Scottish Highlands on the epic Cape Wrath Ultra®. This is our expedition race that starts in Fort William and winds its way through some iconic Scottish landscapes to finish at the Cape Wrath lighthouse, the most north-westerly tip of the British Isles.

There are still a few places left for the May 2022 event, taking place on 22nd – 29th May. FIND OUT MORE

Entries are also opening for 2023 on 5th May 2022.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportTake on an epic journey through the Scottish highlands © No Limits Photography

 

2022 Montane Dragon’s Back Race® – LAST FEW PLACES

Looking for a once in a lifetime adventure? Join us for six epic days of mountain running through stunning Wales! The 2022 Montane Dragon’s Back Race®, taking place on 5th – 10th September 2022, starts from Conwy Castle and over six incredible days runs the length of Wales linking many of the country’s iconic mountain summits, to finish in Cardiff Castle on the South coast of Wales. FIND OUT MORE

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportAre you ready to tackle the Dragon? © No Limits Photography

 

2022 Salomon Skyline Scotland® – ENTRIES OPEN

The UK’s biggest weekend of trail running and skyrunning – taking place 17th-18th September 2022.

If you’re looking for a skyrunning challenge, why not try the 52km Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra? Or for something a bit longer, why not enter the Lochaber 80? Brand new for 2022!

Entries are open now.

2022 SILVA Northern Traverse – Event Director’s reportThe sky’s the limit at Salomon Skyline Scotland © No Limits Photography


2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse – Event Director’s Report

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by Shane Ohly, Event Director

 

Introduction

In November 2021, we agreed to take on the organisation of the Northern Traverse and Lakes Traverse from James Thurlow and his team from Open Adventure. The success of the event this year is due, in large part, to standing on the shoulders of giants, and I would like to express my sincere thanks to James for his original vision to create this wonderful, logical and challenging event.

This report will focus on the SILVA Lakes Traverse. The SILVA Northern Traverse Event Director’s Report will be shared in the next few days. You’ll need to read both to get a full and rounded view of the entire event week.

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportRunners enjoying the sights of wild Ennerdale © No Limits Photography

My recce of the route

In December, I walked the Lakes Traverse route over two and half days. It was a self-supported, wild camping mini adventure and I loved it! Camping in the high fells each night, feeling the raw wintery weather and reflecting on the journey through the mountains away from the hustle of ordinary work and life commitments… Although I will admit to stopping in the Travellers Rest for chips and coffee! I already knew the route well from decades of running and walking in the Lake District, but there is always value in walking a race route afresh whilst holding in your mind the experience you anticipate the runners will have while participating in your event.

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportThe sun was shining in the Lake District on Saturday © No Limits Photography

Behind the scenes

Since November, the team at Ourea Events have been working extremely hard to incorporate the Lakes Traverse into our portfolio of events. This has involved everyone in the business, from marketing and course planning to operations and customer service. I can confidently say the entire team has really got behind understanding and energising the event ready for April 2022.

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportThe start line was buzzing in St Bees © No Limits Photography

Welcome to SILVA

We were fortunate to have an existing relationship with SILVA who are the title sponsor of our sister event, the Great Lakeland 3Day™, held in the Lake District since 1998. When we shared the news of our acquisition of the Northern Traverse and Lakes Traverse with Tim Young from SILVA, he immediately jumped at the idea of also sponsoring our new event. Very quickly, we went from excited talk and shared vision to updating branding to relaunching with SILVA proudly taking centre stage as our title sponsor. SILVA have made a serious and long-term commitment to supporting the event and we are delighted to be working with them.

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportTim from SILVA enjoying some scrambling near Ennerdale Water © No Limits Photography

My highlights

Undoubtedly, the brilliant atmosphere at the start line was a real highlight. We were really lucky with the weather – it’s always nice when the sun is shining at the start, and the cliffs of St Bees looked fantastic in the sunlight. There was a real sense of excitement, as St Bees was buzzing with runners chatting and looking forward to their journey. Watching the line of runners climbing up and eventually disappearing along the coastline of St Bees is definitely a sight to be remembered!

It was great to see the event come alive and follow all the runners making progress across the course, tackling the steep climbs in the fells. It was also a pleasure watching the event team springing into action to help the runners. Many of them have helped or participated in these events before so it’s great to see old and new faces being so dedicated to make this such a good experience for our participants.

For sure, watching Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn confidently move through the field is a personal highlight for me. Catching the race leader, Daniel Weller, at Shap Abbey, just a few kms before the finish, was amazing, but Daniel wasn’t finished and in a final spurt managed to finish a minute ahead of Katie. What fantastic racing.

It was an experience to see runners coming into the finish throughout the night in Shap. People looked exhausted – you could tell they had really been pushing themselves, but they also had a smile on their face. It was rewarding to see the satisfaction on people’s faces when they realised what they had achieved.

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s Report 2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportThe winners being presented with their trophies © No Limits Photography

Thanks to the Event Team

Of course, this event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our awesome event team. So much work goes on behind the scenes to put on an event like this, and our event team worked tirelessly at support points and in between, sometimes in really challenging conditions. Most of these people went onto support our Northern Traverse runners for the rest of the week as well! Thank you so much for your dedication and hard work.


2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportOur event team have worked tirelessly to deliver such a brilliant event © No Limits Photography

Team 1 – St Bees/Shap

  • Ian Cowie
  • Glen Davies
  • Colin Harding
  • Jacob Holder
  • Peter Huzan
  • Susan Nash

Team 2 – St Bees

  • Julie Gardner
  • Fiona Murphy
  • Liane Shaw
  • Ed Walker

Team 3 – Rosthwaite

  • Duncan Anderson
  • Robert Campbell
  • Ramsay Mackay
  • Alexander Major
  • Jennifer O’Neill

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportFeeling refreshed after a visit to the Rosthwaite support point © No Limits Photography

Team 4 – Glenridding/Lion Inn

  • Alan Konopka
  • Richard Lawrence
  • Michael Letheren
  • Daren Piper
  • Jo Shelmerdine

Team 5 – Shap/Robin Hood’s Bay

  • Emma Hadley
  • Paul Hadley
  • Fred Newton
  • Janet Richards

Bag Drop Vans

  • Roddie Grant
  • Derek Allison
  • Lawrence Jones
  • Guy Redmond

Medical Team

  • Anna Curragh
  • John Hayes
  • Anna Maciejkowicz
  • Larissa Robson
  • Charlotte Hattersley

Response Team

  • Katie Cole
  • Dave Howarth
  • Natalya Kennedy
  • Stuart Smith

Race Control

  • Abbi Forsyth
  • Matthew Gemmell

Catering

  • Tim Glasby
  • Hilary Malyon

Media Team

  • Stephen Ashworth
  • Ross Brackley
  • Harriet D’Alessio
  • Jimmy Hyland
  • Christiaan Le Roux

Logistic support

  • Joe Faulkner

Office Team

  • Eleanor Claringbold
  • Neil Davies
  • Sue Dowker
  • Jen Edson
  • Graham Gristwood
  • Tom Hecht
  • Lisa Knipe
  • Greg Mickleborough
  • Janie Oates
  • Lucy Scrase
  • Charlie Williamson

Stakeholder Thanks

The SILVA Lakes Traverse would not be possible without the consent and support of various landowners and stakeholders along the route. I would like to extend a sincere thanks on behalf of all the participants to these organisations and individuals. In particular, I would like to thank the National Trust, Lowther Estate and Natural England.

