Would you like some FatAss Action?

I have recently been listening to a few American podcasts on Ultra Running and they often refer to "FatAss" running events.

For those not familiar with the term a FatAss run involves a group of people meeting up and going for a run together. A route for the run would be published but is it very likely that would be no aid stations, route markers, finisher tee shirts. These events are very informal and is more of a social event/training run than a race. The other cool thing about FatAss events is that they are totally free image

I am still quite new to the Ultra running scene and there seems to be very few organised events in the area that I live (Tyne and Wear) Yet there are some fantastic trails near to where I live and even more in Northumberland.

So I am thinking of setting up a FatAss run in the summer and would like to know if there is anyone else that may be interested in helping set up the event or to just take part.

I would also like to hear from other people that have set up or would like to set up an event in their own area.

PS Should the UK use FatArse or FatBum instead of FatAss image


  • I think it's a great idea, Tim. All the long runs we have to do in training for ultras can get pretty samey if done on your own or pricey if your doing events. I would definitely get involved if someone were to consider doing one in my neck of the woods - Oxfordshire. Might be worth doing them in conjunction with the TrailBlaze routes, although that would add some cost.
  • Nick LNick L ✭✭✭

    good idea - there are plenty of long distance routes - national trails being one, but there are also many more regional ones.

    In GLos for instance there is now the Winchcombe way - 40 miles or so i think, circular route...passing through some villages (chance to get supplies etc)

  • Great thread title Tim - For a moment I thought I had hit the wrong bookmark on my browser! I will certainly join you and help out, count me in.

    All - I also think this to be a fantastic idea and can see from the posts above how much choice we will have for great runs; it can only help get my Fat Ass out of bed and onto the trails for long, long runs.

    There are some great trails near me with National Cycle Route number 6 linking me almost from my door to Clumber Park and beyond. A little further out is the Peak District.

    I will definitely join others and very happily play 'host' to a run near me most likely in the Peak District.

  • On the 'Americanism' of the term FatAss would we Brits be so crude as to use Fat? mmmm ... more likely 'PlumpBum'.
  • Hi thanks for everyone's replies. The route I am thinking of would take in the Angel of the North, Penshaw monument and a tidal path on the river Wear. The key areas are connected via series of old railway lines. I am wanting to pick a distance of around 50k as it makes it runnable in half a day so allows time for travel etc. If there was more interest in Northumberland then I could also pick several great routes there as well.

    Alistair love the idea of plumpbumb made me laugh image Also like the FatAss title as well though.

    Cragchick I too would like more people to know about some of the fabulous runs in the area. I found most of them on my mountain bike, but now seem to have my running where I can run my old bike routes image

    I notice the website here as a route facility, I know there a couple of websites that list/promote fatass events as well(but they seem to be very US dominated). We could even create a website ourselves if there is enough interest. Maybe for now use this forum and routes function. We could also maybe use http://www.ultramarathonrunning.com/races/uk.html to list events. But want to be careful not to become too official or we would need insurance/permission to hold event etc!

    What are other peoples thoughts on how to gain interest and promote the events themselves.

    I will get started on mapping the route I want to run, and track how much interest is generated on this thread in general.
  • Excellent idea Tim, there's a RW Facebook group you could advertise on too, in fact there's no reason you couldn't post details on as many forums as you can find
  • Brilliant idea.   So many which can be done.   All it takes is one person to recce the route before hand and see what shops etc are available for supplies.   Could even take it over 2 days and sort a campsite out.
  • Good idea, I'm based in Gateshead so I'll be keeping an eye on this one
  • I was just looking at organising something similar in Essex / Suffolk and stumbled across this board by way of Google, and a local guy who obviously had a similar idea - and ran it just last week without me even hearing about it, despite being connected with several local running clubs. A shame, but I'm inspired... this is what he did - no frills, but it does the job....   http://fatassrunning.com/


  • ALISTAIR STEWART 4 wrote (see)
    On the 'Americanism' of the term FatAss would we Brits be so crude as to use Fat? mmmm ... more likely 'PlumpBum'.


