The Otley Run: Leeds – Ideas and How to Survive
In a city famed for its rich history and heritage, well-loved sports teams and as one of the main UK cities; there is one thing everyone must tick off their bucket lists when in Leeds – The Otley Run.
The Otley Run is a real test of one’s drinking abilities, as it involves a pub crawl from Headingley all the way into the city centre. The amount of pubs you should go to are debatable but the official website states that there are 16 pubs involved, give or take a few.
Having done this beast of a pub crawl a few times now, namely at the end of exam season and for summer birthdays, I thought I’d share my advice via my mistakes and provide a list of possible fancy dress ideas! I found my favourite one the other day.
Rule: A common rule to follow is one drink per pub! Fitting in so many pubs (depending on how far you make it to) takes up a lot of time, so start early afternoon.
Even if you’re not one to usually enjoy fancy dress (me!), it makes the run so much more fun. I’ve only ever seen one group not dressed up on the times I’ve done it, so choose a theme and go all out!
- Pub Golf (the original theme idea for many groups – a classic)
- Cops and Robbers
- What your first name begins (S: snake, sailor, spice girls)
- I’m A Celeb (I saw this the other day and it looked so good! People were wearing the familiar red shorts and blue top with name and number on the back whilst some wore full Kiosk Kieth outfits)
- Childhood characters (teenage mutant ninja turtles etc)
- Babies / Elderly versions of yourself
Honestly, the wackier the better. You’ll fit right in.
Tip 1: Take lots of photos!
You [probably] won’t remember past a certain point – or not in the morning anyways – so take lots of photos to show where you got up to and so you have memories of your success.
Headingley Oaks is the best place to take group pictures, you’ll probably be feeling a bit tipsy when you reach this pub depending on what you’ve been drinking, but the large beer garden and space makes for great photo opps!
Tip 2: Pace yourself
Having 16-18 drinks in one afternoon / evening is a feat for anyone, so start off small.
The cheapest drinks you can get are usually beer or cider, but instead of going straight in with full pints, have halves. Or, have a full pint at one pub then have a half in another; alternate between the two.
If you’re unlucky like me, and only like spirits, start with singles and then have doubles after a few pubs. Or again, just alternate. I made the stupid mistake of drinking double vodkas for the whole thing last year, I had the worst hangover and also re-injured my ankle [stupid!].
If you are on a budget, drinking spirits isn’t a great drinking choice as they tend to be the priciest.
One of my friends took it a step further and decided to drink prosecco and cocktails from the Arc onwards! Not sure how she managed that.
Tip 3: Be Careful !
You will be walking to each pub and although those in Headingley are close-by, there are stretches where you will be walking for a while. Some take the half a mile walk between Headingley Oaks to Hyde Park Pub to sober-up before doing the latter half, whilst some opt for a taxi.
Although this walk should be fine, there are others were you have to cross busy traffic and as you’re likely to reach these points around dinner time (busiest time of the day), it can be a little scary when accidents occur.
Drunk students and traffic does not end well.
Even England rugby player, Danny Cipriani, got caught up in this as he got hit by a bus outside of the Eldon when partaking in the Otley run in 2013.
Although it sounds a bit dangerous, as long as you’re aware and don’t go running into the road or start acting stupid whilst crossing, you will be fine.
All in all, the Otley Run can be a great day and is the perfect chance for you to catch up with your course mates who you may not speak to often or to rekindle with old pals. In my opinion, the bigger the group the better! It’s inevitable that some people will leave early so you don’t want it to be just you and another person left at Dry Dock!
PS: It’s usually busier on a Saturday, than on a Friday. Last Saturday, on a very hot day, we were waiting in queues for a few of the pubs.