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportAn enjoyably runnable descent to Honister © No Limits Photography

Results

The results for the SILVA Lakes Traverse are now live here.

Event coverage

You can view our event gallery photos here. In time, we will also add a gallery to the website with all the event photos, so keep an eye out for that.

Our awesome film team have put together an excellent video of the event if you would like to relive your experience. You can already watch it on Youtube.

You can also find us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram if you’d like to catch up with everything that was posted during the event. There were also blog posts covering the event which you can find under the updates tab on our website here.

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportIt was a long way from sunny St Bees to Shap © No Limits Photography

Feedback

We would really love to hear your feedback on this event. If you have any comments you’d like to make, we would really encourage you to use the form here. If there’s anything specific you’d like to tell us about, or if there’s anything you think we can do better, please do email us at hello@northerntraverse.com

As it’s the first time we’ve run this event, feedback is really important to us.

Keen to come back next year?

Don’t forget, entries are already open for the 2023 SILVA Lakes Traverse and SILVA Northern Traverse – taking place Saturday 1st April to Wednesday 5th April 2023.

Maybe you would like to improve your time on the SILVA Lakes Traverse? or you fancy tackling the longer distance of the SILVA Northern Traverse?

You can sign up for next year here

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportIt’s been an amazing journey © No Limits Photography

What’s next?

Looking for some future inspiration? Take a look at some more events from Ourea Events below:

2023 SILVA Great Lakeland 3Day™ – ENTRIES OPENING SOON!

A relaxed and friendly 3-day mountain journey around the beautiful fells of the Lake District. 4 courses will be on offer from Cafe to Expert so something suitable for every level and experience.

2023 Entries will open on Monday 2nd May 2022.

Subscribe to be notified when entries open.

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportJoin us for a 3 day jaunt across the Lakes © No Limits Photography

2022 Cape Wrath Ultra® – LAST FEW PLACES

Interested in a multi-day racing experience? Well come and join us for 8 amazing days of running through the stunning Scottish Highlands on the epic Cape Wrath Ultra®. This is our expedition race that starts in Fort William and winds its way through some iconic Scottish landscapes to finish at the Cape Wrath lighthouse, the most north-westerly tip of the British Isles.

There are still a few places left for the May 2022 event, taking place on 22nd – 29th May. FIND OUT MORE

Entries are also opening for 2023 on 5th May 2022.

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportTake on an epic journey through the Scottish highlands © No Limits Photography

2022 Montane Dragon’s Back Race® – LAST FEW PLACES

Looking for a once in a lifetime adventure? Join us for six epic days of mountain running through stunning Wales! The 2022 Montane Dragon’s Back Race®, taking place on 5th – 10th September 2022, starts from Conwy Castle and over six incredible days runs the length of Wales linking many of the country’s iconic mountain summits, to finish in Cardiff Castle on the South coast of Wales. FIND OUT MORE

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportAre you ready to tackle the Dragon? © No Limits Photography

2022 Salomon Skyline Scotland® – ENTRIES OPEN

The UK’s biggest weekend of trail running and skyrunning – taking place 17th-18th September 2022.

If you’re looking for a skyrunning challenge, why not try the 52km Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra? Or for something a bit longer, why not enter the Lochaber 80? Brand new for 2022!

Entries are open now.

2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse   Event Director’s ReportThe sky’s the limit at Salomon Skyline Scotland © No Limits Photography


And that’s a wrap: amazing displays of endurance as last finishers cross the line at SILVA Northern Traverse

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It’s been an incredible final day of running, as the last finishers have made it to Robin Hood’s Bay well ahead of the cut-off time. The standard of running has been superb, with both the men’s and women’s records being broken by a huge margin, and all 104 finishers making it in well within the final cut-off.

It hasn’t been easy though – participants had to battle through horrible bogs, energy-sapping climbs and wild weather to make it across the country. As expected for a challenge of this calibre, there were some retirees, but the resilience and determination on display has been phenomenal to watch.

Fortunately, despite the challenges an event like this presents, the overwhelming feeling has been one of enjoyment and camaraderie.

Kasia Lubowiecka, 88th overall, highlighted this after her strong run into the finish. “I was just so happy because I never really knew if I’m going to make it.”

Her highlights were the people: “There were so many kind people on the way. Finding new friends. Having my friend here along the way, supporting, giving hugs.” Kasia had been met by her friend, Emma, on the route 40 times, which gave her the courage she needed to keep going.

Kasia had such a good time that she is going to participant in the Montane Dragon’s Back Race this September.

And that’s a wrap: amazing displays of endurance as last finishers cross the line at SILVA Northern TraverseJoyful scenes for Kasia at the finish line © No Limits Photography

Nicholas Powell was our final finisher

After a superb effort across the fells, dales and moors, Nicholas Powell crossed the finish line in Robin Hood’s Bay at 9:21pm on Wednesday evening, with a time of 106 hours and 51 minutes. Still comfortably under the cut-off time of 01:30am Thursday morning, Nicholas has had an excellent run.

Nicholas had a huge smile on his face as he came down the steep slope of Robin Hood’s Bay to great cheers and applause. He had a really strong finish, running down to the shore. “I don’t know why I could run,” he said, “I haven’t been able to do that!”

“I’m sure you can do anything when you put your mind to it,” Nicholas reflected, something which he has certainly proved with his adventure across the whole country.

Nicholas seemed in good spirits and had enough energy to wave at the live webcam for all of his supporters who had been watching his dot move closer and closer to the finish. He also followed in Wainwright’s tradition, as he threw a pebble into the Irish Sea that he’d carried with him all the way from St Bees.

And that’s a wrap: amazing displays of endurance as last finishers cross the line at SILVA Northern TraverseA brilliant display of resilience and endurance © No Limits Photography

‘We’ve definitely had an adventure’

Nicholas was also met at the finish by the second to last person over the line, Darren Duery. The pair had spent a large portion of the course together. “We’ve definitely had an adventure!” Darren said.

Darren had also had an eventful run into the finish. “I’ve just dropped my phone so I couldn’t find the race finish.” He had planned to trek back up the hill afterwards to try to find it. However, not before celebrating with a very well-deserved can of Thatchers.

Nicholas and Darren have managed an achievement that many could only dream of, having crossed 300km of rough terrain through day and night. Watching every finisher make it to the end has been awe-inspiring.

And that’s a wrap: amazing displays of endurance as last finishers cross the line at SILVA Northern TraverseThe event team were delighted to see Nicholas run in with such strong form © No Limits Photography

The results are now up

The race results are now live and you can view them here.

It’s been a memorable race, with a superhuman effort from all our participants. There have been so many stories and so many adventures runners will surely treasure for the rest of their lives.

If reading these amazing stories has you yearning for an adventure of your own, entries are now open for next year’s SILVA Northern Traverse and SILVA Lakes Traverse.

And that’s a wrap: amazing displays of endurance as last finishers cross the line at SILVA Northern Traverse

An incredible achievement for all our finishers © No Limits Photography


Three time’s a charm for those returning to the SILVA Northern Traverse

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The 2022 edition of the SILVA Northern Traverse, a challenging continuous race that follows Wainwright’s famous Coast to Coast route, is the third edition of this event. This year, several dedicated ultra-runners have come back to run it for the third time, having now participated in every single race since its inception.

