We know our committed and awesome participants are waiting very patiently to see what the outcome of whether or not we can host the events this year. Therefore, we apologise for not meeting our own deadline of the 30th of May 2020.
However, after careful thought, lots of reading the government guidelines and restrictions, plus using some interoperation with regards to the whole CV19 situation and the 'world lockdown' and relaxation that we have all been experiencing.
With all this in mind and the outlook for the summer, we had hoped to be able to continue with hosting the events in someway, which we detailed in the last article ( https://www.lakedistrictskytrails.com/news/can-we-still-host-lsu-2020-and-pre-2020 ) about the LSU and PRE 2020, however, although restrictions seem to have lifted for outdoor providers and coaches, allowing them to take up to 5 clients out at anyone time, we don't see the same levelling for 'mass gatherings' and outdoor events.
We proposed an idea so as to attempt to provide an event, however, the current guidelines will not even allow an event such as proposed.
Please understand, we have thought very hard about this all. There are also many other considerations to take into account, so to be fully transparent about our thoughts and why we are cancelling, lets list the details below, in bullet point form:
1: The ethos of the events; Setting of participants in single file, socially distanced, over split times, with barely any or no interaction with the events team or other race participants seems very false and not in the ethos of a race.
2: Finding the right marshals; Trying to find a 'full' set of good marshals, who can guarantee that they can arrive for the weekend, still doesn't feel like a viable option. The reason being, is that the CV19 virus is still around, with the relaxation of the lockdown, we do not know if and when there maybe another spike and therefore, we could experience a large number of marshals committing themselves for the event, only to find they can't actually come due to a contraction of the virus prior to the races or interaction with someone who then finds they have contracted it etc. This alone, would cancel the race due to safety reasons.
3: Safety of the participants and marshals; If we experienced the same problem, as detailed in point 2 above, for the safety team of MIA (Mountaineering Instructors) and Mountain Leaders, then this would mean the elimination of the 'spicy and technical' sections of each race, leading to either cancelation or a quasi version of the races. We put the races on as a whole affair, meaning they should be technical, exciting and extreme, but if we need to remove the technical and extreme bits, they are not the races we planned to host.
4: Lack of Training; Due to the lack of training we have all likely experienced, due to the restrictions in place, we would need to shorten the courses and whilst we believe we could keep the ethos of the races, we would only really want to accept a shortened course due to bad weather for example.
5: Mountain Rescue and Emergency Services; We rely both on the MRT and general Emergency Services and we must take this into account. We have been in contact with both authorities to some respect and have mixed feelings from all entities. Whilst the Emergency Services will collect an injured runner, as usual, there is still the problem of CV19 transmission along the whole of the pathway from collection to delivery to a hospital, there is then the transmission pathway once the injured party would arrive in hospital and whilst we know if you attend the race you are accepting this situation, as a professional race organisation, we are not happy with this risk factor and this is a major controlling factor in whether or not we deliver the race. Then on top of this, should we have to enact an 'extraction' of an injured party from the mountains, we will have to bring in the services of the Mountain Rescue Teams and whilst they are accepting of being ready for call-outs, we feel it is still not appropriate that an organisation should put either of these fantastic services, that we are very lucky and honoured to have in the UK, under this undue pressure. The same transmission pathways would be open and we do not believe this is something we should be encouraging this soon.
6: The Locals and the Local Economy; We, the race organisers, are local and we live in the valley where we deliver these races. We have grown up in the Lake District and have been part of the tourist industry and delivery of small parts of it in many different guises over the years, the Lake District and its inhabitants are very close to our hearts, we are part of it as much as it is part of us. We have been gaging the local feeling alongside the government guidelines and opening of area's such as the Lakes. Whilst the valley of Ullswater and Patterdale are in a split feeling about people coming back to the Lakes, we fully encourage safe and proper use of the mountains, taking into account MRT, NHS etc for personal usage, however when we change this to encouraging runners to take part in 2 pretty extreme races as an organisation, with participants coming from afar, we do not believe this is the correct thing to do. Taking this into account, we are also conscious that the local economy needs a much needed boost, as it has been exceedingly quite for all businesses. It maybe by the 4th of July that accommodation might open up, but this is only 7 days prior to the event and doesn't really leave anytime for participants to be able to book accommodation. Its a very fine balance and although the parish council, some local business owners, accommodation providers and locals are happy for us to proceed, some are not. We are not quite sure the 'valley' is quite ready for our races to be delivered. If we are to keep the race going for years to come, then we believe keeping the locals and local economy happy in every way is the best way to progress our races and see them happen for many years to come with the blessings and understanding of the local population.
