HUNDREDS of participants ran for the hills once again at the National Trust’s annual Grasmere Gallop trail running event on Saturday.

The Grasmere Gallop, which features two trail runs, a fun run, Nordic walking, as well as a Teddy Run for under 5s, has been run by the National Trust since 2011. This year 870 people paid to take part, raising hundreds of pounds which will be put towards the charity’s work supporting red squirrel conservation in Grasmere.

Native red squirrels are in danger of extinction in England and Grasmere is one of the few remaining places in England where they still thrive. The National Trust has been working with Grasmere Red Squirrel Group to help make the area their ideal home.

Dave Almond, manager for Grasmere and Allan Bank for the National Trust said: “We have always put the money raised by the Grasmere Gallop to good use, investing it back into our conservation work in the Grasmere and Rydal area. This year it seems absolutely right that we continue on from last year and use the money raised to help Grasmere’s red squirrels to thrive.”

First organised 32 years ago by local hotelier Robin Lees in 1985, the event has more than doubled in size since the National Trust took it over in 2011. In 2011 entrants only had a 10k or a 5.7k trail to choose from but over the last 5 years the event has increased to include a 17K trail run and in 2013 the National Trust welcomed its first Nordic Walkers.

This year saw many first timers running alongside seasoned trail runners. The winners for each race were:

5.7K Fun Run

Male: Jack Dixon (0:23:58), Female: Ella Duffield (0:26:04)

Male under 16: Jack Dixon (0:23:58), Female under 16: Lucy Ferris (0:27:07)

10K Nordic Walk

Male: Matthew Gibbs (1:01:00)

Female: Alison Davies (1:14:00)

10K Trail Run

Male: Robert Danson (0:34:57)

Female: Natalie McCarron (0:43:36)

17K Trail Run

Male: Phil Waite (1:04:00)

Female: Fiona Halls (1:20:57)