This is a point-to-point marathon across the countryside from Salisbury to Winchester following the ‘Clarendon Way’ footpath between the cities. This race is unusual in that it offers you the opportunity to run from one county’s county town (Salisbury is Wiltshire’s) to another (Winchester is Hampshire’s) conveniently over an existing path that covers 26.2 miles!
With the finish of Winchester just a half hour drive down the road from me its an ideal race through its proximity, so I was up early for the drive to the event car park just off the M3 in the park-and-ride and the bus transfer to the start in Salisbury.
I owed myself a better running of this route as on my past outing here I felt I had not been as quick as I could have been, so I was all fired-up to run it as hard as I could and finish stronger than before.
The course is as straightforward as it is unremarkable and for a trail marathon its pretty flat. Whilst it is always a pleasure running through open countryside on this run there’s not really any spectacular views to be seen or challenging terrain to conquer, so it is quite a good route to put in the effort to get a quick time under your belt or a pb for a trail marathon, so in advance I had decided to knuckle down and give a good account of myself!
|Funnelling through the start.|
Concentrating in finishing as fast as I could, I put in as much effort as I could muster for the first half to give myself some training for my forthcoming sub 4 hour marathon tilts and as such I was not really stopping to take pics of my surroundings in the lovely autumn morning!
By the time I went through the first aid-station with its handover point for the marathon relay runners (you can run the distance as a team of 4), there were still some runners waiting to receive their batons, so my time to get there could not have been too shabby.
|Across one of the many fields.|
As I passed through the aid station around the 17 mile mark I was prepared from memory for the only evil climb on the route, but this was nowhere near as bad as I remembered it from a couple of years back - maybe I’ve become somewhat inured to these since my last visit! although about a mile later things really began to hurt.
|The stubble after the harvest.|
|The lowest point of the course crossing the river Itchen.|
|The inviting cool water.|
I managed to drag my sorry arse across the finish line a bit slower than I would have been on a perfect day after the last 6 miles saw a bit of a drop in pace, the last 2 noticeably so because of the above… But I still managed it a good 23 minutes quicker than I was in the previous running!.. So certainly a result there of nearly a minute a mile faster!
Since the last time I was here they’ve decided to give finishers a medal and a t-shirt, something that was an optional paid extra before when you booked your place - so this time I had a bit of ‘bling’ to show for the day and another t-shirt for the ever increasing stack of them!
Lying on the grass by the finish line I recovered my equilibrium before the short drive home and a protein-fix dinner of some home-made burgers, relieved that I have given a better account of myself over the course this time.