Kendal Mountain Festival 2020 – It’s online & here are my top pics!

It’s that time of year again, my favourite week, up there with the Skyline Scotland weekend for events I just can’t miss.

Well, as you can guess, this year is different.

I’ve been going to Kendal Mountain Festival since 2011, covering the last 5-7 years for Myoutdoors and myself. It marks the end of year and the change of seasons, a chance to catch up with many faces I will not see on any other dates throughout the year, a time for many suprises, uncovering other aspects/personalisties of the outdoor scene I would otherwise miss.

But miss you shall not.

With only a handful of days to go, the festival team are in full swing to bring this huge event to a digital audience, which means for many, their first opportunity to visit the big outdoor bonanza. You now don’t need to travel to Kendal, in the Lake District, instead able to view from the comfort of your own home or camper, if you want to keep the dirtbag life alive.

Furthermore, rather than being the week, the festival is now a 10 day long LIVE and ON Demand service, with viewing running till the 31st December, so you can watch at your pleasure and when it suits you.,

Below is a taster of some of the sessions and activities I think you may be interested in, but, please take into account the festival offering is HUGE! You and I would both be bored if I listed everything and as if they knew this would be the case, the team at Kendal Mountain Festival have their on-line programme to aid you pick and chose what to feast your senses on.

Full online programme available here

Film Sessions

There is always a deep library of content to view at the festival, whether on the big screens or the small break out sessions. This year, many film projects have been put on hold, however, many have taken the opportunity to self film FKTs and running challenges during the numerous global lockdowns.

Totally FKT with John Kelley and Damian Hall

I know what you’re thinking, Damian is the first pick, when will this guy take a break? Well, if you know anything about this summer’s exploits on the Pennine Way and the UK’s rounds, you’ll know this pair turned lockdown conditions into an amphitheatre of endurance running.

Kendal Say;

“On 16 July, ultra-runner John Kelly broke a 31-year-old record by traversing the Pennine Way in two days, 16 hours and 46 minutes. The US athlete, now based in Bristol, beat the record held by Mike Hartley since 1989 by just 34 minutes, battling illness and fatigue as he traversed the 261 miles from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. Great Britain’s oldest – and arguably toughest – National Trail, incorporating around 37,000ft of gruelling ascent.

Six days later, on 22 July, Damian Hall set out from Kirk Yetholm in the opposite direction, set on beating Kelly’s time. 61 hours and 34 minutes later he arrived in Edale, having set a new record, quicker by 3 hours.

How did a 31-year-old record come to be bettered twice in a week? The secrets are contained in a new film by Ellie and Matt Green from Summit Fever Media who were on the hill and behind the scenes for both attempts. In this gripping documentary we learn about the planning, the pacing and the pain involved in long-distance ultras as we get to know Kelly – one of the famous 15 to have completed the Barkley Marathons and experienced Ironman triathlete – and Hall, holder of several British FKT’s including the Paddy Buckley Round, Cape Wrath Trail and the South Wales Traverse.

Ellie and Matt, plus John and Damian, join is for this exciting world premiere on stage in Kendal with a live Q&A after the screening. Find out what happened behind the camera, and whether John and Damian are still best buddies…”

Sunday 22nd November – tickets here

Run Collection

The festival says;

“We open with a young man running home. A start point, a destination, a familiar landscape. Running at its most natural; stripped back, personal. Getting back to the core of why we run has been important to many of us this year, so we love the honesty of Running Thoughts, the activism and generosity of This Land and Chase, Run, Fly. Imagine and 47 Copa throw us into the challenge of the race, but with heart and authenticity. The Corris Round takes us back to mentorship, and individual motivation; and that’s what Kendal is all about; sharing the sport, and staying psyched. Enjoy watching, and keep running.”

Screening from 19th November – tickets here

Bike Collection

The festival says;

“Just two wheels… it’s amazing what the bike has done for humanity. In this film collection we round up some incredible stories of community, travel, athleticism, artistry and some proper good humour. Whether riding drunk or riding in the (continual, Scottish) rain, aiming for speed, enlightenment or bragging rights, these cyclists are freewheeling through life, no brakes applied.”

Screening from 19th November – tickets here

The Infinite Race

The festival says;

“A decade after the publication of Christopher McDougall’s bestseller, Born to Run, the reclusive indigenous Tarahumara marathon runners of Northern Mexico still fight for their survival and to preserve their traditions. An in-depth portrait of the community’s attempts to overcome extreme threats of nearby drug cartels and diminishing crops, focusing on the annual 50-mile race in Urique in 2015.”

