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The CALKE OUTDOOR WEEKENDER (COW) is a brand-new, weekend long event inspired by the great outdoors, organised by Peak Running in partnership with the National Trust at Calke and the National Forest. Timed to coincide with the start of the annual National Forest Walking Festival, the event will welcome people of all abilities to get active and reconnect with nature in the Calke estate and surrounding countryside of the National Forest. 
On each of the three days there will be a main feature event based at the COW arena on the meadow next to Calke Abbey itself. Simultaneous to these will be a host of other activities to get involved in, with something for all the family. Full details of the entire programme will be available soon.
If you want to make a weekend of it, camping is available at the nearby Whistlewood Common. For details and to book your pitch click HERE.
The FRACTURED MARATHON - Friday 15th May, 19:00 to midnight  
The main feature on the Friday evening will be the Fractured Marathon, an exciting and unique running event for solo runners or teams. The innovative format creates a great atmosphere and is as much a Friday night running party as a race! There will be 10 timed laps around a scenic 2.6-mile course, which will start every half hour on the half hour.

Teams, or solo runners, can take part in as many or as few of the 10 laps as they like. For runners, solo and team, to be eligible to run the next lap they must be back before it starts. Otherwise they will have to wait for the next start time to re-join the game. So, to remain in with chance of completing a full marathon, each loop must be completed within half an hour.
The 'Fractured', which proved a hit with runners when it was first held as a stand-alone event in 2019, has it's own page where more details can be found HERE.
The COW's BIG CHALLENGE - Saturday 16th May, 08:00 to 18:00
The COW’s Big Challenge provides participants the opportunity to run, jog, walk or skip their chosen distance around the wonderful South Derbyshire countryside within the National Forest.
The options to choose from are:
Ultra: 40 Miles
Marathon: 26 Miles
Half Marathon: 13 Miles
Calf 6 Miles
Calf 3 Miles

There will be a number of different routes exploring different parts of the Calke estate and the surrounding countryside. Each route will start and finish in the main COW arena on the meadow next to the Abbey, with the number of different routes you need to complete depending on the distance of the challenge you choose; from 8 routes for the 40-mile ultra to just one for the ‘Calf 3’.

Before, after or even in-between completing routes, there will be plenty of other things to get involved in back at Calke. These include yoga, natural movement workshops, inspirational talks, or just relaxing with some great food.

For each distance, participants will have the option of a ‘competitive’ or ‘personal-challenge’ start. 

If you opt for the ‘competitive’ start, you will set off with the mass start for that distance. Results will be issued and those finishing in podium positions will be awarded prizes.

If opting for a ‘personal challenge’ start, you  can set off anytime within a time-window for your distance, but will not compete for prizes.

All participants whether ‘competitive’ or ‘personal challenge’ will receive a time and memento in recognition of their efforts.

Provisional start times are as follows:

  • Ultra: Mass start = 08:00, Personal Challenge = 08:00 to 08:30

  • Marathon: Mass start = 11:00, Personal Challenge = 08:00 to 11:00

  • Half Marathon: Mass start = 13:00, Personal Challenge = 12:00 to 13:00

  • Calf 6 = Mass start = 16:00, Personal Challenge = 14:00 to 16:00

  • Calf 3 = Mass start = 17:00, Personal Challenge = 10:00 to 17:30


The cut-off to complete all distances is 18:00.

It is possible to walk or run all distances, but the ultra will be a tough challenge to complete as a walker as a minimum average speed of 4mph is required. 


Minimum age limits apply as follows: Ultra = 20, Marathon/Half Marathon = 18, Calf 6 = 16, Calf 3 = 14. Younger children are permitted to walk/run with a parent or guardian on the Calf 3 only, in the 'personal challenge' category.   

The CALKE EXPLORER - Sunday 17th May, 09:00 to 12:30  
The Calke Explorer is the last of the three main COW events.  It is an orienteering type event where participants navigate their way to find a series of check points using a map.

Based on the meadow near the main house, and using the spectacular grounds of Calke Abbey, participants will have up to 2 hours to complete the course, and prizes will be awarded for the quickest finishers.

Start times will be staggered so you can’t just follow the person(s) in front, but you can opt to team up with friends/family members.

On the ‘standard’ course, which is open to participants over 16 only, expect to cover between 5 and 6 miles (8 to 10 kilometres), or more depending on your route finding.

There is also a shorter/‘family’ course on which children (under 16) can take part for free (although Calke Park entry of £2.50 will still apply), accompanied by a parent/guardian; with a maximum of 2 children per adults allowed.  On this expect to cover around 2-miles (3 kilometres).

Both course will be open from 9am to 12:30, with the latest start time being 10:30.

OTHER ACTIVITIES - all weekend 
Throughout the weekend there will be a variety of other activities taking place alongside the above featured events. These include:
  • Guided family & wildlife walks
  • Natural Movements Workshops
  • Inspirational Talks
  • Yoga 
  • & More
Full details of the programme of activities is currently being finalised and will be available here soon.  These will be available to entrants to the featured events on the day of their event and others with a general entry to Calke Park.   
Below are details are the prices applicable to COW events. On the Saturday and Sunday, entry to the feature events includes general entry to Calke park and gardens. If you are a Natural Trust member the entry fee to the park will be deducted from your entry, but you will need to produce your membership card on the day. 


Results will appear here shortly after the event.



A selection of images from the event will be provided here once available. 

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​​Tel: +44 (0)7802 835475


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