6 Miles Multi Terrain. 750ft Elevation.
Sunday 28th November 2021.
Canicross start: 11am. Runners start: 11.15am
The Howling Bull Run is a 6 mile, mainly off-road running event, first run in November 2015. Starting at Walford Village Hall, it climbs up Bulls Hill along the beautiful Wye Valley Walk, then loops around the woodland footpaths on Leys Hill and Howle Hill.
To make things more interesting there is a 'route option' at about 5 miles - You can choose the shorter and steeper 'Howler' route (at your own risk!) or play safe with the more runnable 'Bulls route'. The choice is yours!
There is even a small section of tarmac for the road runners..
COVID UPDATE: No race in 2020 :(
but there is an alternative..
Virtually Howling Bull.
Sorry all – No ‘proper’ race this year, for obvious and on-going Covid reasons. However, for those that still want to get their yearly Howling Bull fix, I have set up a Virtual course to play on.
When? The course is live and will remain open. The leaderboard will be monitored in November and December, and some port of prizes will be given out to the top performers! You can run the course as many times as you like. I will include your best November run in the results.
Where? Starts in Walford. Best to park in layby next to Walford Primary School. HR9 5SA. Please try to avoid school drop off / pick up time – it’s chaos! (This is a different parking and start area than the normal race venue)
How? MaprunF. MaprunF is a free 'app' you download to your phone. It automatically records which checkpoints you visit, when you start and when you finish. After, your score and route is uploaded automatically to the overall results table.
When you find a checkpoint, your phone emits a loud bleep, the point on the map changes from pink to green and your time to get there is recorded automatically. The Howling Bull course has 13 check points, as well as the Start / Finish points.
Don't panic all you technophobes! It's very intuitive to use and once started you can if you like just stow your phone in a pocket or bumbag.
This event will suit all. Those with little navigational experience can use the event to learn the basics. All The checkpoints are at easy to find locations - corner of field, where paths meet, road t-junction etc. You will not need to go off-piste but stick to footpaths, roads and tracks.
Likewise expert navigators can use their skills to plan the optimum route and move from one to the other on the best line. See the map for a suggested route – There are a few options that may be a bit quicker, but it is not far off the ‘optimum’ route.
You can do this event on your own, with a partner or in a small group.
How do I get the 'app' and how do I learn how to use it?
You'll be able to download the app and the map you need anywhere that has WIFI or a good mobile signal (3g/4g). It's best to do this before leaving home but you can also do in Walford, if you get good signal.
Below is a link to full instructions, however.... the app is very easy to use. Just press 'start' and it does it all for you. It starts automatically as you cross the start line, it recognises when you get to each checkpoint, records that you've been there and at the finish stops and uploads your time and score automatically to the overall results table.
Starting and Finishing.
Once you have pressed 'go to start' on your phone, simply walk to the Start. When you arrive at the checkpoint the phone beeps/vibrates and the clock starts ticking.. You must return to your start / Finish checkpoint to finish the event. Finish is the same place as start.
The MapRun app is particularly appropriate under the current Covid situation. It means walkers/runners can test themselves in a competition/challenge format without the need to gather in numbers.
The route is not 'technical', being mostly on pleasant paths, roads and tracks. You can get from one checkpoint to the other on public rights of way - roads, bridleways, footpaths, tracks. There are 13 checkpoints + start/ Finish. They are all easy to locate, being on easily identified features - corner of field, path junction, building etc.
As well as using your phone to navigate by and to record your outing it is essential that you also have adequate backup plans for navigation and route finding – see the printed map. Your location and route will show up on your phone as you run the course, so no excuses for getting lost!
Find a downloadable map of the route here: Up to you which map you find easier to use. Or you can just navigate via your phone screen.
All runners run at their own risk. This is not an organised event and there is no insurance. If you choose to take part, make sure you take all necessary precautions for off road running. There are a few road crossings – take care! Please do not squeeze or cough on the locals, as it will put future events in doubt! Follow the current Covid regulations at time of your run.
How to get the app and map ready on your phone:
Download the app from your fav place:
or search for MaprunF, by FNE Enterprises
You’ll need to set up the app with your personal details then download the map at home (don’t try at the venue as there is may be limited mobile signal). To get the event map onto your phone, first start up the app then click:
Select Event - UK – Gloucestershire – Herefordshire – Virtual Howling Bull folder
The map will take a few moments to download. You can view the map by clicking 'go to start'.
