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Keswick welcomes Commonwealth event

Regional organisations are delighted that Cumbria will be hosting the Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Running Championships later this year.

Cumbria County Council threw its backing behind the major sporting event planned for Keswick in September, which will see mountain running return to its spiritual home (the world's first organiscolumn2ed fell race took place in Grasmere in 1850).

The county council's cabinet pulled together with the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) to organise event funding, alongside national sport governing bodies.

The Championships already have the backing of 20 Commonwealth countries. Ultra distance running has seen a surge in popularity in recent years and involves running distances longer than a marathon, commonly 100km or 24-hour races. The four-day event will also feature a variety of amateur and fun running events and cultural activities. The organisers considered other potential venues but chose Keswick because of the ideal natural terrain and the town’s association with mountain running - Keswick hosted the World Mountain Running Masters’ Championship in 2005.

Councillor Tony Markley, CCC cabinet member responsible for economic development and regeneration, said: “It is very exciting. The mountain running and ultra-distance events will be a great boost to the local economy, attracting significant numbers of visitors outside the main tourist season. It will raise the profile of Cumbria and the Lake District nationally and beyond.”

Peter Mearns, executive director of marketing at the NWDA, added: "Cumbria has a growing reputation for adventure activities and extreme sports and this challenging event will add another dimension to that offer. The NWDA is pleased to support this inaugural championship, which will help showcase Cumbria and the Northwest to a wider audience."