Eoin Keith, who won both the 2016 race and the 2018 race, returned to defend his title this year. Although he was beaten by Kim Collison’s record-breaking run, he still did a brilliant time of 54 hours 45 minutes, coming in 9th overall.

Three time’s a charm for those returning to the SILVA Northern Traverse

Eoin Keith flying through the Lake District section of the route © No Limits Photography

Mark Lattanzi flew all the way from the US to compete third time in a row

Mark Lattanzi enjoyed the race so much that he has come all the way from Virginia to race three times. This was his quickest time yet, as he arrived in Robin Hood’s Bay after 64 hours 50 minutes, coming in 18th.

“I was quicker this time,” he said, “surprisingly, because I’m more beat up and less trained. I got lost, of course. You’d think I’d know, but it all looks the same.”

He had some funny stories to tell from his previous experience.

“Last time I met Jen Scotney. We were running together, and it was in the morning. I passed her in some little town before Richmond, and there was a lady sitting with three tables. It looked like a little café. A woman came out right as I came by and she was carrying a cup of orange juice and I said, ‘oh, are you serving breakfast? Can I get an egg sandwich and a cup of juice too, please?’ She sort of looked at me and said, ‘sure.’” The lady came back out with some food and Mark sat down to have his sandwich and drink.

“About 5 minutes later Jen comes by and says, what are you doing?’” he continued. It turned out he had sat down, not at a café, but at someone’s house. “(Jen) said, only your American accent would have gotten you that breakfast.”

Unfortunately, this year Mark didn’t manage to wangle any free breakfasts, much to the disappointment of Jackie Stretton, Sophie Littlefair and Karen Nash, some of the other participants Mark spent a good portion of the race with this year.

Matt Neale was another runner who returned for more

We caught up with third time finisher, Matt Neale, in Richmond. He remembered fondly the half-mile sprint from previous events, when participants were encouraged to sprint back up the hill following their gruelling 300km experience. “What was funny was that people who finished at the back of the field did a good time, but Eoin Keith, he got something like nine hours 28, because his B&B was halfway up the hill, so he went to his B&B and the next morning walked up to the village hall.”

However, most finishers in Robin Hood’s Bay were thoroughly relieved to not be sprinting back up the hill this year, with many choosing to linger a while eating ice cream or drinking beer before attempting the punishing hill climb on already-sore legs.

Matt particularly enjoys the continuous race format of the event. “It’s not just about the running then – it’s looking after yourself as well. I do much better on those events really.”

Matt finished the course this year in 60 hours, 54 minutes, coming in 15th place. He barely seemed tired at the event centre in Robin Hood’s Bay, and stayed around a while to chat to his fellow runners and share experiences.

Three time’s a charm for those returning to the SILVA Northern Traverse

Matt Neale making his way through the Lake District on his 3rd Northern Traverse © No Limits Photography

Karl Shields was competing for a third time and for the second time with his wife

Karl Shields was also running the SILVA Northern Traverse for the third time, and this was his second time running it with his wife, Harriet Shields. We spoke to them on the start line.

Harriet Shields said: “We’ve done it together before and had a good time, so we’d like a repeat of that. We do it very slowly, very steadily, take all the time, and eat all the cream teas.”

When asked about his highlights from previous years, Karl said: “The Lakes are always good. Everyone will have a different perspective of some things, because if you arrive at Nine Standards in the dark, there’s not much to see, but if you arrive there at dawn, it’s magical.”

“I’ve done (the route) on previous races,” he continued, “and I’ve had so many different experiences in exactly the same bit, freezing hot, freezing cold, snow, sunshine.”

“We’ve done a few of these and we sort of know what we’re doing,” he said. “We did the Spine Race in January and we’ve survived that because Harriet dragged me round.”

Mark Lattanzi and Jackie Stretton had also encountered the intrepid pair en route, who had been travelling to each support point, then stopping for several hours to go out to dinner and enjoy themselves. “They called it the fun bus,” Jackie said jokingly.

When our media team caught up with them, they were enjoying a hearty meal in the Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge before pushing to the finish.

It’s been great to see so many people coming back for more, and especially seeing so many people enjoying their third time round just as much as their first. Now the question remains to be seen if they fancy coming back for a fourth…

Read more tales of adventure from day 4 here

Three time’s a charm for those returning to the SILVA Northern Traverse

Karl and Harriet enjoying dinner at the Lion Inn © No Limits Photography


Lifelong friendships and tales of adventure on day four of the SILVA Northern Traverse

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Although the first finishers are now in, there are still many runners out on the course. Today and yesterday, runners will have been crossing the North York Moors, a hugely varied section, involving woodland, bogs, well-maintained trails and a fun scramble up the Wainstones. From here, participants travelling in daylight will get good views of the Matterhorn of the North East, Roseberry Topping, and will catch their first glimpse of the North Sea, their final destination.

Lifelong friendships and tales of adventure on day four of the SILVA Northern TraverseThe Wainstones by night are a dramatic setting © No Limits Photography

It was wild and windy at the Lion Inn checkpoint

High up on an exposed ridge in the North York Moors, the Lion Inn is one of the most remote pubs in the UK. It is also the final support point on the SILVA Northern Traverse where runners can get some sleep and food before Robin Hood’s Bay. When we arrived, the support point tent was shaking in the brutal winds. It had been even more wild overnight, with many runners choosing not to stop due to the poor weather.

Robin Kinsbergen, Joop Werson and Arjan Breugem were running the SILVA Northern Traverse together, having travelled from the Netherlands to compete. We ran through the moors to catch up with them as they came into the support point.

Robin Kinsbergen looked tired but seemed strong as he pressed onto the support point. “My feet are sore. It took so long – we were expecting 80 hours, but now I’m here and it’s one stop to go until the finish. It was tough last night.”

Joop Werson was having a good time, but was looking forward to seeing a medic and getting some rest. “My feet are trashed,” he said.

The trio eventually made in into Robin Hood’s Bay in just over 89 hours.

Lifelong friendships and tales of adventure on day four of the SILVA Northern Traverse

Robin Kinsbergen, Joop Werson and Arjan Breugem at the Llion Inn support point © No Limits Photography

Lifelong friendships and tales of adventure on day four of the SILVA Northern Traverse
The weather was tough on this section © No Limits Photography

There were some truly inspiring stories

Craig Jones was just heading out on the final section of his journey when we caught up with him leaving the Lion Inn. He has an incredible story behind his run.

“I’m running it to raise money for a foundation, Thumbs up for Charlie – Charlie Robinson, who died on the 7th April last year of a brain tumour aged 5. I’m raising money for a foundation set up in his name.”

Craig is running with a teddy bear fastened to the back of his rucksack. “This was his favourite teddy bear, who has travelled from one side of the country to the other.”

When asked how he was finding it, he said “Brutal. Endless. But it will end. I’m learning lots about myself.”

He had also made friends on the route and was heading out with Heidi Lewis. “I met her at Ennerdale Water and I’d never met her before, and we’ve done the whole thing together.”

