2021 Christmas Cracker Race

Get into the running Christmas spirit...

After the enforced COVID-19 break, Staffs Moorlands AC is hosting the ever-popular, superb value and atmospheric Christmas Cracker race. This year, the date is set for Sunday 19 December 2021 with a start time of 11am.

The race is approximately 8 miles long and takes in some breath-taking scenery in the beautiful Staffordshire Moorlands. Around 40% is run on country lanes with the rest being through fields and on tracks including a section along the exposed Roaches gritstone ridge some 1500 feet above sea level!

According to the reviews on Runners’ World (RW) website, 100% of past competitors would return to the race again and it has an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5. Whilst this is a race, which does attract some excellent runners, the emphasis is on fun and fancy dress outfits are encouraged, even if this is a Santa hat, tinsel halo or sprig of mistletoe!!! To quote a review from “Fuzzyhead” on the RW site: “the most fun race I have had all year”.

There are prizes including fancy dress (detailed below) and every finisher receives either a pair of special edition socks or locally bottled beer.

Additionally, to be fair to the volunteers, marshalling and recording results, we would ask potential entrants to ensure that they can finish comfortably within one hour and fifty minutes. Regrettably, dogs are not permitted to accompany runners on the course.

In the unlikely event that the organisers deem it to be too dangerous to run over the Roaches, due to ice or heavy snow on race day, an alternative shorter course will be operated around the scenic Tittesworth Reservoir.

We try to keep running affordable to most runners which is reflected in the entry costs:
£8.50 for affiliated Staffs Moorlands AC runners, £9.50 for other club affiliated athletes and £10.50 for unattached runners. Please note that there is a small additional fee (ranging from 93p to £1.03) to cover the costs of the electronic portal provider.

Any profits from the race are shared between the local charities and organisations that have helped to stage the event (usually Staffordshire Wildlife Trust for maintaining the footpaths on the Roaches, Buxton Mountain Rescue for helping to keep runners safe on the course.

Race Details

Number Collection, Race Start and Finish

This takes place in the grounds of Tittesworth Reservoir Visitors’ Centre, Meerbrook, near Leek, Staffordshire (postcode ST13 8SW) with a scheduled start time of 11am.

Online entries https://www.race-results.co.uk/onlineentries/user/login.php?raceid=4324

In trying to protect our volunteers, we regret that we are unable to offer on-the-day entries. The cut off for the receipt of online entries is 11.59 pm on Friday 17 December.


Runners will need to obey whatever parking restrictions are in place at the time, which includes paying the usual visitors’ tariff.

Number Collection

If you’ve pre-entered via the portal, above, number collection, sited in the covered picnic area on the right hand side as you head towards the Visitors’ Centre, opens at 9.40am and closes at 10.50am.

Refreshments and Toilets

There are excellent facilities provided by the Visitors’ Centre together with a wide range of reasonably-priced drinks and snacks. Please treat the facilities with respect as we rely on venues such as this and we would like to be able to stage the event again in the following years. Note: there are no changing or shower facilities.


Please be mindful of the weather conditions and dress accordingly as it can be a few degrees colder on the highest points of the course.


In addition to marshals being on the course, there will also be medical staff and Buxton Mountain Rescue personnel deployed at strategic points. A “sweeper” will also be following the last runner to ensure that everyone returns safely. Always listen and adhere to instructions from marshals – they are there for your safety and enjoyment of the race.


Please use the exit funnel and keep the finish area clear for incoming runners, who may be sprinting with eyes only for the line! After the finish, choose and collect your memento (socks or beer!).


This year we are changing the prize structure, mainly to avoid the need for a large gathering at the presentation. Prizes will be presented to: 1st, 2nd, 3rd male and female, irrespective of age. There will be no team awards. We shall be awarding spot prizes to individuals at random intervals which allows more modest runners the chance to win something and is in keeping with the original aims of the race. We are sorry for any disappointment the change of arrangements may cause runners but hope that everyone understands our rationale.

The King of the Mountain trophy is awarded to the first individual to reach the Roaches trig point.

The Ron Lucas prizes are awarded by his family for fancy dress costume judged as: Best Individual: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Best Team and Runner-Up Team.

How to join SMAC

We welcome runners of all abilities and interests. We also welcome volunteers, who may like to help out with coaching and putting on races. Full support will be provided. Please visit our Membership pages for more details.

Coaching Sessions

If you are a member of Staffs Moorlands A.C. you are eligible to train at any of the organised sessions which are all run by England Athletics Qualified Coaches. Tuesday Night Birchall Track, Leek. 5.20pm Junior session, 6.30pm Seniors. See our Coaching pages for more details.

Our Races

SMAC is famous for putting on a series of races during the summer months and also a pre-Christmas event. Please follow the links to our Summer Series and Christmas Cracker race pages.


Kit can be ordered via email from the kit manager. There are more details on our Kit page. Kit is generally ordered on demand and there may be a lead time. You must wear club kit for team events.

Get In Touch

We'd love to hear from you. Our Contact pages have a variety of ways in which you can contact us.

Our Teams

Here at SMAC we have teams for the Juniors, Men and Ladies. There is also an active Veterans Team and a Fell Running Team. Please use the 'Teams' menu (found under the 'Run With Us' menu) to find more information.