#Trail26 October STRAVA Competition!!

Throughout October we will be running competitions through the Trail 26 Strava Club. Competition 1 is simply named “The October 10K Challenge” and will take place on Wednesday 14th October.

The rules are simple:

  1. You must be a member of the Trail 26 Strava Club
  2. Plan a 10k route from home and run it Wednesday 14th October
  3. Upload it to Strava by 9pm Wednesday 14th October
  4. You must have your profile set as public so we can check on Thursday 15th October

We will check all the Strava uploads via the Trail 26 Strava Club on Thursday 15th October.  We will announce the male and female winners (fastest time) and we will then do a random draw from everyone who has taken part. The winner of the random draw wins £250 donated to a children’s charity or voluntary group of your choice. Examples for your donation are youth clubs, local sports club, scouts etc.

Join us for the October 10k Challenge, join the #TrailRunningRevolution

We’ll be running more competitions in October, information to follow!!


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Gareth Stephens (winner of this years Trail 13 Delamere) & His Running Journey

T13 WinnerWhen I splashed out on some new running gear last October and committed myself to get fit again I had no idea that almost 12 months later I would be celebrating my first ever race win (aged 39!!)

I was in my thirties when I started running, I had always loved sport but as I got older I focused more on hockey and mountain biking.   Truth be known I started running to help me cope with having bipolar and, without being over dramatic, without running I’m not sure where I’d be. There is no doubt in my mind that running was pivotal to my recovery. Running became a replacement for the medication that I had come to rely on so heavily.   After six months I entered my first 10k and achieved my goal of under 40 minutes (by a few seconds). I could barely walk for the next week but I was proud of what I had achieved.  Life continued to improve, I got back into full time employment, met my wonderful wife and started a family. Injury eventually forced me to stop running but it didn’t matter as the injury didn’t affect my cycling so I threw myself into that instead.

I didn’t pick up my running trainers again until about four years later when, in 2012, I received the devastating news that my mum had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she was only 66. My injury was now long gone so I dusted off the trainers and started running off road. As mum battled her cancer I took my frustration and emotions to the hills. It gave me the strength to smile when I saw my mum while she was having chemo. I spent many runs with tears streaming down my face, but it became my outlet as I found it impossible to really talk to anyone about what was happening.

I decided I needed a challenge so a entered an off road midnight marathon in the Breacon Beacons. I stood on the start line not knowing what to expect, the race was like a pressure valve, everything I’d been feeling and all my emotions burst out.  I ran most of it on my own and I screamed and shouted my way round the course willing my mum to get better.  I finished third and it broke me! It emptied me physically and emotionally.

Within a matter of weeks, after 8 years of stability, I had a manic episode.  Things spiralled quickly out of control and I found myself (not for the first time) being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.  By October the worst was over but for every up there is a down and my mood crashed. I was lucky that I was able to return to my job and slowly began to pick up the pieces.

Shortly after Christmas my mum took a sudden and drastic turn for the worst.  A pre existing heart condition caused complications and we nearly lost her. Mum began to recover a little and moved to a local hospice before coming home.  Unfortunately my mum lost her fight a few days after arriving home, and she passed away surrounded by her family.

I tried running after my mum died but it wasn’t the same. I didn’t know if the very thing that had turned my life around had cruelly precipitated a manic episode that very nearly cost me everything I had, it felt tainted somehow. Also when I tried to run I couldn’t feel mum there anymore. This pattern continued throughout last year until October when I decided enough was enough.  I bought a head torch and told myself I would give it three months of running, that was my first goal. To begin with it was awful! I was walking up hills that I had easily run up 18 months ago, 5 or 6 mile runs left me sore and dejected, but I carried on.

My goals were simple really this year, to run as many miles as I could as fast as I could and to get back to myself. I’ve done a couple of races and my results have been good but I’ve struggled with feeling tired. The Montane Trail 13 Delamere was set to be my last race. It ticked all my boxes, single track, twisty trails, a few hills! I rested up the week before the race and Sunday morning quickly arrived. As I stood on the start line I went through my race strategy, I would start steady, try and keep the leaders in view if possible, settle into a pace and push hard at the end giving it everything I’d got. Winning the race wasn’t in the equation…..suddenly someone shouted “GO” and all strategies went out of the window and I took off at a sprint. I tried to rein it in but a little voice wouldn’t let me so I began to relax and enjoy leading the race.   The race was surreal, I found myself at the front but I expected to get caught at any moment, it didn’t matter, I felt great, the sun was shining, and I was enjoying every mile. I was in my element, I thought of my mum and it made me smile given 12 months ago life had felt very different. I tried explaining my huge grin to “the lead bike” (Marc Laithwaite) and we enjoyed some light hearted banter for the remainder of the race.

