With autumn leaves blowing in the wind as the Indian summer we have been enjoying in the south of England finally comes to an end, we can look forward to the varied challenges of cross country and trail runs through glorious English countryside. runABC South's comprehensive race listing service has numerous fine examples of the genre this weekend...
On Saturday (13 October) and Sunday (14 October) the Winnie-the-Pooh Running Challenges take place in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex. The Kanga-Roo Kanter and Amble Owl Challenge are the themed events on each day and fancy dress is most certainly encouraged! The aim is to run one or more 5.24 mile loops of the forest that inspired AA Milne to write the famous books featuring the loveable stuffed bear. As each day's race is a six-hour timed challenge then an ultra is possible for dedicated endurance enthusiasts.
Kelly's Cross Country Challenge on Sunday comprises 5k, 10k and half marathon routes through the stunning Loseley Park Estate, near Guildford. This is a proper cross country course with tracks, trails, hills and fields to negotiate. Free parking, race photos, chip timing and a warm-up to music are among the features that make this event stand out.
The River Lee towpath provides most of the course for the aptly named Run the River 10K promoted by Edmonton Running Club from Lee Valley Athletics Centre, North London. The scenic out and back course is flat and fast, with a burn-up on the track at the finish.
An ideal trail run for two legs or four is the Chilham Castle Trail Run near Canterbury. There are 5K and 10K options for humans and the same distances for canines in the Doggy Dashes. The imposing Chilham Castle provides the backdrop to a spectacular course near the North Downs Way.
This weekend also sees many of the annual cross country leagues getting underway so those who have club affiliation may well be digging out the spikes or studs for their annual airing.
Wherever you run this weekend runABC South
says watch your step as those leaves can hide all manner of hazards. Don't forget to check the results in runABC South race listing here