AN INNOVATIVE coastal running challenge in Copeland will now go ahead virtually.
The brand new Run the Edge event – part of Copeland Council’s Connecting Cumbria’s Hidden Coast programme - was meant to go ahead as a mass-participation running and walking event this month.
The pandemic caused a change of plan, and the challenge will now go ahead in an innovative new way in May.
The virtual event – which people can complete on the actual route (if they live close to it), on a treadmill, or just in their own local area - runs over three weeks, starting in Millom and finishing in Whitehaven.
Entries open on April 1. The event goes live on May 1, and costs £18 to enter. Each week, participants are sent a description of that leg of the challenge. They can then post their route and time through a fitness tracker and, for those who like competition, try to claim a place on the leaderboard. Everyone receives a medal for taking part.
Run for Copeland Council by Breaking Strain Events, the endurance challenge offers a 10km run, a half-marathon and a marathon – each can be completed over a week
Copeland Mayor, Mike Starkie, said: “We would have loved to see a mass participation event, but it wasn’t to be at the moment. This alternative is a great way for people to keep active and those who like a challenge can really push themselves. Some people may just choose to walk it though, and imagine they are taking in our two World Heritage sites and the dunes, paths and cliffs or our amazing Lake District Coast.
“Whilst those who live close to the route could of course complete it ‘in reality,’ we need to make it clear that people should only travel to exercise if restrictions specifically allow it at the time they are doing it. People should check the government’s website
“In the meantime, the virtual event will perhaps inspire people to visit this quiet and beautiful area once it is allowed.”
Run the Edge is part of the Connecting Cumbria’s Hidden Coast programme, which is led by Copeland Council and funded by £1.15m from Sellafield Ltd and more than £1m from the Government's Coastal Communities Fund. As well as the challenge event, it will include a new beach cafe at Silecroft, several new cycle and footpath routes and a coastal art trail enabling people to explore Copeland’s art, culture and heritage using the natural environment.
Lee Peyton, director of Breaking Strain Events, said: "Covid-19 has had a huge impact on events nationally, and we had to cancel the live Run the Edge event.
"I'd like to thank all the stakeholders involved in trying to get the live event out the door - there was a huge amount of goodwill and support from the community. We'll be back in 2022!
"The virtual event offers participants from all over the UK the opportunity to take on the challenge and learn a bit more about the hidden coastline in Copeland."
Tracey West, social impact manager for Sellafield Ltd, said: “Run the Edge is a brilliant way to safely reconnect with our coastal landscape in person or at home.
“It’s also a great opportunity for people of all abilities to get on the move and improve their physical and mental health through exercise.
“That’s why we’re supporting the Hidden Coast programme: it will open up our beautiful coastline for local people and visitors, creating social and economic opportunities that will benefit us all.”
To find out more, or sign up for Run the Edge, visit https://theedgerace.com/. You can also find the event on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/425654428521163/?__mref=mb