The beautiful Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire areas play host to a wide range of trail races all year round. There is something for everyone on the list, from 5K routes to ultras and from easy forest trails to muddier, hillier challenges. Whether you're choosing your first trail race or looking for a new challenge, there'll be something to suit you.
Here are some recommendations for you, all from personal or Mud and Miles clients' experiences...
parkruns (all on Saturdays at 9.00am)
Belton House parkrun (5K) – a flat, two-lap course on tracks, paths and grass in the grounds of the National Trust’s stunning Belton House near Grantham.
Bestwood Village parkrun (5K) - a hilly, one-lap course on woodland tracks and paths. Can be very wet and muddy in winter. Challenging!
Clumber Park parkrun (5K) – a gently undulating, two-lap course on stony tracks and woodland paths in the beautiful Clumber Park. Can be wet and muddy in winter.
Colwick parkrun (5K) – a pan-flat, one-lap-and-a-bit route on stony paths and woodland trails around the lakes in Colwick Park. Can be wet and muddy in winter.
Gainsborough parkrun (5K) - a hilly, 3-lap route on a mix of rough grass, woodland path and tarmac. Can be wet and muddy in winter. Challenging!
Rushcliffe parkrun (5K) – a two-lap course on good quality stone paths in the pretty Rushcliffe Country Park. Gently undulating.
5K to 10K
Beacon Solstice run (5 miles, June) - mid-summer, Friday evening race on Beacon Hill in the Charnwood Hills. Challenging but very popular - entrues for 2018 sold out almost a year in advance!
Belchford 10K (September) - a challenging event over the Lincolnshire Wolds. Hilly, with great views. Part of a larger walking and mountain biking event.
Clawson 10K (May) - a hilly, low-key event on the edge of the Vale of Belvoir. the first half is uphill and the second half back down. Highly recommended!
Clumber trail race (10k, June) - summer trail race around the grounds of this stunning National Trust property.
Crossdale 10K (September) – a low-key, annual out-and-back race over tracks and trails near the village of Keyworth. Undulating, with a fast downhill start (and a slower uphill finish!) Great atmosphere. Also children’s fun-run.
Edwinstowe trail race (10K, December) - pre-Christmas trail race in Sherwood Forest. Very popular so enter well in advance!
Goose Fair Gallop (10K, October) - hilly, muddy fun linked to Nottingham's famous annual Goose Fair.
Grantham Cup 10K (April) – a challenging route from the National Trust's Belton House, near Grantham, up onto the Lincolnshire escarpment and back via rough grass and woodland paths. Two steep climbs. Horse lovers will enjoy the Grantham Cup weekend, of which this race is a part. Race memento is frequently a specially-brewed beer.
Longhorn 5K (also 10K, half marathon, marathon and 60K ultra) (April) – a lapped flat course on tracks and trails in the grounds of the beautiful Thoresby estate. Unique in that runners of most distances use the same loop, so marathon and ultra-runners mingle with those running the shorter routes.
Sherwood Pines trail race (10K, September) - undulating route on tracks and paths through this beautiful section of forest.
Skelly 6 (6 miles, May) - new, low-key trail race combining cycle path and woodland paths in and around Skellingthorpe Woods near Lincoln.
Syerston Challenge (10K, October) - community-organised race on tracks and trails near Newark. One sharp climb. Great cakes at the finish!
The Night Trail - (5 miles, November) - undulating, Friday night race in the dark.
Thoresby 10K (also 5K and 10 miles, October) – a lapped course on tracks and trails in the grounds of the beautiful Thoresby estate in north Nottinghamshire. Can be muddy and wet underfoot.
Trust 10 - free National Trust 10K trail race at Clumber Park. Held on the 4th Sunday of every month.
Van'Elnor trail run 10K (also 5K, June) - new, low-key trail runs near Marston. Beautiful countryside with the added feature of stepping stones to cross!
10K to half marathon
Bawtry Forest trail race (7 miles, September) - undulating race through this beautiful forest south of Doncaster. Fantastic goody bag.
Beacon trail half marathon (October) - tough but beautiful autumn race on Beacon Hill near Leicester.
Dukeries 10 (10 miles, February) – low-key but very-well organised flattish route on the Robin Hood Way in north Nottinghamshire. Great atmosphere and personalised race medals add a lovely touch.
Keyworth Trail Run (15K, also 30K, March) – two newish races on tracks and trails in the countryside near Keyworth.
Ponton Plod (12 miles, also 17 miles and 27 miles, September) – low-key, well-organised event on the edge of the Vale of Belvoir. Run on tracks, trails and grassy fields. Delicious soup and pudding at finish. Also open to walkers.
Spires and Steeples Challenge (13 miles, also 26 miles, October) – long-established off-road run from Lincoln to Sleaford (or Metheringham to Sleaford) along the paths and bridleways of the Arts and Heritage trail.
Wheatley 10 (10 miles, December) – an undulating 10 miles around relatively unknown but pretty countryside in north Nottinghamshire. Run on tracks and trails which can be wet and muddy in winter. Great atmosphere and personalised medal at finish.
Half marathon to marathon
Belvoir Challenge (15 miles, also 26 miles, February) – a long-established event for runners and walkers in the Vale of Belvoir. Hilly and usually very muddy. Excellent range of food provided at the end! Read my 2018 race report here.
Woodhouse May Day Challenge (13.5 miles, May) - beautiful mixed-terrain run around Beacon Hill and Bradgate Park near Leicester. Hilly but not too challenging!
Dukeries 30 (30 miles, also 40 miles, May) – a low-key but exceptionally well-organised run along the Robin Hood Way through Sherwood Forest and Clumber Park. Generally flat on well-maintained paths and tracks but sections can be wet and muddy. Well-stocked feed stations and encouraging marshalls.
Equinox 24 (and 10K, September) - 24-hour race on a 10K loop in the grounds of the iconic Belvoir Castle.
Robin Hood 100 (100 miles, September) – this run combines the routes of the Wheatley and Dukeries events above.
Viking Way Ultra (147 miles, April) – a non-stop ultra along the Viking Way long-distance footpath. Qualification events required. Not for the feint-hearted.