For someone who was born on the side of a hill, I seem to have developed a deep-seated loathing for running up hill at all.
For someone who, for fun, spends hours and hours plodding through fields and up and down hills in walking boots, I also avoid what I describe as “dirty trainer” running wherever possible.
It is, therefore, difficult to work out what possessed me to enter Burnley’s newest race – The Brun Valley Trail 10k – apart from the fact that I always like to support local events.
Back in January I was in the middle of booking a number of races as a way of focussing my training for the rest of the year and this brand new event kept popping up on my social media timelines.
I could picture the route in my mind as it encompasses parts of the original Pennine Lancs 10k, parts of the new Burnley 10k and chunks of regular dog walks.
The route follows clear but varied paths and trails.
It starts and finishes in Thompson Park and the route heads out through Netherwood, taking in Rowley Lake and the trails of the picturesque Brun Valley Forest Park.
It basically runs round the side of a hill.
This week I was lucky enough to run round the route with Paul Foster of Burnley Leisure and one of those behind planning and organising the new race which also celebrates the work currently being carried out at Thompson Park funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Setting off from Thompsoin Park, the route heads out through Bank Hall Park and then goes under the road to makes its way towards Netherwood.
Most of the first stretch is on tarmac, but once in Netherwood it swaps and changes between undulating trail paths and some stretches of tarmac.
The first real test of the run comes after about two kilometres and is an uphill stretch leading towards Rowley Lake which will be familiar to anyone who ran the original Pennine Lancashire 10k route.
After that comes a full lap of Rowley Lake, including one short, sharp burst uphill and a long downhill which allows you to get your breath back before another short uphill blast before a long stretch on a downhill path to the new metal bridge at Netherwood in the heart of the Brun Valley Forest Park. Another wiggle through Netherwood takes you out on to Eastern Avenue and a long stretch of tarmac running including a 200 metre section up Queens Park Road and the drag along The Ridge before turning back into Rowley Lane.
From there comes a long descent back to Rowley Lake and Netherwood and a big finish through Bank Hall Park to Thompson Park.
It is clearly a well thought out route and one which keeps traffic restrictions to a minimum while allowing runners the freedom to get on with the job in hand.
I wouldn’t say it was easy because I like running flat races. But it was nothing like as hard in terms of hill running as I had pictured in my mind before setting out, many of the hilly bits being nothing more than a bit of “nag” on legs which were already tired having run a half marathon just two days before.
It could be seen as a great introduction to trail running for anyone new to the sport who fancies something a little different to the usual town centre 10k races – and that is probably why it has proved so popular with recent graduates from the highly successful Couch to 5k running programme in both Burnley and Pendle.
And while it offers a great new race to anyone wanting to dip their toes into the world of trail running for the first time, it also offers the experienced runner the chance to get their “flying feet” in action and try out a new course which offers some very fast stretches.
Many runners are discouraged from entering organised races as they can be expensive, running not always being the “cheap” sport which many people believe it to be.
But by keeping the planning, organisation and race day needs “in house” Burnley Leisure has managed to come up with a very reasonably priced race with which any runner should feel comfortable as the route is never very far away from a main road should anyone be injured and feel the need to drop out.
Race numbers are capped at 300 for the event on April 29th and only a handful of places remain. Priced at just £7.50, with the option of adding a finishers’ T-shirt to the package, full entry details can be found by searching Brun Valley Trail 10k on Facebook or on the bookitzone.comwebsite.