Cancer Research UK winter run series 17 January (Liverpool), 31 January (London), 28 February (Manchester)
Need a bit of extra motivation in lacing up your trainers and hitting the roads during the cold winter months?
Look no further than the Cancer Research UK Winter Run Series of 10k runs, coming to the North West for the first time early in the New Year. After the runaway success of the inaugural Winter Run in London in 2015, which saw 15,000 hardy souls enjoy a closed road, city-centre course among some spectacular landmarks, the series is expanding to allow runners to enjoy the same experience in Liverpool and Manchester.
Embracing the chill, the courses will be turned into winter wonderlands with a Snow Blast Off to set you on the way, a Snow Zone along the route and Polar Bear Hugs to congratulate you at the finish! Make no mistake, though, amid the fun this is a serious challenge that will give you the motivation of a major event in maintaining form and fitness throughout the winter. Electronic chip technology will ensure your time is recorded accurately, with your result texted to you as you cross the line.
Winter Run Series Ambassador, four-time Olympian and reigning 10,000m European Champion, Jo Pavey says: “I am thrilled to be the Winter Run Series ambassador for the second year running. I know how important it is to carry on exercising through the winter months and having something to train for like the Cancer Research UK Winter Run, is the perfect way to keep you motivated.”
First up is Liverpool on Sunday 17 January 2016, with a course through the city-centre that takes in the Royal Liver Building and the Albert Dock among other famous landmarks. Following the return of the London event on the Sunday 31 January 2016, Manchester has the honour of closing the Cancer Research UK Winter Run Series on Sunday 28 February 2016. The run will take place in the shadow of the Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City FC and host venue of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Through its partnership with Cancer Research UK, the Winter Run series also gives an ideal opportunity to raise some money for a fantastic cause, adding to the warm glow you can expect on completing the course. Finishers will also receive a specially crafted medal – proof of your winter workout!
Places on the start line are selling fast, so make sure you sign up soon. Why not take part with your friends and take advantage of group entry discounts?
for more details and to enter: www.winterrunseries.co.uk.
Marmot Dark Mountains
Saturday 30 January
Shaking things up with this twist on the classic two-day mountain marathon, the Marmot Dark Mountains race packs everything into one winter’s night instead.
Taking place in the Lake District National Park, this event provides a challenging landscape to tackle, made even more difficult in the dark. For this reason it is a pairs event; runners will work together to complete the course in good time.
Not only is this a test of stamina and speed, but also of navigational skill. Participants are prevented from using any GPS or satellite navigational systems, including smart phones or GPS watches. Instead, everyone is given a 15m contour interval Harvey’s map to help them navigate whichever course they choose in traditional style; this event follows typical mountain marathon format using Elite A, B, C Long and Short Score courses. The Elite course is suggested to be the hardest, with runners facing features such as re-entrants and knolls, whilst the C course offers the easiest route that includes stream junctions and a fence corner. The longer course runners will set off first on Saturday evening, while those on the shorter course follow a little later.
A Marmot Dark Mountains trophy will be presented to the winning elite team, whilst mini trophies will also be given to the winning male, female, mixed and veteran teams. Even if you don’t manage to grab a prize, you’ll definitely get a well deserved breakfast after crossing the finish line as dawn breaks on Sunday morning. A perfect end to a hard night’s graft.
For more information visit: www.marmot-dark-mountains.com
The Great North West Half Marathon
Sunday 21 February
In it’s 27th year and more popular than ever, the Great North West Half Marathon offers a great day out as both a runner and spectator.
Attracting over 1,650 competitors of all ages and experience, this event provides something for everyone. Taking place along the coastal front of Blackpool, the race starts and ends on the picturesque promenade, offering sea views and great atmosphere along the way.
Spanning a total of 21.08km, the route is flat and fast; ideal for anyone warming themselves up for a marathon, looking for a PB or just looking to see if long-distance running is for them. There will be prizes on offer to the first three male and female winners, and the first male and female veteran winners. Drinks and snacks will also be provided to help you recover from the run.
The route will be fully marshalled, with plenty of water stations along the way, as well as paramedics and EMT’s on hand should you need them. Results will be gathered and shown live using an electronic timing system, so you’ll know the score immediately. All in all, this event sounds offers a great way to shake off the last of the winter chills and welcome in the spring.
for more information visit: www.fyldecoastrunners.com
This month, bestfit’s Ellie Hallsworth slides her way through airfield anarchy’s afterburner
Based at an ex-WWII Bomber Airbase in Nottinghamshire, Airfield Anarchy’s Afterburner event takes autumn OCR and trail running to a whole new level (and distance).
There’s an 8km (five-mile) distance or a supertough 24km (15-mile) course to choose from, throwing in 50+ obstacles including favourites such as Airfield Anarchy’s famous Takeoff; a giant inflatable slide.
Summed up; if you like tough terrain, obstacles and the extra challenge of a half marathon+ distance, this run is for you.
Not wanting to shy from a challenge, I took on the 15-mile distance, which turned out to be a fun-yet-at-the-same-time-rough way to spend a Halloween weekend.
A challenging off-road running event, it had us conquering obstacles including tunnels, mud pits, waist-deep cold water, monkey bars, rope obstacles, walls, hay bale towers, tyre carries and much more. All this over gruelling muddy terrain and technical trail through ploughed fields and woodland, I found it sapped my energy like nothing else.
The event does attract runners of all abilities, from novices attempting their first mud race, to experienced competitors looking for their next challenge. My training advice for the beginners wanting to tackle this course: make sure you’ve worked on many different aspects of your fitness, as you’ll need to draw on your stamina, strength, toughness and, above all, determination. You can’t go wrong with cardio training mixed with body-weight strength training, incorporating exercises such as press-ups, sit-ups, squats and pull up variations into your workouts.
All this for an Afterburner medal, a technical t-shirt as a memento, a bruise or three and of course, everlasting glory. From just £30 to enter, which also supports the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, you’ll be hard pushed to find an event that packs so much in for the price.
Choose between three Airfield Anarchy events and see a full breakdown of all the favourite obstacles at www.airfieldanarchy.com. Upcoming events include Frostbite on 13 February and Mudfest on 11 and 12 June. Registration is open now, so make sure to sign up early for the cheapest price. Find out more about the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund at www.rafbf.org.uk.
Venue: Newark Showground, Newark on Trent, Nottinghamshire.