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The COW’s Big Challenge

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Saturday 16th May 2020

Entries Open
Saturday 1st February 2020 at 11:00
Entries Close
Tuesday 17th March 2020
Entry Fees

The COW Ultra 40 = £45 (£47 unaffiliated)
The COW Marathon = £35 (£37 unaffiliated)
The COW Half Marathon = £25 (£27 unaffiliated)
The Calf 6 = £20 (£22 unaffiliated)
The Calf 3 = £10 (£12 unaffiliated)

Event Organiser
07802 835475


Due to the current COVID-19 situation, there is currently uncertaintity about whether this event will go ahead as planned. We have therefore closed the event to new entries for the time being. 

If you have already entered, the organiser will be in touch with you as soon as soon as a decision can be made. 


The COW’s Big Challenge is part of the Calke Outdoor Weekender (COW) and provides participants the opportunity to run, jog, walk or skip their chosen distance around the wonderful South Derbyshire countryside.  

Distances available area:

  • Ultra: 40 Miles
  • Marathon: 26 Miles
  • Half Marathon: 13 Miles
  • Calf 6 Miles
  • Calf 3 Miles

Based in the grounds of the spectacular Calke Abbey, 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 complete depending on the distance of the challenge you choose; from 8 for the 40-mile ultra to 1 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: All participants = 08:00
  • 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.

Entry fee includes general entrance to the Natural Trust's Calke Abbey estate. Park entry fee will be deducted from the entry fee for National Trust members, but membership cards must be produced on the day.  

As part of our environmental policy, t-shirts may be purchased as an optional extra - so they're not made for those that don't need one. Also, you do have the option of joining the National Forest 'Plant a Tree' scheme as an alternative or in addtion to a t-shirt.    

Location: Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derbyshire, DE73 7JF 


Other events that form part of the Calke Outdoor Weekender (COW) are:

Camping is available at the nearby Whistlewood Common for participants in the Calke Outdoor Weekender events over the weekender on both the Friday and Saturday nights. Pitches for tents or camper vans may be purchased here.

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