Read about the people who help make the Brathay Windermere Marathon and 10 in 10 such unique events

  • Brathay Marathon Team

    • Gary Haughton

    • Scott Umpleby - Race Director

      Scott Umpleby

      I joined Brathay Trust in 2001 and held various management roles before becoming Head of Fundraising in January 2009. I’m now responsible for developing Brathay’s fundraising strategy and managing the Fundraising Team to ensure the sustainability of funds across all of our regions.

      We’re committed to developing a distinctive events programme, with the Brathay Windermere Marathon being our flagship event. Thank you to all organisations and individuals who have helped to develop the event into what is now considered one of the most enjoyable and special road marathons in Europe. The funds raised from the Brathay Windermere Marathon and 10 in 10 directly support thousands of disengaged and vulnerable children and young people. Many marathon runners have embraced the charitable nature of our event and help to improve the lives of some of the UK’s most disadvantaged young people.

      It’s a pleasure to work with a team of dedicated colleagues to continue developing the Marathon and 10 in 10. I’m now responsible for delivering the charitable objectives of the event, in terms of donations and sponsorship to support our mission, and activity to promote Brathay’s cause in the media.

      I’ve been running, and climbing, in the mountains for over 30 years, having competed regularly in fell and endurance running events. My running highlights include circuits of the Bob Graham Round, first in 1990, and again in December 1999 in full winter conditions. I’m also a member of Alpine Club and Fell Runners Association.

      I look forward to welcoming runners to our events for many years to come.
    • Ali Harris - Events + Donor Development officer

      I have worked at Brathay since 2008 as part of the fundraising team following a move to the Lake District after living in the French Alps for 5 years. My previous experience centres around tourism but I was looking for a new challenge so joined Brathay’s fundraising team as a Fundraising co-ordinator.

      A large part of my role involves the organisation and administration of Brathay’s fundraising events to raise much needed funds to support our work with children and young people. The Brathay Windermere marathon and the 10 in 10 are the largest fundraising events in Brathay’s calendar and I enjoy organising large events and seeing people completing the personal challenges they have set themselves. 

      I look forward to developing Brathay’s fundraising events and helping to raise Brathay’s charitable profile in the future.
    • Alyson Knowles

      Alyson Knowles

      I have worked for Brathay Trust for the last 12 years and currently hold the post of Staffing Officer.  My role involves matching the most appropriate member of permanent staff or associate consultant to specific events and programmes. Getting the match right is vital to ensure the Young People get the best possible experience. Working in such an inspirational place, with some fantastic people and seeing first hand the great work we do is very rewarding. 

      Having moved away from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales I now live in Ulverston with my husband Mac (an outdoor education teacher) and sons Gareth (22) and Morgan (14), who are all keen rugby players and enthusiasts.

      I didn’t start running until I was well in my 30’s. In fact I have to admit I was a bit of a couch potato – overweight and not at all fit.

      I ran my first marathon in London at the age of 38, 5 months after the birth of Morgan, in a time of 4:58. I then went on to run a few more marathons (all London) and a few 2 day mountain marathons. 

      My 5th marathon was in 2007 – the Brathay Windermere Marathon. Leading up to this event the inaugural 10in10 was taking place. I watched these 7 athletes in awe of what they were achieving. How on earth could they run 10 marathons, 262 miles in 10 days – madness!!

      However, I was inspired and the seed was sown.

      In 2008 the 10in10 event included 3 ladies. It was then that I started to believe that maybe I could be a part of that elite group if I was to train hard and mentally prepare.

      I entered the 2009 event and I gradually built my mileage up from 20-25 miles a week to over 70. I ran back to back marathons, trained in wet and wintry Lake District weather conditions, and clocked up another 6 official marathons over the year. My Personal Best time of 3:44 was achieved in April at Lochaber – 2 weeks before the 10in10. Everything had gone to plan and I went into the event feeling fit and strong and mentally prepared.

      It was amazing!!!

      I completed the 10in10 in 2009 and once again in 2010. I am proud to be a part of a special group of elite athletes who have completed this event.  Also, to have raised over £8000 has meant young people have benefitted directly from my experience. It made the pain all worth while. 

      Details of my journey and what I went through can be found by visiting my section in the Blogs on this website.

      This year I have taken on the organisation of the 10in10. I have supported the runners over the last 12 months and will do my best to ensure the event goes as smoothly as possible for them. I am looking forward to being a part of the 10in10 for many years to come.

      The 10in10 epitomises what Brathay is all about….inspirational people who inspire others.

  • Volunteers

    • Lesley Gill

      Lesley  Gill

      I’ve been connected with Brathay for over 24 years as Andy, my husband,  has worked there in the Corporate Development team for what seems like forever.

