Larmer Tree Marathon
Runner – Helen Crossland
Approx # Competitors – 400. (Marathon: 206, 20 miles: 178, half marathon: 193)
Price - £32.00
What you have to show for it – A medal in the shape of a peacock (eventually!). All three races got a slightly different version of the peacock design. Unfortunately delivered late due to a mix up in transport from Asia!! Plus a bottle of locally sourced beer. Not sure which as I don’t drink. Plus free food at the finish….YUM!!
Course Description – The Larmer Tree half marathon and 20 mile are demanding off road races. These hilly mainly off road races start and finish on the edge of the tiny Wiltshire village of Tollard Royal, home of the Larmer tree gardens and fantastic scenery of the Wiltshire chalk downs and forests, and the green hills of Dorset. These races can be a standalone half or 20, or a warm up for other spring marathons like the London Marathon, Paris or Ox Races in May.
The Larmer Tree Marathon is the first significant off road marathon of the year.
The races encompass some of the most beautiful and challenging parts of the two counties. The race is demanding in places, but we will look after you with regular water and aid stations full medical cover and the chance of a sneaky cider and cake at the "love lounge".
Reality of Course Description – A beautiful start and finish location. Expected mud with a side of mud followed by a course of mud and mud for desert but in reality the course was technical in places with soft but solid mud underfoot. Limited views on this course but lots of woodland trails with the occasional break on road and track. I very much enjoyed this course and was expecting tougher hills due to the reputation of White Star Running events but this one was hilly but not overly tough like Giants Head or The Ox races.
Water and Fuel Stations – 5-6 miles or so = Water, sweets, cakes, biscuits, gels and a special love station for hugs.
Time of year – Mid March
Why I chose this race – Inaugural event with the promise of love station hugs and free food. Plus it was a marathon in a beautiful location. Why not!
Organisation – WSR (White Star Running) are a friendly bunch who love to see runners of all abilities enjoying their chosen sport. However, they’ve also got an evil streak and like to see runners of all abilities suffer on their courses. But don’t worry, there is food a plenty, hugs a plenty and views a plenty.
Feedback Summary – Aid stations were very well stocked with a varied amount of food. Views were lovely, woods were beautiful and even the mud was fun. Wasn’t expecting food before the start and if you’re taking spectators they have a huge choice of food to choose from as well as some lovely gardens to explore whilst you get yourself sweaty elsewhere!! Fnar! Food at the finish was great and even though there was no medal the day this year (due to shipping issues, it was sent in the post) I’m sure the beer or buff will be very much appreciated at that time of year 😉
Will I be back – Hell yes!!!! I had an absolute blast and will be back for more shenanigans next year!
Tips for next time – Don’t be afraid of the hills – they’re not as big as Wales or the Lake District but it’s a close second!. Prepare for rain/mud/snow/sunshine. Get there early to enjoy pre-race food. There’s no bag drop but parking is very close to the start. Wear trail trainers that can deal with a fair amount of road. If needed you can wear road shoes but don’t expect them to be clean at the finish. Definitely take a change of clothes for driving home or a plastic seat cover for your poor car!!
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