At the venue just go the app on your phone. When ready for the off press 'go to start'. Keep away from the start checkpoint until you are ready to start. Walk/run towards the start checkpoint when you're ready and as you cross the start point your phone will bleep and you're on your way. All timing starts from the beep. Remember, you must return to this same checkpoint to finish.
If you wish, you can get the app to show your position on the map on the screen and leave a 'breadcrumb' trail of where you have been. Just go to 'options and settings' before you start and click 'display location' and 'display track'. This should be already set up for Howling Bull.
For a full explanation of the Maprun app and what the Maptrail is all about visit the NGOC site here:
Many thanks to Pat Macleod (NGOC) for setting this route up for me.
There are many different makes and models of phone. It's not possible go through all of the issues you might encounter with your particular one. However, here are a few general pointers:
Make sure your phone is fully charged before you set off
Make sure your phone will allow this app to 'run in the background'. This means that when your screen goes off (because you've turned it off or it goes to sleep) the app is still tracking your progress. In settings, go to apps and choose MapRun to see the settings
Make sure you have the 'media' volume turned up to max so you can hear the beep.
If when you get to a checkpoint your phone does not beep, it may be that your phone has gone to sleep. Just turn the screen on and wait a few seconds and your phone may then register the checkpoint.
Some of the check points are under tree cover. It may take the GPS a few seconds to ‘catch up’. This can be frustrating – sorry, try to be patient! If phone in bumbag, it can sometimes interfere with signal. You may have to remove phone and wave in air and check if location is near the check point.
If your phone does not beep when you get to a checkpoint it might be that your phone's gps is not accurate enough for some reason. If you walk around a bit and back and forth it may then register the checkpoint. Older phones can have this problem sometimes. You can go into settings to check that you have the highest possible gps accuracy - this is often under battery settings as a higher gps accuracy is more demanding of battery power.
If your run does not upload to the overall set of results after, it may be because there is no phone signal. Don't worry it should automatically upload when you are in a WIFI zone or a place with a good 3g/4g signal later. If it doesn't then you can try a manual upload. If you still have problems the organiser can add you to the results if you send him a gpx file of your route.
The info below relates to previous races - not the 2020 virtual race.
Venue: Walford Village Hall, Walford Road. HR9 5QS.
Course update: 22/11/19. I have just done a final recce run. The course is probably as wet, muddy and as slippery as it can get! Most of you will thoroughly enjoy this! It is raining again tomorrow, but should be dry on Sunday. I will remind you that you are running at your own risk. I have a duty of care to let you know the risks - the main one being a slip / fall. I have tried reduce these risks by good marking and clearing. We have 2 mobile 1st aid vehicles on course and the tailrunners are 1st aiders. There are also lots of marshals dotted around. Please help any injured runners and informed the nearest marshals. I have put one 'No overtaking' section in the course. This is a narrow path descent, at about 2 1/2 miles - Only about 200 metres, so shouldn't slow you up too much! It is also likely that I may shift the start time back to 11.20, to give the canis a chance to get a good lead - I'll confirm on the day. Sorry for being a stress head - I'm sure you'll all love it...
Parking will be a 4-5 mins walk, in St Michaels church field.
Toilets, Drinks and Bag drop area all available on site.
Free tea, coffee and lots of cake for the runners after the race.
Canicross runners and dogs very welcome.
TRANSFERS. Please let me have name, DOB and club (if any) of new runner if you want to transfer. Email info to: . I would prefer if you could email a few days before event, but will do on the day transfers if necessary. I do not want any runners to run under a different name - it breaks the insurance criteria and not good if any accidents occur! Thanks
Lots of prizes to be awarded and hand crafted wooden medals awarded to all.
Min age 16. It will be hilly and muddy - Please wear trail shoes / grippy daps!
Charity update. Regrettably the Walford Pre-School Playgroup will be shutting down at the end of October. Both my children attended the Playgroup and I setup the Howling Bull run 5 years ago to help fund it, so it is quite a sad time for the local community. As for Howling Bull, it will remain as a charity run. We will be supporting various charities, including Mind, Hereford & Worcester Community First Responders, SARA, Gloucester Cave Rescue group and the Walford Community Support Scheme. If you have entered, but would like a refund due to the change of circumstance, I will be happy to oblige. Otherwise, all will be the same as per usual! Thanks Dan
ALL COMPETITORS RUN AT THEIR OWN RISK!
Location of venue