Mountain Run
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About us

Mountain Run is for runners who want to run faster, stronger and safer over extreme terrain. If you’ve got your sights set on a new mountain running challenge, whether it’s your first mountain run, your first sky race or even a Bob Graham Round, you’ve come to the right place.

From big days in the hills to a well-earned pint in our Lake District local, our skills weekends, guiding services and route recce trips get right to the heart of what mountain running is all about. Meet like-minded mountain lovers, gain skills and experience, and take your running to the next level.

Meet the Core Team

Mountain Run was founded by Charlie Sproson, course planner and race director of some of the Lake District's toughest and most iconic trail races including Scafell Sky Race & Lakes Sky Ultra: see the full list of his upcoming races here. He is supported by a team of experts who share his commitment to delivering mountain running experiences for trail, sky and ultra runners of all abilities.

Charles Sproson: Mountain Run founder, Creative Ideas/Development and Courses, Guide for Skyrunning, Bob Graham's, Trail Running, Tech Skills and Pole Running Expert

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Charlie delivering our first Women's Ultra Skills Weekend 2024 ©TanyaRaabPhotography

Charlie created Mountain Run to share his love and experience of running in the mountains. A qualified Mountain Leader, Charlie’s mountain running CV includes a number of mountain marathon podiums, two Bob Graham rounds, a Lakeland Classic Rock Round and an on- sight Ramsay Round in the Scottish Highlands and the Paddy Buckley Round in Wales. Charlie has also completed the Dragons Back Race in 2012, finishing in 12th position.

Through Mountain Run, Charlie has coached countless runners to run more confidently and safely over extreme terrain. He specialises in all aspects of trail, sky and ultra running, including running with poles, and has also supported and enabled a growing number of safe and successful Bob Graham rounds: his current count stands at around 20+, including the 5th fastest Bob Graham Round ever recorded (completed in summer 2017), the 3rd fastest Winter Round (January 2017), fastest Ladies Winter Round (December 2018) and Winter Record Round with Kim Collison [another Mountain Run Guide] (December 2019).

When he isn’t running in the mountains, you will find him planning races: Charlie is the creator of Scafell Sky Race and Lake District Sky Ultra, and the Race Director of Keswick Mountain Festival Trail Races. His course planning CV includes many of the Lake District’s most popular and iconic races – think Great Lakeland 3 Day, Marmot Dark Mountains, Rab Mountain Marathon, Keswick Mountain Festival Trail Races, Pinnacle Ridge Extreme and more. See the full list of Charlie's upcoming races here.

Note: Charlie is very much into Skimo racing and does it or trains for it, when he can.

Meet The Freelance Guiding Team

Danielle Ledbury: Mountain Leader, Trail and Fell/Mountain Running Adventure Guide, Navigation Coach

Danielle running to 10th place in the Rab Scafell Sky Race 2023 ©RouteNorthPhotography

Danielle loves any kind of time outdoors, exploring all terrains from scramble bogs to ridges, she came to the lakes in 2019 for climbing and discovered a love of fell running, which then lead to competing in sky and ultra races, including 2nd place in Pinnacle ridge extreme 2021 and 5th in Lakes in a day 2021, she is now returning to competing since becoming a mother learning a lot from the process.

Danielle has a background in Arts education and now works for an outdoor education charity. She has a passion for creativity and in particular photography. She has published a book called Why We Run: tales of fell and trail running in the Lake District, interviewing runners about their ‘why’ and collecting their fascinating stories.

She is a Summer ML and uses it to guide runners, walks and photographers to experience the beauty of the lake district landscape. She has a passion for the fells and mountains with a great deal of long adventure experience including climbing 4000m peaks in the alps, bike-packing across Kyrgyzstan, running the Cuillin ridge and the Welsh 3000s.

Sean Bolland: Mountain Leader, Online and Face to Face Navigation Coach, plus mountain running guide.

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Sean Bolland running well in the Buttermere Sailbeck 2016 Fell Race ©

Sean has over 30 years mountain running experience. Growing up, Sean was involved in British Orienteering which helped develop his navigation skills.

