Kirkstall Abbey Trail Running Festival 2023 (Half Marathon) Race Report and Results

By: Hannah Wright

Race Date: 18th November, 2023

Event Organiser: It’s Grim up North Running


The festival boasts a trail running extravaganza with a 5 muddy boot rating so I was expecting grimmer than grim. Any runner that has taken part in a Grim run knows that they rate the difficulty of the run on a muddy boot scale with 5 being “grimmer than grim”.

The festival offers the choice of a 8.8 miler, half marathon, marathon or ultra. I opted for the half marathon. To top it all off it was it was Grim up North’s 8th Birthday.

After a week of rain and cold I packed my trail shoes as mud was guaranteed, and set off for an early drive to Leeds. There was plenty of free parking at the Abbey’s car park and toilets available at the visitors’ centre. Due to the toilets opening late the race start was postponed by 10 minutes. Race number and ankle chip were collected on the day. Bag drop, as always, was in the Grim van.

Once all runners had returned from the loo we lined-up at the start line ready to go. As soon as we set off we were sliding around in the mud in the Abbey’s grounds. Once out of the Abbey there was a short road section before descending onto the canal path. Then a short road section and into a muddy field… plenty of slipping and sliding. After the mud a very scenic out-and-back section of the Leeds Liverpool canal. Then up a muddy hill and field… I’m not sure how and if anybody managed to run up this section. A short downhill section then onto the return back to the Abbey.

Overall a good, challenging course along a mix of trails, road, canal towpath and fields which were a mix of mud and dry.

I always enjoy the treats at the end of a Grim run. Today was no different… a sausage sarnie, cake and a can of pop. A great way to end a fantastic run.

The (half marathon) race was won by Jack Rose (of no identified club) in 01:17:47 and Kim Wilson (of no identified club) in 01:40:12.

Strider’s Result:

Place (in Cat) Name Cat Event Time
36 Hannah Wright F Half Marathon 02:54:34

Full results can be found at:

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