The Ox Races are coming back for 2024! If you’ve not taken part in this epic weekender before, then you’re in for a treat. If you’re returning for more Ox action, then welcome back. We’ve put together this article to let you know everything you need to know about the 2024 races.
The Ox Races are held on the Rushmore Estate, using many of the same trails as we do for the Larmer Tree races in March (which are open for entries now), but with a different start point to enable us to have camping and a good Frolic route.
We’re back to our normal mid-May weekend. Last year we trialled holding the event over the May Bank Holiday and the start of half term, but it meant that many of you had other plans and couldn’t make the date, so we’re hosting the 2024 event on 17th-19th May, with races from the Friday night to the Sunday morning.
A bit about the Ox Races
The Ox Races were first held in 2014, after a successful inaugural event at the Giants Head Marathon the year before. We fell in love with the estate and thought it would be perfect for a trail running weekend. Over the years the format and the routes have been tinkered with, but we think we’ve found the formula that works so it’s stayed much the same for the last few years.
We have a detailed blog on the website about the Ox Races and our relationship with the Rushmore Estate, which you can read here.
The Ox weekend really does have something for everyone, no matter where you are in your running journey. We have not one but two 10.5K (ish) races to choose from – one in the light and one in the dark. You can read a review of the Light Ox here. We have a Frolic, with 5.75-mile loops (the first lap is shorter, about 4 miles, so that those who want to run a marathon can get the right distance); you can find out more about Frolics here. Take part as a team or a solo runner, and run as much as you like for 12 hours. We also have a half-marathon, which is one of the hardest races we do – but one of the most beautiful too.
And then there is the Ox 50, our flagship ultramarathon event. It’s run on the same loops as the Frolic, with a shorter first lap to get the distance as accurate as possible (first lap of 4 miles, then 8 more laps of the full Frolic route). It’s well supported, the cut-off is doable with training, and you have frequent opportunities to get fuel and water. As an added bonus, if you can’t finish for any reason (and we will try and support you to finish as far as possible), you will still have completed the Frolic (as long as you’ve done one lap) and will receive the medal, goodies and a time for that instead. You won’t go home empty-handed. Find out more about what it’s like to run the Ox 50 in this blog.
To make it even more of a challenge, you can also enter the Ox Epic. This is for anyone who completes the Ox 50, plus any other race from over the weekend. You get a special medal for doing this, as well as extra kudos. The extreme challenge, of course, is to do four races over the weekend: Light Ox, Dark Ox, Ox 50 and Ox Half. You can see our Ox 2023 Epic Finishers here.
After a successful first year, we’re bringing back the Ox Calf kids’ race on the Saturday evening, so the whole family can join in the fun and games. This is a well-marshalled 4km route for younger runners to enjoy and earn a unique medal.
Our doggy runners are not forgotten either! We have a canicross option for the Light Ox event, as well as the Frolic (solo runners only). We have a guide to running with your dog, which we ask you to read before entering, here.
What, where, when?
This event isn’t flat, but it’s set in the most stunning forest and woodland, with bluebells and wild garlic. We get super-fast runners here who want to set a time; we get ultrarunners who want to try their hand at something Epic; and we have a really fun and inclusive ‘party at the back’ vibe for those who want to enjoy a gorgeous trail run in places you might not otherwise get to see. The medals are staying the same as last year and the year before, so if you’re missing any, now is the time to add to your collection – this is the last year of the current medal design (we always keep them the same for three years so runners have the chance to collect them all).
The Ox Races 2024 will take place 17th-19th May.
Friday 17th May
9pm – Dark Ox
Saturday 18th May
7:30am – Ox 50
7:45am – Dog Friendly Solo Ox Frolic
8am – Solo Ox Frolic
8:15am – Team Ox Frolic
5pm – Ox Calf (kids’ race)
Sunday 19th May
8:15am – Dog Friendly Light Ox
8:30am – Light Ox
10:30am – Ox Half
We also have camping for the whole weekend. You can arrive any time from the Friday afternoon to get set up, and stay until the Sunday afternoon, leaving by 4pm. Your camping cost is a pitch fee per unit – you don’t have to pay per person, or extra for dogs. You can bring as many people as will fit in your tent/van – if you need two tents or a van and a tent, then please book two pitches. Also bear in mind that you need to book this in advance. If you turn up on the day wanting a pitch, then there is an additional £5 admin fee payable on top of the usual pitch fee and space is subject to availability. It’s pretty simple, back-to-basics camping, but the fields we use are massive so pick your own spot and spread out. There will be toilets (bring your own toilet roll!) and some showers. There are caterers to keep you fed and watered. You can park right next to your tent, and the camping field is close to the start. Bring the whole family and make a weekend of it!
We hope this gives you a flavour of what to expect in 2024 – see you there!
ENTRIES WILL OPEN ON FRIDAY 17th NOVEMBER HERE
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