Socially distant Brathay 262 held in challenging conditions

262 1
8 Sep

Sunday 5th September saw a return to Brathay's fundraising challenge events....our first since the Christmas Pudding 10k in December.

It was our fifth edition of the Brathay 262 endurance cycling event and another hugely inspirational effort from all riders.

Following the impact of COVID-19 some of this year's participants opted to defer to 2021 and we had to adapt our delivery model to meet government controls and British Cycling guidance for social distancing.

The event started at midnight on Friday with 7 riders attempting to complete 10 laps of Windermere before midnight on Saturday....that's 262 miles of challenging Lake District roads with 19,500ft of ascent! Seeing the riders cope with reduced daylight (the event usually takes place in June), intermittent Cumbrian rain, and staycation traffic only reinforced what a massive challenge Brathay 262 is....one of the hardest road cycling challenges in the UK.

The riders put their physical and mental endurance to the test to raise funds for our work with vulnerable children and young people. Supporters can still donate by visiting the JustGiving links on This Year’s Team.

262 2
Robin Bartlett - first home in 20:20:27

Robin Bartlett from Lancaster completed the challenge in an impressive 20:20:27. He was followed by Garry Barnes in a time of 22:22:25 and Helen Renton in 22:56:02. Garry becomes only the second person to complete the event twice, the other being Steve Jones in 2017 and 2018. Helen becomes the first woman to complete both Brathay 262 and our equivalent marathon running event, Brathay 10in10 – a huge achievement!



Respect and recognition also go to Sonja Farish who did nine laps in 21:54:05; John O’Neil and Sarah Procter who both completed eight laps in 18:08:16 and 19:07:55 respectively; and Ian Hanratty who did a very speedy four laps in 7:08:53. Sonja’s nine laps is the first stage of her Ultimate Tri – she’ll swim the full length of Windermere (that’s 10 miles of open water) later this month and attempt her fifth (!!) Brathay 10in10 starting on 23rd October. Donations to support Sonja's Ultimate Tri can be made here.

“Every year our respect grows for anyone prepared to take on this event – setting out to ride 262 miles with 19,500ft of ascent is a huge undertaking for anyone. This must be the closest thing in road cycling to the Bob Graham Round and might be the hardest road event in the UK?” says our Head of Fundraising, Scott Umpleby.

“This was a particularly challenging year with the event being postponed since June. The reduced daylight and Lake District weather combined to deliver the most challenging conditions in the event's history.

“We would like to thank everyone involved in making Brathay 262 such a success - from the cyclists and their supporters to our amazing volunteers. VOOM Nutrition were very generous with their sponsorship of the event and their 'Pocket Rocket' bars and Hydrate electrolyte drink provided the energy and recovery required to ride 262 miles.” adds Scott.

Brathay 262 was the brain child of Paul Sutherland who ran the course as the Brathay 10in10 in 2015. Since then the record for the fastest men’s time is Keiran Sandham who, in 2018, completed the course in 15:55:56 with an average lap time of 01:35:36. And Heather Martin Dye is the fastest woman. In 2016 she finished the 10 laps in 21:27:00, an average of 02:08:42 for each lap.

Anyone interested in entering the 2021 Brathay 262 can find an enquiry form here.

Results from the event are available here.