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Thousands of Riders Tackle the 19th Annual Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge

by Holly Blades

With over five thousand riders entering the ballot this year, the 2.370 lucky enough to secure a place at the infamous and highly coveted Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge, conquered the challenge this weekend.

Heading out from 6am on Sunday morning, riders took on the 113mile sportive (with 3950m of climbing), including all of the major passes in the Lake District National Park, including the infamous passes; Hardknott and Wrynose, with a 30% gradient climb at 98 miles. The first riders returned back just after 12 noon, with Karl Alexander setting the new course record at 5 hours 56 minutes.

This year, riders, their families and friends enjoyed an extended programme including guided walks and a family ride. As ever, this truly local event, showcased incredible volunteer support with over 250 marshals and helpers from Cumbrian cycling clubs, with lots of spectators lining the main climbs with cowbells.  Feed stations were stocked with handmade cakes, sandwiches, fruit and energy drinks served by Mrs Whitton and friends at the two large feed stations on the route.

This year, riders will have reached the target of One Million Pounds that the ride has raised for Macmillan Cancer Support, as well as a number of other charities, with donations still coming in it looks like another record year for donations.

Paul Loftus, Chair of the Steering Group, says; "It was another fantastic event, with everyone involved going above and beyond to make it a truly memorable for riders.

With Human Race as delivery partner, we now have an event that is world renowned, with world-class delivery, so it continues to grow in popularity year on year, whilst still retaining its local feel."

Nick Rusling, CEO of Human Race, days; "We are honoured to be part of this iconic event, and to work with the local steering group and volunteers to deliver it. It's a brilliant addition to our event portfolio, which delivers some of UK's greatest UK sportive events."

The event is in honour of Fred Whitton. Fred, who died aged just 50 in 1998, was an extremely popular member of the Lakes Road Club and a lynchpin in the cycling community of Cumbria.

Results for 2018 are now list on the website. Charity entries and the ballot for the Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge 2019 will be available from December 2018.

Visit www. for more information.

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