In short: Ok. Could be better In full: Pros: Route well signed, plenty marshals, lots of aid stations which were superbly stocked. The sections along the canal/River are pleasant, but quite congested on a sunny Sunday afternoon in July.
Cons: there's a mid route cut off, but no sweeper, so if you don't have a watch, you're in trouble. The marshals thought there was a sweeper, so I thought I was fine. ... Til I got to the cut off and was told I was too late. There's quite a lot of tarmac for an off road event It's not for your average off road runner;definitely an extreme course on the hills-combination of the gradient and terrain. I did Giant's Head a few weeks ago. Which I loved. Similar elevation gain, but much more runnable. If you like scrambling up steep gullies or tiptoeing through tree roots and rocks you'll be fine on this one. I asked for an early start as I feared the cut off would be tight, but was told I couldn't have one.
In short: HILLY, WITH A BIT OF HILL, THEN SOME HILLS THROWN IN FOR GOOD MEASURE In full: What a fab event. If you'd asked me this time yesterday as I crawled over the finish (a smidge over 7 hours!) I'd have said 'not a chance will I be back'....now I'm thinking, when do entries open....One of the best all rounders I've been lucky enough to do. Just lovely, from the superb and entertaining pre race info, the ample parking, great welcome at registration, shotgun weilding lady farmer to kick it all off ,naked farmer and farmeresses in baths. Lovely lovely running community who literally helped each other up the nastiest hills you'll ever meet - worth it for the great views - smashing photographer, wonderful marshalls, super aid stations (inc cake!), a love lounge at 20(ish) miles - this is Dorset you know - with cider/vodka/cake/crisps/ hugs/hugs/more hugs (did I mention hugs?) There were some people heading for their 1000th marathon, some on their first. There were elite runners, there were plodders (me!). There were the orange sweeper shirts of doom - but the cut off is pretty darned generous at over 8 hours and if I can get round comfortably in under that, anyone can. Free post-race massage,hot showers, fab medal/tshirt and pint pot all with THE WILLY on! The rest of the Country was being deluged and thunderstormed, but the RD even used his influence to make sure we'd brilliant weather. Slightly on the warm side, but I guess you can't have everything. If I was going to be really picky, I'd say a ski lift would be nice. For that biiiiig hill..... Cheers Andy and team, can't wait till next year :) Date of review: June 29, 2014
In short: FAB COURSE, FAB SCENERY, FAB ORGANISATION In full: Entered this (marathon) at the last minute and am so glad I did. What a brilliant event. The route is changed this year and from what I hear it works better for runners. No major road crossings, very little in the way of tarmac ( 3 miles maybe) superb underfoot with the exception of a 1km downhill through the woods which is a bit of a killer. The marathon does two laps and whilst I am not a huge fan of laps (this was my first such event) it was worth the go round again to get another look at the superb scenery! The views are stunning, worth the steep climb up the ridge. Running along the escarpment means you get the views for a good while. Super signage, very little opportunity to go wrong. Lovely friendly marshals (even on on horseback in the middle of the downland!)and plenty water/food stations. Free massage available at the end - the RD even offered to hold my dog while I had mine! There are a few very minor things which could be improved on, but as this is only the 2nd outing for the current organisers, I give them 99% for a great event - I will definitely go back again next year!! Well done guys. Date of review: June 22, 2014
In short: TOUGH BUT BRILLIANT In full: Fourth time round this one for me and the delights of Savernake forest don't fade. First sighting of bluebells though, they've sensibly stayed hidden from the tramply feet of runners in previous years! Gloriously muddy, so quite tough in parts. But that only adds to the fun. This was my daughter's first ever event and she managed fine, so treat yourself and give it a go next year. The marshals are great and very helpful (offered to look after my jacket till I got back!) and the organisation can't be faulted. I have two'must do' events of the year. This is one of them. ?? Date of review: April 7, 2014
In short: AN ALL ROUND LOVELY RACE In full: My first Clarendon, knew it was going to be tough as had run much of the route in training. It was! Unseasonably hot weather (up to 20 degrees) didn;t help. Marshalls were lovely, can;t fault the directions, plenty water stops.....but not many bananas in evidence till the finish. Only feedback I would make is that maybe every 10k could have some cake or something? The superb Salisbury 54321 has plentiful cake on the 42/50 routes, made by volunteers. This would be a real plus for Clarendon. Thankfully I had everything with me so wasn't short of food, but some less prepared were struggling towards the end. All in all, a lovely run. Tough - you'll know you've done it, but the beautiful scenery helps and there's virtually NO chance of you getting lost! Thank you JJ and team, I'll be back. Date of review: October 6, 2013
