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Onetrack Paper

Dirty Weekend? The Top 5 Trail & Cross Country Runs this Winter

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

Muddy trainers after a winter trail run

With cross country season upon us, here are our top 5 trail and cross country runs to tempt you to go wild and get muddy this winter (with some seriously tempting places to re-fuel afterwards).

1. The Maverick Adidas Terrex Original Oxfordshire

This one's worth it just for the location. Starting and ending at the stunning Stonor Park near Henley-on-Thames, there are three routes on offer: 22km, 11km and 7km. If you're lucky, you might come face-to-face with one of Britain's most ancient deer herds, or catch a glimpse of a rare red kite. Fauna aside, there are some serious gradients to tackle and so you'd be wise to elevate your post-run fuelling and book somewhere special. Those in the know will be heading to The Bottle & Glass Inn or the The Hand & Flowers in Marlow (if you can get on the list, of course).

Takes place Saturday 2 December, 2023. Prices are from £25 pp. Find out more and book here.

2. Running Tribe Series - Race 6

Known for their friendly and intimate events, Running Tribe races are as flexible as they come. There's a 10km loop and you can decide on they day whether to run 10km, a Half Marathon, Marathon or even go Ultra. People tend to go further than they initially plan so prepare a well-stocked bag so you have everything you need should you choose to do another loop. This race is in Gerrard's Cross near Amersham and so we'd recommend the 15 minute drive to The Crown Inn, a cosy country pub that feels like home, thanks to designer Ilse Crawford (if your home kitchen happens to be helmed by twice Michelin-starred Atul Kochhar).

Takes place Saturday 16 December 2023. Standard entry is £60. Find out more and book here.

3. Wittering Beach Run

There's something special about the views across the Solent from the sandy flats of West Wittering; on a clear day the Isle of Wight looms like a container ship on the horizon and this running route features scene-stealing views of Kelsey Bill, Chichester Harbour and the South Downs. There are 5k, 10k and 15k routes and it's a great opportunity to get some salty, sea-air into those lungs. Grab some fish and chips from the local Beach Cafe, and warm-up in the comfort of your car.

Takes place Saturday 18 November 2023. Prices start from £25. Find out more and book here.

4. Maverick Adidas Terrex Original - New Forest

A certain bard once wrote "there's no clock in the forest" and whilst you're more likely to be lost in the magic of the ancient New Forest than chasing a time-busting PB, we're mainly recommending this race for a certain Pig round the corner. Although the trail is mainly gravel, areas still get very muddy, which is not really in-keeping with the type of pig we're recommending so make sure you have a plan to spruce up.

Takes place Saturday 20 January 2024. Prices start from £25. Find out more and book here.

5. Parliament Hill Fields XC

Ok so we may have cheated here as this one isn't open to the general public but we've included it as a spectator option for those of you who count yourselves in the fair-weather crew. Taking inspiration from the success of Night of the 10k PBs, athletics royalty, Eamonn Martin, is now looking to make cross country a fan favourite. The race is a 2km loop and the stakes will be high for club runners who will be competing for a place in the World Cross Country race in Belgrade in March. Wrap-up warm, grab a coffee from nearby Gail's en route and enjoy the earthy rumble from lots of feet pounding the Heath. After a stroll, head to The Wells Tavern and pat yourself on the back for making it out the door on a bleak January morning.

Takes place Saturday 20 January. More information can be found here.

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