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Of scenic trails and buck's fizz

by kirsty
Tuesday 17th March 2015
 
 

Race report: Run247 columnist Kirsty Reade enjoys a feedstation with a difference at White Star Running's Larmer Tree Marathon - March 15, 2015

Larmer Tree Marathon - March 15, 2015

Photos: It seems White Star Running know how to keep their runners happy!

A friend of mine is a regular at the Larmer Tree music festival, so when White Star Running put on a festival of running at the same venue, she was understandably excited. I entered too and immediately noted a number of similarities between the two types of festival.

Firstly, happy smiley people flooded the venue. But it wasn’t because they were excited about seeing Tom Jones and Bellowhead, it was because they couldn’t wait to run a very long way on muddy paths in the freezing cold and drizzle. Secondly, there were portaloo queues – an obvious parallel. Lastly, there was booze!  Oh yes, at White Star Running they like to put on memorable events and this is certainly one I’ll remember for a long time, though the professional athletes amongst you may want to put your fingers in your ears for my write-up. The emphasis for me was on having a good time, not getting a good time.

There was a 10k, a half marathon, a 20 mile race and a marathon and the fields for each were deliberately small, which is always really nice. There was a very friendly feel as we set off into the grounds of the beautiful Larmer Tree Gardens. Runners chatted away and my friend reminisced about hangover-busting runs along these paths when she’s been to the music festival. To be fair though, I think going for any kind of run when you’re at a music festival deserves giant kudos.

The route took us along a mix of footpaths, bits of (very quiet) country road, through lovely country estates and on woodland paths. There were sweeping views all round, there was a bit of mud, a few hills (but nothing massive), a folly built a few years ago by the local millionaire landowner, dogs, peacocks and lambs. There was something for every trail running, animal and architecture loving fan of the countryside out there. The marshals were all exceptionally cheery and encouraging and I thought the course was very well marked (with some nice motivational signs thrown in too – eg ‘speed up FFS!’).

But the high point of the whole race had to be the aid stations. The volunteers really made this race special and nowhere was this more evident than the aid station at mile 20. This is known as ‘the lovestation’ and it promised hugs, cider, buck’s fizz and vodka! Now I’d like to point out here that Run247 in no way condones the consumption of alcohol while running. I’d also like to point out that I am an athlete and there’s no way that I’d booze mid-run. I’d like to, but unfortunately I think the photo speaks for itself. We were flagging a bit when we hit mile 20 but we were greeted by a man in a kilt who required very little encouragement to show us what he had on under it. He insisted on hugging us (always welcome at this point on a run) and then we hit the bar.

Larmer Tree Marathon - March 15, 2015

Photos: A friendly atmosphere at he start. Kirsty and Lucy at the 'lovestation'

Fully refuelled on Buck’s Fizz, after a little walk break up a hill to just let the booze settle, we were off again and headed for the finish. The final half a mile through the Larmer Tree estate was a total joy and we were greeted at the line by our enthusiastic dogs (and husbands) and a bottle of beer! We were also given a voucher for a post-race meal. I had low expectations based on previous post-race meals, which have ranged from curly sandwiches to greasy fry ups, but this was White Star Running and they don’t roll that way. This post-race meal was a choice of pizza, lasagne, macaroni cheese and soup, all home-made! And all consumed in a beautiful (and warm) dining hall.

The perfect end to a perfect race.

You can find out about future White Star Running events here: www.whitestarrunning.co.uk

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

About The Author

Kirsty Reade

I’d describe myself as borderline obsessed with running, racing, reading about running, and watching others run so hopefully I’m fairly typical of Run247’s visitors. I tend to do longer races, particularly off-road marathons and ultras, but am pretty much a fan of any distance. I'm passionate about helping runners of all levels to improve through running communities I'm involved in, such as Underground Ultra and Free Range Runners. 

 
 
 
 
 

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