Fell, trail and road running
Well defined trails, wide vistas and relatively quiet rights of way combine to make the North York Moors a great place for running. Whether you fancy a daily jog, a long weekend run or something more competitive, there will be something here for you either on or off road.
Our forests have some great trails to explore; Hambleton Drove Road along the western scarp offers dramatic views; there's the old coastal railway 'The Cinder Track' from Scarborough to Whitby; and don’t forget some great beaches to run at low tide to experience that 'Chariots of Fire' feeling.
There's also a full calendar of road, trail and fell races throughout the North York Moors. Sign up for an event today! Sample the thrill of hurtling up and down the hills and across the moors in rain, mud, snow or even sunshine, you're guaranteed an exhilarating experience.
You should be a reasonably fit road or cross-country runner to try fell running, or an experienced hill walker that can move faster. You may also need to navigate at some events, and know how to look after yourself in the event of injury or exhaustion.
- The Coast to Coast Packhorse offers guided running trips covering Wainwright's classic 192 mile route. You can choose between the 10 or 12 day schedule.
- Lisa Spratling of Carlton Lodge in Helmsley offers road and trail running taster sessions for guests and non-guests. She's a licensed run leader with training in Understanding Health in Sport and Physical Activity. She specialises in enhancing physical and mental wellbeing and confidence building.
- Kirkbymoorside 10k held on the first bank holiday weekend in May, also includes a toddlers 'dash', shorter children’s races and 4k adult fun run.
- Kilburn Feast in July (11k/7 miles)
- Castleton Show Run in September (10k)
- Redcar Running Festival (September) - pick from Half Marathon, Zetland 10k, Beacon 5K or 2K Fun Run
- Scarborough’s Yorkshire Coast 10k in October
- Helmsley 10k held on Easter Sunday
- The Mulgrave Castle 10k, Lythe, Whitby in June
- Fadmoor Run in October (10k) - on roads, grass and bridleways taking in Farndale, Bransdale and Sleightholme Dale
- Loftus Poultry Run in December (13k/8 miles)
Gourmet food and wineathlon
- Marathon du Malton in August - in the spirit (literally) of France's annual Marathon du Médoc, combine a 10km run with eight food and drink stops on the course, giving you a chance to taste local specialities. Fancy dress recommended!
Trail races and challenge events
- No Ego Torch Challenge - 5 mile evening race around Dalby Forest in February. Don't forget your head torch!
- Hardmoors 26.2 Trail Marathon Series - seven challenging trail marathons, half-marathons and 10k's held at classic locations around the North York Moors throughout the year, starting in February through to December
- Swainby Sweep Trail Race (April) - circular of 7 or 16 miles starting in Swainby on varied terrain including moorland, forest tracks and parts of the Cleveland Way
- Ravenscar Coastal Half Marathon in May with stunning coastal views (half marathon and 10k)
- Castle Howard Trail Races at the end of June (10k and 1k Children’s Dash)
- No Ego Trail Challenge - Conquer the Forest, Dalby Forest in July (10k and half marathon), plus a junior 1 mile (ish) trail run (minimum age 6 years)
- 'Hey Up it's Helmsley' Trail Race - Organised by It's Grim Up North in July at Duncombe Park, series of races ranging from 5k to ultra marathon
- The Viking Chase – Four Peaks in July – a run of 7.8 miles on scenic off-road tracks
- Hanging Stone Leap in August - run or walk 13 or 24 miles starting in Guisborough
- Princess Challenge in September – 30 mile, 17 mile and 8.5 mile options along the North York Moors coast
- Forest and Moors Marathon in September – 26.2 mile, half marathon and 10K options starting in Dalby Forest
- Endurance Life Coastal Trail Series in October – ultra, marathon, half marathon and 10K options from Ravenscar
- MoorsRun: Turnpike Trot 10k & Rabbit Run 5k (17 October 2021) – we join up with the Hardmoors team to organise two family friendly trail runs starting from The Moors National Park Centre, Danby. Children aged 7 - 13 can enter the 5k if running with their parent/guardian.
