In short: It's always a special event. This year was no exception. In full: If you take the stunning scenery, the challenging route profile, the extraordinarily good organisation - and throw in the wonderful warm 'village fete' feel, you start to see why this event attracts so many repeat runners.
It's a pretty tough marathon so don't sign up expecting a PB, but do expect a great challenge and an event that will become a permanent fixture in your running calendar.
In short: Fantastic course, challenging but not silly, perhaps a water station too few and more marshalls need in places. In full: The course is fantastic, with a bit of everything. Three water stations on a 21km race are arguably too few, though, just one more would have been more comfortable.
There should have been more marshalls in some places; I was running towards the rear of the field, and when running through town at about 6.5 miles, we had to ask a policeman which way the race went... this was exacerbated by the fact that a lot of fun runners were walking or jogging back to their cars, so simply following someone ahead could have led you right to the boot of a fun runner's Ford Focus...
In short: Marathon running meets cross-country - challenging but spectacular In full: Rather than some 50:50 courses, this race can truly be described as a cross-country course with very little tarmac at all. It follows a route from Winchester to Salisbury, almost exclusively through rural areas and country parks - consequently it has some spectacular views.
The terrain is quite challenging - it has its share of hills, and the going underfoot is in places grassy or hard tracks, and in others upland chalk. In wet conditions (such as 2004!) the grass and hard tracks turn to mud, and the chalk gets nice and slippery!
The run is well organised, and supported by a fantastic group of local helpers who seem happy to sit at track junctions in inclement conditions, just to keep you going in the right direction. Good effort!
So, if you're looking for a run that's out of the ordinary, challenging and very well run, you'll love this one! Date of review: October 4, 2004