UK's toughest marathons

Charity runner looking to do 7 of the UK's toughest marathons, any ideas?

1 to 20 of 29 messages
29/05/2008 at 13:03

Hello folks,

 This is my first ever post to RW Forum and I'm hoping you can help. I'm a part-time runner (when work and general life doesn't get in the way). I did the London marathon in 2005 (since then I've been unsuccessful in every ballot) for a great charity called the Lymphoma Association and I'm looking for a new challenge to raise some money for the cause. I had Hodgkin Lymphoma myself in 2002 and have recovered well from it, so to celebrate 7 years in remission I wanted to up the ante and take on the UK's toughest 7 marathons...

 Anybody got any ideas?

Cheers and good luck to everyone else too!


29/05/2008 at 13:35
Beachy Head for one - mostly off-road and about 5000' of ascent
29/05/2008 at 13:46
I heard the Tresco marathon is pretty hard.
29/05/2008 at 14:22

Try one of the enduranceLife coastal marathons, they can make your eyes water.

29/05/2008 at 14:38

Black Mountains Roundabout - 6500 feet of ascent in the lovely Brecon Beacons.

*your navigation does have to be up to scratch though, especially if the weather comes down.

Edited: 29/05/2008 at 14:43
29/05/2008 at 15:01
29/05/2008 at 16:16
Great langdale - Ron Hill descibed it as the toughest rd marathon in the world.
29/05/2008 at 16:34

Have a look at some of the big fell races - you've got pleany of time to get the required experience for next year!

Try the Three Peaks Race (24miles, 5,000' ascent), and look at the Lakeland Classics Series, including: Wasdale (21m, 9000'), Ennerdale (23m, 7500'), Borrowdale (18m, 6000'), Duddon, Langdale and Three Shires.

29/05/2008 at 16:45
GreenMachine wrote (see)

Try one of the enduranceLife coastal marathons, they can make your eyes water.

Would that be because of the salty air?
29/05/2008 at 18:25
Try the Picnic.  It is run every other year in June in the afternoon at Box Hill in Surrey.  The Midsummer Munroe Half Marathon is run every year and is conplete b*s**rd. The Picnic is the Munro x 2.  For more info visit the Trionium website.  All proceeds go to charity. 
29/05/2008 at 19:34
In Yorkshire, check out the "Yorkshireman Off-Road Marathon" in Sept. and the "Wadsworth Trog" - which'll make more than your eyes water
29/05/2008 at 23:02

The Brathay Marathon is quite a hard one from what I've heard. I've done it and found it hardbut its the only one I've done so I've nothing to compare it to. 

29/05/2008 at 23:10
Hello all, what makes the great langdale marathon so difficult? Just had a quick look down the results and there are quite a few drop outs!
30/05/2008 at 12:54
I can't imagine there is one tougher than the Picnic - so hilly and starts at about 2pm at midsummer so hot too!
30/05/2008 at 13:10
Another vote for The Picnic.  Up and down Box Hill for hours on a hot summer afternoon?  That has to be tough.
The Silent Assassin    pirate
30/05/2008 at 13:18

could try doing the bob graham

All the peaks in the lake district in 24 hours, thats 42 hills, 74 mils with 28500ft of climbing

30/05/2008 at 13:26

If you look at the trionium website

www.trionium,.com   it has a list of other worthy races,  Snowdon, three forts,  anglesey etc all get a mention, beachy is in there too.

I think you need an objective measure of difficulty,   feet of climbing per mile could be one way ?

 good luck  

02/06/2008 at 17:43

I don't think it's in the same league as some of the ones mentioned, but if you want 26.2 marathon distance Neolithic Marathon might just sneak in somewhere...  Also if you wanted to have a spread of different areas of the country?

On measures of hardness, I don't think it's just about hills.  Hard and rough ground, mud/dust, rutted tracks and stiles definitely add to Neolithic's hardness quota.

(Should say I've only done FLM and Neo, so can't really compare with the others personally.  Neo is a lot harder than London, and includes some steep hills, but not fells and mountains... it's also a great event, with walkers and cani cross events along the same route, great organisation, and there's something special about doing a course from Avebury to Stonehenge.  If you were looking for 7 unique marathons I'd definitely nominate it!)

Edited: 02/06/2008 at 18:00
02/06/2008 at 22:30

Markio - the 'challenge' of the Langdale marathon is mainly the hills - all big and all steep (gradients up to and including 30%) - even the flat bits seem like they're uphill.  Then you add on the fact that its a two lap race - I've only ever done the half (i.e. the first lap) but the thought of watching 90% of the runners stop knowing that I'd have to do it all over again blows my mind.  And of course, its in the Lake District at the end of summer - which means its either blisteringly hot or absolutely pi55ing down with rain - occasionally you'll get the former over the first lap and the latter for the second.  Being small and on narrow lanes also means that there's not a lot of support so you're on your own for large parts of the second lap.  All in all, it makes Windermere/Brathay (which I have done) seem like a doddle.

I'm not well qualified to comment on what the seven toughest marathons in the UK are but I'd be surprised if Langdale didn't make somebody's shortlist.

02/06/2008 at 22:37

Our toughest hottest full marathon was 2003 Potteries  - 32% heat clocking 4.58

 but i would suspect the toughest is ( as Ron Hill agreed ) with me - Great Langdale - 2 lapper, it's the road race from hell - beautiful as it is it's gruelling

now we've run the HM there 3 times , twice in the race in 2.44 and 2.47 and once on a training run just Mick n  Phil and the organiser who we joined one day in 2.45

have alway wanted to do the 2 laps, but i know it's gonna be an all day job - and have never found time to do it - it will be mentally and physically sapping,

one day maybe

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