Craig had an excellent run, making it into Robin Hood’s Bay in 84 hours 23 minutes. It was so humbling to see someone push themselves to the extreme in aid of such an amazing cause. The Thumbs Up for Charlie foundation page is here if you would like to learn more about the cause.

‘It’s how you meet the people that mean the most to you’

Over 300km, the field is very spread out. It’s not uncommon for there to be several hours between one person finishing and the person behind them. However, the event centre was still buzzing with chatter, as many runners chose to stay around, keen to swap stories from their incredible adventure.

We caught up with Jackie Stretton, 4th woman into the finish at Robin Hood’s Bay. Last time we had seen Jackie, she was in Richmond as she lay on the floor with her feet up on a chair, trying to alleviate some of the soreness. Early on in the run, Jackie had teamed up with fellow runner, Sophie Littlefair, and the pair had stuck together right to the end.

“We met each other about 15k in and she was better on the downs and I was better on the ups. We kept each other going. To stick with someone like that, when you’ve never met them before… we’re going to be friends for life. It’s how you meet the people that mean the most to you. She got me through something incredible there.”

The finish line was an emotional moment for the pair. “It was so steep downhill and I was saying to her, ‘I’m not going to cry Sophie.'” Then, the pair saw Sophie’s parents waiting for her at the finish. “They live in Australia and they arrived yesterday, and (Sophie) hasn’t seen them for four years. They were at the finish line and I was crying.”

Jackie and Sophie had some memorable experiences together.

“I don’t really know what was going on for the last 15 to 20k of that race.” Jackie said. “At one point, we were talking about what looked like a cruiseliner in the middle of that boggy field!”

“I was so grateful to have Sophie there because we were both awake and we were both not with it.”

One of the best things about these endurance challenges is seeing how they bring people together as they support each other through highs and lows.

Lifelong friendships and tales of adventure on day four of the SILVA Northern Traverse

Jackie Stretton having fun on the trails of the Lake District © No Limits Photography

Lifelong friendships and tales of adventure on day four of the SILVA Northern TraverseRunning by night is easier with friends © No Limits Photography

Tea Parties at Lordstones

When asked about her highlights, Jackie didn’t hesitate. “The tea party at Lordstones.”

Along the route, the race organisers paid for runners to have a free drink at some cafés, one of these being Lordstones in the North York Moors.

“I thought we were going to get just a takeaway cup of tea, but no, they came out with these proper tea pots, and we said, ‘I’m very sorry for being so dirty, but this is the best tea in the world,’” Jackie laughed.

Jackie also had an interesting motivation for getting her around the course.

“A week ago, I was going to DNS this race. I wasn’t in the right mental state to do it and you have to want to finish. But strangely enough, my hoodie got me to the end.”

Jackie had initially planned to take her hoodie with her, but had failed the weigh-in, so gave it back to collect at the end. “It’s funny how something as silly as that gets you round. It’s a really nice hoodie and I won’t wear it if I don’t finish, and I’m damned well not coming back a second time for it.”

Lifelong friendships and tales of adventure on day four of the SILVA Northern TraverseThe North York Moors are wild but beautiful © No Limits Photography

Keira-Louise Baxter had an excellent run

Keira-Louise Baxter is one runner we’d encountered at various support points on the route. She finished her run in an impressive 75 hours and 48 minutes.

When we spoke to her way back on the start line, she said: “I think when it’s a longer sort of distance like this I feel less nervous about it, because there’s none of that pressure on sprinting off at the start line. It’s really about enjoying the scenery and taking in the surroundings.”

We’d last seen her in Richmond, looking like she was raring to go having had a short sleep, so it was good to see that she’d crossed the finish line.

After moving more slowly through Littlebeck, she picked up the pace a lot after seeing the encouraging messages left for her on Traverse Mail.

Lifelong friendships and tales of adventure on day four of the SILVA Northern TraverseKeira hiking near the Wainstones by night © No Limits Photography

Married couple, Andy and Sarah Norman, did the whole race together

Andy and Sarah Norman were one of two married couples taking part in this run. They finished the run together in 78 hours 45 minutes.

“Andy pulls me along,” Sarah told race organiser, Shane Ohly. “We’re so lucky that we run together. If one of us is having low points, the other keeps the other one going.”

“We prepared quite well,” Andy said. “We had a sketch plan that was very adaptable and wasn’t set in stone. And we did communicate well together. We actually went by without any drama. We got a bit mixed up on Nine Standards Rigg in the wind and the rain. That’s going to be one of the highlights as that’s where the adventure was.”

Andy and Sarah actually met running. “Eleven years ago on Sunday” said Sarah.

They met at a LDWA event in Yorkshire. Sarah was training for Lakeland 100 and UTMB, while Andy was just there for the 24 mile event. “I got hooked on Sarah,” Andy laughed.

“It’s been wonderful seeing people,” Sarah said. “We helped out on Cape Wrath Ultra last year, so it’s lovely going to the support points and people recognising us.”

Andy had a great time on the race. “What I’ve enjoyed about this race that’s been different to anything I’ve done before is that the cut-offs are so generous. It’s not about cut-offs this race – it’s about strategy.”

Lifelong friendships and tales of adventure on day four of the SILVA Northern TraverseStill smiles from Sarah over 200km in © No Limits Photography

Everyone on the course had a story to tell

It’s been a tough couple of days, but the stories coming out of it are both entertaining and inspiring. New friendships have been made, there’ve been some strange hallucinations, and some people have been choosing some interesting sleeping destinations. One participant, Alex Loach, confessed to having slept an hour in a bus shelter and 15 minutes in an abandoned building.

Lifelong friendships and tales of adventure on day four of the SILVA Northern TraverseSome runners took to the side of the trail for a nap © No Limits Photography

However, it’s these stories that make the adventure truly memorable.

Don’t forget that entries are already open for 2023 if you’d like an adventure of your own.


Record-breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern Traverse

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Kim Collison flew round the SILVA Northern Traverse in a record-breaking time

Kim Collison is the winner of the SILVA Northern Traverse after arriving in Robin Hood’s Bay at 6:54 this morning. He took just 44 hours and 24 minutes to get from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay on the other side, beating the previous record by an impressive 7 hours.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseKim had a strong finish © No Limits Photography

Kim is a well-known name on the ultra-running circuit, holding the record for the Paddy Buckley Round and the winter Bob Graham Round. However, following a disappointing experience at the Montane Spine Race this year, where he retired relatively early on, Kim had something to prove coming into the SILVA Northern Traverse. Right from the start, his determination was clear for all to see, and after setting off at a rapid pace, he managed to comfortably maintain his lead across the whole course.

The event team were barely able to keep up with Kim’s impressive pace as he battled some challenging and very windy conditions overnight through the unforgiving and exposed landscape of the North York Moors. However, despite the early hour, the atmosphere was still buzzing as Kim crossed the finish line in Robin Hood’s Bay on his memorable, record-breaking run.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseKim was looking tired but happy at the finish © No Limits Photography

At the finish line, Kim seemed mentally in good shape, but physically very tired. One member of the event team had to help him get up onto a chair back in the event centre. However, instead of crashing immediately, as one might expect of someone who has conquered such a huge challenge, Kim stayed around to cheer on and support his fellow runners.

It was here that we managed to catch up with him.

