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Race Permits, Race Directory, and Grants for Race Organisers


Does my race need a permit?

Although there is no legal requirement for a race to have a permit, having an approved race permit demonstrates to competitors and insurers that the race is promoted to governing body standards and that UKA Rules for Competition apply.

Under what authority does the TRA issue race permits? Does the TRA issue permits for races outside England?

The TRA is an associate member of UK Athletics.  Under UK Athletics Rules the managment of Trail Running is delegated to the TRA.  Applications for a permit for Trail Races in England should be made to the TRA.  For Trail Races in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales application should be made to the appropriate National Association.

What rules must be complied with?

UK Athletics Rules for Competition include detailed rules for trail running that must be complied with in order for a permit application to be approved.  Race organisers should familiarise themselves with these rules before making a permit application.  

The latest rule book may be downloaded from the UK Athletics website

Particular notice should be taken of the age limits applicable to the race distance (Rule 141 S 5).  Note that the age limits for trail races are different, in some cases from those for road races - ensure the appropriate section of the rules is complied with. For timed races (e.g. 6 hour races), the minimum age of entrants should be consistent with the maximum distance that an entrant can reasonably be expected to run in the time allowable.  

Age limits must be included on the event website and application form.

Also note that UK Athletics rules also require that running with dogs is not permitted. 

What is the additional unattached entry fee?

Under UK Athletics Rules - Rule 2 (6) - any Competition Provider granted a Trail Running Licence by UKA must impose, in addition to the basic entry fee, an additional fee of £2 (to be known as the ‘Additional Unattached Entry Fee’) on every entrant in a Senior Open Trail Running race who is not a member of a Club affiliated to a National Association or is not a registered member of the TRA.  Note that, unlike for road races, the additional unattached fee should not be imposed for entrants who are members of affiliated clubs but do not hold a competition licence from their National Association.

If an event includes races over multiple distances or over multiple days, is a separate permit required for each race?

Multiple races that are part of a single event held on the same day may be covered by a single permit. 

For multiple races over several days, a separate permit is required for each day.

Note that all such races must comply with UK Athletics rules, including the age limit rules. 

A single race that continues over more than one day needs only one permit.

How much notice is required for permit applications?

Permit applications should, ideally, be made at least three months ahead of the race.  We aim to process permit applications within four weeks of receipt, but this can be longer at busy times. Permit applIcations made less than four weeks before the day of the race may be declined. 

Does a club or race organising associations have to register with the TRA?

No. In fact, membership of the TRA is not open to clubs and other associations, but only to individuals and family members.  We do encourage such clubs and other associations to affiliate to UK Athletics by affiliating to their National Association, e.g England Athetics. Doing so is usually be best way to get insurance cover for the event.

Is a race with a TRA permit automatically insured under the UK Athletics insurance cover?

No.  Being awarded a permit does not mean that UKA public liability insurance will apply.  Insurance cover only applies when the organising body is affiliated to one of the four National Associations and a permit (or licence) has been awarded.

Where can details of UK Athletics insurance cover be found?

Insurance details are given in the Governance section of the UK Athletics website (  PDF copies of documents and certificates are available for download. 

Does a race need to have public liability insurance cover in order to be granted a permit?

No.  However, the TRA strongly recommends that all trail races have public liability insurance cover.  If the promoting organisation is not affiliated to one of the four National Associations, the organiser should ensure that they have adequate insurance cover.

How can an organising body affiliate to England Athletics?

For details see the Club Affiliation page of the England Athletics website.  Any organised body which provides athletics activity may affiliate to England Athletics, including voluntary clubs, commercial businesses, leisure centres, charities or a groups running with paid leaders from sports retailers.

What is the difference between trail races and multi-terrain races?

Endurance disciplines, including road running, fell and hill, cross-country and mountain running are defined in UK Athletics Rules for Competiton. 

Multi Terrain, although not a discipline recognised within UKA Rules for Competition, is closely aligned to Road Running. Multi Terrain races are defined as those up to and including marathon distance which do not meet the full definition of Road Races within the rules, but are run over at least 40% tarmac, concrete or paved roads.

Trail races are races that are predominantly along:

footpaths, bridleways and towpaths over which there is a public right of way.
private paths with the consent of the owner or occupier as appropriate.
trails across land and coastal margins where relevant legislation grants the right of public access on foot. (Such legislation includes the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003)

Trail race routes may include connecting stretches of public road and/or private or public land without a path when the owner’s permission has been obtained, if required for legal access.
Courses of up to marathon distance, i.e. 42.2km, which are less than 60% trail are not to be classified as Trail Races.

What reporting needs to be submitted after the race has taken place?

On the evening of an event, the TRA permit system sends an email requesting a report is submitted, and containing a link to the Race Report Form.  This asks for the total numbers of men and women runners, the numbers of unattached men and women runners, whether the race is expected to be held next year, and for a URL where the results can be found, if available.  The form also tells race organsers to report any accidents or dangerous incidents connected with the event following the UK Athletics guidelines and using the UKA on-line reporting system.  A link to the UKA system is included on the form.

What payments are required to be made?

Permits are issued free of charge. When the permit report has been submitted, the TRA permit system emails a payment request for £1 per unattattched runner.  It is a condition of the permit that payment is made within 30 days of the event.  However, if payment is made within 15 days of the event, the fee due is reduced by 50%, that is to 50p per unattached runner. Payment instructions are included in the payment request email.

How can I apply for a TRA Grant for a Race Organiser?

See for full details of the grant scheme, and how to apply.

Editing of permit applications and risk assesments

It is the event organisers responsibility to edit their permit application if requested to do so by the permit secretaries.

How does an event get to appear in the TRA Race Directory?

A race will be added automatically to the Race Directory when the permit is approved, unless the permit applicant has requested when applying for the permit that their event should not be listed.  There is currently no facility to add races to the directory that do not have TRA permits, other than in exceptional circumstances.

What guidance is available for Race Organsers who want to ensure they are inclusive of non-binary participants?

The TRA supports the guidance, issued by Scottish Athletics, which may be found here.