Langdale Horseshoe

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Lake District National Park, the venue of the Langdale Horseshoe Keswick Panorama - Oct 2009.jpg
Lake District National Park, the venue of the Langdale Horseshoe

The Langdale Horseshoe is an annual Lake District fell race that starts and finishes at the Old Dungeon Ghyll. The course climbs to Stickle Tarn before heading to Thunacar Knott, Esk Hause shelter, Bowfell, Crinkle Crags and Pike of Blisco. The route is approximately 21 kilometres (13 mi) in length with 1,450 metres (4,760 ft) of ascent. [1] It includes much rough and rocky ground. On the descent from Crinkle Crags, many runners negotiate the Bad Step, although it can be avoided depending on route choice. The race often presents navigational difficulties, especially in poor visibility. [2]



The Langdale Horseshoe was first held in 1973, when it was organised by Dave Meek of Ambleside and the Langdale Fell Race Association. It was sponsored by Quiggin's Kendal Mint Cake. In 1977, a shorter ladies’ race up Pike of Blisco was held in conjunction with the Langdale Horseshoe but from 1978, women were allowed to compete over the full course. [3]

Due to a lack of volunteers to help with race organisation, the 1982 race was not run over the usual course but on a route up and down Scafell Pike. No race was held the next year but it was relaunched in 1984 by Ambleside AC. [4] In 1986, the race had over five hundred runners and in order to reduce the strain on the organisational resources and the local area, it was decided that from the following year, only pre-entered competitors would be allowed to take part. [5]

Langdale is one of the races in the Lakeland Classics Trophy series which was inaugurated in 2002. [6]

In its early years, the race was held in September, but it now takes place in October. It has been one of the counting races in the English Fell Running Championships several times. As it takes place relatively late in the season, it is often the last race in the series on such occasions and can play a significant part in the championship results. In 2005, for example, Rob Hope was joint winner in the English Championships due in part to his triumph at the Langdale Horseshoe immediately after returning from the World Mountain Running Trophy in New Zealand. [7]


Langdale has one of the oldest course records in fell running, with a time of 1:55:03 set by Andy Styan in 1977. Styan felt that he had been able to run so quickly due to the good conditions and the very strong competition on the day. Styan, Billy Bland, Alan McGee and Mike Short all finished in between 1:55:03 and 1:56:08 that year. [8] Since then, the fastest winning time has been 1:56:13 by Gavin Bland in 1997.

A new women's record of 2:22:50 was set by Victoria Wilkinson in 2016, beating the previous best of Helene Diamantides which had stood since 1992. [9]

Billy Bland won five time between 1978 and 1987 and his nephew Gavin Bland won five times between 1990 and 2003. In the women’s race, Pauline Haworth, Ruth Pickvance and Kelli Roberts have the most wins with three each.

The winners have been as follows: [10]

1973 Joss Naylor 2:08:20
1974Mike Short2:10:27
1975Mike Short2:05:38
1976Mike Short2:08:28
1977 Andy Styan 1:55:03Anne Bland and Brenda Robinson0:54:57[Note 1]
1978 Billy Bland 2:07:00Bridget Hogge3:13:00
1979Andy Styan2:01:00 Ros Coats 2:37:57
1980Billy Bland2:05:24 Pauline Haworth 2:55:19
1981Billy Bland2:02:56Pauline Haworth
1982 Kenny Stuart 1:36:50[Note 2]
1983Not held
1984Billy Bland2:06:46Pauline Haworth2:40:14
1985Jack Maitland2:00:31 Angela Carson 2:34:28
1986Bob Whitfield1:58:59 Carol Haigh 2:34:38
1987Billy Bland2:00:04Clare Crofts2:29:58
1988Bob Whitfield2:06:10Ruth Pickvance2:42:40
1989Bob Whitfield1:59:03Ruth Pickvance2:40:12
1990 Gavin Bland 2:05:04Wendy Dodds2:37:30
1991 Mark Croasdale 1:58:11Cheryl Cook2:35:10
1992Ian Ferguson1:58:18 Helene Diamantides 2:23:25
1993Gavin Bland1:57:29Ruth Pickvance2:38:40
1994Gavin Bland1:58:48 Yvette Hague 2:33:25
1995 Ian Holmes 2:02:50Nicola Davies2:33:54
1996Ian Holmes2:09:09Menna Angharad2:38:09
1997Gavin Bland1:56:13Yvette Hague2:32:42
1998Jonny Bland2:02:30Emma Moody2:54:02
1999Jonny Bland2:12:41Helene Diamantides2:25:07
2000 Mark Rigby 2:15:30Wendy Dodds3:02:14
2001Cancelled due to foot-and-mouth outbreak
2002Jonny Bland2:13:42Emma O'Shea2:54:17
2003Gavin Bland2:04:24 Angela Mudge 2:35:07
2004Nick Sharp2:07:57Kate Beaty2:41:57
2005 Rob Hope 2:08:47Christine Howard2:37:55
2006Nick Fish2:10:43Hazel Jones2:44:09
2007Ben Abdelnoor2:14:08Jackie Lee2:39:26
2008 Rob Jebb 2:05:07Jane Reedy2:36:46
2009 Simon Booth 2:05:02Jane Reedy2:33:14
2010Oliver Johnson2:07:57Helen Fines2:32:53
2011Carl Bell2:09:13Hazel Robinson2:36:57
2012Ben Abdelnoor2:13:14Suzanna Brett2:56:31
2013Ben Abdelnoor2:07:00 Jasmin Paris 2:26:27
2014Rhys Findlay-Robinson2:16:00Judith Jepson2:44:16
2015Sam Tosh2:11:57Jasmin Paris2:26:37
2016Sam Tosh1:59:51 Victoria Wilkinson 2:22:50
2017Carl Bell2:13:14Kelli Roberts2:44:09
2018Rhys Findlay-Robinson2:25:23Kelli Roberts2:51:27
2019 Finlay Wild 2:00:51Kelli Roberts2:32:22
2020Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021Matthew Atkinson2:15:16Tessa Strain2:54:57
2022Matthew Elkington2:02:18Nichola Jackson2:24:39

Note 1: Pike of Blisco route.

Note 2: Scafell Pike route.

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