In short: Well organised, well marshalled and no Q's this year In full: Well marked and well marshalled route - no complaints this year - well done to the organiser for taking the time to listen to the runners - great stuff - very well done. Date of review: December 31, 2009
In short: Quite simply the best Marathon event I've been involved with In full: Have no doubt this is an utter beast of a run but equally sensational. If you take part, you can die happy. A wonderfully organised event and a simply wonderful route going through some of the most grueling but picturesque countryside you could wish for. They run a relay, half and full marathon for all tastes and experience. Date of review: November 1, 2009
In short: Smooth-planning-dirt-diving-calf-cramping-flint-kicking-hand-shaking-breath-taking Clarendon In full: These kind of marathons are the antidote to the hassle of the big events and I love them for it.
I turned up with my family just 10 mins before the start and ambled to where the few hundred other nutters marked the start with my kids watching from a grassy bank just five yards away. Try that in London!
For me, this was a tough training run and a goal to keep me sharp between road marathons. As such, I was free to relax and take an easy pace. Had I been in a more competitive mood, the narrow trails would have caused me far more frustration with the inevitable boxing in.
Unlike the Salisbury 54321 which I did in 2007, there was no getting lost on the Clarendon, which was comforting. Not only was there excellent signage but at every possible wrong turn, a friendly marshal was there to encourage you on the right way.
The trails were mostly dirt and with the dry weather over the previous days, I'd elected to run in my road shoes for the extra bit of response. That mostly worked out well although I did regret the lack of a stone shield in some of rougher areas and accidentally toe-punting a block of flint was not fun. In the wet, I think my road shoes would have been treacherous, especially on some of the later rough downhills.
For me, a slight downside was the mix of marathon with a half and relays. As a reasonable road runner I find it quite demoralising getting repetitively overtaken. And yet, this was pretty much the story of the last eight miles for me. OK - I knew they weren't doing the marathon, but I still felt a little downhearted and marginalised by the other events.
Thankfully the scenery was enough to counter that slight injury to my morale and keep me going in the tougher moments. Some of the hills were pretty steep and I felt my body switching to into fat burning mode a good four miles earlier than I'd expect on a road race. I'd read somewhere to add about 15 mins onto your road time for this race and that seems about right or even slightly optimistic.
The countdown markers were a nice touch (once I'd overcome my initial confusion at mile 15 and realised they were counting down and that I really had done more than 11 miles...)
As always, the knowledge that I'm down to my last couple of miles was enough to give my flagging legs a boost (even re-overtaking a number of those dratted half-marathoners) before making a largely pointless but emotional sprint over the last 100 yards.
Regretfully my moment of triumph was somewhat spoilt by confusion at the line. Aparently I was supposed to have some tag on my running number and, since I didn't, they took my whole number. Unfortunately, that then caused confusion with getting medals and shirts and I ended up being shunted around the finish area between various marshals for nearly 10 mins. That's probably just my bad luck.
The rest of the finish area was welcoming and the offer of a free massage was gratefully accepted, even though a shortage of beds meant I had mine lying on the grass.
Note to supporters: make plenty of time to get to the finish area! My family got caught in the extra traffic and arrived nearly 30 minutes later than planned, only catching up with me in time to witness my agony as the masseur showed no mercy to the knots in my calves.
Would I do it again? Yes - probably. It's definitely a great Autumn marathon if you want something different and challenging and you're not chasing a clock. Date of review: October 12, 2009
In short: Wonderful race spoiled only by my terrible tactics!!! In full: Excellent organisation, wonderful scenery (if you dare lift your eyes from the trail!) and overall very friendly race with great marshalling and signage. The only downsides were that tempers frayed on the single track climbs - I got stuck behind some walkers and the lady behind me got really agressive and rude about it. Chill!! It's only a run!! You want big wide roads this isn't the race for you. Letting the marathon runners start earlier meant little conflict with the 1/2 but I think the relay element caused a bit of pushing and shoving as they clearly could maintain a faster pace. All that aside I only entered this at the last minute as I needed a hard training session. Boy did I get one. I crashed, burned and threw up after 8 miles after pushing a little too hard then finished with a PW. I'll be back though, great race!! Date of review: October 10, 2009
In short: Very well organised, great support from marshals and at drink stations In full: A challenging run along a historic pilgrim's trail and it is rewarding to be able to look at the route on the Ordnance Survey map. Date of review: October 9, 2009
In short: Brilliant - a must do. In full: What a fabuluous race. The course was so scenic i almost forgot i was running a marathon, but not quite because this course isn't easy, but neither is it ridiculously demanding. The organisation was first rate and the marshalls fantastic....couldn't have been better and always encouraging, as were the many spectators along the route. I will definitely be back for more. Thanks you Paul and team for a great race. Date of review: October 8, 2009
In short: What a race! I was able to distress and re-charge my batteries all at the same time. Hats off to you Paul and your fantastic team of merry helpers. In full: It’s no secret that I would have preferred to run the The Great Clarendon Marathon. However, in 2007 I made it to start line too late. Hence the reason why I decided to only run the half marathon because of the later start. The Clarendon half marathon is a very tough course, very hilly, more ups than down. Last year’s course was tougher; it was very muddy and slippery. The bird’s eye views were breathtaking, and the panoramic views were out of this world. I liked the fact that the countdown was backwards from 13 miles to 1 mile. I just can’t fault this race, everything was just spot on. The organisation was just perfect. As we came to the finish line, some people were just movers; others were just shakers, as for me I was huffing and puffing and rocking n rolling right to the finishing line. Well done to everyone involved. This race has made it once again in Runners World Readers Top Favourite. Oh yes, I got a PB thanks to my old man’s Grenadian fruit cake (please can I have some more). R.W- I would like to let you into a little secret my parents are also from Clarendon -in Jamaica. Thanks Paul for giving me a good run for my money :)
In short: Well organised with some nice touches (mile markers that count down) In full: Wise decision to start the marathon 15 minutes earlier than last year, allowing the faster runners to get thru Broughton before the half started. The atmosphere in Broughton was uplifting, and the route from there until Winchester was super - even the climb onto Farley Mount. Minor niggle - the showers were freezing; one guy cramped up until the icy blast. Apart from that, great event. Date of review: October 7, 2009
In short: Fantastic and challenging off road/trail marathon In full: Really well organised, friendly marathon. Really, Really Good. Well marked and marshalled. Thanks:-) Date of review: October 7, 2009