      Brathay’s work with young people is well known and highly thought of by many. In my own work in the social care sector I meet a great many people and somehow Brathay and its work often comes up in conversation and it’s clear that Brathay’s development work with young people is well known and valued. Colleagues and associates generally know someone who has been to Brathay and had a fantastic experience. It could be their own child who went with Young Farmers or another youth group, or an adult who has been involved in training e.g. colleagues in Children’s Services. No matter who they are, they all talk very positively about Brathay and the opportunities it provides. 

      Whilst talking about Brathay we mustn’t forget the great Corporate work that takes place too, as not only does this raise funding for the children’s/young people’s development work but also raises the profile of Brathay’s charitable work amongst corporate clients’ whose staff then get involved in fundraising for Brathay themselves. 

      As Andy spends a fair amount of time away from home working, but also enjoys getting involved in big Brathay fundraising projects such as the Marathon and Row Runner, I need to work with him if I want to see him - hence me getting involved as a Marathon volunteer. That sounds like I volunteer under sufferance and I don’t. It’s a great day with lots of camaraderie and a fantastic atmosphere so no hardship apart from getting up really early. Task wise I’ve stocked water stations, given out radio’s to course marshals, directed runners through road works (only once) and picked up the occasional runner that hasn’t been able to complete the course. 

      The best part of the day is definitely the atmosphere. It’s absolutely electric – before the marathon starts, during the run, at the finishing line and the celebrations afterwards. 

      Runners have told me that what makes the day so special for them is the course itself and the organisation behind the run.  Whilst they find the course really hard work because of the hills, the majestic views they see on the way round seems to compensate for the pain. Additionally they appreciate the organisation that helps them have a successful day. 

      The first year I volunteered I was extremely moved by a woman that was undergoing chemotherapy who had managed to get close to Bowness before feeling too tired to carry on running.  She was absolutely amazing and delighted in what she’d achieved rather than focusing on not finishing. Her attitude was truly inspirational. 

      Have I been inspired to run the marathon? Yes but I’m waiting for the Wi fit version. 

      What do I think of the 10 in 10 runners? They’re amazing, inspirational and completely barking.  I’m wincing in agony just thinking about them.
    • Debbie Shearer

      Debbie Shearer

      2010 was the first time I had volunteered to man a water station, as part of the Cumberland Building Society's sponsorship of the event (I'm Branch Manager Kendal, Windermere & Ambleside). I've worked for them for 21 years and in my spare time I volunteer for the RSPB in Haweswater, helping to look after England's only Golden Eagle.

      I was bowled over by the organisation of the marathon. Everything is meticulously planned and works like a well oiled machine. There is a real sense of community and the atmosphere at the water station when the runners come by is electric - especially early on when lots appear at the same time. My over-riding memory though, is the appreciation of the runners. They were all so polite and some actually thank us for volunteering to be there - yes, people who are mid-way through a gruelling 26 miles are taking the time to thank the support staff - incredible.

      Why is the event so enjoyable? On the basis that any form of marathon running is enjoyable! The best bit of this one must surely be the stunning scenery which they are running around.

      Anecdotes? Well, there's the utter madness of the 10 in 10 runners and the politeness and gratitude of the runners we handed drinks to - really couldn't get over that!

      Have I been inspired to run the marathon myself? For a very brief time. However, my water station was very early on so the runners still looked fresh... the thought soon left my head when I saw them on the other side of the lake!

      I'd rank the athletes taking part (on a scale of 1 to 10) as follows: Main runners, 11 - absolutely barking. 10 in 10 runners - off the scale, utterly insane!

    • The Freemasons

      The Freemasons

      Freemasons have always regarded Charity, the care and support of those less fortunate than ourselves, as one of our most important principles. It is fitting that the Freemasons' Grand Charity have made donations to Brathay Trust during the past few years to assist them in their aims of integrating disadvantaged young people into society. But we know that not only must we give money but our time as well. This is why the Freemasons' Province of Cumberland and Westmorland has been delighted to join our colleagues in the Province of West Lancashire in marshalling the annual Brathay Windermere Marathon; not only does this splendid event provide important funds for Brathay but enables the many competitors to raise sponsorship for their favourite charities.

      Every year we marvel at the athleticism and determination of the runners, and can barely believe than anyone can possibly tackle ten marathons in ten days! And we all so much enjoy a great day out too! 