- Dalby Dash in November (10k)
- Nemesis Infinity in November – a 6 hour endurance challenge to complete as many laps as you can on a 1.3 mile loop from Ravenscar on the Cleveland Way
The traditional sport of 'fell running', differs only slightly from trail races, requiring racers to find their own routes using their navigational skills. Fell races have a long tradition in northern England, where many of the events were originally guides' races that took place as part of country shows, as some still do today.
- Osmotherley Show Fell Run in August is one example, a 4.5ml from Osmotherley Show Field up to the top of Black Hambleton and back; entries taken on the field.
Fell runners have regular summer and winter series races mainly over the northern hills, most being organised by the Esk Valley Fell Club.
The National Trust hosts a number of fell races across the North York Moors:
- Roseberry Romp: Tackle this 8.2km/5 mile evening race (May) on a scenic and challenging route around the National Trust’s land which takes in the summit of Roseberry Topping
- Tom’s Bransdale Fell Race: a 12km/7.5 mile evening race on hilly route (July) with cake for all finishers
- Ravenscar Rumble: 7.5km/4.6 mile evening race (August) on a challenging coastal route around Ravenscar. All money raised helps the National Trust's conservation work. Free cake for all finishers
- Roseberry Fell Race: head to the summit of Roseberry Topping and back on this 2.3km/1.4 mile fell race on a well marked, off-road route with free cake at the finish line. Entries on the day only (August), registration from 6pm.
Runners seeking longer races of up to 26 miles or so are welcome to enter the traditional challenge walks run by the Long Distance Walkers Association and the Mountain Rescue Teams: Cleveland and Scarborough & Ryedale.
Ultramarathons are gaining in popularity with a number held across the North York Moors, many using sections of the Cleveland Way.
- Northern Traverse (17-21 April 2021) - organised by experts Open Adventure, how about having a go at an ultra run following Wainwright's Coast to Coast route, where you get to decide when to stop. First held in 2016, you'll have 5 days to make the 190 mile journey from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay in the North York Moors.
- For the ultimate challenge look out for the Hardmoors 110 – 110 miles following the Cleveland Way National Trail from Helmsley to Filey – the current record is 21 hrs 3 mins! Or how about Hardmoors 160, a single stage 160 mile ultramarathon linking up the 48 mile Tabular Hills Route with the Cleveland Way, held on the same weekend in May.
- Lyke Wake Challenge (July), organised by the Quakers Running Club, involves following the iconic 40+ mile Lyke Wake Walk route starting from near Osmotherley (Sheepwash car park) and finishing in Ravenscar village on the North York Moors' coast. Runners are expected to complete the event in twelve hours or less.
- Hardmoors Ultra Series - the Hardmoors series includes 160, 110, 60, 55, 30, 15 mile races held throughout the year, starting with 15 and 30 mile runs on New Year's Day.
Triathlons and obstacle courses
Castle Howard Triathlon – part of the Castle Triathlon Series, held in July, this popular event now runs over a weekend and includes a Gauntlet race distance (half iron distance) on the Sunday. The triathlon includes swimming in Castle Howard’s Great Lake, cycling through the undulating Howardian Hills countryside before finishing with a run through the estate, taking in the historic monuments along the way. Or have a go at a half marathon or an open water swim.
Perfect if you like to combine navigation and cross-country running with mountain biking. Good races to start with are the shorter races like Open 5. The longer 12 hour and 24 hour events also add in other challenges (often known as 'trouser fillers') along the way, such as paddling, climbing, abseiling and related rope skills.
Open Adventure runs 5, 12 and 24 hour adventure races, as well as multi-day, multi stage and expedition events, some of which are held in the North York Moors. Keep an eye on the Open Adventure website for future races.
Road, trail and multi-terrain race calendars, entry forms and results from John Schofield’s UK Results site
For everything fell running, go to fellrunner
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