Location: Avebury to Stonehenge
CPs: @ every 2-3 miles. Water available. Second CP and 11 mile CP had food that you could purchase.
Weather: @15 degs C; mostly sunny
Start Time: 10:30 for runners; Earlier for walkers
Finish: Ends at a car park a mile away from Stonehenge
Post Runner Recovery: Small snack bag
Water + supplies carried: 2.5 litres + 3 breakfast bars + 2 marmite/honey sandwiches
Extras: Free entry into Stonehenge (@ 13.90 GBP)
Recommend this marathon and doing some pre-reading beforehand to really appreciate the area.
Last week the South Downs marathon, had amazing sea cliff views, rolling hills and dales, panoramic checkerboard views of rape seed fields; broccoli and other green veg. But the hills were long, the hills were steep and Red was certainly giving me a hard time by sucking in her grooves and tumbling down hill. As a BMW tyre she believes this is all beneath her and she shouldn't be dragged through muck and mud. I had to repaint her when I was painting Reu. She got her wish to be Red and now she's got her wish to be put to bed. Oh well she'll make a nice plant pot or something ;-)
The Neolithic marathon was easy in comparison. Reu was a delight to pull up hill and glided down hill (as all good tyres should), but let's not get ahead of myself.
Awl Right Me Lovers
Yes we are in the heart of Wiltshire. It is an area that is still intertwined with ancient history, with Stonehenge standing tall amongst a network of roads (thankfully there have been some changes), Chalk horses and giants etched into the ground, ancient burial grounds and vwoodhenge (a new discovery for me)!
There's a kind of mystical air in Wiltshire, with tales of Dragons, Druids, Witches and King Arthur's last battle on Salisbury Plain.....and then there are those mysterious crop circles. But then after all we are surrounded by dead people (West Kennett and Silbury Hill)
The area seems to buzz with energy. This is my third marathon in Wiltshire
- Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1
- Ridgeway 40
....and I am still enthralled by the area. Entering Avebury, I could hear Enya singing out her rich celtic melodies.
This event caters for walkers, runners, and bikers. Walkers can start at any time, runners have to start at 10:30. I decided to become a wunner (walking runner) as this would allow me to start the event earlier than the runners. I started at 08:05.
Reu and I were having a blast, talking and passing walkers. Yes we were passing walkers! I was warned by several walkers about the "boring stretch". However, there is only one road stretch towards Redhorn, that is a little disconcerting. It is a narrow road with coaches carrying walkers chundering up the hill to the 11 mile marker to start the 15 mile walk. All along this stretch of road (and other roads) there were warnings about dangerous walkers/runners. The coaches were far more scarey as they rumbled by you.
From Redhorn there were more warnings. We were entering Salisbury Plain and on that day there were military exercises going on. Reu wanted to play chicken. I played the chicken and pulled her back onto the gravelly road.
The lead runner came through whilst we passed mile 14. From there on, we were running with runners. Normally we are running with walkers or behind walkers, but for some reason, either the walkers were slow today, or the Wiltshire air was in me legs.
Armoured vehicles entertained the "boring stretch" along with a couple of Chinooks flying over head. I enjoyed the boring stretch far more than I think I should have.
A "dangerous" marathon!
The pre-pack information made me a little nervous with warnings of Lyme Disease in the area. After all Bart Yasso nearly died of Lyme disease. However ticks can be pulled off......my memory drifts to a trip in Scotland where we were all infected with ticks after camping in a forest. We discovered ticks on our bodies as we dropped off a friend at his mother's. His mother gave us dettol to wash ourselves down! We spent hours de-ticking each other!!!
The route itself starts in Avebury village (well worth wandering around to hug a henge or just have clotted cream scones and tea). Am not the most alert in the morning so missed a sign and did a 1/4 mile before meeting someone else who "got lost". We back tracked and found the "missing sign" to head up onto a long hill that merges onto the Ridgeway. Once up on the ridgeway the eyes feast on a panoramic views of hills, dales, farms and far away ancient villages.
Thereafter you head back into another village. If you've timed it right, the jubilant chorus of bells from the local church will welcome you in and then the waft of BBQ will reel you into CP2. If you have time you can head to the local library to read a book or two.
Runners over took me telling me I was hard core...."hard as nails"!
Gosh I'd always thought I was just a bit of a girl. However I've been wearing pink more often so I'm can't be mistaken for a bloke (as I usually am when I go to a counter of some sort, like an airline counter...."hello sir where are you going?....")
The runners' route goes an extra length that both myself and another walker took. Well I was a wunner and he was a fast walker! Last check point, met the James' family with 4 young kids who had woken up early to do 15 miles (age range about 7 to 12). I was so impressed. I do not believe at that age I would have wanted to complete 15 miles! But here they were, all excited and full of beans on the last 5 miles. Kudos to them. As we neared Stonehenge, and more mounds of ancient dead people, young Amy (12) ran the last couple of miles to ensure I ran to the end. At mile 22 I had run out of water and did not want to bother to dig out my final bottle from my back pack. I thought I could make it to the end. After all it was only 4 more miles in glorious sunlight.
Somewhere on the last mile I lost it, feeling dehydrated and a little zapped. I could no longer push myself along and had to stop to find my last water bottle. I thought I'd walk in, but Amy cajoled me along to run the last couple of hundred metres with her (thanks Amy).
Completed at 15:26 - making that 7:21 completion time. A big difference from last week's time of 10:13 and there were still participants finishing behind us and there were still people lolling around!
Thank you to the folks who donated on the day and pledged to reduce their trash. Raised 23.70 for the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust