1. Sodbury Slog 8.5, Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire
Date in 2012: November 11
This extraordinary event laid on by the Bitton Road Runners sees more than 1,300 of you larking about in the gooey Gloucestershire mud. Hills, ditches, bogs, rutted trails and hay bales are all thrown at runners – not literally of course – but everyone adores it. Or so they claim.
2. The Trionium Wife Carrying Race, Dorking, Surrey,
Date in 2012: March 24
Certainly not one for the running purists as this involves carrying your wife (or just about anyone in fact, whether they’re your beloved or you can’t stand the sight of them) along a 250m course while negotiating obstacles and dodging the water pistols fired by the boisterous crowd. There’s even the chance of greater glory – last year’s triumphant winners went on to represent GB at the world finals in Finland.
3. Cross Bay Challenge, Flookburgh, Cumbria,
Date in 2012: June 16
Historically, the quickest route from Cumbria to Lancashire was across the sands at low tide. What was once an everyday necessity by has been turned into a memorable half marathon where experts help guide runners across Morecambe Bay before the sea makes it a wading rather than running contest.
4. X’Treme Challenge 10K, Walton upon Trent, Derbyshire
Date in 2012: February 10
Elegant Catton Hall Estate is the grand setting for this race, though you’ll look anything but classy by the time you’ve completed it. If the usual hazards of muddy tunnels, steep slopes, walls of hay bales and teeth-chatteringly cold water pits weren’t punishing enough, last year runners also had to plough through snow.
5. The Wolf Run, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Date in 2012: April 6-7
You were howling with delight after you ran, climbed, swam, waded and crawled your way through murky water, over fallen trees, up steep slopes and under thick vegetation. After the 10K scramble around this fiendishly cunning obstacle course, the hog roast at the finish was a welcome sight for the hungry pack.