In short: Beauty - the magnificent surroundings of Stonor Park and the Beast the bloody hill you have to go up at the end of each of the 6 laps. In full: Another inaugural marathon (they're becoming a bit of a habit) and another one that does exactly what it says on the tin. Beauty - the magnificent surroundings of Stonor Park and the Beast the bloody hill you have to go up at the end of each of the 6 laps. To give it its correct title 'The Helly Hansen Beauty and the Beast Marathon' was held just north of Henley-on-Thames (all very posh don't you know) in a small valley of the Chiltern Hills. Stonor is one of England’s oldest manor houses, situated in one of the most beautiful settings and is the home of Lord and Lady Camoys. It is a place steeped in 850 years of history and is magnificent. To get to the start from the car park you have to climb up a stonking great hill which Patsi and I did so I could register and pick up my number and chip. The mistake I made is that I should have been changed and ready to go (they had a bag drop tent) but of course I wasn't, so had to come back down the hill, change at the car and then rush back up to the top again. Still it was a good warmup and a taste of what was to come and Patsi said she needed the exercise. As it was, the start was delayed for a few minutes while a few late runners were still trudging up the hill. Starting at the top was nice as we had a long descent to get our legs moving but I was very cautious and made sure I didn't get carried away, knowing full well that pay-back time was literally just around the corner - If you would like to read more then check out my full blog here at http://60in60at60.com/2012/09/23/m39-beauty-and-the-beast/ Date of review: October 3, 2012
In short: Very very tough event In full: This was unquestionably the hardest event I have ever done. I think we were very lucky that the weather was good on the day and in the run up to the event, otherwise the terrain would have been even harder - can't imagine how difficult The Beast would have been after 6 laps of runners churning it up. I ache in muscles I never knew I had.
The scenery is lovely and the event was very well organised. Not sure I would do it again, I don't mind multi-lap events, but the field that started the lap became a bit tedious after a few laps. Great goody bag and the t-shirt was brilliant. Nice idea to get everyone to wear them for the race in return for a donation to the RNLI, the only trouble was that it then became difficult to recognise your friends at a distance with everyone wearing black. Date of review: September 24, 2012
In short: Brutal but also fantastic! In full: I chose this for my first marathon as I wanted to make sure it was a challenge and it certainly lived up to that, I may have somewhat underestimated how tough this was going to be. The course has you pretty much climbing or decending at all points and paths that are slanted get all the muscles aching. The killer hill to finish each lap is brutal but adds to the challenge. Set in an amazing location and the sunny day certainly contributed, had it been raining I may have been pushed over the edge. Plenty of people ran this in road shoes which was fine given the weather but I would have thought that in the wet it would be tough. Marshalls were amazing and kept up such amazing encouragement even hours on. The refuelling point at the top of the hill was superb, I only survived due to the handful of cliff bar chunks and nectar drinks. All in all it was an amazing day and a really tough but incredible challenge. I will certainly return to it. Date of review: September 23, 2012
In short: Beauty and the Beast- its all in the name In full: This was a very well organised race especially for its first year. All the marshalls were really supportive, which was a good job as there weren't many spectators especially towards the end. Great medal and goodie bag thanks to HH. It was my second ever marathon and it was tough going even the down hill sections were a killer towards the end. I didnt think I was going to make it past the halfway point, shame the music got switched off halfway through the race. Brilliant scenery, a lovely location for a picnic. All in all a good event (brilliant if you're an experienced off-road racer with a high tolerance to pain and a serious amount of determination). Well done Trail Plus.
In short: Very challenging. But fun!!! In full: As the name suggests beauty and the beast That's one hell of a hill Marshals were helpful and encouraging plenty of water , sports drinks. Gels Could just change your whole view on marathons and make you realise there are more out there than the big city ones and more enjoyable
In short: Tough off roader, with plenty to look at to take your mind off the pain. In full: Trailplus did a great job organising this one. Plenty of very helpful marshals and helpers, and a surprising number of spectators around the course. HH sponsorship meant plenty of freebies :) The lap format was just about bearable, though by the 5th and 6th laps I was keeping myself going by chanting 'only one more' and 'never have to see this again'. The ups were testing, but the downs were probably more brutal, with some off camber tracks to help shake up the hips and knees. Overall an enjoyable challenge. Date of review: September 23, 2012
In short: Good fun In full: Fun race, the terrain and climb make it a challenge over marathon distance but enjoyable. No problems with organisation and everyone was helpful. Worth doing but don't expect a PB! Date of review: September 23, 2012
In short: Beautiful 6 lap marathon trail course with some seriously tough hills In full: Helly Hansen put on a great race with smooth organisation, great support and a massive goody bag and cool medal. The course is set in stunning scenery and the 'Beast' at the end of each lap was a killer. Absolutely loved this race and will definitely be back next year, but it was tough! Date of review: September 22, 2012