October 1, 2006
Craig Davey 2:52:28 (Andrew Hennessey 1:20:29)
Vicky Skelton 3:27:49 (Tanya Brady 1:37:33)
No. of Finishers
The Clarendon Way Marathon and Half are all about their beautiful setting. Linking Winchester and Salisbury – with the runners in the half joining at the village of Broughton – the route passes through atmospheric woodland and villages and up on to wide, high downlands.
This year, however, the setting played second fiddle to extraordinarily poor, wet conditions. Much of the chalk rock underfoot was covered in a layer of slimy, wet clay, so it was more a test of ankle strength and balance than running ability.
The hilltop sections were particularly cruel, almost horizontal hail battering runners so that few dared to look up to see whether the usually panoramic views were still visible.
After trudging over a sticky field with a tantalising glimpse of Salisbury Cathedral, some thought they were through the worst, but urban Salisbury had one last treat in store: a subway flooded knee-deep with black, smelly rainwater.
The joy of a race like this is that none of these things matter. The organisers deserve credit for some nice touches: the mile markers counting down instead of up; meticulous arrangements for transporting baggage to the finish; and hardier-than-average marshals who must have suffered even more in the rain and wind than anyone running.
Next year’s race will be run the other way round, offering a different perspective on the hills and the glorious landscape.