      As our Provincial Grand Master R.W.Bro. Norman James Thompson says "The Freemasons Grand Charity is a supporter of the Brathay Trust on a national basis and locally the Freemasons of Cumberland and Westmorland are pleased to be able to support the work of the Trust by helping to marshal the Brathay Marathon. Having visited the Trust and seen at first hand the constructive work they do in helping to improve the life choices of the young people who attend the courses run at the centre I hope the Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons can continue to be associated with the work of the Brathay Trust for many years to come." Our Website gives much more information on the many facets of Freemasonry in general and the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland in particular.

  • Marathon personalities

    • Sir Christopher Ball

      Sir Christopher Ball

      Sir Christopher Ball is the Founder of Campaign for Learning, Chairman of Talent Foundation, former Chancellor of University of Derby, Fellow of Brathay Trust……………and Founder of the Brathay 10 in 10! 

      I am thrilled to be a supporter of Brathay Trust and recognise the value of their work with vulnerable children and young people, not only to the young people themselves, but also to society at large. It is satisfying to see the benefits of events like the Brathay Windermere Marathon for young people in underprivileged communities across the country, and a real credit to the runners who raise funds to support Brathay’s cause. 

      I am currently a Fellow of Brathay, and many years ago was Chairman of the Governors. My connection with this charity is really a reflection of the value I place on the work that Brathay does – and the huge impact they have on so many young lives. 

      When I first heard that Brathay was organising a marathon around Windermere this provided an opportunity to realise a personal ambition, to run 10 marathons in 10 days, while raising valuable funds to support disadvantaged young people. 

      I loved the whole experience of the first Brathay 10 in 10 - after all, for those of us who enjoy running, the 10 in 10 is something of a self-indulgence. The finish was obviously very special, but I particularly enjoyed the long days of solo running around the Lake, the local people I met, and the warm support from Brathay.  I have also much enjoyed the idea of holding the age record for the 10 in 10 – I was 72. Good luck to John Dawson this year who is attempting to relieve me of this record – he’ll be 73 years old when he runs 10 in 10 in May! 

      Other memories of spending time with the first group of 10 in 10 athletes include: meeting Joss Naylor…..daily massage..…marmite sandwiches..…and my grandaughter’s comment upon seeing the trophy – “you will be disappointed Grandpa, it’s just a lump of old rock.” The lump of old rock is now one of my most treasured possessions! 

      Sir Christopher Ball, January 2011
    • Joss Naylor

      Joss Naylor

      Joss Naylor really needs no introduction – he’s undoubtedly the most accomplished and iconic endurance fell runner ever.

      “Joss Naylor MBE, sheep farmer turned fell-running celebrity, is a legend. He was born at the head of Wasdale and is still living there. People who know nothing about fell-running know about Joss. In his youth he was a championship runner, excelling in the long distance races that surround his home. As he got older he turned his hand to the ultra-running classics, like the Bob Graham round, and even competed in 100km track races. He is still going strong, completing 70 summits in a long distance run to celebrate his 70th birthday.”  Keith Richardson

       I’ve been involved since the Brathay Windermere Marathon started in 2007, when I became Patron of the event. It’s always wonderful to see all the runners, their families, and friends coming to visit the most beautiful part of the world. 

       I recognise the value of the great work done by the team at Brathay Trust. You have to see them at work to understand the challenges they face and the huge impact they have on so many young lives. Many of the young people have never really enjoyed a childhood in the widest sense, these are the young people who are helped by donations raised during the Brathay Windermere Marathon. The programmes Brathay delivers as a result of the money raised by runners will have a significant lifelong impact on young people. 

      I particularly enjoy the atmosphere at Brathay on marathon day – the excitement as runners warm up, and then the energy as the starting gun sends them off down the road. They start coming in 3 hours later – many walking the final hill before sprinting to the finish. It’s great! 

      What makes this event so special is that families and friends can also have a great day at Brathay Hall while runners race around Windermere. Where else can you run a marathon with scenery like Windermere? The commentary from the first runner to the last as they cross the line is magic – just what runners need after 26.2 miles. 

      The biggest cheers however are always reserved for the 10 in 10 runners. During their time at Brathay they share such a huge experience – the highs and lows! And make friends that will last for ever. That’s true sport!
    • Steve & Teresa Edwards

      Steve & Teresa Edwards

      We’ve been connected to Brathay since 2007 when I completed the inaugural Brathay 10 in 10 and Teresa provided the roadside drinks support to the runners going round the course each day. We both thoroughly enjoyed our time at Brathay and saw first hand not only the importance of the work that Brathay do with disadvantaged children and young people but also what an inspirational place it is. We were both inspired to return to not only raise more money for Brathay but also support an incredible event that we had become extremely passionate about.

