Lakes Runner: A Small Independent RunningSshop


This was the website for a great small independent running shop called Lakes Runner located in the heart of the Lake District​ National Park in the UK. I attended a technology conference in Londaon with my boss, Satya Rangarajan. He then returned to the US while I flew to Manchester to meet with several clients for his company, Enlightened Management Corp., a strategic technology advisory group​. I had planned to spend an extra week in the UK on a holiday. Satya had recommended that I check out the Lake District. I had decided to make Amleside as my base of operations since it known for hiking, mountaineering and mountain biking. It was while I was looking at the various shops selling selling equipment for walkers and climbers in the town that I came across Lakes Runner. Their upstairs cafe was a great place to meet local folks. I ended up spending the holiday running, hiking and even mountain biking with several local blokes who I still stay in touch with. When I learned that the shop had let its website's domain registration expire, I decided to buy it and restore one page from the site's 2011-2012 archived content. So this is to fond memories of my time in Amleside and the Lake Runners store.

About Us

Steve Birkenshaw outside the shop

Steve Birkinshaw knackered outside
the shop 83 miles into the Lakeland 100. Steve finished 2nd, completely spent!


Our Shop is located in Ambleside, in the Heart of the Lake District, behind Barclays Bank and the White Lion Hotel. There are some sneaky 1hr disc parking spaces directly outside the shop which are worth checking out.


3/4 Cheapside
LA22 0AB

Tel: 015394 33660


We are open from 9:00am to 5:30pm Monday to Saturday and from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday

Please call in if you are in the area, to check out our latest offerings our just fancy a brew and food at Bilbo's Cafe upstairs!


Lakes Runner is a small independent running shop owned and staffed by local runners. It is important that everyone working here gets out and has first hand experience of the kit we sell. This sounds like a bit of a cliche, but we make our decisions on what we are going to stock based on what we all think works best for the desired end use. Over 90% of the items in the shop will have been tested by at least one member of staff before we decide whether or not to sell them. This is because good, informed, friendly advice is what we pride our shop on.


Performance Programme for Runners

Are you getting all that you want from your running? Do you have a running goal this year?

Then you might want to look at ways to improve your ability and enjoyment!Our programme teaches you practical skills to run effortlessly and efficiently, providing you with a low impact style to stay injury free.You will also learn how to support your training with a radical change in nutritional guidance for increased energy, improved recovery and enhanced performance.Whether you run for yourself, or run to compete, your training should be enjoyable and satisfying. This programme is relevant to runners of all abilities.

Our two specialist speakers, Sports Performance Nutritionist Abby Harman and Alexander Technique Teacher / Pose Running Coach Erica Donnison will guide you through our 4-step programme in a relaxed and social atmosphere as we eat together in Bilbo’s Café (from a menu endorsed by Abby!). The programme is supported by Lakes Runner offering you a unique opportunity to look at some of the latest shoe technology and take advantage of programme-specific promotions from Inov-8, Balega, Clif Bar and Adventure Challenge Solutions.

We would welcome you to extend this invitation to anyone you feel is super-keen about using proven techniques to become truly triumphant in their running, their performance and their enjoyment (so they can keep up with you!)!


Guide to Fell Running

Jon Deegan (Ambleside), Matt Reedy (Ambleside) and Mark Palmer (Mynydd du) Heading up to Stickle Tarn - Langdale fell race, Lakedistrict 2009


A fell is defined in the dictionary as 'a mountain, hill, or tract of upland moor' hence fell running can be seen simply as the act of of running up, down, and amongst these landscapes. In reality, unless you are a seasoned Fell Runner, it will also consist of lots of walking when the ground is too steep or too rough to run on. Most people get into fell running from either a love of the fells, a love of running, or usually a love of both! From the outside looking in it can appear to be a pastime for fools, bringing undue stress and strain on the body, with lung busting climbs and Knee Wrecking Descents, however it is a strangely addictive sport, with an incredibly warm and friendly bunch of participants.

