Trail Outlaws’ new urban race series is set to be gr-Eight

TRAILBLAZERS: Phill Turton, right, with members of the Trail Outlaws who are promoting the Pieces of Eight Penshaw Race.
TRAILBLAZERS: Phill Turton, right, with members of the Trail Outlaws who are promoting the Pieces of Eight Penshaw Race.
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WEARSIDE-BASED Trail Outlaws are launching a new series of events with the Pieces of Eight @ Penshaw run next month.

The race, on Sunday, August 31, is organised over two distances - approximately half-marathon and 10k.

It starts off at the bottom of Penshaw Hill and heads through the trails of James Steel Park.

The Trail Outlaws were founded by Phill Turton and Tim Bateson. The Penshaw event is their first step in an urban trail series; designed to draw attention to the fact that within a short distance of built-up areas, are beautiful places to run.

In the future, they plan to organise mainly off-road runs at distances from 10k right up to Ultra-Marathons of distances up to 150 miles.

Phill, a teacher at Kepier Academy in Houghton, explained: “The name ‘Pieces of Eight’ stems from the fact that the whole of the Penshaw and Sir James Steel Park area has fantastic little figure of eight training routes.

“The routes are run regularly by our own group and other local trail runners.

“At times, when you are out on the trail, you are in the wilderness – and yet only a few yards away commercial areas.

“As the number of urban trail races increase, the future is to form a league format.

“We hope that in time, people will be able to start running Trail Outlaws races, no matter what standard they are.

“There will always be a new challenge to aspire to. Originally the Penshaw event was only a half-marathon, but we’ve added the 10k run to attract runners more interested in a shorter distance.”

For the more hardcore runners, the Trail Outlaws have plans in the pipeline for a 100k run and a night-time marathon.

“The 100k run will be held on June 13 next year,” explained Phill.

“It starts on Holy Island in Northumberland and traces the incredible St Cuthberts Way as it winds along the England/Scotland border before finishing in Melrose.

“We are also in negotiations with the Kielder Trust about putting on a “Dark Skies” night-time marathon along the Kielder resevoir.

“There is a fair bit of work and negotiations still to be done, but all parties are working to a March date.”

There are still places available for both runs (£20 for the half-marathon and £15 for the 10k) at Penshaw next month.

The Trail Outlaws also train at Penshaw every Monday night.

For more information regarding the Pieces of Eight @ Penshaw race or getting involved, go to or contact or