In short: A celebration of marathon running …. no wonder this event was voted Best Marathon in the UK for 2014! In full: This year was my second Giant's Head Marathon and I had just as much fun at this event as I did the previous year. The race was started by the farmer's wife again, this time she was on horseback and at the sound of her hunting horn, we were off! We were soon out of the village of Sydling St Nicholas and after about two miles, and in the middle of nowhere, we could hear a bell ringing. And, there he was again, the naked farmer in his bathtub, drinking beer! There are about ten large ascents on the route, but therefore ten exhilarating descents & this is partly what makes the GHM so excellent, as well as the stunning views over the Dorset countryside from the tops and the friendliness of the other runners. The descent around the Mile 17 mark is one of the longest, about two miles and seems to go on forever. This year there were swathes of foxgloves in full flower and I spotted at least two different species of orchid. Excellent support again from the marshals, tables at the aid stations groaning with all kinds of different food and drink; watermelon, cakes, biscuits, peanuts, crisps, etc., then at the Lovestation at Mile 21 there was cider and, as the race briefing included a proposal of marriage by one of the runners, pink champagne! I knocked back a cup of cider and a shot of the champagne, then it was time to get a move on to the finish line as I had stopped to take over 100 photos on my way around the route this time. Luckily, the previously untried consumption of alcohol mid-race did not have an adverse effect on me, quite the opposite in fact as I found myself almost skipping down the last descent to the finish line on the village green where I was greeted by the iconic GHM medal, t-shirt and cheers from the faster finishers and spectators, who didn't seem to want to leave!
White Star Running have made this a “must-do” event for every serial marathoner and long may it continue. Date of review: July 24, 2015
In short: Fantastic Event. You'll return year after year! In full: Great day out. Great coast line. Great history. Great smell of kippers. Great organising. Great souvenir running top and much more. This is the benchmark for all other races. Date of review: July 24, 2015
In short: Fantastic! In full: Brilliant race in a beautiful part of the country. Very friendly, very well organised and very reasonably prices. And to top it all off a fantastic t-shirt/top at the end. Date of review: July 24, 2015
In short: Fabulous organisation but with a great relaxed atmosphere. Loved it!!! In full: My first long race back after a long lay off after a near collision with a car whilst out running. Needed a confidence boost, so the relaxing setting in Dorset with these lovely people was perfect. Great course although rather overgrown in places, but added to the challenge. Perfect launch pad for me back into competitive running. Big thumbs up!! Date of review: July 24, 2015
In short: White Star Running WOW!! In full: What an event. I couldn't have picked a better event to run my 100th marathon. White star running events are for having a great time not doing a great time and they certainly make sure everyone does. All runners fast or slow, and those of us in the middle, are treated with equal respect. The course was hilly but not as tough as some of their other events, certainly runnable if you don't get too distracted by the amazing aid stations. Date of review: July 24, 2015
In short: The perfect intro to ultras In full: When it comes to ultras, XNRG have to be the go to people. The support from their team is unbeatable. You immediately feel part of a family. Well stocked aid stations and a well marked course make this a really accessible event to step up from the marathon. Date of review: July 23, 2015
In short: If Carlsberg did races In full: White Star Running have done it again. The Roman theme really added to the fantastic atmosphere. Loved the Dorset apple cake at the finish. Great goody back and a medal that you could get arrested for carrying a dangerous weapon! Other Race Directors, take note, this is how you do it. Date of review: July 23, 2015
In short: Challenging off road race. Great Cakes, BBQ and a Bar. What more could you want?!!?! In full: A Great little race. A Tough first half which is mostly uphill...A bar and plenty of Cakes for after. Nice Memento, Now I have somewhere to hang all my medals. No a PB course though as it's pretty hilly and falls just short of the 10k distance. Date of review: July 23, 2015
In short: Well organised & supported running with fine scenery along the way In full: Have recently started to dabble with ultra-running this distance is ideal for me. I have previously only done one XNRG event before, the Fan Dance) a few years ago. I'd forgotten how well organised and supported their events are, whilst being very professional the friendly personal touch is very apparent and welcoming.
The course was described as undulating by the race director at the race briefing and whilst the hills aren't huge there seemed to be quite a few. In return what the course has done is keep you well away from roads and traffic, I remember two short road sections and this is very welcome. We ran through wheat, rapeseed, peas, broad bean fields and then woods and park land - fantastic. Feed stations were roughly every 10k and very well stocked with plenty of support. The support team were actually were actually filling water bottles for you, superb. The cheering at the finish was superb, everyone getting involved.
The staggered start works well and as described in the race information you see more people en route and everyone whether, walking or racing, cheers you along.
Price was about £48 and for a one off race may appear pricey, but compare with other races per mile I think you get a bargain. Free tea and coffee and I think cake at the start and finish, well stocked and varied food at check points and the solid gold medal (not really but was very good quality) at the end, and with the free running vest you will not have wasted your money.
Highly recommend this to those, like me, are dabbling in Ultra, and want a taster and to those racers looking for a beautiful course with some challenging little hills to test their pace. It's on my list for next year. Date of review: July 23, 2015
In short: One of Kent's finest 10k's. In full: A fantastic event. Good parking (about 10 mins from start), decent atmosphere, beautiful scenery and a beautiful sunny day...it doesn't get much better. Already looking forward to 2016's race. Date of review: July 22, 2015
In short: Not just a race - an event ! In full: All races should be themed like this one. Roman theme was fantastic, and carried through wonderfully. Who couldn't love being led out at the start by a centurion on horseback, and welcomed at the end by a huge medal and a cake. Lots of thought went into the planning of this race, and it all paid off. Having said all that, this was a fairly brutal course, and very cross country, not easy under foot, despite that I loved it. Date of review: July 22, 2015
In short: Atmosphere was terrific and race very well organised. Excellent quality goody bag and the cakes afterwards were excellent – as was the Harveys ale to rehydrate! All in all, aside from the mud and pain of the hills(!) I would thoroughly recommend. Date of review: July 22, 2015