One of the most popular runs of previous years was the one at Thrunton Woods. Originally known as the Thrunton Thriller and then the High Fells of Thrunton. It’s taken a few guises over the years but normally there are two distance options, a shorter 10k option that was really about 10 miles and a longer half marathon that came in between 15 and 16 miles. I never really could get the hang of measuring those distances properly.
Those of you who did this run will also know of the devious reputation for the special endings. Some say these finishes were the work of Satan himself who came up from his fiery pit to make runners suffer. The original extra bit was a sly extra hill and a descent down a mountain bike track. The second year was frankly horrific but made me smile no end. The amount of swearing going on as people crawled up a muddy, undefined hill whilst tripping over slippy logs and getting back to the finish was most satisfying. The last one included an extra hill section before taking in a beautifully crafted mountain bike trail to the finish.
The weather has always played a bit of a hand in the race. When Richard Garland and John Butters took wins the first time round there had been plenty of rain and this led to a really heavy going under foot in the bog section. When Georgina Hinton Lewis took an impressive win in 2019 the ground was hard and allowed for more speed. 2018 was the year of the snow. The race started with clear roads and clear skies but by half way round the night race it had started to come down as a blizzard and several cars needed to be towed out to get away afterwards. The half marathon scheduled for the next day had to be postponed as Thrunton Woods was effectively cut off from the world with the deep snow.
This beast of a run returns in 2021 as part of the Trail Runner Series. Under the strapline of F.I.N.D. You Mind it consists of 4 races. F = Fire, I = Ice, N = Night and D = Day. The run at Thrunton will be named Hell in the Woods and takes up the Fire part of the series. The route will be heavily based on previous runs so you can expect it to be tough, technical and superbly scenic. Coasting along the rugged ridges with far off views can be mixed with sliding down slippery slopes and twisting through tight trails whilst branches reach in from all sides. I’m under strict orders not to put in a surprise ending but you just never know what can happen if I’m not fully supervised by responsible adults!
Organiser Andy Clark looks ahead:
“We decided not to do Thrunton in 2019 so that we could bring it back with a bang in 2021. I ran it before I was involved in Cold Brew and know just how special the place is. Thrunton provides a dramatic landscape to provide such an intense and varied trail running experience. It fitted perfectly with our Trail Runner Series where people can accumulate points over 4 races. It’s going to be awesome.”
Hell in the Woods in scheduled for 7th March 2021 and sits along side Winter Wipeout, Duergar Run and Cragside Trail Runner in making the Trail Runner Series. There’s a £23 discount on the 4th event if you have entered the other 3 and they are all open for entry now. Now let’s get it on.