August Bank Holidays, it appears, are very quiet on the race front although there was the South Coast Challenge, an ultra marathon of 100km from Eastbourne to Arundel over one or two days, as well as the some oddball village races involving a 5k race from one pub to the next…
Just when we thought the gorgeous holiday running photographs had petered out, up they pop again as everyone makes a last minute escape to warmer and drier climes than the weather that confronted most of us in the UK this weekend. Luckily for those taking part in the South Coast Challenge, a supported 100km ultra that can be done over one or two days, Saturday was beautiful.
We had one of our runners who undertook this event, a courageous attempt considering she’s only done two marathons before this, one of which was this year. An insane amount of climbing, this is a tough event with the knowledge that you have to run through the night if you’re doing the one day event. Did any of you take part? We are not quite sure about the part of the route where runners had to come all the way off the South Downs Way and down to the seafront in Brighton on a busy Bank Holiday, only to have to ascend again right the way back up to the South Downs Way. Did you run it? We’d love to hear what you thought.
Meanwhile, on Bank Holiday today, myself and the amazing GRTW Brighton head coach, Tara Shanahan (you’ll understand why I say this in minute) undertook the rather brilliantly named, King’s Head Canter. A 5km race over undulating village roads, it starts outside the Six Bells in the village of Chiddingly and ends at the King’s Head pub in East Hoathly, where you can exchange your race number for a pint at the pub.
This village race was started 21 years ago and attracts all kinds of runners, from young juniors to those in their seventies who run-walk it right the way through to club athletes. And we must congratulate Tara, who was running for her athletics club who took the 1st lady position in a time of 18 minutes and 24 seconds. And before you think, ‘Yeah, well she’s probably been running all her life and was always good at running.’
Not so. Tara is testament to the fact that you can start at any age, and keep improving no matter what your age. Which mean at 48, Tara is beating many runners half her age. (Psst! She’s also a very good coach and mentor).
Where did you run this weekend? We’d love to hear about any funny Bank Holiday Monday runs similar to the King’s Head Canter. Comment below.
While many of you all seem to be making a final escape to European shores with some beautiful holiday running pictures being posted, back in the UK there have been some equally stunning races taking place from the Sussex Hardway 13 (yes, it was hard!) to the intriguing sounding Two Tunnels Half Marathon… (18-19th August)
Why would you run up tank tracks ascending 419 ft with a gradient of 13% on a August summer Saturday? This is the very start of the appropriately named The Hardway Half, a just over half marathon (13.7 miles) event from Sussex Trail Events. It’s an evil start to a stunningly beautiful route that follows the South Down’s Way at a time of the year when the fields are full of golden wheat and you can see as far out to the Seven Sisters.
A group of GRTW runners took part, mainly as training for the upcoming Get Together Maverick Snowdonia. As my glutes felt like they were on fire on the return leg of this out and back race, all I kept thinking is that the Snowdonia event will be a great deal more difficult, climbing to over 3,000 ft in the first five miles (agh!). But then, that’s the beauty of doing an event as a training run; it pinpoints EXACTLY what you need to focus on in your next block of training and helps focus the mind.
The GRTW ultra coach, Sarah Sawyer placed second lady in this weekend’s event and her secret for getting super strong on the hills? Lots of hiking up hills with 8kg of dried chickpeas in her backpack (her A game is the Grand Raid des Pyrenees, a 123km races with 7000 metres of ascent which takes place over the August bank holiday – good luck Sarah!)
And one more thing to add about The Hardway Half…I thought it was called this because it was a hard trail half marathon. However, it could equally have been called this because actually, the second half of this race is MUCH harder than the first. Bear that in mind if you do it next year!
Elsewhere, we loved the sound of the Two Tunnels Half Marathon by Relish Running Races in the beautiful West Country around Bath. Taking in the gorgeous countryside of the Limply Stoke Valley, the route is on mixed terrain footpaths and trails, taking in the beautiful city of Bath before going to the riverside and traveling through the Combe Down Tunnel, which at 1672 metres long, making this event the one with the longest underground section of any race. Through Monkton Combe village and along the Somerset Coal Canal before merging with the Kennet and Avon Canal, this sounds like a truly stunning route.
They also have half marathons in May and July, so it may be worth checking out their events for 2019.
But over to YOU! Where did you train or what event did you take part in? Anyone run Parkrun abroad this weekend?
Based in Brighton? Don’t miss our Adventure Runs every Thursday this summer. Details of all Brighton events can be found here
While the weather broke almost all over the UK this weekend, that didn’t stop the GRTW community taking on some absolutely beautiful events from the magical Mhor Marathon in Scotland to the Sailsbury’s 54321 Half Marathon in the West. Where did you run?
August 11-12, 2018
As the summer holidays begin to draw near to an end, there are not so many of our runners posting from far flung destinations but there are some equally as stunning routes as part of events taking place here in the UK which is showcasing just how beautiful running can be in this country in the summer when you can actually see the scenery without cloud, mist and/or snow.
A case in point is the magnificent Mhor Marathon which one of the GRTW runners participated in this weekend. Also available as shorter distance, the full marathon takes in the breathtaking mountainous terrain which make up the Trossach’s National Park, with a maximum ascent of up to 2250 feet , with enough level parts to allow you to take in the stunning Lochs Lubnaig and Voil.
It’s certainly an event that would have benefited the runners from all over the UK who will join us in our first GRTW Meet Up at the Snowdonia Maverick event (it’s almost sold out, book it if you want to meet us there!). There have been lots of training runs recorded over the weekend from these runners, although for us Southerners, nothing quite as hilly as we need.
Elsewhere, runners took part in the Salisbury 5,4,3,2,1 Trail Half Marathon, although again, this event offers a range of distances from 5km up to a 50km ultra. Why the name? It passes 5 rivers, 4 hills, 3 country estates, 2 castles and one cathedral. The terrain is mixed using bridleways, trails and road but allowing runners access to private country estates which are usually closed to the public. Beautiful.
Where did you run this weekend and what were you training for? Comment below. And if you ran either of the races above and would like to contribute to our Race Review section, please email email@example.com