As an accomplished fell runner, Sean has placed well in British and English Fell Championships. With his interest and success in fell running and navigation, an obvious next step was to compete in mountain marathons. Sean is a previous OMM Elite class winner.

As a cyclist, particularly mountain biking, Sean has competed in numerous Polaris Mountain Bike Challenges (now The OMM Bike), even winning a few!

As well as a running guide, Sean delivers navigation coaching to runners and hikers alike.

Louise Greenwood: Trail and Fell Running Guide

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Louise competing in the FRA Fell Relay's 2019

Louise came from a road and trail running background in Portugal, and discovered a love of fell and mountain running on moving to the UK.

She has competed regularly for her club in fell and mountain relays, as well as solo in long mountain races and completed Dragons back in 2019. Just as important as racing is time out in the hills, creating fantastic memories and enjoying adventures with friends.

For Louise running is all about the journey, the joy and living in the moment in our most beautiful places. She loves to share her passion for the fells with other runners, especially those new to the sport, or taking their first steps into exploring the mountains.

Rob Brown: Guided Running Adventures, Bob Graham Guiding, Navigation and Skyrunning Coach

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Rob on his way to winning the very wet and windy 2023 version of the Rab Pinnacle Ridge Extreme ©RouteNorthPhotography

Rob loves adventure in the mountains, be this running, scrambling, climbing or biking or a mixture of all 4. He has been sharing his passion for wild places as an outdoor instructor for the last 15 years and has led folk on exped’s in New Zealand, the US, Borneo and more recently the English Lake District.

Rob loves all types of running and is very skilled across the disciplines of fell, trail, mountain and roads. His highlights include summer and winter Bob Graham Rounds, both Sub 22hrs, winning his first fell race last year, taking 2nd place in the epic Marmot Dark Mountains A Class twice in a row (2016 and 2017). He is no slouch either, with a marathon time at London of 2:34:00.

Recently Rob competed in the PTL [UTMB] from Chamonix with MR Guide, Sam Hill, which is a mere 186 miles with only 82000ft of ascent [121h56m49s] . He also won the ELS2900 in Andorra [7 peaks above 2900m] with his good friend and MR Guide, Kim Collison

Rob loves nothing more than dreaming up new challenges to share with friends and clients in the mountains moving fast, light and free.

Steve Hopwood - Guided Running Expert, Navigation Coach and Tech Skills Coach

Steve Hopwood racing for Ambleside AC

Steve moved to the Lake District to really focus on his climbing but very quickly fell in love with mountain running and started to enjoy longer and longer days out on the fells moving fast.

Ultra distance races and challenges soon became what inspired and motivated Steve to push hard in the fells. A sub 20 hour Bob Graham round, a 5hr 44min Abrahams Tea Round as well as a 4th place at The Lap & 5th at The Grand Tour of Skiddaw are a handful of recent achievements.

Steve has also tried his hand at multi day running challenges including the Cape Wrath Trail & Pennine Way, however 150 miles seems to be the current limit.

He has supported multiple Bob Grahams & currently the only successful winter Steve Parr round.

Steve is also a top level technical skills coach and always ready to help runners move slicker and faster through the fells with more efficiency.

Hugh Chatfield: Navigation Coach and Guided Running Adventures

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Hugh having fun over Crib Goch on his way to win the DBR

Hugh is an elite mountain ultra and fell runner. Day to day Hugh works for a charity helping people facing barriers to employment into work, but weekend to weekend he's out on the hills and fells of the Snowdonia, The Peaks and the Lakes.

Hugh's impressive running track record - following a switch from ironman triathlons, - includes winning the Dragon's Back Race (380k, 6 days) in 2023, winning Tour De Helvellyn 2023 and 2022 (current course record holder), winning the Helvellyn Sky Ultra 2023, a top 20 Bob-Graham time when he did it, 4th at Ulta Trail Snowdonia, and a bunch of podiums in (original) mountain marathons, peak raid navigation events and traditional fell races.

As a qualified Mountain Leader, Hugh is looking motivated by teaching others to navigate and move efficiently in the mountains so they can be safe and nail the lines on race day.

