1 Oct 2016 – Heart of England Marathon

I did the initial event in 2015 doing the 15 mile version (Which in actuality was nearer 18), thoroughly enjoying and decided to step up to the full for this Warwickshire off-road run.

Set in the quaint town of Henley in Arden in Warwickshire it’s all very Shakespearian in appearance around here, not really surprising given Stratford upon Avon isn’t too far away. It’s looking very bleak today, ok it’s raining and as soon as the actual race started it started absolutely bucketing it down throughout.

It’s a very laid back event starting a bit like Charnwood Marathon at a local school, today is about putting a few miles in and enjoying rather than going at a pace or for a time. I`m despite the weather having a gentle cruise through the countryside, despite the Forest title (A tree is planted for every Marathon entrant) it’s more a mixture of everything than being Sherwood forest so to speak, the actual forest running is very minimal.

The route splits at 10 miles and thankfully I stay with someone with excellent GPS, despite the weather I somehow get stung by a wasp that’s strayed down my vest! Totally a mix of things as we head through Alcester one minute and then ploughing through muddy fields in moon boots the next and please don’t think Warwickshire is flat, this had an awful lot of ascent throughout.

No wonder I was tired at the end, having done 20 miles in less than 3 hours I wondered why I was still running over an hour later, the final distance clocked in at 28.5 miles! Came in at 4:30, not helped by actually getting a little lost in a housing estate in the last mile! Still great training and enjoyed the route immensely especially as I didn’t have to look for the very small pink arrows which weren’t exactly noticeable or regular.

The Pro’s: Laid back no onus on finishing time, very nice part of the midlands and easy on the eye, great food stops (inc Bacon Butties and veggie burgers), superb food after (3 courses!), under £20.00 entry and hasn’t got overly popular and spoilt as yet, warm spacious and plentiful facilities before and after, No-one from local clubs doing this! No race numbers – either get your card stamped or shout out your number at check point

The Cons: Be prepared to do more than advertised distance! The signs are very small and irregular not good unless you know where you’re going, marshals only at check points.