Hundreds of runners are racing across Cumbria as part of an ultra-running event which started on Saturday (April 6).

Over five days, almost 400 athletes are taking aprt in the SILVA Northern Traverse, Lakes Traverse, Dales Traverse, and Moors Traverse, covering distances ranging from 55km to 300km, finishing today (April 10).

The winners of the Northern Traverse crossed the line on Monday, April 8, with Dave Phillips in first place and Hannah Rickman victorious in the women’s race in a record time, finishing second overall.

Among the competitors are several leading ultra runners, plus participants who have been attracted to the events by recent growth of interest in the sport.

The racing began on the west coast of Cumbria early on Saturday and will finish on the east coast of Yorkshire today.

Founded in 2016 and organised by Cumbria-based company Ourea Events, the SILVA Northern Traverse is a continuous 300km footrace from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay.

It has to be completed within five days and follows the well-established coast-to-coast route created by Alfred Wainwright.

The other three races used the same race infrastructure, logistics and staffing as the Northern Traverse.

Starting on Saturday, participants in the SILVA Lakes Traverse had 30 hours to finish a 100km route through the Lake District and ending in Shap. 

The SILVA Dales Traverse took place on Sunday, covering 55km from Kirkby Stephen to Richmond.

On the same day, the 80km SILVA Moors Traverse followed Wainwright’s route from Ingleby Cross to Robin Hood’s Bay.

On Saturday and Sunday, runners faced Storm Kathleen which moved from west to east.

Runners towards the back of the races were diverted from high ground to a lower-level route for safety reasons.

There was success for British runners in the Northern Traverse, along with a new course record.

Dave Phillips was first home in a time of 47:32:14, and finishing second overall, Hannah Rickman won the women’s race in a record time of 52:42:18.

Cumberland & Westmorland Gazette: Dave Phillips, winner of the 2024 SILVA Northern TraverseDave Phillips, winner of the 2024 SILVA Northern Traverse (Image: No Limits Photography)

Finland’s Juhanna Kirk won the SILVA Lakes Traverse in a time of 12:11:44, and the women’s race was won by Briton Samantha Lissauer in 13:27:04.

Cumbria based Gavin Dale won the Dale Traverse in 4:45:40, while the women’s race was won by fellow Brit Mary Gillie in 6:42:49.

There was more British success in the SILVA Moors Traverse, with Benjamin Voke winning in 8:47:59 and Hillary Anne Szwed winning the women’s race in 10:55:28.

Speaking after his victory, Mr Phillips said: “I’m happy. I wanted to do it in under 48 hours.

“That wind was relentless, but it was more tailwind than headwind.

“It was the conditions underfoot that made it slow.”

Ms Rickman said: “Both of the nights were pretty rough.

Cumberland & Westmorland Gazette: Hannah Rickman revels in the challenging weather on the 2024 SILVA Northern TraverseHannah Rickman revels in the challenging weather on the 2024 SILVA Northern Traverse (Image: No Limits Photography)

“The weather the first night was rubbish – painful and so slow going.

“It was pretty horrible - probably the worst conditions I’ve ever been out in overnight,” and added: “All of the people and the volunteers were amazing.”