Prospective students and trail mavericks alike will benefit from this exclusive insight into university trail running, writes Kate Milsom. From the hilly highs to the hangover lows, what is students’ secret to endless stamina and ultimate cross-country stealth? Other than those addictive mud-splashed trail endorphins, students run on a heightened sense of community and fun, spurred on by their fellow teammates. Here at Trail Running Mag we have chosen the top 3 universities for trail running, but do you agree? Let us know!
Exeter University boasts an ideal location nestled in the Devonshire countryside, sitting a stone’s throw from trail running hotspots including Haldon Forest, Dartmoor, Exeter’s Green Circle Route and the epic 1014km South West Coastal Path. Students have their pick of wacky trail extravaganzas, such as the Haytor Heller moorland race, the Forest Flyer, and Fingle Wood’s Deep River Trail Race. The university caters for all abilities with a total of 3 running clubs to choose from; the triathlon club offers cross-training across its 3 disciplines and jets off to an annual hard-core Majorca training camp.
In polar opposition is the majestic lochs and crags of Scotland, which provide a perfect setting for die-hard hill junkies. Edinburgh students are commonly spotted striding up the city’s infamous Arthur’s Seat, including the likes of Edinburgh University’s own Hare and Hounds runners, who fondly refer to themselves as ‘Haries’. Edinburgh locals have endless wet and wonderful runs to choose from, including the Tweed Valley Trail Run and the Luss Highland Games Hill Race. With scores of untouched routes to choose from, Edinburgh is a dream for those craving some muddy trail antics.
Comfortably anchored in the rolling Cotswold hills, Bath is a charming area that boasts the best of both worlds in terms of challenging climbs and picturesque flats along the Kennet and Avon canal path. Not to mention the prestigious Bath University, whose sports facilities are frequented by celebrated Olympians and ambitious students alike. Though ideal for performance athletes, Bath also brags an annual Mud Bath obstacle race and a unique skyline parkrun for those in search of trail entertainment.