In short: A MUST DO EVENT In full: Ludo and his team put on a great event. something for everyone, with distances from 10k up to 50k and a walk/run option on each. plus a 5k pushchair/wheelchair route. gorgeous scenery, plentiful water/feed stops (including dig bowls!) and an all round friendly race. I started 2 years ago with the 20k, last year I did the 30 and this year the 50. Ludo seems to have a weather hotline, as each year it's been perfect! I'll definitely be back next year.....but not sure at what distance :) Date of review: August 12, 2013
In short: IF YOU DON;T GIVE THIS A GO, YOU'RE MISSING A TREAT In full: Simply my favourite run.....not easy, thanks to the terrain, but glorious scenery and beautiful weather (again, Victoria, do you have a hot line to someone up there??)go a long way to making up for that. Started later this year to allow the tide to go out.... First 3k steadily uphill on nice firm tracks (lulling you into a false sense of scurity!) then it gives way to muddy, soggy heathland - nice :O) before taking you into 3 k of leg killing sand. I was looking forward to getting on the beach, as last year the sand was noce and solid, the tide having just gone out. No such luck this year! Heaps of seaweed thrown up from last night's spring tide meant we were running on soft sand for the last 3k. Knackering! But still my absolute favourite run and I took my cheque book along today so I could enter for next year's :) Give it a go - you won;t regret it.
p.s the view from the massage table is second to none :)) Date of review: October 14, 2012
In short: GREAT RUN - SHOCKING WEATHER!! WELL DONE TO THE MARSHALLS! In full: First time at this one. Ok, so the organisers had little control over the weather and I felt sorry for the marshalls standing there in the pouring rain and gales! And still they (mostly!) smiled and were very encouraging.And lots of friendly locals came out to cheer too. Lovely run, even in the rain. A couple of long inclines, which are nasty - but Warren Hill is made so much more bearable by the words of encouragement attached to the trees on the way up 'your legs will forgive you....evntually' 'today you are a hero' etc. Nice touch and made me smile as the going was beginnging to get slightly tough as I was frozen! It's the first half I have managed to run in full wateproofs and STILL not warm up - and the foil blankets at the end were definitely a necessity rather than a luxury. One thing which made me smile at the start was when the organisers were apologising profusely for having run out of bags to leave gear in - the runners were taking them to wear in the inclement weather :) - many of them for the whole run! Probably have another go next year and either hope for a dry day, or wear my winter gear from the start. Well done the organisers for coping with what Mother Nature threw at you today. Date of review: September 23, 2012
In short: HOT HUMID HILLY -- HEAVENLY! In full: Did the 20k last year and thought I'd challenge myself to the 30 in 2012. Firstly, it is 31 ish k, so don't be fooled into thinking (like I did) that you can speed up for the last few k! The first 23k was glorious, the last 8 was hard going - hilly with tricky rutty tracks that destroyed my knees. I agree with many of the other reviewers that the last few k through the town doesn;t have great signs and it is kind of hard work dodging the meandering dizzy tourists after 30k...... There is a way round that doesn;t involve running through the cathedral precinct and the town centre..but then it couldn;t be a 54321...... All the above said, it is a beautifully organised event, Ludo does a fantastic job pulling it together, his team are brilliant and it is just one of the nicest events. Cake, fruit, jelly babies, dog bowls, smiles etc etc.....they have it all I will definitely be back next year. Date of review: August 16, 2012
In short: KILLER START - NICE VIEW FROM THE TOP THOUGH! In full: For a first time half marathon, it went off pretty well. The organisers have already acknowledged the issues which came up and are amending for next year. That said, the 1:4 hill for about a Km or so right at the start is a bit of a killer and even the fittest of the fit gave up and started walking half way up. My own feeling is that this would be better at the 10 mile point after I've warmed up! The field would also be well spread out by then so it would cut out the 10minute wait to climb the stile! APart from that, loved it and will hopefully be back in 2013. Date of review: July 14, 2012