My wife and two children were waiting for me at the finish and my daughter crossed the line with me.  I couldn’t have felt happier. My wife and I both shed a few tears, I’d come a lot further than 13 miles to finish with a win Delamere Trail 13.  Running has given me back something I’d lost and that above anything else is what I will take and cherish from the Delamere Trail 13 race.

In sharing his story, Gareth hopes to show that you don’t have to be elite to achieve something special and maybe someone in a similar position will read it, pull on a pair of trainers and think why not!


Montane Trail 13 & 10, Delamere Forest, Sunday September 7th

Choose your distance at Delamere Forest, Sunday September 7th. Your options are either half marathon or 10k and there’s a free trail kidz event on the day. Delamere Forest is a fantastic trail running location and an awesome day out for the

family with loads of trails, cafes and activities. It’s going to be a great day out, so make sure you come along and join us.

You get:

Race Shirts
Goody Bags
Chip Timing

Free Kids Event (with medals)

Entry Fee:

£20 (10k)
£25 (half marathon)

To read more about Delamere CLICK HERE

To find out more about the event and to enter CLICK HERE

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20% Off Chia Charge Products

20% off Chia Charge products for Montane trail runners, if you purchase direct at:


Chia Charge products have been endorsed by Steve Way who recently broke the British 100K record with a time of 6.19.20, this was a couple of weeks after coming 3rd Brit in the Virgin London Marathon 2014.

As part of our ongoing support, Montane runners can use the code LL100RR, this gives runners 20% off until the end of June.

Enjoy the trails with Chia Charge!!

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5 Days to Montane Trail 26, Hidden Howgills


We’re ready for a great day of trail running this Sunday in the Howgills!

Choose your distance:

Montane Trail 26 – Marathon
Montane Trail 13 – Half Marathon
Montane Trail 10 – 10k

Free Kids Race
Competitor Shirt
Event Medal
Goody Bag
Free Hog Roast

Bank Holiday Weekend – Stay Over!!

CLICK HERE to read more and to enter the event.


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Montane Trail 26, Hidden Howgills, May 25th

The Howgills are generally good underfoot. They are large ‘grassy’ hills with good bridleways and footpaths, they are not ‘rocky’ as many central Lakeland fells are. The start for all routes is to climb Winder Fell followed by Arant Haw which RT2_0084stands at just shy of 2000 feet. There are amazing views from here across the Lake District and Yorkshire, but keep your eye on the track ahead.

The routes climb very sharply within the first few miles and accounts for the majority of the overall course height. The wind can be very strong and in poor weather, temperatures can be very low. For this reason, the kit requirements are in place and compulsory for all event distances. From here there is a short run off Arant Haw before the 10k route begins the return leg and the half marathon and marathon routes continue to summit Calders and The Calf at a height of just over 2200 feet. From the calf, the route starts to descend with the half marathon turning right down Cautley Spout and beginning the return journey, whilst the marathon continues down Bowderdale Valley to reach the half way stop at Ravenstonedale.

The descents tend to be grassy and very slippy when wet, so an aggressive tread is required to stay on your feet. In the half marathon, the descent down Cautley Spout is ‘extremely steep’. There is a clear footpath, but the gradient is very severe. You should take your time on this descent and you may even opt to walk in places, if for no other reason than to give your thighs a break!!

The return leg for the marathon and half marathon is a flatter route along tracks and trails with a feed stop available close to the Cross Keys Inn (following descent of Cautley Spout).

On the day there will be a free Trail Kidz race, a marathon distance event, a half marathon and a 10k event.

To see the video from 2013, CLICK HERE NOW

To read more and to enter the events CLICK HERE NOW.

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Montane Trail 26, Hidden Howgills, Sunday May 25th

On Sunday May 25th, The Hidden Howgills will be home to Trail 26, Trail 13, Trail 10 and Trail Kidz. It’s a trail runner’s dream. The event starts in the picturesque town of Sedbergh and the Howgills offer quiet, peaceful trails with amazing views across the Lake District.

Make sure you join us for an amazing day out, CLICK HERE to read more and register.

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