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.
- 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.
There's also a 2km Junior parkrun, just for kids aged from 4 to 14 at 9am at Pickering Community Park. Parents are welcome to join in too or support the event as a volunteer.
Search for other parkruns
- 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 (October) - 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 Half Marathon in May with stunning coastal views (half marathon and 10k)
Dalby's Inferno (June) for those who like to feel the burn, 10 laps of a rugged 5km course over 10 hours. Organised by Dalby Forest, Scarborough & Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team and North Yorkshire Sport, each lap starts on the hour, every hour, for ten hours.
'Hey Up it's Helmsley' Trail Race - Organised by It's Grim Up North in July at Duncombe Park, series of races ranging from 6.2 miles to ultra marathon
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)
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
Endurance Life Coastal Trail Series in October – ultra, marathon, half marathon and 10K options from Ravenscar
The Pathfinder - organised by Let's Run in October, a self navigated race (15 or 25 miles) from Commondale, open to walkers and runners with a maximum limit of ten hours
MoorsRun: Turnpike Trot 10k & Rabbit Run 5k (8 October 2023) – we join up with the Hardmoors team to organise two family friendly trail runs starting from Danby Lodge National Park Centre. Children aged 7 - 13 can enter the 5k if running with their parent/guardian.
Dalby Dash in November (10k)
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.
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 (1-5 April 2023) - how about an ultra run following Wainwright's Coast to Coast route, where you get to decide when to stop. 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 19 hrs 23 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.
Local running clubs
Friendly running clubs both in and around the edges of the North York Moors cater for all abilities, and whether you prefer road or fell running. Their websites give a flavour of their activities.
- Esk Valley Fell Club
- Loftus and Whitby Harriers
- Malton Running Club
- North York Moors Athletic Club
- Pickering Running Club
- Scarborough Athletic Club
- Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers
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