Go outdoors in thrilling festival

Outdoor City Weekender
Outdoor City Weekender
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A bouldering competition, adventure film festival and a tour of Sheffield’s steepest hills is all on the agenda of this month’s Outdoor City Weekender.

The jam-packed weekend of outdoor fun and adventure will return to Sheffield for the third time next week, with four headline events designed to show people the best of what Sheffield has to offer.

There’s the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, renowned bouldering competition the Rab Climbing Works International Festival, inner-city mountain bike dual slalom the Howard Street Dual and the Magnificent Seven, a multi-stage road bike race up seven of Sheffield’s steepest hills.

“From cycling and mountain biking to climbing and running – or any of the other many adventure sports available in The Outdoor City – the Weekender provides a brilliant opportunity to get inspired,” said Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield C Council.

“The outdoor industry contributes billions of pounds to the UK economy every year, and adventure tourism is increasingly attracting visitors who crave ‘wow’ moments that they can experience and share.

“With events such as the Weekender, Sheffield delivers these moments with style, all the while showcasing itself as a destination for people who love city culture and the great outdoors.”

One of the highlights of the weekend, which kicks off on Friday March 9 and runs until Sunday March 11, is the Magnificent Seven on Sunday. Not for the fainthearted, this unique cycling race is a cross between a sportive and a hill climb that invites participants to face seven of the toughest hills in Sheffield, with climbs ranging from 9 to 23 per cent.

The route, which is just over 26 miles long, presents each rider with over 4,200ft of climbing. The event will start and finish in Bradfield for the first time this year to allow more entries and more space for parking.

Among four new climbs, it features a spectacular finish on a Tour de France King of the Mountains point, which overlooks the whole of Sheffield from its summit. Visit www.riderhq.com to register with organisers, Sheffrec Cycling Club, for the event.

Returning to the city centre for a second year, on the Saturday, is the Howard Street Dual, a head-to-head dual slalom race – similar to dual slalom skiing – in which two riders battle each other to see who can make it down a purpose-built track in Howard Street the fastest. This unique, exhilarating, knockout-style event – which was created in Sheffield and has now been replicated world-wide – sees the UK’s top riders compete side by side in the heart of the city. The show will start in the afternoon with qualifications before the racing begins in earnest and, as dusk falls, the course will then light up as the riders race into the evening.

Across town, the Rab Climbing Works International Festival is the only UK international bouldering competition where amateur and professional climbers have the opportunity to compete side-by-side. A huge event on the bouldering calendar, Sheffielders have been told to expect big crowds, big talent and big moves when this event returns to Climbing Works on the Saturday and Sunday. For those unable to attend, the semi-finals and finals will be streamed live online.

The annual Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, presented in association with the British Mountaineering Council, also returns to the Showroom Cinema from the Friday to Sunday. It brings the wild outdoors into the heart of the city for three days of jaw-dropping spectacle and heart-stopping adventure, with a packed programme of carefully curated films from the world’s best outdoor filmmakers. Featuring top athletes, awe-inspiring locations and the whole spectrum of outdoor sports, there’ll be films on running, climbing, biking, skiing, surfing, kayaking and everything in between.

Visit www.showroomworkstation.org.uk for details of all showings.

Matt Heason, director of Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, said: “If you are into the outdoors or are just starting to discover its benefits, never has there been a better time to live in Sheffield.

“In the past two years, the city has gained new run routes and mountain biking trails, and a dedicated festival showcasing the people and places that make Sheffield more than worthy of the title of ‘The Outdoor City.’

“Now in its 13th year, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival has become a headline event of The Outdoor City Weekender and each year brings a selection of incredible adventure, adrenaline and documentary films from around the world to the big screen.”

There will also be a number of fringe events taking place next weekend, including runs, cycling events, and plenty of family fun.

Mazher added: “Whether you’re visiting Sheffield or are fortunate enough to call it home, we encourage everyone to discover the many opportunities to get involved with activities on our doorstep.

“So, after you’ve watched the world’s best compete, why not check out www.theoutdoorcity.co.uk and see how you can take a slice of the action for yourself?

“We invite you all year-round to come play in The Outdoor City – and the Weekender is the perfect place to start.”

Visit www.theoutdoorcity.co.uk/outdoor-city-weekender for details of everything the event has to offer.