Half Marathon, Full Marathon and 50k Ultra
16th July 2023, start time 9:30am ALL distances
Click here to download the Race Day Infomation
The Lions Bridge trail running event aims to continue the theme of the Gin Pit Double marathon, by offering the opportunity to run one of its set of low key friendly marathon distances on the trails around the Gin Pit and Lilford Park.
The 3 race distances offered comprise of:-
3 identical laps for the HALF Marathon
6 identical laps for the FULL Marathon
7 identical laps plus 1 smaller lap for the 50k Ultra
The course is almost completely traffic free, it is virtually all on trails and includes running through Lilford Park. The only road sections are a short stretch on a lane before you reach the entrance to Lilford Park and another short stretch on Green Lane before crossing Queens Way and returning back on the trails.
The registration, start, finish and drinks station are all at:
Gin Pit Welfare Club, Gin Pit Village, Ley Road, Tyldesley, Manchester, M29 7DW (pictured below)
Runners are to collect their race numbers from registration on the morning of the race which will be open from 8:30am. There is parking and toilets available at the Welfare Club but there are no baggage or changing facilities.
There will be one drinks station set up at the start/finish which runners will pass each lap, approximately every 4.4 miles. It will be manned throughout the event and stocked with water, sweets and biscuits.The benefit of laps is that it enables runners to leave their own personal drinks & snacks to be retrieved each lap. Please note any drinks, gels or snacks left at the drinks station are done so at runner’s own risk. It is recommend that runners who wish to leave something at the drinks station clearly mark it with their name to identify it from anyone else’s and the standard water and treats being handed out or else it might be considered fair game for the rest of the competitors.
Refreshments will be on sale after the race, including hot drinks; tea, coffee and hot chocolate. The bar will also be open offering cold drinks and nibbles.
Competitors are urged to check the weather forecast and wear appropriate clothing, especially during hot, wet or cold conditions.
The use of hydration packs and sun cream are recommended for warm weather.
Should the weather be dry for a few days before the event then road trainers will be adequate but for wet weather & muddy conditions, trail shoes are recommended.
Please do not enter the Welfare Club in muddy trainers and running gear, you will get me into TROUBLE!
The course will be well sign posted but not marshalled, no maps or navigation skills are required.
Please be aware the trails are open to the general public at all times and expect to see walkers, dog owners, cyclists, people horse riding, tractors and farm vehicles. We ask that you are courteous to all other trail users, they have as much right to use the trails as us runners.
There are no road closures so for the short road sections of the course on Old Hall Mill Lane, The Avenue, Green Lane and while crossing Queensway, Squires Lane & the Guided Busway, please look out for traffic and use the Green Cross Code. On the road sections of the course, runners must keep on the footpaths at all times.
Entry Fees are the same for all race distances:-
£26.00 for UKA Affiliated Runners or Trail Running Association Members
£28.00 for Unattached Runners
Race limit 60 in total for all distances. Entries close on 9th July or when the race limit is met.
Strictly NO entries on the day.
There is a 7 hour time limit. Medals to all finishers. Trophies to male and female winners of the FULL marathon and 50k Ultra.
Minimum age on race day is; Half Marathon 17 years, Full Marathon 18 years and Ultra 20 years.
The event is held under UK Athletics rules.
Trail Running Association Permit Number 5550
Click here to follow a link to a map of the course
Click here to download a map of the course
Click here to see the confirmed entry list
Money raised from this event will be donated to the Brathay Trust for their work with vulnerable young people.
The Story of the Lions Bridge Marathon
For many years I’ve been running round the trails between the Gin Pit and Lilford Park. Some years back, I’m not quite sure when, I noticed a severely weathered statue of a lion tucked away in the trees at the end of the Avenue, near the entrance to Lilford Park.
One day I actually took the time to stop and read the plaque on it. It says the following:-
I find stories about local history very interesting and I was fascinated by the story of this beautiful bridge and the lake that used to be here over a hundred years ago and wanted to find out more. . .
History of Lions Bridge
Lions Bridge stood from 1724 until 1905 as the grand entrance to the Atherton Hall estate at the end of The Avenue. It spanned the three quarters of a mile long, crescent shaped, ornamental lake which although now dry can still be seen at times of flooding. It was one of the town’s most popular beauty spots and a favourite walk for courting couples.
There were six stone lions on the bridge, two at each end and two in the middle. The lions are said to have left their perches for a dip in the lake on New Year’s Eve, just as the church clock began to ring out the old year, but they had to be back by the stroke of twelve. One year, one lion didn’t make it and that is why later on, there were only five lions on the bridge.
While today nothing remains of the bridge itself the site is marked by what remains of one of the statues that once stood in the centre of the bridge. While virtually unrecognisable the stones which make up this statue were re-erected in 1993 and Leigh’s Civic Trust added a commemorative plaque.
In 2013 I was inspired to call this trail running event after the bridge. I want to revive the fading memory of what was once and for nearly 200 years a wonderful landmark in Leigh. Whether you have been a local all your life or from far away and simply coming to run this marathon, I hope to share with you Leigh’s lost gem and keep the history of Lions Bridge alive.
I hope you enjoy the Lions Bridge trail running event and take the time to say hello to the lonely lion still guarding the original spot of Lions Bridge.