You can race a steam train as part of a scenic running event along the East Lancs Railway this summer

Such a clever way to make race days different.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 15th March 2024

Ever wondered if you could outrun a train? No, seriously, overinflated egos and opinions of athletic prowess aside, you can genuinely race an old steam train as part of one of the most scenic running events in the North West.

Back for 2024 and its eighth edition following seven sell-out years, the Race the Train running event takes place this summer and will see Greater Mancs, Lancashire locals and people from all over the North West come to see if they can beat an old school locomotive on foot.

Running alongside a traditional steam train along the East Lancashire Railway and passing through multiple stations, you’ll get to take in the scenery all whilst putting your fitness to the test.

Better still, it’s scheduled for 10 June, so hopefully it should be a lovely sunny day. Sign us up.

Attracting thousands of joggers, dedicated runners and spectators every year, the Race the Train event has genuinely become one of the biggest and best races in the region, welcoming people of all abilities to come along and give the charming route a go.


Setting off from Bury Bolton Street Station in the borough’s town centre, you’ll set off going North where the train will change tracks and you’ll then run south alongside the legendary East Lancs railway lines and the River Irwell before finishing up at Rawtenstall Station in the Lancashire town of the same name.

With a beautiful and varied route with a good amount of challenge involved too, the 11-mile route only gets more popular each year, but organisers Mad Bull Events are also careful not to oversell the event so there’s still plenty of room for all runners.


Also, it might only be a little thing but the race starts on the sound of the stream train’s whistle — a nice touch. Here’s a look at how the Race the Train event from 2021.

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With a minimum age requirement of 16 years, there’s room for plenty of runners of varying ages and abilities to get involved; plus, one of the best parts is that friends and family can ride the train with a perfect view to cheer them on loved ones HERE. Children’s tickets are just £11 and adults are £16.50.

Online entries for the event will close at 11:45am on Monday, 10 June 2024 and places cost just £30 with the admin fee included. We highly doubt it but if there are any spare places spots available you can join in on the day for just a fiver. You can book your place HERE.


Registration will open at 9am on platform three at Bury Train Station and will close at 10:25. There will also be a bag drop at the same location with all of your stuff being loaded onto the train ready to pick when you’re all said and done at Rawtenstall Station.

There may or may not be a member or two of The Manc team going along to run the Race the Train event this year too, so hopefully we’ll see you at the finish line to pick up our medals and race shirts.

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Featured Images — East Lancashire Railway/Mad Bull Events