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How to run a Frolic

How to run a Frolic

A detailed guide to our lapped events

What on earth is a 'Frolic'?

Welcome to the wonderful world of the Frolic! Here at Keep Running Rural, a ‘Frolic’ is our name for a lapped event where you can run as many laps of our course as you like within a 12-hour time period. These events are great for runners of all abilities.

You can rock up and run one lap (between 5K and 10K, depending on the event, but the average is 3-4 miles), and that’s all you need to do to earn your bespoke medal and goody bag. You can also choose to keep running for the whole 12 hours and see how far you can go – there are prizes for the furthest distance run. We have had plenty of people come to a Frolic planning on running one lap and end up with ‘accidental’ half-marathons, marathons and ultras. You can sign up as a Solo runner, or you can be part of a team of 2, 3 or 4 runners.

All our events are trail races, so you’ll be running on grass, sand, gravel paths, fields, woodland trails, etc. There may be the occasional bit of road, but we do try and keep that to a minimum.

These events are designed to be fun, pressure-free and inclusive. They are a great introduction to the world of trail running. This page serves as your ‘beginners’ guide to a Frolic’ and we suggest reading it carefully before attending.

How a Frolic works

The concept of a Frolic is quite simple – you turn up at the start line for the time shown on your race instructions (emailed out to you before the event and also posted in the News section of our website). You run your first lap.

At some of our events, the first lap is slightly longer. This is because we know many runners want to achieve a half-marathon or marathon distance, and this enables us to ensure that you can achieve as close to that distance as possible. For example, if the course lap is 3.7 miles (as it is at the Cider Frolic), 7 laps would give you 25.9 miles – not quite a marathon. 8 laps would give you 29.6 miles, which might be a bit further than you’d like. By making the first lap a little longer, you can get that marathon distance in 7 laps without the bonus mileage. This only applies to the first lap, and it’s not needed at every event depending on the course distance. We will make it clear to you in the race instructions and at the start line if the first lap is longer. 

After your first lap, you can opt to stop and collect your medal and goodies if that’s enough for you. Or you can start a second lap straight away. Or you can opt to have a break, use the facilities, have something to eat, get a quick kip… you can go out on a second lap (or more!) at any time. If you’re running as part of a team (see more on this below in the timing section), you can hand over to the next runner so they can go out on their lap.

The only restriction is that you must START your final lap before the cut-off. This is usually a minute before the end of the 12-hour running period. So, if the Frolic runs from 8am-8pm, you must start your final lap by 7:59pm. You will also need to have a headtorch for later laps, which will be indicated on your race instructions – there are no streetlights in the Dorset countryside.

Now, this is all quite straightforward, but there are some very important things you need to be aware of to help our event run smoothly and not to cause our wonderful timing team to have a breakdown.

Very important things you need to know about Frolics

We have had some issues with Frolics at past events, but by following a few simple rules, we can avoid any issues around timing.

When you start your first lap, you will cross over a timing mat, which will read the chip on the back of your race number and register your start time. When you come back to the end of the lap, cross the timing mat to finish your lap. Your time for that first lap is then recorded. Now, here’s the important bit: YOU DO NOT NEED TO CROSS THE TIMING MAT TO START ANOTHER LAP.

Once you cross the timing mat, you need to move away from the finish area. This means going straight into a second lap, taking a break or handing over to a team member. When you/a team member is ready to start the next lap, you can just start running – DO NOT PASS OVER THE TIMING MAT AGAIN UNTIL YOU FINISH THE LAP.

Sorry to shout. It’s also really important that you STAY AWAY FROM THE TIMING MATS when you’re not finishing a lap. They are quite sensitive, so if you go too close, they will register your timing chip and mess up your results. There is barrier tape around the finish area – stay behind this tape and don’t cross over it.

SOLO RUNNERS – Cross the mat to start your first lap, run the course. When you come back to the finish, cross the mat to finish your first lap. You can then carry on running straight into your second lap if you wish, or you can take a break. Go and get some food, water, etc, use the loo, have a lie down – whatever you need. There is a tent near the finish area for you to stash a bag with everything you need for easy access. When you’re ready to go again, just start running the lap, without crossing the timing mat or going near it. You only cross the mat again to finish the next lap. Your results will show the total time from when you started to when you finished your final lap, and the number of laps run. You will have a lap time for each, but if you have popped off for a break that will be included in your lap time – whether that’s five minutes or three hours. Keep running as much as you like and when you’re done, you can collect your medal and goodies.

TEAM RUNNERS – The first team runner crosses the mat to start the first lap and runs the course. When they come back to the finish, they cross the mat to finish the first lap. The same runner can then carry on running straight into a second lap, or they can take a break and handover to the next runner. The changeover area is AFTER the finish line. The first runner stops running, and the second person starts their lap – THE SECOND RUNNER DOES NOT CROSS THE TIMING MAT TO START A LAP, ONLY TO FINISH IT. You can run in any order you like, and each team member can run as many laps as they like. However, only ONE TEAM MEMBER CAN BE ON THE COURSE AT A TIME. Your team results will show the total time from when the first runner started to when the last runner finished their final lap, and the number of laps run between you. You will have an individual lap time for each loop. Keep running as much as you like and when you’re done, you can collect your medal and goodies. Each team member can stop when they like and collect their goodies – you don’t have to all finish together. But once you have stopped and got your goodies, you can’t then go back out. You can put a small tent in the finish field if you like for your team, where you can keep everything you need for the day and cheer on your fellow team members.

We have a video that explains everything about timing and running as a team.

A note on Sessions

We also sometimes run events called Sessions, which are very similar to a Frolic. There are a couple of differences, however. First, everyone runs as a Solo runner; there are no teams. Next, they are only 8 hours, rather than 12 hours. Finally, there is no set start time, so you can rock up and run a lap at any time in the 8-hour period. These are usually held on a Friday or a Monday around an event weekend, so are ideal to come to after work, for example. We add Sessions in for those who want to get an extra distance in over a weekend – so at some events it’s possible to get three half-marathons/marathons in over three days. Handy for those looking to join the 100 Marathon Club, for example.

If you fancy trying your hand at a Frolic, then browse all our upcoming races.