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Written by George Fisher

Image for article THE STARS ALIGN

At the time of writing, after what seemed a pretty grim grey winter, a cold spring has lingered. However, because I have a strange habit of regularly photographing my feet and posting them to Instagram, I can look back and say to myself; “I’ve had a truly great Spring, and how beautiful the Lake District is whatever the weather”.

I’ve been out in a hat and gloves, and worn my Arc’teryx Atom SL or Patagonia Nano Air for what seems like months, but shorts and skorts are creeping in now.

Every year Salomon holds something called Advanced Week where they get all their sponsored athletes together to look at prototype designs for the future. In previous years they’ve been in glamorous places like Limone, Italy or Mallorca, Spain but this year they chose to base it in Keswick; and Keswick didn’t let them down. It threw all the weather it could at them; sun, rain, wind and snow. All week they were posting pictures and mini movies on Facebook and Instagram. It was very interesting looking at my home town and trails through other people’s eyes; Keswick and its surroundings looked simply stunning, even in the rain. We’re lucky to have Walla Crag and Latrigg on our doorstep, let alone Skiddaw and the Borrowdale and Newlands valleys. I know they’re beautiful places, but on cold grey wet days it’s easy to just put your head down and get on with it, noticing nothing, or just not go out at all.

The Salomon team made a mini movie, what fun they had in the rain, their emphasis was definitely on fun with friends and enjoyment of the outdoors whatever the weather. A lot of their athletes were just finishing their ski season and finding their running legs, but all were ultra-keen to give our legendary Cumbrian fell racing a first shot. The gathering of stars included Kilian Jornet, the Spanish mountain runner widely regarded as the best in the world; New Zealand's Anna Frost, one of the world’s most recognisable ultrarunning competitors, Francois D’Haene from France, the 2014 winner of the Ultra -Trail du Mont-Blanc, plus US runner Max King, the 2014 100km World Champion. Brits included our own Maryport-based Ricky Lightfoot, plus Ellie Greenwood, two-time 100km World Champion.

My favourite sight of that week was a mass start of the 5km and 10km runs starting from George Fisher, when everyone got to run alongside their Salomon heroes and heroines. Thank you Salomon for bringing your Team Salomon family here to Keswick and giving us a worldwide recognition of how special this part of the world is.

Take note any of you who know aspiring runners; Salomon has a Running Academy established to recruit and nurture the next generation of top trail runners. Take a look on their website and start thinking about applying for next year, it could be you; after all many of the great running legends have come out of Cumbria.

Editor’s note: The full Salomon team in Keswick included Kilian Jornet (Spain), Ricky Lightfoot (UK), Anna Frost (New Zealand), Francois D’Haene (France), Tom Owens (UK), Mira Rai (Nepal), Ryan Sandes (South Africa), Emelie Forsberg (Sweden), Laura Orguen (Spain), Remi Bonnet (Switzerland), Dakota Jones (USA), Rickey Gates (USA), Ellie Greenwood (UK), Max King (USA), Emma Clayton (UK), Micha Steiner (Switzerland), Philipp Reiter (Germany), Yngvild Kaspersen (Norway) and Martina Valmassoi (Italy).