He said of his experience: “I loved the first half because I was fresh and had lots of bounce. The weather was really stunning with the orange sunset over Angle Tarn and some red deer.”

It wasn’t all plain sailing though. “After you go through the first night, that’s when things start to get a little bit hard and painful and hurty. It becomes more about managing those things and trying to psychologically keep pushing yourself on. I’ve managed to do that and finish which was the main goal.”

When asked what kept him motivated to keep going through the night without sleep, he said: “I thought: I’d better not quit this time. It’s the mental strength to try to push. It’s knowing that you can do it, so let’s try. If you sleep, you know you’re probably not going to make that time back up.”

Sleep deprivation did have its side effects though. “I was seeing a lot of hallucinations and hearing lots of voices. It was most bizarre.”

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseKim preparing to walk back having dipped his feet in the North Sea © No Limits Photography

Kim felt he had learnt from his experience at the Spine

Despite the challenging conditions, and going the wrong way slightly after Richmond, Kim managed to keep a calm head throughout and seemed to be enjoying himself. “I was very controlled, calm, keeping the effort down, trying to manage and learn from pushing too hard at the Spine.”

Comparing his experience to the Spine Race, he said: “I’ve learnt how to run this distance. I’m still trying to figure out how to add 68 miles onto what I just did. To go back to the Spine… that’s how much I’d need to add on.”

He was already expressing his intention to return to the Spine race next year. “If you’d asked me about three hours ago, I probably would have said no,” he laughed, but it was clear that he had this challenge is still on his mind. Given his phenomenal performance these last couple of days, he will definitely be one to watch.

Kim was with his partner, Ally Love, who was now recovered from an amazing run at the SILVA Lakes Traverse. Kim and Ally had a sweepstake – Kim wanted to make it to Kirkby Stephen by the time Ally made it to Shap. Ally beat Kim by 8 minutes. “She gets bragging rights at home,” Kim said. Having still not slept, Kim was looking forward to sleeping in the car on his drive home with Ally.

It’s been truly inspiring to watch Kim on this journey, which is a testament to his mental determination as well as his strong running ability. His new course record will definitely be a tough one to beat.

Rory Harris was second over the line

Rory Harris was the second runner over the finish line, 3 hours after Kim, with a time of 47 hours 29 minutes. Rory was consistent in his second place throughout, but had been suffering with stomach problems since Shap. He looked thoroughly exhausted as he crossed the finish line, and opted to take a nap in the event centre as soon as he got in.

His achievement was particularly impressive given he’d barely eaten for most of the run.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseThe final stretch into Robin Hood’s Bay goes over a dramatic headland © No Limits Photography

“I hadn’t eaten anything for 10 hours, hadn’t even had water for 10 hours – my stomach was playing somersaults,” he said.

Rory had to contend with some challenging weather through the night. “I was absolutely soaking before I managed to get to the Lion Inn.” He stopped a while at the Lion Inn support point, but was unable to rest due to the cold. “You get to the tent, and obviously it’s not heated, so the only thing you can do is put on every single layer you’ve got in your bag.”

Rory also stayed awake for the whole race. “That was eventful,” he said. “I felt alright until about 4 am the second night, and then I felt very confused – forgetting where I was, thinking I was doing different things, seeing things a lot. I thought it would get better at dawn but it carried on for a bit longer. In fact, it carried on until I had a sleep just now.”

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseRory had a tough race but his efforts paid off with second place © No Limits Photography

Third finisher, Scott Newburn, had an excellent run

Third over the finish line was Scott Newburn, after a race of 51 hours and 36 minutes. Scott was met at the finish by his partner and children, who were delighted with the result. Scott is no stranger to the Coast to Coast, as his home is actually on the route. Him and his partner own the New Ing Lodge B&B in Shap, a popular stopping point for Coast to Coast walkers. Now, he will be able to regale his guests his stories of his own impressive Coast to Coast achievement.

“That was really hard work actually,” was his first comment after crossing the line. “It’s pretty difficult when the boys behind you are really fast. I only went out to have a good time, then all of a sudden that changes.”

“It was good fun. It’s a good route to run – it’s very mixed,” Scott said. He had recce’d the full route before, having entered the race a few years back before it was postponed due to Covid. He seemed tired at the finish and wasn’t looking forward to the trek up the hill to the event centre, but he was certainly happy with his amazing result.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern Traverse

Scott had a fantastic run on his Coast to Coast adventure! © No Limits Photography

First woman, Lisa Watson, also smashed the record

Lisa Watson, had an epic performance, coming 1st woman and 7th overall. She also broke the course record by over 10 hours in an immense display of endurance, completing the race in 52 hours 52 minutes.

She looked full of energy as she came sprinting down the hill in Robin Hood’s Bay, a descent which has broken many a Coast to Coaster, and which Scott Newburn had earlier described as “horrible”.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseIt was a sprint finish for Lisa Watson © No Limits Photography

When asked how she was feeling, she said: “Momentarily, I don’t feel like I need to fall asleep at this moment, but I’m pretty sure that’s just adrenaline.”

“I don’t like sleep deprivation,” she joked. “It does bad things to your brain.”

Lisa had been running in a pack of fast men for much of the race, but separated from them this morning. She seemed in a great mood at the finish line, but confessed she hadn’t been in a good mood the whole time. “Peter (Watson) had to put up with me when I was being really grumpy from sometime about 10k before Kirkby Stephen to when he decided it was more sensible to leave me to do my own thing.”

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseLisa was still smiling after 300km © No Limits Photography

Despite a really hard night and day of running, Lisa still managed an impressively strong finish. “The rest of the day I’ve barely been able to put any weight on my feet, so at least I could sprint downhill,” she said.

It wasn’t the thought of the competition that motivated her fast pace: “I just had to get here so I could go to sleep.”

Her highlights were the sections through the Lakes and the Dales. “I would have liked to have seen the North York Moors, but that was a bit wet and cold and windy,” she said.

She still seemed to be processing her recent success, as she sat down in the sun by the sea. “It’s a bit weird isn’t it. I thought 60 hours was completely unachievable.”

Lisa has already proven her incredible running skills in stage racing, having won the Dragon’s Back Race in 2019, but this is her first continuous race. Reflecting on her experience, she said: “I’m still yet to decide whether I like continuous runs. Up to 100k was amazing. Up to 100 miles was mostly amazing, but after that was quite hard.”

Having reached the finish in an incredible time, Lisa still had one task left to do. In true Alfred Wainwright tradition, Lisa had carried a stone all the way from St Bees across to Robin Hood’s Bay. Luckily, she still had enough energy to walk down to the North Sea to throw her pebble in and dip her foot in the water, before climbing back up the steep hill to the event centre.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseLisa dipped her foot in the North Sea in Robin Hood’s Bay © No Limits Photography

Elaine was all smiles as she crossed the line as second woman

Elaine Bisson had a huge grin on her face as she flew down the cobbled streets of St Bees, coming in as 2nd woman and 10th overall. She completed the course in a speedy 56 hours and 21 minutes. She seemed in high spirits as she went to dip her foot in the sea.

This is the latest in a string of brilliant performances for Elaine, who was 2nd at the 2022 Montane Spine Race and at the 2021 Montane Dragon’s Back Race. “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” she joked about her emerging trend of coming second.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseElaine looked strong on the North York Moors © No Limits Photography

“It’s been good. Day times have been great – I’ve really enjoyed them. The night times have been horrid. I hit the boring bits at night. It’s just roads and bog.”