Chris Wright: Guided Running Adventures

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Chris on his most recent Bob Graham Round attempt, September 2023 ©Chris Wright Collection

Chris has a wealth and breadth of leading in the mountains, both UK and further afield. An ex secondary school teacher, Chris has actively used his Summer ML for the past 30 years and Winter ML for 15 years. His leadership role with youth expeditions has taken him as far afield as Svalbard, Kyrgyzstan and Malawi, in addition to many personal trips to Ecuador and Nepal (including the Original Everest Marathon 2019) plus many Alpine Mountaineering adventures. Chris is a qualified Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor and is often seen guiding on Skye's Cuillin Ridge.

With an earlier career as an academic and Science PhD, Chris has a good knowledge base and keen practical interest in human physiology and biochemistry, understanding the theory behind training, nutrition and performance.

He switched from pure classroom teaching to the outdoors in 2009 after studying for a PGCE in Outdoor Education at Edinburgh, and becoming an advocate for Kurt Hahn's Experiential Learning, and has never looked back.

Chris started running Mountain Ultramarathons in his 50s and is no stranger to pushing himself to his limits, having passed the notoriously hard Parachute Regiment selection test in his late 30's, serving in the 4th Batallion reservists. Since completing his first Ultra in 2012, the Lakeland 50, Chris has gone on to complete the CCC (2014) and the prestigious UTMB in 2018. More recently, he was a finisher in the Winter Spine race in 2023, having previously volunteered on the safety team. He is currently in training for a Bob Graham attempt and is also a member of a local Mountain Rescue Team.

Chris professes to be 'an ordinary bloke' who is self taught through reading volumes of information, and experimenting with his own training and racing. His mantras include: 'its never too late' and 'you never know what you can or can't do until you try'.

Matt Stapley: Skyrunning/Sc-run-bling* Coach, Navigation Coach, Winter Skills Coach, Bob Graham and Running Guide

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Matt working his way through the awesome 'Lakes in a Day' event

Matt loves to be out exploring in the mountains in any way, running, biking, climbing, scrambling. He's been guiding folk out into the mountains for 17 years now. He loves the buzz of sharing his hard earned skills and knowledge with clients and friends and feels complete to have done so.

Matt mainly work in the Lake District in Spring, Summer and Autumn and during the winter heads up to Scotland for the Winter Climbing season, but has lead expeditions up big mountains in European Alps, South America, Africa and the Himalayas.

When a passion for long distance triathlons led to a love of running in the mountains, Matt turned to Fell Running and Mountain Marathons as his main styles of choice of poison but with more and more mountain ultra distance races and events over the past few years.

Races of note to Matt's quiver:

  • Dark Mountains for the last 4 years. 2nd in C class 2018+2019
  • Lakes in a day 3 times
  • Bob graham 22:38
  • South downs way 100 19:54
  • Multiple OMM’s
  • Multiple Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathons

There is nothing Matt would rather do than spend hours on end in the mountains and he has supported countless friends summer, and winter, Bob Graham Rounds including Kim Collison's very recent Winter BG record breaking round.

Matt says; "I've done just loads of multi day personal adventure with friends finding out what it's possible to do.... if it sounds like a daft idea I’m usually the first to volunteer!"

* Sc-run-bling - to combine running with scrambling [skyrunning]

Mark Brightwell: Guided Running Adventures and Bob Graham Guide

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Mark Brightwell

Mark is a Lakes-based guide with a broad life experience that includes a career in the Gurkhas, relief and development work in Nepal, expedition leadership and professional photography.

Mark is Wim Hoff Method trained as a practitioner of breath work and cold water immersion. He has also evolved his own yoga practice and developed expertise in nutrition, navigation, movement and the psychology of performance.

Mark has been involved in mountain running communities in the UK, Alps and Himalaya.

Whilst living in Nepal he raced the Annapurna and Manaslu trail races however, most of all, Mark advocates exploring your backyard, running your home races and working outward: hence The Dragons Back, Glencoe Skyline and Mountain Run’s Lakes Sky Ultra, as well as a host of local fell races and personal challenges.