    There used to be a race along the North Downs way years ago from Sevenoaks(well close by there) to Farnham called the Fat arse 50 so I think we brits have just as much a crude sense of humour 

  • Important to note that you need to be insured. Matt is insured through his LiRF (I think). But a great idea.

  • You don't 'need' to be insured, but whether you wish to be will depend on what you are doing and on your approach to risk. Getting a race permit from the TRA would resolve the issue anyway, but you would then need to charge a small fee to unattached runners. Its not a deal breaker. Anyone who needs to see an insurance policy before going for a run is not invited to any run I do !

  • Personally, I can be persuaded to run anything that is sensible, and most things that are not.

  • Interesting idea, can't wait to hear more.

  • I'm interested - I'm in Tyne & Wear and just getting towards ultras - started running in Novermber 2011, got a half marathon in September, a marathon in October and entered in The Wall in June 2013. Anything to help me get started would be mint.

  • Well there seems to be a few of us in Tyne and wear , we should get something organised. I ran the wall in June and am entered into the winter 100 in November but my motivation seems to have hit the floor! I'd certainly be intereseted if something got off the ground.

    Not sure if Tims original route suggestion is passable thanks to the recent storms -ran part of it a few weeks ago and it was carnage!
  • I've just read this for the first time. It's something I've been thinking about quite a bit recently, though I never knew the term fatass existed to describe it.

    My idea was to create a website called 'Unofficial Ultra', then from time to time post details of a meet, route maps etc. Since it would very much be a self sufficient affair, routes would need to pass shops etc for water every 20m or so and these could be marked on the map. With ultras filling up very quickly and starting to cost more and more I thought this would be ideal for people who aren't so bothered about carrying a bit more kit, getting an official time etc.

    They could also double up as recce missions for proper races, e.g. split the Thames path, Ridgeway, NDW etc into two legs. The trickiest part I thought was finding the balance between it being an organised race needing insurance etc, and a group of people just out for a run. If something did happen then I don't know how easy it would be to cover yourself, given the UK has embraced a litigious culture.

  • Think it's best to start as just a few folk meeting up for a run - less bother that way.

    Just reading Boff Whalley's "Run Wild", and he talks about getting away from organised running into just plain running for the fun of it - so far I can highly recommend it,

  • Hi Andy I re ran some of the sections through Gateshead up towards Tanfield and it looks like a monsoon has swept through! Was still runnable though. 

    My fatass runs this summer have been more geared towards recces for the Hardmoors 60. But still very much up for a run in Tyne and Wear. If anyone is free one weekend I like to go out early about 07:00 and can fit in a 2 hour run most weekend if anyone wants to start running sections to put together a 50km. I want to take in Penshaw, the Angel of the North, Tanfield and Beamish. I have a route for most of it, would be grateful for others views on the course.

  • If there were sufficient interest in an event in Leicestershire, I could come up with a  route of the desired length, that would be picturesque, challenging, and avoid any dangerous roads. 

    If people are interested in preparing for a hilly event and do not have hill training opportunities on heir doorstep, I have some 25 mile training routs with up to 1000 meters of ascent/descent!

  • Ben: now there's an offer! As you may recall, I've got Beachy Head mara end of October and I've my eye on Lakeland 50 next year, so hilly training routes are a good thing.

  • Debra

    If you are having trouble finding hilly training routes where you live, then come to Leicestershire and I will give you a beasting. 

  • Hi tim, they must have repaired some of it because I had to turn around when I last went up there!

    So what's the done thing for these fatass events? Does everyone run in a group at the pace of the slowest runner or is it a full on race?
  • Ben - sounds good buddy, which part of Leics?
  • I live in Mountsorrel Charnwood, which is home to the Chanwood Hills Marathon, Bowline Race, Woodhouse Challenge, and other notable hilly races. 

  • Know it well worked for Lafarge last year. Not too far from me at Nottingham be good to catch up for a run.
  • I think not. It's a great idea. There are ultras springing up everywhere and many of them are damn expensive and/or need to be entered many months in advance. I sympathise with the organisers, as trying to make money from perhaps 100 runners while supporting them across many miles of countryside is always going to be very tough. Back to basics is the answer, but I like the idea of charging people only if they DON'T run - too many dreamers are disheartening for the people who put so much effort in to planning an event.
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