It's easy to turn one of your training routes into a fun race - here's how!

If you know a nice route in the countryside to run, and it's got a venue such as a pub on it, then why not turn it into a trail race for others to run? It's possible for a couple of people to organise a race within a month, but a little longer is preferred to ensure adequate publicity and confirmation of your race permit/insurance. The costs involved are much lower than traditional races. You might have questions, or need help or examples of what needs to be done - help is available, just ask. Let's have more races!

Twelve Steps to a Trail Race:

1. Scope out a route and possible venue on a map.
You might have one in mind already. Mapping software, e.g. OS get-a-map is helpful for doing this. A route of approx 6 miles suits most people, but there's nothing to stop you holding a marathon! Consider the potential weather conditions, road crossings and experience of runners etc.
2. Run the route just to see that it works. Is it safe, are the paths obvious, can it be described with words etc? I usually speak out the descriptions in my head as I run.

3. If it works, then secure your venue and date. If a pub, then you'll find all landlords are welcoming of the business. Take a copy of some route instructions to help them grasp the pub voucher idea. Tell them about the other races held in the past. All they need to do is be a pub and accept the voucher as cash, and you'll pay them back, you can put a credit card behind the bar for security. Check if you can use their car park and toilets.

4. Run the route again with a dictaphone or notepad and write down your route. Also begin noting risks for your risk assessment. If the route still works, then type it up. Country Trail Races can give you examples of instructions to use as a basis if you need.

5. Ensure that you have public liability insurance either from the UKA or commercial sources. Apply for a race permit, this might be from UKA or the Trail Runners Association. The TRA best understands this type of race and their permits are free apart from the unattached runner levy that you must pay. The permit allows clubs affiliated to national bodies such as England Athletics to benefit from the free UKA insurance that comes with affiliation. It is possible for other organisations to obtain affiliation. The permit application will get you to consider first aid and other safety matters, for example you'll need to write a risk assessment.

6. Notify the police of your race. Look up the local station and write them a letter explaining what, when, how etc. Add a map and details of road crossings. The letter will be passed to an officer involved with events planning, and he/she may call you with questions. Country Trail Races can share contacts, previous letters and experience if you need it.

7. Advertise, and the sooner the better. Keep the race in the spotlight. Use facebook, club emails, online entry systems etc.

8. Run your route again with a guinea pig with no knowledge of the route to test the instructions. This is important! Run slightly behind so not to guide them. It's natural for them to dither, but if they go wrong then ask them why and how it could be described better. You'll never spot your own mistakes in the instructions! Pop into the pub to keep the landlord updated

9. Visit local land owners to advise them of the race. Unless you are deviating off a public right of way, this will be purely out of courtesy. Try to do this on one of your practice runs.

10. Print the instructions and get everything ready for the race. You don't have to use numbers and pins, but it can be easier, it's also common to write numbers onto the instructions. Close out items on your risk assessment.

11. Set up on the day. Time runners out and on their return. Ensure they have an emergency contact and that you have a way of knowing if everyone is back or not. Don't forget to reimburse the landlord for each voucher used.

12. Prepare your results and provide a copy with a report back to the TRA/UKA.

Contact us for advice