The event

The next Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge will take place on the 9th May 2021. The lead up to the event begins in early December when the Advance entries open. In early January the main entry will open to the public. This is a lottery system – in others words, rather than being ‘first come first served’ it means that once you have registered the details will go into a lottery for the 2000 available places. This lottery is drawn towards the end of January and riders will be notified by email.

What if I don’t get a place?
You can put your name down on a reserve list to take the place of someone who can’t fulfil their entry. Plus by volunteering as a marshal you can guarantee your place in the next Fred Whitton Challenge.

It is with deep regret that we are having to cancel this year’s event. After many discussions with the Fred Whitton Steering Group it has been decided that to change the date to later in the year was not practical considering the current international fight against COVID-19.

We did consider moving the event to a later date, but this proved difficult with the venue, daylight hours and volunteer staff. The last thing we would want to happen is to rearrange the date, allow you all to reschedule you plans and accommodation and then have to cancel again due to further disruption.

We have therefore decided to move all entries on the 2020 rider list to Sunday 9th May 2021, no additional cost with be incurred to yourselves. Throughout the year more information will be placed on our website, and all riders will receive reconfirmation of a place early in 2021.

Thanks for being patient with us while we made this decision, we will make 2021 better than ever to make up for our loss this year. We will still be supporting our special charities who more than ever will need to make use of all our donations this year. Therefore, all donations that were given by riders this year will be passed on to the charities concerned.

Thanks again from all on the Fred Whitton Steering Group, we hope you make it safe and well through the rest of this year, and will see you on the start line in 2021!

What to expect on the Day

We have been running the event for the past 20 years so it is very organised with lots of volunteers and marshals on hand to make your day as memorable as possible from parking when you arrive to ensuring your safety throughout the day. Located at the Grasmere Showground, we have a streamlined registration process to make it as quick as painless on the day. There is a marquee serving food and drink, merchandise stand, toilets and a wash down area for your bikes. There is a maintenance crew on hand for any last minute repairs and even a live band to entertain those early arrivers! We can promise unpredictable weather – we have had scorching hot days and snow through the years so come prepared for anything. The only things we can’t supply are showers and a good signal for your mobile phone!


You can arrange to see riders at certain places, but wherever possible, please avoid using the event route to get there. Do not try to meet riders on Hard Knott, Wrynose and Blea Tarn Passes – there is simply not room and these roads are closed, you can park up and walk but parking places are scarce. A good place to see riders is at the top of Whinlatter, where there is a café and (charged) parking. Another place for seeing the riders on route is the Fans Zone at the Wainwright’s Hotel, Chapel stile in Langdale.


  • All riders must wear a helmet and carry a long-sleeved wind/waterproof.
  • No following cars or motorbikes
  • No fancy dress
  • No litter!
  • Standard (road or mountain*) bikes/tandems only.
    Not allowed: Small wheel bikes, Choppers, fat bikes, electric bikes, fold-up bikes, Fix bikes, Tri-bars.
  • We recommend using a road bike with low gears or a not-too-heavy mountain with slicks
  • For full terms please see our Event Terms & Conditions

All the marshals, cycling clubs, volunteers and supporters were simply incredible on the day and made the event even better than it already is. It’s what makes Fred Whitton so special. You can tell a lot of work had also gone in prior to the event. Can’t thank you all enough, you are all amazing

Michael Harrison

On the Day

  • Pack Registration
    On the event weekend, riders need to register for the event. Registration opening times are: Saturday -1pm–5pm  •  Sunday  6am–7:45am
  • Start Times
    Riders can start any time between 6am-8am
  • Event information
    You can view all information about the event on the route page, and in the FAQs. More information will be provided by email in the run-up to the event.
  • Photographs
    Our official event photographer is Steve Fleming, the award-winning sports and event photographer. The FWC images will be available after the event here via his website.
  • Merchandise
    Purchase your official event jersey and merchandise from our online shop The Official Fred Shop. All pre-ordered merchandise can be picked up from the merchandise stand on Saturday or Sunday by showing a form of photo ID.
  • Charity Donations
    We encourage riders to donate and fundraise to our chosen charities
  • Withdrawing
    If you are unable to ride for any reason, please let us know ASAP at [email protected]
  • Please also note
    All riders must wear a helmet and carry a waterproof
    Tri bars are not allowed
    No following cars or motorbikes
    No litter!

Routes to FWC Entry

You can guarantee your place in the event before the lottery stage if you will guarantee to raise at least £250 for our registered charities by paying this ‘up front’ with your entry fee when you register.  The cost of charity entry is the £250 sponsorship paid with entry, which will all go to our charities, plus the event entry fee of £60. Please note this charity entry is only available for the three charities we support – North West Air Ambulance, . The Special Charity Entry is not available for Macmillan Cancer Support who are the main charity that the Fred Whitton supports with the event.

Advance entry is also available:

  • if we’ve emailed you offering a deferred entry
  • for people who withdrew from previous year’s event and were replaced
  • to volunteers (people who helped at the previous year’s event),
  • or complimentary entry (people who raised over £500 for our charities in this year’s event).

Riders from overseas

There are also some places available for genuine riders living abroad.

For the lottery entry we will favour first-time riders in the event, by reserving a number of places for people who haven’t ridden our event before. So when you enter the Lottery you’ll be asked if you’ve ridden the event before (be honest, we’ll check), and a draw will first be done for 400 first-time rider places, followed by a second draw for the remaining places. Any first-time riders who don’t get a place in the first draw will go into the second draw as well, so first-time riders will get two chances in the draws. We’ll email you to let you know if you have a place in the event (if you are not successful you can join a reserve list). If you do get a place in the event then then you will be given 7 days to complete the entry fee payment, or your place will go to the next riders on the reserve list.

You’ll also be able to enter the lottery either individually or as a group of up to 4 people. If you enter as a group then the group will get one ticket in the lottery and if that ticket is chosen then the whole group will get places in the event. This means that your group will either all get places or none get places in the event; this will suit you if you only want to ride the event if your friends can also ride (e.g. if you want to travel together to the event). Please make sure you have read the all the FWC T&Cs, and please note anyone with multiple entries will be excluded from the draw.

For the unsuccessful riders there will be a reserve list to subscribe to, and we will offer any cancellation places that become available to people on the reserve list. The reserve list will operate on a first come basis, so the sooner you apply the better. We’ll email you to let you know if you have a place in the event (if you are not successful you can join a reserve list). If you do get a place in the event then then you will be given 7 days to complete the entry fee payment, or your place will go to the next riders on the reserve list

This is a special entry offered to anyone who volunteers at the event in the previous year. Only ‘official’ registered volunteers are eligible. 

Grasmere Showground

The official Start and Finish for the past few years is the centrally located showground in the beautiful Lakeland village of Grasmere. This has been the location for the world-famous Grasmere games for over 150 years.


First Fred Whitton Challenge


Event moved to Grasmere


Reached £1 million donation target


Reached £1 million for MacMillan

Friends of the Fred

Want to get involved?

It takes over 350 registered volunteers to keep the Fred Whitton Challenge going. If you’d like to help out at the event jobs for volunteers vary depending on location, time of day and skills. Please register your interest before the event. All volunteers are guaranteed a place on the following years' ride.

Or you can donate to any of our chosen charities. All donations are well received and go to helping fund these fantastic services in the community.