Thursday, 14 February 2019 09:44

Icons of cycling and ultra-running to share their stories at Keswick Mountain Festival

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The organisers of Keswick Mountain Festival (KMF) have unveiled headline speakers for this year’s event, with appearances by iconic names from cycling and ultra-running. 

Hosted in the Theatre by the Lake on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May, the line-up includes Graeme Obree, Jasmin Paris, Billy Bland and Steve Birkinshaw.  Tickets for the speaker programme will go on sale from Thursday 14 February.

Graeme Obree in action 002

Launched in 2007, Keswick Mountain Festival has grown into one of the UK’s best-loved outdoor festivals, attracting thousands of people to Cumbria every year.  KMF delivers a unique mix of live music, sporting events, outdoor adventures, high profile speakers, taster activities, exhibitor stands and camping for all of the family.  Once again, the heart of Keswick Mountain Festival will be the Festival Village on Crow Park, where the Subaru Stage will have the backdrop of Derwentwater and the Lakeland fells that surround it, providing a stunning setting for live music.  The 2019 Keswick Mountain Festival will run from Thursday 16 May until Sunday 19 May.

Headlining ‘Bike Night’ on Friday 17 May will be Graeme Obree – also known as ‘The Flying Scotsman’ – whose long career has been an inspiration for cyclists around the world.  The two-time world hour distance record holder will talk about all things cycling in the theatre from 7:30pm, with tickets from £10-£15.  Earlier the same day at 4:00pm, KMF will screen Time Trial, a film featuring David Millar, the only British rider to have worn all of the Tour de France jerseys.  Entry will be free to festival weekend ticket holders and £5 for other visitors (NB – the film includes strong adult language and is not suitable for children).

Ultra-running enthusiasts are promised a very special evening at Keswick Mountain Festival on Saturday 18 May, with an evening devoted to the Bob Graham Round, one of the most celebrated challenges in endurance sport.  KMF has assembled a panel of ultra-running heroes, featuring some of the most renowned names in the sport, including the legendary Billy Bland and, fresh from her stunning victory in the Montane Spine Race, Jasmin Paris.  Also participating will be: Steve Birkinshaw, record holder for completing the Wainwrights in a continuous round, and multiple winner of the OMM and many other adventure and fell races; Martin Stone, co-winner of the first ever Dragon’s Back Race in 1992; and Steve Chilton, renowned fell runner and author of books such as ‘The Round’ and ‘Running Hard’.  The panel will discuss the enduring appeal of the Bob Graham Round and share their own experiences of tacking the world-famous challenge.  During the evening, guests will also have the opportunity to see a short film of Killian Journet’s Bob Graham run in 2018, when he smashed the 36-year-old record time for completing the round.  Tickets for the Bob Graham Round evening cost from £10-£15.

Jasmin Paris heading uphill during the UTMB 002

Nicola Meadley, KMF Festival director, comments: “We’ve secured some amazing speakers for this year’s festival – they will really appeal to the thousands of outdoor sports enthusiasts who will be heading for Keswick in May.  Graeme Obree’s career and reputation speak for themselves and his achievements are rightly revered in the cycling world.  And the profile of ultra-running has never been higher, thanks in no small part to the recent achievements of Jasmin Paris.  We’re delighted that Jasmin will be sharing the stage with fellow legends Billy Bland, Steve Birkinshaw, Martin Stone and Steve Chilton, and of course the Bob Graham Round is a hugely appropriate topic to discuss during a festival in the Lake District.”

Steve Birkinshaw on Carrock Fell during his record breaking Wainwrights run 002

Tickets for the speaker sessions at Keswick Mountain Festival will be available from Thursday 14 February at https://www.theatrebythelake.com/keswick-mountain-festival (the link will go live on Thursday morning).  To find out more about this year’s festival, visit www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk or Facebook, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or follow @keswickfestival on Twitter and Instagram.