The 2016 Boundary Run featured over 500 runners, and that figure is set to rise next yearChloë Beckett

Long-distance running is one of the most demanding yet rewarding sporting disciplines on the planet. As well as requiring a huge degree of stamina, running for a sustained period of time also needs a large amount of mental strength and the unrelenting determination to succeed.

Its health benefits are well-publicised: running provides an efficient full-body workout, burns a ton of calories, tones the body and strengthens the bones, the muscles, and the heart. The mental benefits cannot be overlooked, either: getting out in the fresh air improves emotional well-being and can provide a great opportunity for socialising. And few sports can recreate the thrill of the personal victory that comes from completing a long-distance race.

Over the years, British athletes from Steve Cram to Paula Radcliffe have produced electrifying performances in distance-running events that have inspired generations to get out and run. Mo Farah’s history-making performances at the Rio Olympics this summer kept the British public on the edge of their seats.

The course for both distances is 30 per cent off-roadChloë Beckett

And next year, Cambridge students have the chance to follow in his footsteps. On the 26th February, cross-country running club the Cambridge University Hare & Hounds (the Haries) will be hosting the 2017 Boundary Run.

Open to all, the run offers participants the chance to complete a marathon or half-marathon course, on a route specially designed to give runners a chance to explore Cambridge's best-known beauty spots, as well as the edges of the city. Running alongside the River Cam and past Cambridge Airport, this is a route that will keep the 26 miles interesting. 

The Boundary Run is an annual event, entirely coordinated by student members of the Hare & Hounds. Last year’s saw 507 runners compete, and the marathon title taken by Tom Fairbrother, with a gun time of 2:51:47.

Both the half-marathon and the full marathon begin at the University of Cambridge Sports Centre, following tracks that are 30 per cent off-road and pass through some stunningly beautiful, yet rarely visited, parts of the Cambridgeshire countryside, including Grantchester Meadows. Half-marathon runners will be finishing at Coldham's Common while the full-marathon runners' finish line is back at the Sports Centre.

The event is intended to be a laid-back and enjoyable day, catering for runners of all abilities and experiences, and this is an aim aided by the flat topography of Cambridge. Every participant will receive a free Boundary Run T-shirt as a souvenir, and those completing the half-marathon are provided with free transport back from Coldham’s Common to the Sports Centre.

Student marshals will be in place to ensure everyone enjoys the day, with water stations also providing baked treats to keep energy levels high. The day will also with a social event free to all volunteers and runners, providing a chance to meet fellow runners and other members of the Haries.

Accessibility is one of the major goals of the Boundary Run. Indeed, it is one of the cheapest half- or full-marathon events nationwide, with entry only £12.60 for Cambridge students and £14.70 for non-students. All proceeds from the event will go to supporting the Haries, so the legacy of one of the world’s oldest running clubs can be kept alive.

The Boundary Run is not the only running event for Cambridge students organised by the Hare & Hounds throughout the year. The club runs sessions to cater for all levels, with beginners welcome to attend several easy runs put on during the week.

Membership of the Hare & Hounds is open to everyone affiliated with the University of Cambridge.

More information about the event can be found at the event’s Facebook page, and interested participants can sign up here.

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