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Burnden Road Runners

Our Story

In 1983, Vince Regan, a former international runner approached John McGovern (manager of Bolton Wanderers) to run in Bolton’s own Adidas British Marathon. John rose to the challenge and invited others to join him.

Many responded and completed the marathon as members of the Wanderers Lifeline Team. Following the event a small nucleus decided that the group should continue to run and raise money for local charities, thus the Lifeline Running Group began.

BWFC badge 1980.jpg

Athletics Club

 In 1985, the group became a fully-fledged athletics club whose name was a nod to the then home of Bolton Wanderers, Burnden Park; the ‘roadrunners’ part being inspired by one of its early members Jimmy Goodinson renowned for his participation in events dressed as the original roadrunner with feathered tail flowing and klaxon blaring.

Claim to fame

In 1988, 16 runners completed the ‘Pebble Relay’….a non-stop relay run from John O’Groats to Land’s End, when they chopped 16 hours off their scheduled 5 day slog. The pebble collected from John O’Groats beach at 6am on 5th June was hurled into the sea at Land’s End… 4 days, eight hours and 30 minutes later. Although many clubs had completed this feat, especially during the 1960’s, it is believed that Burnden were the first club from the area to attempt it.  Members Andy Staveley and Mel Walker have featured on the pages of national running magazines; and members have completed the Ironman UK race in Bolton.

More recently Burnden Road Runners were awarded the England Athletics Volunteer award for Club of the Year.

How many members?

We have 170+ members, with a more dramatic increase in membership in the last 4 years. We are across most social media and can find us on facebook, instagram and twitter

Jen our race reporter has weekly reports in the local paper. Our VET membership is particularly large and strong, but we also have athletes under 40 in the senior category,

We train

On Mondays we meet at Smithills Sports Centre, Bolton, Tuesday at Bolton Arena where we have a free community track session and on Wednesday evenings we meet at Leverhulme Park for 1 foot on the track. There are usually about 3 different sessions on offer on a Monday evening, varying from new beginners,  effort sessions or muster runs on offer at 7pm.

In summer, we offer off-road options on the trails/moors above Bolton.  

We compete

Members compete in road, fell and cross country leagues….Central Lancs. Grand Prix, National Relay Championships, British and UK Fell championship and South East Lancs /Red Rose Cross Country respectively; and regularly win championship, team and VET categories. 

Favourite run

Has to be the ‘Mast’ or its kid brother…’the half-mast’…the ‘Mast’ is a 7 mile summer loop that takes us up onto the moors above Bolton, taking in the Winter Hill TV mast and sometimes Two Lads, before returning to base via Barrow Bridge and Moss Bank Park. The ‘half-mast’ shortens the loop, and is used when the light is reduced.

Social side

We don’t forget to have fun and have a dedicated social secretary in Vicky and Sarah, who have arranged club walks, charity events and our clubs Presentation evenings.

We also have weekends away with member trips to Keswick and Lanzarote Marathon

Club stalwarts

Paul Christie, Neil Nuttall, Simon Marland and Kath Berry all have a 20 years+ association with the club in many different capacities as Club Officers and runners.

Our Club Run - Trotters 5

Currently our annual 5 mile trail race and part of the Central Lancs. Grand Prix, which starts off Smithills Dean Rd, Bolton and winds its way through Smithills Country Park. It is growing in popularity and now attracts 350 runners. In the past we used Horrock’s Fold Trails for our ‘Smithills Serpent’ race, which local runners jokily referred to as the only flat run they had ever done that was located on the side of a hill !!



Burnden Road Runners are pleased to be taking part in the England Athletics #runandtalk campaign.

We love running and we want to share the benefits of it with others, so come along and try our training sessions, we launched the club as being officially affiliated with England Athletics runandtalk on Monday 23rd September 2019.

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