In short: Tough trails but really good fun In full: We traveled 135 miles to do this race, and were not disappointed! It was in it's first year and so quite a small race. On arrival there was music at race HQ, which helped put you in the mood and keep you calm! The race starts at a very grand school in extremely grand surroundings and although you initially head off up a quiet road, it's not long before you are making you first climb. Lots of hills, woodlands and a bit of road to mix it up made this a really good, fun course. You need to keep switched on, as there are a lot of narrow tracks and tree roots to negotiate, but this just added to the enjoyment in my opinion and focusing on this helped the miles to pass by quickly :) We had been told we could take our dog, and it was her very first marathon. She was made a real fuss of and given water/food at all the CPs. If you do take your dog, just be aware that you will it can be tricky in places on the narrow single track sections with a dog attached to you - but very doable if you're used to running trails with a dog. The race offered 2 options - 1 loop for half marathon and 2 for a full. I think this made it too easy for people to quit at halfway, as quite a few did, but still got half marathon medals. Nice to think you can still be rewarded if you are struggling...but perhaps better to not have the option? Depends on your take on it I guess. It did make it very tempting to stop though! My only 2 minor gripes were the medal being for both half and marathon, so not really stating it was a marathon medal. I think the course being so tough warrants a different medal if you manage the full marathon. Secondly - the usual t-shirt size gripe. By the time the marathoners had come in there were no smalls or mediums left, just large (huge!) and extra large. I think most marathon runners would be small or medium so think more of this size would be good. That said, I don't want to detract from the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed this race and smiled lots both during it and after. There are no marshals other than at checkpoints so you need to look out for tape but the course markings were really good (we were also given a map and written instructions - but didn't need to look at them) The marshals and Race Director were all really friendly and welcoming and the medal was really different. All in all a great race, and very smoothly run - especially for a first time! Thanks guys :) Date of review: August 29, 2016
In short: Beautiful,Beautiful, Beautiful! In full: The organisation was really good - much better than some long established maras. The marshals were really friendly and helped with refilling water bottles etc. The course was very tough - you have to be aware of that - but forget about your aches and pains whilst looking at the outstanding views. The entire route is amazingly beautiful - you have to run it to believe it! It finished on the beautiful seafront in Swanage, where we were personally presented with a great medal and technical T-shirt and free ice cream AND beer AND etc etc!!! Then there was free massages on offer and lots of people opted for a soothing dip in the sea. Well done guys on a huge success!