Big Bear Events : Trails, tales and ales - Cider edition (Mark Atkinson)

Trails, tales and ales - Cider edition (Mark Atkinson)

Napton Cidery, Warwiskhire, CV47 8NY


Something new from us here at Big Bear Events

We wanted to bring 3 of our favourite things together - running the trails, having a drink and chatting about running! So that's what we've done. Rather than expecting you to chat amongst yourselves we've collected a list of awesome runners who have done some crazy events. You may have never heard of them, you may have never seen them on a TV or online, but they are great people with stories to tell (not stuff to sell!!).

For our first Trails tales and ales we've been lucky enough to get Mark Atkinson to come to the Cidery to chat all things Grand Union Canal Race (GUCR), writing an award winning running book (Run Like Duck) and to chat about the stories from his countless ultras and 100+ marathons (he's in the 100 Marathon Club). Mark is a top guy and has some cracking stories to tell. As stated below though if you have a particular angle you'd like Mark to tackle - tell us when you sign up, we'll do our best to cover it!

The set up for the day will be as follows.

Meet at Napton Cidery to start running at 16:30.

Split in to 2 groups and run on the local trails for around 60-70 minutes, depending on the pace of the groups.

Head back to the cidery to put some warm (dry!) clothes on and get a cider in your hand.

The guest will give us a talk with a few intermissions (for more cider and food).

We expect the talk to last around an hour and the person giving the talk will hang around a little for you to try and quiz them if you want!

Trails, tales and ales FAQ

Now this is a new venture for us, and everyone involved but we'll make sure it's great fun. We've put together what we think will be the FAQs, but if it isn't below please email us at - and we can add to the FAQ list then!

How fast/far are you going to run?

A social pace leaving no one behind. We'll ask you for a rough calculation on your pace when you sign up so we can gauge the speed of the group. We're hoping to have the numbers for 2 groups, we'll split people based on speed and the quicker people can run a bit further so we hopefully all finish at the same time. This isn't a race, there is no medal or prize for being first back. The idea of the run is to introduce you to some awesome Warwickshire countryside and get you hungry for the food!!

Where are you running? Is there a gpx.?

There will be. We'll put a few routes up that we could do, but as above if everyone who signs up is a 6 minute miler then we'll need more than a 5k route, but if everyone is new to trail we won’t go out on a 20 mile trek either! The idea isn't to make you feel out of your depth or uncomfortable, it's pretty much the perfect icebreaker for the evening.

Do I have to do the run? I'm injured/don't want to.

Nope. If you want to just come along for the talk and a drink that's fine. It's still the same cost but if you aim to be there for 17:30 then you can wait at the bar for us all to get back!

Will there be loads of PowerPoint? I do love PowerPoint....

No! We're hoping to get a projector for some images - some of these events need a picture to really explain a story - but this isn't the monthly sales figures meeting. If there is a pie chart or scatter diagram it'll be a surprise to us!

Will there be a Q&A?

Of course. It's the ultimate cliché but you get out what you put in. If you have questions on one of the stories, ask it (at the appropriate time - no heckling!), odds are someone else has the same question too. 

How will I know if it'll be relevant to me?

We'll ask everyone who signs up what they're looking to get from the event. We'll give you the 3 or 4 main topics the speaker is likely to cover and if they are broadly in your interest then we can try and cover off the points you'd like to discuss. If you want to know what kit they used for a race, or the most difficult part, or specifics in their training - let us know beforehand and we can ask the speaker to try and cover it in their talk. If they can't squeeze it in, then there is always the Q&A and time on the trail and in the bar.

There not professionals though, what do they know?!

Are you a professional? Can you dedicate your whole waking life to your running? We're taking a guess at no and no! So why not listen to how some people with jobs, kids, and other things in their lives did what you want to do? Is it not more realistic to get tips, tricks and stories from them? There are very few professionals in the running scene, even fewer in trail running, however there are some phenomenal athletes who have great experiences and stories to share, why not have a listen.

Are they professional speakers? Will I have seen this talk before? Are they Instagram influencers?

No, no and no. The plan isn't to get people along trying to shift books or who think they can add loads of insta followers. It's meant to be runners sharing stories. They might have some Instagram followers; they might have a book they'd happily sell you, but this is more about getting people who want to share their experience. Do the maths on the entry, none of us are making much more than beer money on this, it's a chance to celebrate and hear stories form cracking runners. That said if you're a professional runner with a book to sell and 40 million Instagram followers and fancy doing one... do get in touch!

Do I have to drink cider all night?

No. But it's rather nice! Napton Cidery have been supplying our Big Bear Cider since we started, and they have recipes for all tastes. They also do an incredibly delicious apple juice for the non-drinkers or drivers. You can of course leave after the talk too, but you're more than welcome to stay in the bar until closing too. To be clear, there is a real bar at the cidery, which is a converted farm (there are still horses and cows around). This is a cracking venue but don't be expecting leather seats and a fruit machine in the corner - it's a working cidery and that's the charm!

What food is on offer? Is it included in my ticket?

We'll confirm details on the food, but we'll have some outside caterers in, this won’t be a few frozen pizzas and some biscuits! It'll be lovely gourmet fast food. Once we have more details we'll update the event though. You will need to pay for the food on the night at the event.

My mate isn't in to running (what!!) but fancies having some cider, what can I do?

Maybe get better friends... but in all seriousness the cidery and food will be available into the night so get them to come along after 7pm and they can catch up with you.

Are there changing rooms and showers?

Unfortunately not. As we've mentioned already this is a farm, converted into a cidery. There will probably be a cold tap somewhere if you're really brave but we'd suggest putting a towel, pair of joggers, a top, hoddie and spare trainers in the car to change in to after the run. Maybe release a whole can of Lynx Africa too, that will hide the smell!

Can I pay on the door, I'm not sure I'll be able to make it.

No, payment must be made before the event, absolutly no on-the-day booking.

Will there be medical support?

Short answer, no. The run is a social run, much the same as if you went out with your running club for example. The runs are social runs, they are ultimately in addition to the talk that you are paying for and thus there is not a medical provision and you run completely at your own risk. We won’t make you cross the M1 or traverse a river but if you fall and hurt yourself, we'll accept no liability either. It's a social run before a talk, not a race.

I've still got a question

Email us at - we'll get back to you and add the question and answer here!