Brief History

No doubt Shepherds, Soldiers and other outdoor folk have been running in the upland areas of Britain for centuries. The first actual fell race recorded in History appears to be when a Scottish king organised a race so he could find a swift messenger to deliver his instructions. This took place in Braemar around 1050!!! Since then Fell Races have been common place at local country fairs and festivals. 'Guides Races' as they are known were a great way for people to establish who was the fittest Shepard or Labourer etc to employ. These races were professional with cash prizes being awarded to the winners and book makers taking bets on the outcome. With the formation of the Amateur Athletics Association in 1880, an amateur form of Fell Racing evolved alongside the professionals, with no cash prizes. Runners were only allowed to compete in one form of racing or another (professional or Amateur), and had to go through a period of not racing if they wanted to switch codes. As you can imagine this caused some major fall outs right up until 1992, when it was declared that anybody could compete in any race.

As you can imagine this long history of Fell Running has been forged out on the classic upland areas of Britain. The Lake District, North Wales, Highlands of Scotland, Peak and Pennines, Northumberland, North Yorkshire and the Mourne Mountains to name but a few of the venues. Legendary race routes and fascinating characters have also developed with many fell running specific clubs being formed along the way. Mention names like Joss Naylor (mbe), Kenny Stuart and Billy Bland to any fell runner and they will recount incredible feats of endurance and remarkable record times. Similarly talk about Grasmere Guides Race, The Ben Nevis Race or the Bob Graham, and they will become animated about sneaky short cuts, hard sections and the epics they have had whilst running those routes. If the History of the sport, its races and characters, really interests you 'Feet in the Clouds' by Richard Askwith gives a brilliant easy reading fuller history.


Getting Started and Training Tips

Fell running by definition is one of the most physically demanding types of running, however this doesn't mean that it is something that everybody shouldn't have a go at. If you can run a few miles on the flat then you can definitely give it a go if you so desire! The Major revelation from a beginners perspective is that the majority of Fell runners fast walk up the steeper gradients (see Kenny Stuart above who was one of the best ever). People think that because its called fell Running you have to be able to run all the hills to attempt it - and that's not the case! The best bet is to set off in your fell shoes over your favourite hill walking circuit, running when you feel like it and walking when you don't. As your fitness gradually improves with practice you will naturally start running more, allowing yourself to tackle longer and more challenging routes. What used to take you 3 hrs to walk you will soon be running in 1hr!

For some people just getting out and running the incredibly beautiful fells of Britain is satisfaction enough, however some of us want to improve and test ourselves in a race or timed situation. This is when the fell running bug becomes a fell racing bug and you are totally hooked! Now training for elite fell racing could be the subject of a whole separate website, but asking around themore training conscientious runners at the club (Ambleside AC) and the following 5 training tips seemed to re occur (most of which are totally common sense):

  1. The more often you run on the fells the better you get at running on them!
  2. The lighter you are the easier it is to run up hill - so try and keep your body fatdown.
  3. Try and do one long steady run (2hrs+) a week.
  4. If you are short on training time, Intervals and Hill Reps can be an effective use of what time you have
  5. Have a goal or race to aimat and focus on improving for that.

A lot of people who are starting out wonder when they are fit enough to try and enter their first fell race. Generally if you can run around a set route in less than double the time it takesthe winner, you are ready to give it a go. So say you want to try Skiddaw Fell Race, if you look at last years winning time, then go and run the identical course from Keswick as fast as you can and see if you are within double that time and so ready to race! When it comes to picking races, you can checkout the FRA (fell running association) event calander. Each Race is given a catagory of both severity and distance, along with height gain, distance and course records (plus all the details on how to enter etc) allowing you to see what would be a suitable first event for you. If you want more detailed info on a particular route so you can go and have a 'reccy' (pre run of the route - highly recomended!), we do maps of the Classic Lake District races with race hints and/or the website of the organising club will normally contain a map of the route for your info. As a general rule its good to start on something that is normally won in an hour or less.

Kit For Fell Running

Fell running is a great sport because, like all running, it requires relatively little equipment to do. The FRA rules for what must be carried during a fell race is a great place to start when looking at the kit you will need. This along with what you wear on your feet and body are the only essentials you need. Obviously if you want to get more scientific with training etc you may want more sophisticated gadgets but these aren't essential.

The Rules state that:

Competitors should arrive at races prepared to carry any or all of the following equipment:
a) Windproof whole body cover.
b) Other body cover appropriate for the weather conditions (waterproofs, hats and gloves).
c) Map and compass suitable for navigating the course.
d) Whistle.
e) Emergency food (long races).

As you are going to be running with this kit, people look for the lightest weight kit that will still function correctly if needed to be used in an emergency/adverse weather.