“I’m feeling alright actually,” she said. “I seized up last night and I couldn’t move at all. But this morning, after about an hour, I could run again. I’ve had a good day.”

She enjoyed the sections through the National parks which were “just gorgeous”, but was less keen on the bog after Nine Standards.

Elaine barely seemed tired as she hiked back up the hill to the event centre, even heading out to the pub in the evening. She seemed happy with her race, having put in another brilliant show.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseElaine had an amazing run © Ross Brackley

Jenny Yeo was third woman

Jenny Yeo has also come in as 3rd woman and 14th overall with an excellent time of 59 hours 27 minutes. She hobbled into the finish, supporting herself with a stick she’d picked up in Littlebeck.

“Some bits of it were lovely,” she said, “but the last 40 miles not so much. Lots of bits started hurting.”

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said, having first signed up to the event before the pandemic. Her achievement was particularly impressive given she didn’t even know she’d be able to compete, having broken her ankle last year.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseJenny Yeo was third woman to arrive in Robin Hood’s Bay  © Ross Brackley

‘The quality of the whole field’s been really high’

With both the male and female course records being broken, it’s been a fantastic day. Both Kim and Lisa have tested their limits and come out victorious. It’s been truly inspiring watching these athletes achieve their goals.

“The quality of the whole field’s been really high,” Shane Ohly told Lisa at the finish line.

There are still many runners out on the course, with people likely coming into Robin Hood’s Bay throughout Tuesday and Wednesday. You can track their progress here.

If today’s terrific performances have left you wanting to have a go, entries are already open for 2023.

Record breaking wins for first man and woman in SILVA Northern TraverseMany runners are still out on the course © No Limits Photography


A tough second day of running through the Yorkshire Dales

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Runners on the SILVA Northern Traverse have now completed their second day of running as they head into the night for a second time.

Today, many runners crossed the Yorkshire Dales section of the route.

After leaving Shap, runners must cross the M6, which marks the end of the Lake District and the beginning of the Yorkshire Dales. The route has less climbing than the Lakes of the previous day, but there are still small climbs to contend with. The runners then pass through Kirkby Stephen, where they have the option to sleep or press on over Nine Standards Rigg, crossing the border from Cumbria to Yorkshire. The terrain here is notoriously boggy, but runners are rewarded with gorgeous views of Swaledale. The lead mines provide some dramatic scenery before the route enters a flatter section, where runners will be relieved to see Richmond Castle in the distance. Richmond, at 183km into the race, is another support point where runners can shower, eat and catch some sleep – all with the support from the event team.

A tough second day of running through the Yorkshire DalesThere was still some snow lingering on Nine Standards Rigg © No Limits Photography

Moods were still good in Shap

The first SILVA Northern Traverse runner, Kim Collison, came through at 22:17 Saturday night. He had a slick operation going on, grabbing some food while he filled up his water before heading out into the night. Second runner, Rory Harris was half an hour behind him. Lisa Watson was the first lady through the support point in Shap, coming in at 00:48am.

A tough second day of running through the Yorkshire Dales

Kim passes through Shap late on Saturday evening © No Limits Photography

Throughout Saturday night and into Sunday morning, waves of SILVA Northern Traverse runners came into the support point in Shap – a steady buzz of excited runners keen to share their adventures.

Despite a tough section of night running, the atmosphere was generally positive in the Shap support point on the Sunday morning.

We spoke to Keira-Louise Baxter, who had stopped for a short sleep at Patterdale. She was feeling good ahead of the next section. “I’m glad I’ve got the rocky terrain out of the way. It was really beautiful this morning – we got the sunrise coming down Kidsty Pike, which was absolutely gorgeous.”

She said: “I’m looking forward to the next bit. I’m hoping that getting that extra bit of sleep is going to have paid off and actually put me in a better stead.”

Rupert Chesmore, a seasoned ultra-runner, had made the decision to run through the night.

“It’s hard,” he said. “It’s not just the climbing. It’s the surface. There’s lots of rocks and stone, it’s hard to negotiate.”

A tough second day of running through the Yorkshire DalesKaren Nash crossing the moors © No Limits Photography

Runners were more spread out in Kirkby Stephen

At the support point in Kirkby Stephen, the event team were well-prepared for the runners, with a host of food options to enjoy, including chips, cawl, soup, cake and crisps. There were also tents up so that runners could enjoy some well-deserved rest.

There was a mixture of moods at the support point. Many runners were exhausted after their journey of 128km, but people were generally enjoying themselves, in spite of the pain. Many people were particularly looking forward to a lie down before tackling the climb up Nine Standards Rigg. Friendships were already forming with people gravitating towards those with a similar pace to them.

A tough second day of running through the Yorkshire Dales

Resting, eating and getting sorted out at the Kirkby Stephen support point © No Limits Photography

We managed to catch a few of the runners as they came into the support point.

Alex Loach was looking tired, but in good spirits, as he came running up the road. “It’s tough!” he said. “I’m enjoying it. There’s no water on the course. I tried to get a bit of sleep in Patterdale unsuccessfully, so I left at 2 in the morning.”

Julian Wareham and David Jones were keen to make the most of the daylight. David said “We’ll get across Nine Standards in daylight and then across to Keld”.

Jean-Michel Travers on the other hand was looking forward to a longer break. “I need sleep,” he said. “This is the definitely the next stop for me.”

Beverley Clifford is running the race with her brother, and the two are planning to stick together the whole way. She said: “I’m feeling good, apart from my feet.” The pair spent some valuable time recharging at the support point.

Julie Gardiner was one of the volunteers on the event team working in Kirkby Stephen. “People are coming in nice, manageable numbers,” she said.

Julie decided to volunteer having done many stage races in her time. “I felt I could give something to the role of volunteer because I’ve been on the other side of it.” She said: “It’s a learning curve for a lot of runners, and they do learn a lot about themselves.”

A tough second day of running through the Yorkshire DalesThe breathtaking views of Swaledale are a route highlight © No Limits Photography

Fierce competition as top 3 ladies converge in Richmond

Further along in Richmond, front lady, Lisa Watson, took her first sleeping stop of the race. She arrived with Pete Watson (her brother-in-law), James Leavesley and James Parson who she’d spent most of the day running alongside. The party came to the support point at 16:10, where they wolfed down some curry and chips before heading for a few hours’ sleep.

Lisa was still asleep when second lady, Elaine Bisson, came into the support point at 18:45. Elaine was greeted at the support point by her husband and children who had come out to cheer her on. Elaine was looking forward to a sleep in Richmond, having had only a short sleep at Kirkby Stephen so far.

Hot on Elaine’s heels was Anna Troup, holder of the woman’s fastest known time on the Pennine Way. Anna looked like she was going strong as she strode into the support point. “It’s been a really great time,” she said. “It looks like the weather’s coming in now though, there’s a bit of wind.”

Anna hadn’t stopped to sleep at all so far. “We’ve only done one night, so it’s not so bad. We’re just excited about chips!”

Her running partner, Richard Staite said: “It’s a bit painful really, but that’s to be expected.”

Upon seeing her competition had caught up with her, Lisa Watson shot like a rocket when she woke up around quarter past 7pm, keen to maintain her impressive lead.