By qualification Mark is an International Mountain Leader, Winter Mountain Leader, Climbing Instructor and Paddle Sport Coach. He is also a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician and holds an MSc in Environmental Technology.

Client review: "When I think about what makes a good guide I think of things like: engaging, fun, easy to talk with, ability to seamlessly manage group dynamics and personalities, ability to make everyone regardless of skill level feel part of the team, ability to build trust, high degree of mastery of his craft, humble yet a great leadership presence and calm under pressure. Mark displayed all of those characteristics with excellence! He is someone I would trust my life with in the mountains as well as a guy I'd want to go to the pub with afterwards!"

Dave Thorp: Guided Running Adventures

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Dave Thorp racing in the Rab Scafell Sky Race 2023 ©eXtreme Exposures

Dave moved to the Lakes in the winter of 2018 to pursue what he loves doing more than anything else...running in the mountains.

His entry to the world of mountain running was through single and multi-day mountain marathon events [navigational challenge races], but this soon progressed to longer fell races, and ultra-distance mountain/sky races eventually became his focus.

Dave loves pushing himself in the mountains and seeing what he's capable of, and his training now is geared towards both summer and winter Bob Graham rounds.

More than anything Dave just loves being outside moving through the mountains.

As an ecologist by trade, his connection to nature is the most important thing and he feels that running in the Lake District is as pure as it gets.

Luke Armitage: Running Guide, Skyrunning Coach, Bob Graham Guide and Navigation Trainer with First Aid skills and knowledge

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Luke Armitage enjoying time with his dog in the Cumbrian Fells

Although being brought up in the midlands he has been coming to the Lake District all his life and has lived here for 12 years.
Long distance running has always been a passion starting at school running 1500m to county level.
Ever since living in the Lake District, Luke has rock climbed, which has taken him all over the world. As a climber he is not afraid of the rough and steep terrain of the Cumbrian fells and completed the Bob Graham in 2015.

His current training is focused on completing the Charlie Ramsay Round and some of the long classic races in the UK.
With a degree in outdoor leadership, Luke brings different aspect to running from geomorphology and weather systems to anatomy and physiology.
Luke other work is as a first aid trainer and is a volunteer for one of the local mountain rescue teams.

Meet our Partners:

HP3 Coaching | Tim Pigott - sports physiotherapist: Injury and coaching specialists

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Tim racing in Europe
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Tim racing in Europe

Tim is a sports physiotherapist, academic, and endurance coach at HP3, with over 20yrs experience working with beginners through to international & Olympic athletes from a multitude of sports. Coupled with nutrition coaching (Precision Nutrition 1), Strength & Conditioning, Retül Bike Fit (IBFI 4), British Triathlon level2 and British Athletics Coach in Running Fitness, he can help you return to, or realise your potential. His area of expertise is working with athletes who have been struggling with illness or injury and returning them to peak performance, particularly the longer distance events.

This coupled with his own experience as a multisport athlete returning to competition after serious trauma places him in a unique position to particularly help guide and coach athletes back to peak performance following injuries or layoffs. He has been racing for 30years from 1500m track to 100mile+ trail and mountain races, sprint triathlons through to Ironman, and everything in between. Tim has coached athletes working towards their first marathon, through to elite runners and triathletes’ competing on the world stage. As a university researcher in physio & biomechanics, Tim is passionate about taking cutting-edge research and applying it to our athletes in the field.

Shelley Barlow: Yoga for Runners

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Shelley during a yoga pose at the awesome Wast Water

Shelley is a mountain all-rounder and a qualified yoga teacher, specialising in teaching the posture, flexibility and strength that are so important for mountain runners

A committed skier, a seriously accomplished mountain biker with mixed team Polaris wins under her belt, mountain runner, and the first female to traverse the mountains of New Zealand on skis, her yoga teachings bring an extra dimension to several Mountain Run training weekends.

Image credits: We are grateful to talented photographers Steve Ashworth and James Appleton for the images used throughout this site.

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