Beachy Head – 26 October 2013
I entered this event because it is in East Sussex. Brighton could have been an alternative but is more expensive and fills immediately after opening. But Beachy Head Marathon, formerly known as the Seven Sisters Marathon, is off-road and has the promise of a challenging but scenic course. After the event, I plugged it into “sportdistancecalculator” and the altitude is calculated as ±1016m, so very hilly – on a par with Leaden Boot, Baslow Bootbash and Giant’s Head but not as hilly as Osmotherly Pheonix. Underfoot, when not going up or down, it’s flat, ie no camber, and fairly smooth (not rocky/tree roots), so easy on the ankles. Well attended with 1700 runners (and some walkers). Time limit of 9hrs. Option of a 10K, new for 2013. On the day it was good weather, lots of sunny spells. Quite windy and funnelled to 30+mph at times, but pleasantly warm at 14-16°C. Not too muddy, despite recent rain, but a bit slippy in places with chalk surfaces. A couple of gates and stiles to break the run. Water stations were evenly spaced but number 4 was almost out of water. Previous reports had said some stations ran out of water, so I had planned ahead taking my rucksack/bladder with me. Lovely sausage rolls and current buns/tea/coffee at station5. Very scenic, especially the Seven Sisters park, before running the cliff tops back to the finish. The backward views from the cliff tops was spectacular, especially with the rough seas, always worth remembering to look backwards at times on scenic routes…. One of the long upward drags at mile 12-14 had hedges either side, and in the sun this was a glorious section.
Overall this is a great event, well organised, marshalled and signed, chip-timed. Recommended.
Times: the winner was 2:55, very quick for an off-road event. I was 6:07:31, (might have been sub-6, but for the sausage roll stop – but I’d do it again, they were superb!). Richard Beard did 4:20:04 (he gave the sausage rolls a miss!)
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