In short: My favourite marathon to date In full: This was my 4th marathon.
Despite it being incredibly challenging for me (over 3000 feet of elevation gain and 27 miles run according to my GPS, and tripping over at mile 25), this event is AMAZING and I would encourage anyone from a beginner to an experienced runner to give it a go.
Purbeck really is beautiful and the scenery along the South West Coast Path and the views of the countryside from the high ridges the course follows are reasons to do it alone.
The atmosphere near the start and middle of the race were electric, I really enjoyed the comradery with other runners.
If you are planning on doing this, I personally found the hardest bit of this race after half way from Tyneham – pace yourself for some hills on the way back!
The organisation was fantastic, especially the volunteers who kindly marshalled the event to ensure all runners followed the correct route, and gave out drinks and sweets along the course.
At the end we got a very generous goody bag / rucksack, including a t-shirt, a Purbeck ale and even some icecream. In fact this goody bag was more generous than my last major city marathon!
My only suggested improvement to the organisers would be better mile markers, but that really is nit picking.
In short: WOW!!! Amazing scenery, fabulous marshals and a goody bag that puts every other goody bag I've received to shame!!! In full: I decided to run this race as I'd done VMLM 2014, wanted to run another marathon, but wanted to do something completely different! It certainly was different but not in a bad way...
Firstly the scenery was stunning!!! We were certainly very lucky in 2014 as the weather was glorious, (if not a little hot for marathon running) and so the views along the costal path, ridges and from the tops of the hills were spectacular. I had to keep reminding myself to look around and take it all in, although watching where you put your feet is equally important as the vast majority of the route is off-road on uneven ground.
The marshals were fantastic and so supportive and there are plenty of aid stations that were well stocked with all sorts of goodies. The support from members of the public was wonderful too... Like someone else mentioned, I also lost count of the number of times I said thank you for peoples kind words and offers of sweets. I'm sure many people trying to enjoy a picnic and the beautiful scenery on a sunny sunday weren't expecting 300+ runners to amble past them, but everyone I met embraced us with words of support and encouragement: this made the event all the more special for me!
The addition of chip timing was very welcome and meant an accurate time was possible, although a PB is unlikely for anyone unless this is their 1st marathon! The 3000+ft of climb certainly make this a challenging course that would require lots of hill training. Thankfully I live in the peak district so hills are the norm on all my off-road running routes.
Finally, the goody bag was like nothing I've ever seen before!!! We received a bespoke medal, a bottle of local beer (very tasty!), a technical running t-shirt, a dorset cereals bar and a tub of local ice-cream, all presented in a really nice kit bag for us to use again and again. What a wonderfully though out selection of goodies and a reason to run this event again and again all on it's own!
Starting and finishing in Swanage has it's own special place in my heart as my Grandmother lived in Swanage so I know the town well from many happy childhood holidays spent there. I'm now convinced that every marathon should finish by a beach as taking a dip in the sea when I'd finished was the perfect way to conclude a perfect race day for me.
See you all again next year! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: This run is advertised as more than a marathon and they aren't wrong there! In full: I have understaood the more than amarathon line was to explain the 3000' climb over the length of the run but it turns out that it also accounts for the extra mile at the end of the run. 26 miles is more than enough for this run.........enjoyable but very arduous and no amounbt of training can prepare you for the hils in the second half of the run - one thought maybe a 15mile run option for those wanting to finish at Tyneham ... Date of review: September 29, 2014
In short: A brutal 1st marathon but rewarded with awesome scenery and great atmosphere In full: This was my first marathon and I loved it. The course is brutal, the first 3 or so miles are on the coastal path and I can't recall there being a flat section throughout. The two times I looked at my watch I almost tripped due to the stony terrain. The views though are incredible. Surely the best motivational factor when grinding out the hills. There were loads of water stations so you don't need to carry water (it was actually pretty hot and I got sunburned) and the aid stations had food (marmite sandwiches and flapjacks) and the support (and jelly babies) from the locals was great. The most grueling part of the run was the never ending climb after Corfe Castle, and the most rewarding was the beer and ice cream at the end. An excellent atmosphere in one of my favourite parts of Britain. My only (small) gripe, which I often make at races was the familiar "just round the corner", "less than half a mile" words of encouragement from the marshals - for the last two miles! Do this marathon, it's worth all the pain. Date of review: September 25, 2014