In short: Fantastic experience. In full: A truly memorable experience. A great marathon, and one I'd hope to do again and again. The scenery is gorgeous and the support from all the marshals and the few people on the trail is brilliant. With it being a relatively small race (about 200 runners for the full marathon) I found the support and friendliness of the other runners a welcome boost too when the going got tough on one of the hottest days of the year so far.
Facilities were excellent and the price is worth mentioning as well, at £22 for a full marathon with a decent goody bag and the best scenery around, I reckon it's a steal. Matlock AC should be proud of this race and long may it continue. Date of review: June 2, 2014
In short: Fantastic Scenery ! In full: I participated in the full marathon on the 17th of May 2014. There are two ways to look at this race, either you can consider it as an easy first look at trail races or as tough alternative to road events. I believe is why the PB potentials vary across the reviews.
This race is quite special, some might say it is a real trail race while others might just say its closer to a road race on a track. The surface is adapted to road shoes, there is no real grip issues at all.
This being my second marathon after that of Greater Manchester I must say that the course is tough, it feels like at least 21 miles are up hill, and the down-hills, well, they provide no relief as they are very steep. This is why I have not awarded it a strong PB potential. However, If you are a trail runner this will probably not be as difficult as other races but coming from pretty flat events it will cost you a few minutes.
On the other hand, the course is very scenic with eye-catching views over the hilly country side. The atmosphere is great and the water stations are well located throughout the course.
This race is very different from the mass participation city events. This makes the race welcoming, the start being less of a hassle and everyone there is friendly and looking to have a nice time. Runners are ready to share some of their own water if you are desperate and there is more a sense of community with people congratulating each other at the finish.
There are not many spectators on the side of the trail compared to the city races but those are there are very encouraging.
This race is also very cheap ! 22£ for a marathon with a great course ! The only reason I did not award a 5/5 for the value is because I was a little disappointed not to get a medal but it remains very good value for money.
All in all I had a great day and might considerer heading back out there sometimes.
In short: A rather charming run In full: Really enjoyed this marathon. Its a lovely course and the downhills in the latter miles do help a little although the last mile along the canal seems to drag on a while. If you need crowds for support this is not the run for you. I shall be back, even if only for a swift half. Date of review: May 20, 2013
In short: 2013. Nice race, in a fantastic area In full: My first marathon so difficult to compare, buses to start, registration and finish all very friendly and well organised. Trail running but smooth and level underfoot for the majority of the run. Gental up hill for first 11 miles or so but the head wind made it feel worse! What a relief to turn around after 11 miles and get the wind behind you. level then up 20 miles then down hill BUT don't expect to get much help here. 3 very steep down hill sections punishing on the legs. Marshall very supportive and friendly. Thanks to all concerned Date of review: May 19, 2013
In short: 2013 race great again In full: Well organised and friendly race. Gentle but relentlessly undulating up for 11m then flat and marvellous but punishing steep downs. Punishing headwind on the up section but as it could have been heavy rain all day (the night before) or hot all day (the day after), perfect running conditions. My only niggle: runners who dropped their gel packs along the way. This is the peak district - please take your rubbish home with you or drop it at bins at the water stations. Apparently a lot thought that dropping them in the Hopton Tunnel is OK because it's in the dark. Come on guys, you all know better.. Date of review: May 19, 2013
In short: A very welcome change! In full: A massive change from mass participation. Did GNR last year and this is the complete opposite. Low key and very friendly. Weather very cool but perhaps ideal, with just a little wind in places. A very gradual uphill followed by some dramatic descents at the end giving it PB potential. Scenery great. Thanks to all the volunteers - a job very well done! A def one to do, very satisfying and one to bookmark for next year. Date of review: May 28, 2012
In short: Great atmosphere, lovely route, highly recommended. In full: My first White Peak marathon, I'll be back! Treated it as a training run for an ultra and enjoyed the scenery, stopped at the drinks stations, said hello to everyone on the trail, and generally took it easy and had a lovely day out! I absolutely loved the downhill at the end and would definitely like to go for a PB on this course some time. I have only ever run big-city marathons before and it was so nice to run through the Peak. Warm and friendly, low-key organisation, nice atmosphere, highly recommended. Date of review: May 21, 2012
In short: Excellent PB potential and glorious scenery In full: Had to pull out of the 2010 because of the hideous heat, missed the entry by a whisker last year and as it's our local trail and our regular training spot I was really pleased to have secured a place early enough this year!
Perfect conditions - cool enough for a plump middle aged woman like me - and a nicely spread out field, which let everyone run at their own pace.
Great organisation except the disagreement between the bus drivers where all the last half marathoners were put on the marathon bus (taken off and put on again) took the ten minutes that were needed to comfortably walk the mile or so from the drop off point to the start line. This meant that we started the race already puffed and sticky with a mile under our belts from having had to jog to the start line to get there in time!
7 minute PB despite the knackered knees from the downhills and I'm sure that it was more than 0.1 mile along that bl**dy canal towpath....
Great event and will be signing up again next year! Date of review: May 21, 2012