A tough second day of running through the Yorkshire DalesThe weather was cold but sunny © No Limits Photography

Unfortunately, after an excellent performance, Anna Troup and Richard Staite dropped out of the race at Richmond. They are certainly not the first to retire from this challenging event. However, Elaine may still give Lisa a run for her money, as she headed out of Richmond just after 9pm.

The atmosphere was very different in Richmond to Kirkby Stephen, with even more runners opting to have a nap, and some people having their feet seen to by medics. Many runners had banked on getting a good sleep in Richmond, but found that when they lay down to rest they were unable to fall asleep. However, lots of runners were delighted to receive Traverse Mail here, where encouraging messages sent from friends and family, via the GPS Tracking page, were printed out to lift participants’ spirits.

A tough second day of running through the Yorkshire DalesThe summit cairns of Nine Standards mark the crossing from Cumbria to Yorkshire © No Limits Photography

Kim Collison continues to maintain his impressive lead

While most runners were still in Shap, Kim was already a long way through the Yorkshire Dales. He didn’t stop for long in Kirkby Stephen, arriving in the early hours of the morning, over an hour before the second fastest runner. Members of the event team described him as seeming very focussed. He flew through the Dales, stopping in Richmond for a mere 20 minutes before going for the flat section through the Vale of York.

A tough second day of running through the Yorkshire DalesKim is still smiling as he keeps up an excellent pace © No Limits Photography

Medical student, Anna Curragh, a member of the event team, watched Kim fly through the support point in Richmond. “He looked like he hasn’t even run. He was in good form and raring to go,” she said.

Kim is yet to stop for a sleep and told a member of the event team that he wasn’t planning to get any rest on his journey.

As of Sunday evening, he is still well ahead of any other participant, having made good progress through the Vale of York and North York Moors. If all goes well, he looks set to arrive in Robin Hood’s Bay Monday morning well ahead of the current race record.

It’s been a very tough day for our participants and the weather is set to be very cold and wet through the night. There have been a few people retiring, but still plenty of runners soldiering on on their incredible journey towards the east coast and Robin Hood’s Bay!

You can track their progress here.

A tough second day of running through the Yorkshire DalesIt’s been a challenging day across the Yorkshire Dales © No Limits Photography


Records smashed in a nail-biting finale at SILVA Lakes Traverse

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Both the male and female records were broken on Saturday 2nd April at the 2022 SILVA Lakes Traverse, a 100km ultra race starting in St Bees and ending in Shap.

Daniel Weller was the first to cross the finish line in just under 11 hours and 6 minutes, breaking the course record after putting in a strong performance over the tough Lake District terrain.

Equally impressive, was an absolutely phenomenal performance from Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn, who came in less than 2 minutes later, at 11 hours 7 minutes. Not only was Katie first lady and second overall, but she also knocked over 4 hours off the previous ladies’ record.

It was a close race indeed at the front of the field, with Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn, Daniel Weller and Jeremy Cottingham all battling it out along Haweswater as they inched closer to their end goal. It was a nail-biting conclusion, with supporters in Shap watching the GPS trackers intently to see who would remain victorious. Eventually it was Daniel who had the edge, sprinting down the road into Shap.

Records smashed in a nail biting finale at SILVA Lakes TraverseKatie Kaars Sijpesteijn and Daniel Weller at the finish line of the SILVA Lakes Traverse in Shap © No Limits Photography

These runners have had an incredible journey through the Lake District

The route goes over undulating coastline from St Bees before heading inland through the wild, unspoilt beauty of Ennerdale. From Ennerdale, there are several large climbs to contend with, taking in the beautiful sights of Honister, Borrowdale, Easedale, Grisedale Tarn and the high point of Kidsty Pike. From Kidsty Pike, the route flattens somewhat, following the Haweswater shoreline before crossing fields and roads into Shap. There were support points at Rosthwaite (~47km) and Patterdale (~71km) where participants could refuel.

Records smashed in a nail biting finale at SILVA Lakes TraverseIncredible views on the way to Honister © No Limits Photography

There was sunshine and smiles at the start line

The atmosphere at the start line was electric in St Bees as participants lined up on the start. The weather conditions could not have been more perfect, with the sun out in full force. After reports of snow on the ground earlier in the week, most participants were relieved that conditions seemed mild.

As the horn went off at 9:30am, many supporters gathered to watch as the SILVA Lakes Traverse participants shot off before tackling their first climb up onto the headland.

An hour later, the SILVA Northern Traverse participants also began their adventure, having dipped their boots into the Irish Sea as is the tradition for a Coast to Coast crossing.

Records smashed in a nail biting finale at SILVA Lakes TraverseParticipants were raring to go © No Limits Photography

Records smashed in a nail biting finale at SILVA Lakes TraverseRunners dip their shoes in the sea and pick a rock to take across to Robin Hood’s Bay © No Limits Photography

Spirits were high at the first support point in Rosthwaite

The first support point on the SILVA Lakes Traverse was in Rosthwaite, a beautiful hamlet nestled amongst the dramatic scenery of Borrowdale valley. Daniel Weller was already in the lead here, followed closely by Jeremy Cottingham. Edward Catmur wasn’t far behind them, with first lady Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn already hot on their heels.

Spirits seemed generally good at the first support point, where there was a buffet of food for participants to choose from to refuel. Participants had really appreciated the spectacular views of Ennerdale and the good weather conditions.

Nathan Pictor was having a particularly good time out on the course. He said: “It’s like running on the West Coast of Ireland, but with better weather.” He was particularly looking forward to the next section of the route: “It gets a bit more interesting – less about maintaining the pace and more going up and down, which is the best part of running.”

Ben Naylor was also happy to stop for a chat. “It was hard running by Ennerdale, but there were picturesque views.”

In general, people were grateful that the weather conditions were so favourable. “It’s incredible up there,” said Damian Boyle, who was feeling great after the first 47km. “It’s like you’ve organised the weather for us – it’s perfect, cool and dry.”

Records smashed in a nail biting finale at SILVA Lakes Traverse

Running through the Borrowdale valley © No Limits Photography

“It was a very intense last 10 miles”

Later on, there was much excitement on the finish line of the SILVA Lakes Traverse in Shap, as supporters and event team geared up for a close finish.

The mood was one of complete elation as we spoke to the winner, Daniel Weller, about his race experience. “It was a very intense last 10 miles. I thought I was running with Jeremy and we would finish together, but then Katie caught us at the bottom of the last climb and there was a massive shot of adrenaline. I just started running really hard.”

After Katie managed to catch him again at Shap Abbey, Daniel had to push really hard to beat her. “There was a mile and a half left so I just sprinted. I think I ran the last mile in seven minute mile pace, which is quite hard to do at the end of that.”

Records smashed in a nail biting finale at SILVA Lakes TraverseDaniel receiving his trophy from race director Graham © No Limits Photography

Katie was also delighted with her race after an outstanding performance. This isn’t her first win, as she won the iconic Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ in 2019.

“It was really good,” she said. “I took it really slowly until I got to Black Sail because it’s quite flat and it’s quite easy to get carried away. I think quite a lot of people got carried away there. And then, I thought, I’ll just carry onto Rosthwaite, and I felt really good at Rosthwaite.”

