Lakeland Classics Trophy: An Introduction

Background

In October 2001 The Fellrunner Magazine published an article entitled Will Long A Races Survive? by Graham Breeze This prompted debate on whether the steadily falling entries for races such as Ennerdale and Wasdale might lead to their extinction and the need for a Grand Prix to help them survive.

Brian Martin, the then FRA Statistician and Selwyn Wright, organiser of the Three Shires Race, developed the idea of a Grand Prix to raise the profile of, and encourage runners to return to, the long Lakeland classic races. Selwyn wrote an article for the same issue of the magazine suggesting that his race might be included along with others such as Duddon valley, Langdale and Borrowdale in a new Lakeland Long A Championship. Whilst the primary focus of the Championship would be to keep the great Lakeland races alive its second purpose would be to recognise the performance of runners who excelled in such events.

In 2002 the idea came to fruition as the Lakeland Classics Trophy, based on the six races mentioned above and also including the 21mile/5500feet Dockray Helvellyn race.

At the time the concerns expressed in the original article seemed to be coming true because 2002 actually saw the last running of the Dockray Helvellyn race and in 2003 the Ennerdale race was cancelled because of very low entries. Fortunately since 2002 the number of runners who have wished to compete in the great Lakeland classic races has grown and those completing the LCT series has increased from 38 (4 female) and 12 teams in 2002 to 2008 104 (13 women) and 14 teams
However the LCT has always been about supporting the individual races rather than being an end in itself and it has been gratifying to see rekindled interest in races such as the Wasdale and Ennerdale:

Finishers by Year

Wasdale

Ennerdale

2009

194*

95

2008

125

129

2007

105

105

2006

128

224*

2005

141*

95

2004

49#

85

2003

53

# Cancelled –low entry

2002

54

30

# Clash with a Championship Race

* Championship Race

The Races

 

The six races are categorised:

Super Long
Long
 Duddon Valley  Three Shires
 Ennerdale Horseshoe  Langdale Horseshoe
 Wasdale
 Borrowdale

Points Scoring

 

Three races count towards accumulated points but at least two must be Super Long races. Points are awarded based on finish times rather than positions to overcome the arbitrariness of race-position based systems, the distorting effect of varying field sizes. This approach also encourages runners to run faster, even when in the lead, to maximise the points margin. One hundred (100) time points are allocated to the winner and zero (0) points for a runner taking twice as long to finish the race. Team points are calculated on similar basis but different club counters (three of either sex) are allowed in each race.

 

Trophies

 

Permanent Slate Trophies (3): First Male, First Female, Team

 

Bentham Pottery Mugs (22 in 2012) awarded to category winners, and top finishers in each category.

 

Awards: Annual FRA Presentation Dinner in November

 

Sponsorship

The Trophy is sponsored by Pete Bland Sports and no money is sought from the six race organisers or individual runners  Voluntary contributions are acknowledged in the annual LCT Review published every February in The Fellrunner Magazine.