In short: What a challenge! In full: Great race. Well organised. I'm a suburban slogger and I gave this a go. It was a super course for trail runners who like severe climbs. I'm glad I've done it but probably my first and last. There just aren't enough hills in Epsom to master a course like this! Would recommend. Date of review: October 21, 2012
In short: Hilly with fabulous scenery In full: Made the 70 minute cut off with 80 seconds to spare! Fell over twice in the last 3 miles! Other than that loved this race. Fabulous for anyone that fancies a bit of a challenge. Date of review: November 13, 2011
In short: Tough but worth it! In full: My first marathon, and I thought I was well prepared... but for this I certainly wasnt! The hills were a lot tougher than I had imagined and in the end I was pleased just to struggle round to the finish. Without the fantastic support of the many friendly marshalls I'm not sure I would have done. Overall the event was really friendly, superbly well organised, and good value for money. I particularly enjoyed the breakfast at the end and will be back next year for more - a little wiser to the rigours of the hills! Date of review: November 3, 2011
In short: Ironman to Fatman to Greensand Man In full: Skeleton Man Well, what a course. I heard it was gonna be hard and I found out this was a very testing marathon. In fact you could say this was my first marathon run, as my only other race at this distance was at the Bolton Ironman in July, which was tough (the bike especially) The main thing that was against me during this race was the lack hill training on foot during the year and the fact I hadn’t really run any distance since the end of July. I decided to stick to swimming and running after the IM, but I over did the swim sessions, got injured, went on holiday with my family and took another few weeks off all training (in all nearly 4 weeks) until I got the reminder email about the Greensand marathon 10 days before. So I thought, well, how hard can it be? It’s not as if I have to swim and cycle before it, so just go out gently and it will be fine. Hmmmm.
I wanted to make sure I could at least handle most of the mileage on the flat, so I did a 19 mile run the week before and felt ok, after 2 days recovery. Although carrying a lot of extra pounds (beers and Cornish pasties mainly) and my reduced fitness level, my HR was quite high.
Anyway on the day I lined up amongst the very friendly runners and joined in on the singing, which was good fun, overlooking the first of the hills yet to come.
So after it had begun and we were on our way, I checked my polar and I heart rate was sky high and the time was only 2mins 46 secs. Ut oh.
As I am a relative newbie to the marathon world, I naturally thought, sod it, just go all in for as long as you I can, remembering the cutoff of 70 mins was looming and I didn’t want to get caught short. When I got to the top of Leigh Hill @ 54 mins, well done, but a long way to go. The scenery was fantastic and the off-road paths were great, as it is generally not somewhere I would normally go.
I managed to hit the turn 13 mile point at 1:54, grabbing a refreshing lucazade from the semmless supply of friendly marshals. Who were on hand a various point in the race with wter and jelly babies.
However, by mile 15 the hills had taken their toll on my un-trained legs and I was cramping all over, reducing me to walk up most of the hills. On a side note it did give me time to check out the views. I was still managing to drag myself up most of the hills and I seemed to get second wind on anything that I could at least see over and carried on, until I was obviously dragging my hoofs a bit and clipped a root which sent me over at about the 21 mile mark. I dusted my self down and carried on. (Thanks to Mark who ran with me for 3 of the last 5 miles) I knew that after I had done the last bit of mileage, all I had to do was climb the last hill. (Something I had been thinking of since I past it early on in the race.) I managed to drag my quads up the hill and finish of the last bit with a nice run down hill, collecting my son Oscar for the finish line (4hr 18mins.) After which I realised that I had done something to my knee and walking was very tough. Good old endorphins.
But overall I would say, that you would be hard to find a better, more relaxed, friendly and rewarding event. The medal/t-shit/hat combo is great is also great.
Thanks DR and the team for a great event.
Ps. I would recommend that you do not do this event with only a weeks training like myself, as it makes an IM seem easy……….
In short: Tough but enjoyable with the cut off time making a reasonable start necessary, lots of uneven surfaces so lots of concentration required. Tougher than Beachy Head in my opinion but very well done to those brave(foolish) enough to run both! Date of review: October 28, 2011
In short: A demanding marathon but the scenery and enthusiasm of the marshals and other runners helped make it a wonderful experience and will definitely be back next year. The goodies and cooked breakfast afterwards were an added bonus. Date of review: October 28, 2011
In short: Don't be deceived. As much elevatiion per mile as a Lakeland / Coastal marathon! In full: A very tough cut-off for the slower runner (think ~4.30h flat time) but if you have the endurance, sub 5h30 is very achievable. You just have to focus on getting speed into your legs and going for it.
Great fun, fantastic marshalls and a great post event breakie too, albeit at 2-3 in the afternoon. Date of review: October 28, 2011
In short: Not as tough as the Picnic!! In full: A very memorable day for this runner after insanely doubling up this event with Beachy Head on the previously day. This made the 70 mins cut-off to Leith Hill an even bigger challenge, and I had to battle a lot harder than planned to reach the 6.55 miles with only 4 mins to spare. My sympathies to those runners that were outside the cut-off and were turned back to complete the half-marathon distance.
Once you made Leith Hill, you could then ease up the pace and enjoy the undulating trail without any further time pressures. I was given good advice by many who had run the event in previous year - not to get carried away on the next 10km to the halfway point after the euphoria of making the cut-off. It did leave a little bit in the tank to hang on for the return at Leith Tower around 20 miles, and allowed me to run the bulk of the final 6 miles downhill (apart from that final hill!)
This is a tough marathon. Although it is possible to get a decent time (I didn't) with plenty of hill work in training, sensible tactics, and good eye-sight to handle the technical parts of the course - I could have done with a carrot or two which may have helped me avoid getting a foot tangled up in some exposed roots, and then clipping a rock resulting in a heavy fall (bruised ribs and painful shoulder) but was able to carry on.
The course was fantastically marshaled, well stocked feed stations, good signage and friendly runners. There was a lack of course signs on the final downhill stretch, but I had teamed up with another runner at this point who was confident that we were on track.
Great cheer at the finish, lovely medal, t-shirt, and breakfast/showers to bring me back to like.