A big foreign contingent including runners from the United States, Holland, Germany, Belgium and Ireland, will boost the field for Saturday's running of the the first 2011 Lakeland Trails at Cartmel Racecourse. 1,300 competitors, nearly double the number that took part last year, are expected for the three events on the card including the feature event, the 18K Cartmel Trail Race.
First up is the 10K Sticky Toffee Trail Run starting at 11.00am. Sub 4 minute miler and GB international 800m runner, Neil Speaight, from Belgrave Harriers, who represented England in the Commonwealth Games, looks likely to be the bookies' favourite for the men's 10K title, with GB international triathlete, Vicky Graves, from York City AC favourite for the women's 10K title.
Fitness walkers, charity and fun runners set off at 1.00pm on the 18K Cartmel Challenge, before the 18K Cartmel Trail Race at 2 o'clock, following exactly the same course. A three horse race is expected involving last year's winner, Scotland's Marcus Scotney (Dumfries Running Club), the course record holder and 2009 winner Nick Leigh (Altrincham & District AC), and GB mountain running International, Gareth Raven (Sale Harriers).
In the women's 18K race, local athlete World Cross and mountain running medallist Sarah Tunstall (Kendal AC), looks a likely favourite as she returns from injury, but GB Internationals Lizzie Adams (Hallamshire Harriers, Sheffield), and Melanie Hyder (Helm Hill Runners) will give her a race.
Lots for the participants to get excited about including a testing but enjoyable route - setting off from the Cartmel Racecourse grandstand, the courses head along bridleways into open countryside, covering terrain which includes knee deep mud and a river crossing. Other treats are a sticky toffee pudding in the goody bag; a live steel band; children's entertainments in the shape of bouncy castles, face painting, fun runs; retail and trade stands, food stalls, PA commentary and a great atmosphere.
Singer/songwriter Pete Lashley will be performing his new song 'Lakeland Trails' at the prize giving, and Chief Executive of the Lake District National Park Association, Richard Leafe, will be taking part in the 18K race, and helping present the prizes afterwards.
The event is being sponsored by lifestyle brand PUMA, Pete Bland Sports, R and R Photos, Trailrunning.co.uk and Sleepmonsters.com