Run Barns Green celebrates 40 years in style

On Sunday 25 September Run Barns Green celebrated its 40th anniversary. The event started in 1982 and it is quite amazing that a small village like Barns Green which is situated close to Horsham in West Sussex has been able to keep the event going so successfully for so long.

The event receives no support from councils or any other administrative bodies and Health and Safety requirements are becoming tougher and require significantly more work each year. Income comes from race entries and from local sponsors and all profits are returned to the local community. The event relies entirely on the year round voluntary work of the Run Barns Green Committee and another 170 volunteers from in and around the village on race week end. These volunteers include many individuals but they also come from all the groups, societies and sports clubs in the village.

The scouts and brownies man the water stations, the youth club does the de-tagging, the local players group provide the voices on the public address, the rugby club put out barriers and provide security, the cricket, football and hockey clubs man the car parks, and provide some of the personnel for the 36 marshal points on the race routes and the pensioners “Monday Club” provide food for the volunteers etc. Then, when all the bills are paid, all these groups receive a donation of between £150 and £500 which enables them to buy equipment or even to just keep existing in these tough economic times.

The last couple of years have been extremely challenging for the event. The 2020 races were cancelled and race numbers were significantly down in 2021, a contrast to the early years of the race when in the mid-1980s over 2,500 runners took part – quite an undertaking for a small village in the pre internet era. As competition from other races has increased, race numbers have declined. In 2014 a 10k race was added and this has become very popular. This year for the first time a junior colour run for 4-11 year olds was introduced which proved to be a huge success with 200 youngsters taking part.

The half marathon starts at 10am, the 10k starts at 10.20am and the junior race was at 12.30pm. All three races had a proper warm up from the main stage and the junior race certainly kept the large crowd at the event well into the afternoon which extended the day and was a huge benefit to the funfair and all the stall holders and catering outlets present.

Aerial shot of Run Barns Green start

The two adult race routes take place on closed roads in the lanes of Barns Green, Itchingfield, Dragons Green and Christ’s Hospital through some of the most scenic countryside in West Sussex. There is plenty of free car parking for runners and spectators, there are highly visible race pacers taking part to help runners with their times and there are bands playing music at different points on the race routes and at the end of the races medals for all runners.

While the car parking is free, people are encouraged to make a donation to a wonderful local charity, St Catherine’s Hospice, who collect in the car parks and this year had over 70 runners in the two main races running on their behalf.

The races have improved year on year and for the last 10 years have been awarded the BARR Gold Grade Status. However, maintaining and increasing runner numbers is the biggest challenge. It’s a struggle but one that is worthwhile to put on an event that is universally loved and which constantly strives to live up to its moto, “Vincit Qui Patitur!” – “He who endures, conquers!”

Registrations for heavily discounted Early Bird Entry for the 2023 Runs Barns Green adult races are already open. Next year’s event will take place on Sunday 24 September.