Sign Up For A Scenic 5K Or 10K With The New Forest Runner Race Series

a group is running
(Image credit: Unknown)

Photograph: Forestry England, Crown copyright

Running events have made a cautious return in the UK, but ongoing concerns about the pandemic have restricted them to fairly small races at locations like airfields which are easier to make COVID-secure.

Summer will be the earliest that we’ll see the return of bigger events, but even then signing up to a big city race carries more risk, as they may be the first on the chopping block if the situation deteriorates again, and you may feel uncomfortable attending mass-participation races. This makes smaller events attractive, and a new forest race series has cropped up at the perfect time.

The Forest Runner series, put together by Forestry England, consists of 10 events in forests all over England. Each event has a 5K and a 10K race to take part in, and each promises a scenic route that takes in some of the standout sights of that forest.

Starting on Sunday 12th September at Westonbirt, the National Arboretum in Gloucestershire, there will be an event most weekends until the final race in the Forest of Dean on Sunday 28th November.

The events promise a mix of flat and hilly routes, with different forest landmarks to spot along the way. The first race in the National Arboretum boasts an extensive botanical collection of trees and shrubs, the Whinlatter Forest race in Cumbria holds the promise of red squirrel sightings, and the High Lodge Forest event has the flattest route of the series, making it the best pick for those seeking a speedy time.

You’ll find the full list of events below, and you can sign up on the Forestry England website. It costs £20 to enter a 5K and £22.50 for a 10K, plus booking fees, with all money raised by the events going to the local forests to help maintain and grow them.

The series is sponsored by Merrell, which is providing prizes for the races, as well as training tips and Strava challenges in the build up to the events.

The Forest Runner Series

  • 12th September – Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire
  • 19th September – Delamere Forest, Cheshire
  • 26th September – Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent
  • 10th October – Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire
  • 17th October – Sherwood Pines Forest, Nottinghamshire
  • 24th October – Hamsterley Forest, Durham
  • 31st October – High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk
  • 7th November – Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
  • 14th November – Cannock Forest, Staffordshire
  • 28th November – Mallards Pike, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Sign up | £20-£22.50

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.