Lowther Trail Half Marathon – 14th August 2016 – Debbie Porter & Ruth Travis

Lowther Trail Half Marathon – 14th August 2016 – Debbie Porter & Ruth Travis

After completing the Mountain Yomp Challenge in May, Ruth spotted a flyer for the 30th Lowther Trail Half Marathon. It looked to be a great event with the entry fee including a ticket to the Lowther show.


The 13 mile route is fully marked with about 1400ft of ascent with two water stations. The race is under FRA Rules and the minimum age is 18.

We arrived at Lowther Castle with plenty of time to register for a 12.00 midday start. A perfect photo opportunity next to the Castle for the Queen of Cuerden Valley parkrun, Ruth Travis. The Queen was thrilled!


We made our way to the start line checking out which clubs were running. It soon become apparent we were not going to win any prizes! We were amongst the likes of Clayton Le Moors Harriers, Eden Runners, Ambleside AC, Cumberland AC, Triathlon Runners, Northern Fell Runners, Helm Hill Runners, Saddleworth Runners, Barlick Fell Runners and Keswick AC. Preston has never seen like such a flat place compared to those clubs locations.

The pre-run brief was ‘brief’ and included the possibility of having to dodge the horse driving trials upto the finish line. That could be interesting!

The start was a short downhill and then 3 miles of uphill! We managed to stay with most of the runners for the first few miles and then they gradually disappeared into the distance. I was hoping they had set off too quick and we may catch some up but that didn’t happen.

The route has about 3 miles of tarmac and the rest is mostly open country with grassy and gravel tracks, also about two miles crossing rough pasture.

This very scenic route took us across Askham Fell and the Lowther Valley. The route climbs through Askham village onto the fell to Heughscar Hill where there was a marshal at the first manned SPORTident timing station. The route then turns south and descends to the Cockpit and onwards across the valley of Heltondale to Butterwick. There were a few short but flattish sections on rough ground, trail shoes being more suitable than fell shoes.


We were running comfortably, admiring the scenery whilst chatting and then realised we had missed a flag. There was a runner behind us from Hartlepool who didn’t have the courtesy to shout at us that we had gone wrong. Or if he did, we didn’t hear him. We went off route for about ¼ of a mile but hey, the weather was great so it was no big deal.


We got our feet wet crossing the River Lowther! I really don’t like cold water but looking at the bridge we could have used, I think fording the river was the safest option and the most fun of course. A stiff climb follows onto Knipe Scar to the most southerly point on the course and the second manned SPORTident timing station.

From here the route turns north across the grassland of Lowther Park to Whale. A track above the River Lowther leads you to the finish at Lowther Castle. Thankfully, all the horse driving trials had finished by the time we crossed the line. In fact, the presentation had nearly finished too! We were 136th out of 143 runners in a time of 2hrs 42mins.


Sadly, there was no medal (or cake) but I had a lovely run with great company, perfect weather and superb scenery. I absolutely love the Lake District so would recommend this event for like-minded runners.

Christopher Holdsworth, Clayton Le Moors Harriers won the race in 1hr 19min, breaking the record by 20 seconds and the 1st female was Joanna Zakrzewski in 1hr 35min. They must have hitched a ride on one of the horse drawn carriages to go that quick!

Happy Running Everyone x

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