“I didn’t really have too many bad spells and just kept moving.” She said.

Her competitive instinct kicked in when she came out of Patterdale. “I saw a guy coming out of Patterdale and thought I’ll try and catch him. Then I saw him and another guy (Jeremy Cottingham and Daniel Weller) coming off Kidsty Pike and I thought, I’m going to storm that and I caught them.”

After Katie caught the leading men though, Daniel shot off. “It was like he was running a 10k” Katie said.

Records smashed in a nail biting finale at SILVA Lakes TraverseKatie enjoying the sights of Ennerdale © No Limits Photography

Katie’s route highlight was Easedale Valley. “That’s a really nice descent and it was really warm there, which was nice.”

It’s been a long day for our SILVA Lakes Traverse participants, but the atmosphere has been incredible the whole way, with some absolutely immense performances.

SILVA Northern Traverse Update

In the meantime, the SILVA Northern Traverse participants will be continuing their journey, with another 200km before they reach Robin Hood’s Bay.

Kim Collison is currently in the lead by quite some way. He went off at a furious pace and has managed to maintain his lead. He spent no more than 10 minutes in the Patterdale support point and said he was feeling “pretty good” as he flew through Shap at 22:15.

Records smashed in a nail biting finale at SILVA Lakes TraverseSILVA Northern Traverse frontrunner Kim Collison is going strong © No Limits Photography

In the ladies’ race, Karen Nash, 2018 winner, lost her early lead to Elaine Bisson (second place in the 2021 Montane Dragon’s Back Race@ and the 2022 Montane spine race) and then Lisa Watson (2019 Dragon’s Back Race® winner), who was the first lady into the Rosthwaite checkpoint.

At the checkpoint, Lisa said: “I’m feeling good. I thought might as well run while it’s a nice day.”

Records smashed in a nail biting finale at SILVA Lakes TraverseLisa Watson is having a great run on the SILVA Northern Traverse © No Limits Photography

Elaine wasn’t far behind Lisa, gliding into the checkpoint just as Lisa was preparing to leave with a sandwich and crisps in hand.

It will be interesting to see how the competition shapes up as the runners head into the night. Lisa said that while the day has been lovely, she is “apprehensive” about the night section. She currently has a comfortable lead in the ladies’ race.

With 200km still to go though, a lot can still change in the Northern Traverse.

Remember, you can track the participants’ progress here.

If you’re feeling inspired, why not sign up for next year?

ENTER NOW

Records smashed in a nail biting finale at SILVA Lakes TraverseIt’s been a wonderful adventure in the Lake District © No Limits Photography


Excitement builds as participants register for the SILVA Northern Traverse & Lakes Traverse

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On Friday evening and Saturday morning, participants gathered in the usually quiet village of St Bees for the start of the SILVA Northern Traverse & Lakes Traverse as registration opened.

St Bees is well known for its sandy beach, dramatic cliffs and its status as the start of Wainwright’s iconic Coast to Coast route. However, today it played host to the start of two awesome ultra-challenges. The Northern Traverse follows the full Coast to Coast route, as competitors traverse the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors on their 300km journey east to Robin Hood’s Bay. The Lakes Traverse follows the same route and uses the same race infrastructure, but will just cover the first 100km of the Lake District National Park portion of the route to make for a shorter, albeit still incredibly challenging, adventure.

The registration hall in St Bees school was buzzing as participants lined up to get their race numbers and trackers. Many participants came in on the Park & Ride buses from Robin Hood’s Bay, so many people were already chatting to each other about their adventure ahead.

Excitement builds as participants register for the SILVA Northern Traverse & Lakes TraverseThe atmosphere was buzzing in St Bees School Friday Night © No Limits Photography

We talked to some of the participants at registration to find out how they were feeling about the races ahead.

“I’m feeling pretty confident to be honest,” said Mike Ashworth, who is signed up to the SILVA Lakes Traverse. He said: “Obviously, it’s a cracking race, and I think we’re pretty fortunate with the weather tomorrow. It’s looking pretty good… cold, but good.”

“I’m looking forward to just getting into the mountains to be honest. I’m a pretty competitive guy but I really just want to enjoy it.”

Holly Willis has also signed up to the Lakes Traverse, her second 100k after completing her first in October. She was feeling nervous but excited when we spoke to her in the queue at registration.

“I don’t know how much of it’s in the legs and how much is in the head. Whether my legs are there or not, we’ll see.”

She was looking forward to the route in particular. She said: “I think the conditions are going to be good. The whole course will be beautiful.”

This is the first time Lakes Traverse contestant Ann Marsham has done an event like this. “I’ve done multi-day events, but I haven’t done anything like this before. I’ve always wanted to.” She has found it hard to fit training in around work and children, but has been out for a recce, so knows the terrain.

Excitement builds as participants register for the SILVA Northern Traverse & Lakes TraverseParticipants getting ready for kit check © No Limits Photography

There was also a lot of enthusiasm amongst the SILVA Northern Traverse participants.

“Bring it on!” said one such participant, James Thomas. After the race had been postponed for two years, he is particularly excited.  “I’m really looking forward to finally doing something fun again.”

Thomas did the Dragon’s Back Race in 2019. “After that I was like, what do you do next? I love the Lake District and my mum grew up in the North York Moors but I’ve never been. I don’t know it at all so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Jackie Stretton is familiar with the Northern Traverse route, having completed it on a mountain bike. She is now looking forward to running the course. “It’s going to be an adventure,” she said. “The slower I take it the further I’ll get I think. I’m hoping it’s going to be slightly easier without having to take a bike the whole route too.”

Ultra-runner, Sophie Littlefair, is feeling excited and apprehensive. “I think it’s going to be colder than I initially thought.”

When asked what she was most looking forward to on the route, she didn’t hesitate. “The food. It’s a real luxury isn’t it?” Sophie said, “the freedom to be this indulgent on three plus days outside, so I feel very lucky.” She did a multi-stage race last year, so this felt like the natural next step. “I really love a point to point, and when they’re coast to coast that’s even better.”

Excitement builds as participants register for the SILVA Northern Traverse & Lakes TraverseOur amazing event team were on hand to help give out race numbers © No Limits Photography

Lisa Watson is no stranger to big races, having won the Dragon’s Back Race® race in 2019. “I’m really excited about the race,” she said. “It’s quite different to lots of things I’ve done before, so I don’t know what it’s going to be like running through the night.

She said: “I’ll just start and see how it goes, and hopefully it all holds together.”

Lisa was keen to sign up to Northern Traverse to try something different to a stage race. “This is known territory, so an easy start to what non-stop races feel like, so I thought I’d give it a go.” With her impressive track record at the Dragon’s Back Race®, Lisa is definitely one to keep an eye on as participants battle the terrain and elements on their journey to Robin Hood’s Bay.

The Lakes Traverse started at 9:30am Saturday 2nd April, with 163 brave participants lining up on the start line. They were followed by the Northern Traverse at 10:30am an hour later, with 140 starters. It’s going to be a really exciting adventure for participants and supporters alike. If you want to follow our participants on their incredible journey East, you can read this article here about how you can follow the adventure!

Excitement builds as participants register for the SILVA Northern Traverse & Lakes TraverseParticipants spent time studying the maps ahead of their big adventure © No Limits Photography