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Woodpecker Challenge (Green)

Brixworth Country Park, Northamptonshire

Unnamed Road, Northampton NN6 9DG, UK

Thu 23rd September 2021

Starting at 09:00

Organiser's Description

The Woodpecker Challenge is set in the stunning Brixworth Country Park, in Northamptonshire. A beautifully varied course with some stunning scenery over the reservoir. This is the second of our 2 trips to Brixworth Country Park in 2021.

Over a varied multi-terrain route the stunning Pitsford Reservoir is the backdrop that’ll make you want to keep on going. So if you’re looking to come along for your first 10k, aiming for a marathon or looking to see how far you can go in 6 hours then sign up to this event!
What's Included


Specially crafted liquid and solid goodies! Details will be dependent on each event, but in the past we have had beer, cider, flapjack and apple juice

The great feeling of being part of a different event!

A fully stocked aid station on each lap. Think kids picnic rather than water station!


Brixworth Country Park, Northamptonshire NN6 9DG

How To Get There

Use the postcode NN6 9DG for sat navs. It's 10 minutes from Junction 2 of the A14. The closest train station is Northampton


You do have to pay to park (£5.20 at the time of writing). That said, be a hero and car share, save money and the World!

Course Details

The route is truly varied and on all terrains. The majority of the route is over crushed stone pathways but there are sections of asphalt and a grassy hill as well. Given the time of year road shoes are likely to suffice but in wet weather some grip might be useful! The route has stunning views across the reservoir and sections of shade and more exposed areas too.

Race Day Details

Unless stated on the event page the race day will be as follows:

Race Registration opens at 08:15
Race Briefing at 08:50
Race start at 09:00
Last runner leaves HQ at 14:59:59
Race finishes at 15:00
Race team put their feet up at home and have a beer 19:00

Cupless Event

This event is cupless; there are several ways that you can get water/liquid in a 'cupless' race:

1. Carry a bottle with you (or hydration pack) Simply run and carry your bottle with you, we'll have water dispensers at the checkpoint allowing you to fill up when you need to.

2. The 'Bottle Table' Given the lapped nature of our events it is an easy fix for us to have a 'bottle table' for you to leave your bottles to pick up as you complete each lap. Labelling your bottle with your name would be a good idea as lots of people have similar (if not identical!) bottles. Once you've drunk all the drink you brought with you, you can have your bottle refilled from our water/squash/electrolytes.

3. Speed cups/ foldable cups Carry a speed cup or foldable plastic bottle with you to fill up at the aid station. Unlike a rigid plastic bottle it will fold up in your pocket when you are finished. And with a speed cup you can easily go between water and sports drinks.

These options may prevent you from getting a 2 hour marathon but will help you do a tiny bit to prevent unnecessary plastic wastage.


What is a challenge event?

The challenge will start at 09:00 and your last lap needs to be started at 14:59:59 at the latest. This means you could do 1 lap and be done by 09:15 or you could try and do 15+ laps and run 40+ miles! It's completely up to you. You might just want to run for 3 hours, whatever you want to do is your decision. Only complete laps will count towards your official time/distance, no half laps. Once you're out of the race you're out of the race, you can't run one lap, go home have a cup of tea and then come back and run some more! Once you have the medal around your neck you are signed out and finished. Check the individual event pages to see how many laps are needed to complete half, full and ultra marathon distances. We will usually add a “mini-lap” to help people complete marathon distance if needs be.

Do I need to be really fit?

The idea behind Big Bear Events is to hold races for everyone to take part in. As long as you can put one foot in front of the other you should be fine! You can walk, jog, run or sprint the route. For our Challenge events you can do as much or as little in the 6 hours as long as you complete 1 lap. If you fancy doing an ultra distance run you don't necessarily need to have run a race before - but it might be wise! You need to be fit enough to run the distances you want to run. Our 10K events have very generous cut offs and will be highlighted on the event page.

Can I transfer my entry or get a refund?

Please see our refund policy

Are there awards for the winners?

No, not really! Our events are for everyone to enjoy, if you run a marathon distance in 2:10 but someone completes 1 more lap in 6 hours who is the winner? If you complete your first ever half marathon at the age of 60 are you not a winner too? With these events potentially there could be 5 or 10 people who feel like winners (fastest marathon, fastest lap, fastest half marathon, longest distance etc.) and as such it would somewhat spoil the occasion. Officially the 'winner' is the person who covers the most distance on the day but everyone has different goals - achieve that and you're a winner in our eyes! We may get awards prepared for our series events though to reward those that have run across all of the events in a series.

Can Nordic Walkers enter the events?

Most definitely! All of our events are suitable for Nordic walkers, all we ask is that you start at the back and make space for faster entrants. Essentially the same as we'd ask of any slower movers to be honest. With a huge range in abilities and people running different distances at our challenge events we expect the field to spread out pretty quickly so it shouldn't impact you as a walker or other competitors after the first 30 seconds. You don't need to tell us beforehand and there is no special walkers entry, just sign up with everyone else!

Can I race with my dog?

No. Our events are not set up for dogs. We believe that canicross events should have extra levels of caution around dog welfare that we do not have at our events. Please do not turn up expecting to run with your dog as you will not be allowed to do so.

Are there toilets or will we need to go like a bear in the woods?