      We value the fact that Brathay are taking a lead role in transforming the lives of disadvantaged children, who in many cases, through no fault of their own, find themselves mixed up with the wrong kind of people, doing the wrong things and going nowhere in life. Brathay provides an opportunity for these youngsters to show that there is hope and that there is an alternate path such that they can turn their life around. This is very powerful and indeed life changing.

      Although I had run many marathons including back to back doubles, triples and even a quadruple, I had never even contemplated the thought of running 10 back to back. However, although it seemed a daunting prospect, it was a new and much bigger challenge, something that would not only take a great deal of physical stamina but also great mental strength. It was as exciting as it was daunting and there was something about it that made me decide I had to do it. Seven athletes made history in 2007 when they completed that inaugural challenge and we both still feel very proud and indeed privileged that we were allowed to be a part of it and involved ever since to see it go from strength to strength.

      What do we particularly enjoy about being involved with Brathay’s flagship fundraising event? For us it’s the whole thing, it’s the challenge of the event,  knowing that its one of the toughest athletic events in the UK, the inspirational location, the friendliness and support of Brathay staff, the camaraderie and friendships that develop over those 10 days amongst the athletes, but most of all it’s the fact that we’re helping support and deliver Brathay’s mission by doing something that echoes the Brathay way, something that is not only challenging and inspirational but also life changing.

      Although tough, its probably the course, which is one of the most scenic in the UK, that makes the event so enjoyable and memorable. Having now completed 40 laps around Windermere I never tire of the views and beautiful countryside. Of course the finish line which overlooks the head of Lake Windermere in the grounds of Brathay has to be one of the best (if not the best) finishes of any marathon in the world that I can think of.

      We have many fond memories of our involvement with the Brathay 10 in 10, certainly too many to summarise. For us, it is and always will be a very special event where strangers come together the evening before day 1 and, in many cases, leave as lifetime friends the morning after day 10. We have hundreds if not thousands of photos from the many marathons we’ve attended over the last 30 years, however the only ones that adorn the walls at home are the ones from the Brathay 10 in 10 and Windermere Marathon, which says it all really.

      When Teresa announced her intention to complete just one marathon, she knew which one it had to be, of course it was the Brathay Windermere Marathon. Having witnessed first hand what the 10 in 10 runners had put themselves through over the four years and having driven round the course on no less than 36 occasions, she was inspired to run this marathon as her first. In her words, she also wanted to see what her husband had put himself through over the years. When Teresa crossed the line she said, ‘I enjoyed every moment and am proud to finish my first marathon, but it’s also my last, never again!' I remember saying that 30 years ago but I somehow think Teresa means it! 

      We’ll both be 50 in 2012 and it would be great to come back and celebrate. I’m not sure whether I have another 10 in 10 left in me, but it would certainly be great to complete the 50 laps, we’ll have to see. In the mean time we’d like to sincerely thank Brathay for all the fond memories we have and for giving us the opportunity to play our part in Brathay’s mission, it’s certainly been a fantastic journey which we’ll never forget.

    • Phil Whitehurst

      Phil Whitehurst

      I have been connected to Brathay for over 25 years and seen first-hand the power of their work with young people from all over the UK. Having worked for the charity from 1986 to 1991 I still have many good friends there. Brathay’s ethos and the commitment and expertise of its staff are second to none in the field of developmental education for young people and communities.

      Having run a few marathons myself I couldn’t resist the opportunity to be involved in such a distinctive and special event. The atmosphere of this marathon is a rare combination of professionalism with a genuine warm, friendly welcome – qualities not often found together at other marathons. The highlight for me is watching the runners finish the race and having the opportunity to cheer them across the line. The expressions on their faces are amazing – from joy and excitement, to just plain relief to have finished! 

      The combination of amazing scenery, a challenging course, the support from marshals and spectators around the course, and the finish line overlooking the lake all come together to make this a truly memorable marathon for everyone. The incredible achievements of the 10 in 10 athletes only add to the inspirational scenes. One memory that stands out for me is seeing a family decked out in personalised T-shirts with banners waiting to cheer Dad across the finish line of his first marathon. This really sums up the whole event – huge personal challenge and commitment, together with a sense of community, celebration and fun! 

      Each year I try hard to announce each and every runner as they cross the finish line. However at times when it just gets too busy this is not always achievable – apologies if I missed you. I look forward to seeing you at The Beautiful Marathon in the future.

  • 10in10 runners 2015

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  • What runners say

    "Everything about this race is fabulous. A location from heaven, wonderful course, so much fun and happiness round the route, encouraging marshals, loads to do and see at Brathay - and all in a great cause to help Brathay in its work with disadvantaged young people". Marathon participant 2011

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