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Our story

We couldn’t have done it without MOO…..

Keep Running Rural is a group of friends who like running, and organising races with a cake and a drink afterwards.

Keep Running Rural aims to organise fun, sociable and value-for-money running events, for runners of all abilities, with no corporate claptrap. We believe in races that are tough, marshals who are friendly, views that are awesome and beer that is cold.

We work with people to bring the best value to our events, including parish councils, local running clubs and volunteer groups. We partner with some of the best companies in Dorset to make our races interesting, fun, challenging and affordable for everyone.

Keep Running Rural hosts the races that were previously run by White Star Running, and the team behind the scenes remains mostly the same, though under the new company and branding.

WSR was conceived as an idea back in the summer of 2012, and things were rapidly put in motion. By the end of that summer, the Giants Head Marathon was born, entries were opened, t-shirts were designed and routes were planned! The very first race took place in 2013, and since then our races have expanded and now take place across Dorset and Wiltshire.

Giants Head Marathon 2013 saw the village of Sydling St Nicholas play host to 700 runners for a marathon and 10K (ish). It had the local villagers supporting us, with the WI providing refreshments, farmers opening up their land and everyone helping to provide a barn dance to celebrate the end of the event. It was voted third best marathon in the UK in its first year by Runners World magazine, and was later shortlisted for The Running Awards.

With such good feedback from Giants Head Marathon, the team knew they were on to a good thing and that runners wanted to compete in fun events. So they set about planning a new event for 2014. The Ox Races took place on the Rushmore Estate in Wiltshire and was listed in the top five best half-marathons in the UK for its first year.

Giants Head was improved in its second year and became one of UK’s must-do races in 2014 according to Men’s Running. The event once again claimed many awards including: winner of Runners World’s most-improved race 2014; shortlisted for best marathon at The Running Awards; listed in the top 10 trail races 2014 by Trail Running magazine; and listed on the top 10 bucket list races 2014 in Women’s Running magazine.

One thing that hasn’t changed with the transition to Keep Running Rural is that our races are beautiful, but they can be tough. We have some epic climbs (but worth it for the views). We realise that there are points in any race when you start to flag and might need a boost. Usually this is around 20 miles in a marathon, and about miles 7-8 in a half-marathon. Which is why we have our Love Station™ – something you will only find at a KRR event!

When you rock up (or shuffle up) to the Love Station you can have a sit down and glass of something nice – like flat cola or a cider. You can chew on a cake or a Scotch egg. And you can get your s*** together before venturing on to finish the race. There may be a hug or two.

The serious side of this is that we can also have a look at you and assess whether you’re in a fit state to carry on. We want our runners to finish, but it’s more important that you’re safe. 

We realise that running a long way isn’t easy and presents many challenges. Heat, cold weather, hot sunshine, rain, wind, falling over, hills, exhaustion, etc, can all take their toll and we’re keen not to have any casualties. So that’s why we have the Love Station – to give you what you need so you can carry on your merry way. But we also have the very best, comprehensive medical care on site too, just in case. 

Finding land to race on has been challenging, but we’ve worked hard to engage with local farmers and estates to offer some of the most stunning scenery in Dorset and Wiltshire. Good community liaison has meant villages are keen to see KRR events in their locality. We’ve developed a brand that’s appealing to runners and that runners find attractive. Once you’ve done one race with us, we hope you’ll be back for more!