Screening from 19th November – tickets here

Speakers & Sessions

Bike Night

One of the most famous nights of Kendal, this is for all those who love trails, loam & raw action!

Kendal say;

“The legendary BIKE NIGHT returns for a packed two hours online this year, featuring top names and filmmakers from the world of MTB. 

Fresh from his incredible victory at the World Championships in Leogang, Reece Wilson joins us to share insights into his winning run and what the future holds for this superb downhill talent from Scotland.

Joining Reece will be fellow downhill prodigy and Trek Factory Racing teammate Kade Edwards. We’re equally excited to announce that joining us live from Canada will be the incredible Casey Brown. Casey absolutely rips on a bike, and the world always stops to watch! A stalwart of the Crankworx scene, Casey is frequently winning these events. Her escapes in video are well known, bringing an effortless style that is addictive to watch.”

All this plus surprise new films and gear to win on the night. Bike Night is well and truly back! 

Live Friday 20th November 8PM – tickets here

Mountain Running Session

Kendal say;

“In the world of mountain running, 2020 has been an extraordinary year. Records have tumbled, with new FKTs (Fastest Known Times) being established across some of the toughest and most gruelling challenges. Thousands of avid ‘dot-watchers’ found themselves glued to their screens, watching the progress of amazing athletes they as took on some of the UK’s most notorious and long-lived ultra-running records. 

Join us for a fantastic evening, bringing you some of the personalities involved. Sabrina Verjee will talk about her Wainwrights record attempt, plus her recent women’s FKT on the Pennine Way. Kim Collison and Carol Morgan extended the overall and women’s Lakeland 24-hour records, while Beth Pascall ran the fastest Bob Graham Round. Then, out of nowhere, George Foster recently ran the second-fastest BGR ever. Plus Rowan Wood joins us to describe what it’s like to run up and down his stairs 3,782 times, the equivalent of climbing Everest, for charity during lockdown.

All live on stage to recount their experiences, interviewed by TV presenter and ultra runner Lowri Morgan. A fun evening full of insight, inspiration and much more; extra films and surprise guests guaranteed!”

Live Thursday 19th 8PM – tickets here

Carla Molinaro & Dan Lawson – LEJOG

Kendal Say;

“This year has seen long distance records tumble, and the iconic Lands End to John O’Groats record was no different. This summer two runners, Carla Molinaro and Dan Lawson, took on the epic route with the aim of beating the longstanding men’s and women’s records.

On 16th August, Dan Lawson completed the LEJOG run in 9 days 21 hours 14 minutes and 2 seconds, beating the previous peer-acknowledged and authenticated record by Richard Brown which had stood for 25 years. We’re delighted to be able to share the world premiere of Dave Macfarlane’s new film about Dan’s feat.

Carla will also be with us to share her LEJOG story. As the world went into lockdown, Carla could see all her races disappearing before her eyes and felt that she should use the opportunity of a free calendar to plan an adventure. She decided that three months later she would take on this challenge and try to break the world record at the same time. On 16 July she set off on what would be the most painful journey she had ever undertaken. Over the next 12 days Carla battled with legs that felt like they had been bashed with a stick, ulcers in her mouth from eating and drinking too much, a skin infection in her shin and, on the last day, a northerly storm. But 12 days, 30 mins and 14 seconds later she reached John O’Groats breaking the world record by 10hrs 36 minutes.”

Friday 27th November 8PM – Tickets here

Get Active and Involved!

Adidas Terrex Virtual 10KM

Over the weekend of 21st – 22nd November, run 10km anywhere in the world to join in with the run and log your run for a chance to win prizes. No more running the first hill up the back side of kendal, destroying lungs and blowing through lactate threshold limits, you pick your route.

Kendal say;

It’s free!

It’s virtualYou don’t have to run around Kendal – you can run where ever you are in the world

You have 2 days to complete

It’s a run not a race

Optional participant runners patch

Prize draw: win a pair of adidas Terrex footwear

Full details and how to register here


I am stoked to share that at 10AM on Saturday 28th November, we can all unite and clean our trails, rivers and wild places. Remember to adhere to local guidance and remain COVID safe (ppe, hand sanitiser, litter pickers, common sense) and share your finds online.

And yes, Trash Free Trails are part of this!

Full details here

So, this really is the tip of the iceberg, a taster of what is on offer at Kendal Mountain Festival. In a time where motivation may be running low and we all want some adventure in our lives, there could be no better place to find some ideas for the months ahead.

This is not a paid advertisement or sponsored post