Jonathan Cox, of Penrith-based Eden Runners, won the 15k event as the annual Derwentwater Trails races returned to Keswick on Saturday.
They attracted almost 750 runners, including Keswick’s mayor, Paul Titley, who also ran the gruelling 15k race.
Runners from aged 12 to 82 tackled 5k, 10k and 15k legs which are based in Keswick’s Fitz Park and organised each year by Lakeland Trails, raising thousands of pounds for charities.
The races had been meticulously planned to ensure the Government’s COVID-19 guidelines on the safe return of sporting activities were followed so that residents, participants, crew and volunteers were kept safe.
Runners set off in waves from Fitz Park, running along stunning courses around Latrigg and the Glenderaterra Valley.
Conditions were particularly challenging in the afternoon, with torrential rain adding to the bottomless bogs and slippy rocks to test the athletes over a range of terrain.
All competitors wore face masks as they started and had to use hand sanitiser at both the start and finish.
Earlier in the year, Lakeland Trails, in conjunction with main partner inov-8, raised more than £6,500 for local charities. Half of this was donated to the Keswick-based Lake District Calvert Trust.
Craig Marsh, competing for Keswick AC, won the 10k trail, finishing almost two minutes clear of runner-up Laura Kaye, from Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets AC, but the biggest cheer of the day was for 82-year-old St Bees Triers legend Chris Robson, as he crossed the line in a very respectable time of 1hr 44min.
A strong field in the 15km race featured several international athletes and previous winners, with the top positions being dominated by Eden Runners and Team inov-8.
The men’s race was won narrowly by Cox in a time of 58.14. He crossed the line 21 seconds ahead of second placed Ben Livesey.
In the ladies’ race, Eden’s Eve Pannone had to contend with some stiff competition to secure another podium finish for the club, crossing the line in third place behind international athletes Sarah McCormack, of Ambleside, and runner-up Victoria Wilkinson of Bingley Harriers.
Last year’s 5k series champion Anna Pigford, of Houghton Harriers, continued her winning ways with victory in the Derwentwater Trail race.
Organiser Graham Patten said: “We are grateful for the support of the Fitz Park and Hope Trust and Keswick Town Council who helped make the event possible.”
The Lakeland Trails series of events, which are known for their popular carnival atmosphere, are all held within the Lake District national park.
The next Lakeland Trails will take place in Coniston on Saturday, 3rd October (a limited number of places are still available from www.lakelandtrails.org ), followed on the Sunday by a marathon, half-marathon and mini 10k; Staveley 5k,10k and 15k on 17th October; Helvellyn 5k,10k and 15k on 7th November; and Ullswater 10k and 14k on 8th November.