7: Accommodation and Patterdale Hall; Our races are hard and extreme and they are meant to be like this, this is why you enter them and this is why we deliver them. We do not believe it is wise to advise you to travel from afar, race through the mountains, finish and then be packed off home with no chance to rest or stay, meaning dangerous travel on the roads to get back to your own abode/home/living space, where you can rest and sleep. We have been in touch with local accommodation providers, who believe they may well be open for business by the 4th of July, but our own accommodation, Patterdale Hall, which is based around dormitory rooms, would not be available and therefore in all likelihood you would need to travel from home to the race, race/run all day, and then head home again. This is not an acceptable situation for us. We have put a 3 hour limit of travel, in our workings in point 8.
8: Travel to the events; We have been more than conscious about participant from outside of the UK for our events, but with recent developments and splits inside the UK, travel to the event would be impossible for runners from both outside the UK and also from Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Both the LSU and PRE participants are made up from runners both inside England and outside of the UK. The split is detailed as follows:
LSU Numbers: 63 entries up until 24th March (this isn't including the participants who wanted to swap from Scafell Sky Race), with 11 runners from outside the UK, 12 from Scotland and 2 from Wales. This amounts to 25 participants.
This would mean out of the 63 participants, only 38 runners would be able to attend the race.
Then if we take participants who need to travel far, say more than 3 hours driving each way, which amounts to 23 runners, we would actually only have 15 runners who could 'safely' attend due to driving 'safely' to and from the event.
PRE Numbers: 52 entries up until 24th March (this isn't including the 13 participants who are sitting on the waiting list), with 5 runners from outside the UK, 12 from Scotland and 1 from Wales. This amounts to 18 participants.
This would mean out of the 52 participants, only 34 runners would be able to attend the race.
Then if we take participants who need to travel far, say more than 3 hours driving each way, which amounts to 16 runners, we would actually only have 18 runners who could 'safely' attend due to driving 'safely' to and from the event.
Event Delivery: In order for us to deliver an event that is both enjoyable, follows the ethos of skyrunning, making the event both safe in the mountains and safe from possible virus contamination, it would be both extremely difficult and also unfair to around 70% of the actual field to not be able to race due to the restrictions in place. Plus, it would be like being slapped in the face with a wet fish for both the participants and race organisers alike.
Therefore, in the boundaries of what we have been set at this present time, we believe the only outcome we can follow is event cancelation.
We are sure you will see and understand that we have little choice in this matter and we never ever take decisions like this lightly, hence the delay in making the decision.
So, where does this leave you?
We are in the same position with both these races as we were with Scafell Sky Race and we believe we must treat all our participants with a fair and level playing field and therefore in the event of cancelation of the race/s, your options will be detailed to you in an email directly from SI Entries, so please check your in-box and if you don't see a cancelation email appear by Monday 8th June 2020, then please check your spam folder.
If you need to acquaint or reacquaint yourselves with why we cancelled SSR 2020 and the reasonings behind our decision, please read through the article we posted on the 24th March 2020 here: https://www.lakedistrictskytrails.com/news/scafell-sky-race-2020-cancelled-due-to-coronavirus-strain-covid-19
If you need to reacquaint yourselves with the race rules and terms and conditions, please have a read here:
Basically, circumstances beyond our and your control, have forced the cancellation of the Lakes Sky Ultra and Pinnacle Ridge Extreme for 2020.
Please update yourselves on current the UK Government current guidelines: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
If you require any further information right now, then please email me (Charlie) at email@example.com and I will answer you as swiftly as possible, but please expect delays in my reply and if you could wait until we have sent you an email via SI Entries this week, then that would be extremely helpful, as you can imagine, we have a lot to deal with right now.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all past, present and future competitors in supporting us over the last 5 years of our events company, which has delivered races such as the Keswick Mountain Festival Trail Races, our own Lakes Sky Ultra, Scafell Sky Race, Pinnacle Ridge Extreme and Wansfell Mountain Race and our sister companies Mountain Run and Nics Nordic Walks where we have trained a large number of our competitors and entrants towards a more efficient way to move through mountainous terrain, in order to compete in events such as above and many of the worlds largest trail and mountain races.
We, like many of you out there, are not sure of our business survival into 2021 and it’s not a welcome thought. We love what we do and we love to share our passion, experience and knowledge with you and look forward to seeing this virus spread quelled and stopped and the return to normal life as soon as possible.
Thanks for your understanding in these continued difficult and strange times,
Yours on the trails and mountains,
Event Owner and Director.
With races cancelling left right and centre, we know you will be wondering: Will the LSU/PRE 2020 race week still...