Home / News / Burnley College lends its support to gruelling Shepherd’s Crook Fell Race expected to attract 200 competitors

Burnley College lends its support to gruelling Shepherd’s Crook Fell Race expected to attract 200 competitors

Dedicated staff and students on popular Sports and Fitness courses at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre are lending their support to ensure that one of the first fell races to return after Covid-19 is a hit.

Fitness Evolution, the College’s award-winning on-site gym and fitness centre, has stepped forward to support the challenging event, which takes place on Sunday, 30 May, on the remote Deerplay Moors, high above Burnley. The race will be one of the highlights of the final day of the Deerplay Sheepdog Trials, led by Jim Cropper, legendary local sheepdog handler.

They are providing runners with entry bibs and packs before they set off on the challenging eight-mile course which includes a 1,700ft elevation, as well as marshalling the route and providing winners with top-class prizes, including access to the College’s specialist running training sessions and high-tech sports fitness testing facilities.

Burnley College’s Stephen Walter, a hybrid Tutor who teaches students on Vocational Sport and Fitness courses, as well as leading fitness classes and specialist running training, has already tackled the course. He says:

“The terrain is truly challenging and will test runners to their limits – it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. As with all fell races, runners need to be prepared for the elements and be able to navigate their way around the course, although there will be some signage and marshals to assist.

“It’s great experience for our Burnley College students to get involved in such a big event as this, which is attracting some of the region’s top fell runners.  It is giving them a real appreciation of all the organisation, health and safety and communication needed to stage such a big event – as well as seeing at close hand the commitment, stamina and strength of top fell runners.”

Stephen is bringing his experience as a Sports and Fitness Tutor – and top running coach – in Canada and Korea to Burnley College and is already making an impact by establishing an Elite Running Academy at the College. An internationally-recognised athlete himself, Stephen has competed for Ireland in the World Triathlon Championships (he was rated in the top three in the country), as well as earning national medals at university level for running, gaining elite entry into races.

He says:

“I’m excited to be creating a centre of excellence for running right here in Burnley and put us on the map for developing and nurturing the very best runners. The Elite Running Academy will be open to secondary school runners who show exceptional ability, as well as our current students at Burnley College and will offer the very best strength and conditioning training; sports nutrition and sports psychology, as well as physiotherapy and access to our new Elite Athlete gym which is currently under construction.”

In addition, Stephen’s bi-weekly running group is open to the general public. He added:



I am passionate about running and the amazing benefits it can bring – physical and emotional – and am really looking forward to working with individuals across the region to nurture their love of running – whether they’re complete beginners or experienced runners.

Stephen Walter

Burnley College Tutor and International Running Coach

 “Many people may have been put off running before, by a bad experience, but I’m here to show that everyone can run – and enjoy it. I’ll be helping beginners to build their fitness and confidence and working with experienced runners to take their performance to the next level – there really will be something for everyone.”

To find out more about Stephen’s Elite Running Academy or his running club, for all abilities and ages, contact Fitness Evolution on 01282 733180.

To take part in Sunday’s race (which is open to the over-16s and starts at 11am), visit the Events List on www.sientries.co.uk. Entries close on Saturday, 29 May.