We will have toilets! Depressingly it’s one of the first things we look for when picking a venue! We try to make the race HQ/ lap end as close to the toilets as possible so you aren’t running to many extra meters to use the facilities. That isn’t always possible however but we do try. You are of course allowed to use the toilets as and when you need them.

Can I run with headphones?

If you want to, yes. As a traffic-free event you can run with headphones. We would say however that you must be aware of your surroundings. There might be no cars but there could be horses, small children, bikes, dogs and of course small children on bikes being pulled by dogs! You’re out in the countryside, enjoy the relative quiet but if you prefer headphones that is not an issue either.

Do the challenge events count towards the 100 Marathon Club?

The short answer is yes. The races meet all of the criteria. All of our events will be listed on the 100 marathon club website too.

Do I have to raise money for charity?

No not at all. If you'd like to then that's brilliant but all of our events are about running for the joy or running first and foremost. We pay to be at our venues, so we are putting a small amount towards the beautiful parks and woodlands we run in. Where there is car parking this money directly goes to the park too, so you’ve done your bit too!

You know some of your events are during the week and not in school holidays?

Yes! We appreciate this is different to the standard Saturday/Sunday morning run slot. That is sort of the point! Not everyone works 9-5 Monday to Friday, people work shifts, flexi-time etc. or can take a day of holiday for the event. If that doesn't work for you, then most of our events won't work for you at present. As the company grows and our race calendar grows then maybe we'll entertain weekend events. However, the venues we use are considerably busier at the weekend, this could result in many issues for our events. It's not quite as simple as it may seem!

Will there be medical cover?

We pay for outside medical cover at all of our events, supplied by Events Medical based in Coventry. They have done at least 10 events with us and are yet to get out of their 4x4! However they have a defibrillator with them and are trained medics. In addition there will be people present with emergency first aid training. Don't be a fool - do not push yourself beyond your limits! Of course trips and falls will happen, especially with our off-road courses, but please try to be safe. If you are feeling unwell or you do injure yourself, end your race and have a sit down. It's not worth it, there is always another race day. We ask all of our runners to let us know if there is any medical information we need to be aware of (asthma, diabetes etc.) to enable us to try to keep everyone safe. As in any trail race often the first person to an injured/unwell runner is another runner and so we ask everyone to be good Samaritans in this regard.

Will I get lost?

We would hope not! The courses will be fully signposted with a few volunteers out on course at periods through the events.

Do I need a map?

No. The courses are contained within country parks or forests, marked and on clear footpaths. We do supply a gpx file with the route on though if you’d like to carry it with you. That said, these may be out of date come race day if there have been last minute changes to the route. For the Warwiskhire Bear Ultra it is strongly advised you have a print out of the route or even better the .gpx of the route on your phone. Needless to say this one event isn’t self contained in 1 park or forest.

Is there mandatory kit?

Generally not. The exception being a head torch at our head torch runs and the listed mandatory kit for the Warwickshire Bear Ultra. Although you could be doing ultra marathon distances, with the lapped nature of the course and being signposted there is no mandatory kit. All we request is that you dress for the weather. If it's cold, add a layer, if it's hot be sensible. It's up to you to dress accordingly. In terms of footwear, look at the pictures on the event pages. We also post updates online as to ground conditions when we are marking the course the day before for last minute decisions.

How are the events timed?

We invested chip timing so our events will be chip timed from now on. It’s very simple but you must return your chips at the end of the event. They look inexpensive and 1 lost chip isn’t breaking the bank but loosing handfuls each year will have a tangible impact. You will likely be given clear instructions as to where to wear your chip – please listen or your chip is unlikely to get read and thus you will not get a time! We do use your “gun time” however, but given the size of the events the difference between crossing the line first or last is normally less than 10s (or an extra jaffa cake if you think of it like that!)

Is there somewhere secure for me to leave my bag?

The short answer is no. We will have a small area under the gazebo where the aid station is where you can leave a bag but it is not "secure" so it is left at your own risk entirely. Big Bear Events does not accept responsibility for any items that go missing or are broken. We have a small tent that we use to try to protect bags from the elements but it isn’t magic! We would suggest that as the car parks and HQ are never more than a few hundred meters away to keep a change of clothes and a chocolate bar for after in the car, not in a bag!

Is there somewhere I can leave my own food or drink?

Yes at our Challenge events. We will tell you which table has been designated for competitor’s own food. If you ask though we will do our best to get you anything you’d like for the aid station. We don’t police this table either – if you leave a big box of beautiful brownies out we can’t be held responsible if a hungry runner nibbles at them!

Terms and conditions

The terms and conditions of all of our events are the same, unless explicitly stated on the event page.

Is there a big book of rules?

As our events are not UKA permitted events there isn’t. Ultimately the decision of the Race Director is final, we would hope people can run, follow a route and be respectful to those around them. If you can do that we shouldn’t have many issues.

How old do I have to be to run in your events?

The below age restrictions are imposed by UKA. We however are not permitted through UKA and as such may make slight exceptions with parental consent. This will be very much at our discretion however.

Under 12 years 3,000 metres Under 14 years 5,000 metres Under 16 years 6,000 metres Under 17 years 10,000 metres Under 18 years 25,000 metres Under 20 years 45,000 metres

Given that our challenge events are timed events entrants young enough to be effected by these rules will be stopped at the appropriate distance.


If your question hasn't been answered of you are still unsure of anything please contact us at [email protected] where we'll do our best to help.


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Brixworth Country Park, Northamptonshire

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