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The Purbeck Marathon - nicely hilly and not at all brutal

by kirsty
Tuesday 29th September 2015

Race report: Run247 columnist Kirsty Reade explains just why the Purbeck Marathon is such an enjoyable race

The Purbeck Marathon & The Purbeck 16 - September 20, 2015

I don’t have my own scoring system for quantifying how much I like races but if I did I suspect that the Purbeck Marathon would be right up there. It has so many elements that I really enjoy in a run and none that I can think of that I don’t. That is usually about as quantitative as I get but I’ll have a go at breaking this down.

Firstly, there’s the location. Beautiful Swanage – known for its sandy beaches, ice cream parlours and great races. Any race which you get to via a chain-link ferry is alright by me. It’s all very beautiful and you cannot fail to love the location. Unless you prefer your races to take place on wide tarmaced streets in ugly urban landscapes, in which case you’d hate this race.

Next, it has a small field of runners so there’s none of that queuing to get into car parks, allowing 40 minutes for your turn in a portaloo that thousands of runners have already used, or jostling your way to the start line. It was a very relaxed affair, apart from when we went to what we thought was the race village to register, but then we were told we were at the finish and we should be at the start. That resulted in a slightly less than relaxed ‘jog’ to the start, but that was our fault for not reading the race day instructions properly. Small, relaxed races definitely score highly for me.  

A biggie has to be that you can see the sea almost the whole way round! This was a real boost, particularly on such a beautiful day. You’d find yourself thinking ‘oh dear, this bit’s really hard, I’m struggling, ooh look – there’s the sea! Everything’s brilliant!’. At one point, after a long climb out of Tyneham village (where time stopped in 1943 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyneham), we were all heads down, slogging it up the hill when somebody shouted ‘make sure you look round!’ and we were rewarded with an incredible view of Tyneham and the coast beyond. That probably sums up the race for me. It’s a ‘smell the roses’ kind of run.

This brings me to the hills. There are a fair few and I can only see this as a good thing. I know it’s subjective but none of them were really big. I thought it was enjoyably undulating. You definitely should not trust me on this point though as I’ve often told people that runs ‘aren’t that hilly’ only to be verbally abused the next time I see them. One person’s ‘enjoyably undulating’ is somebody else’s Himalayas. Just as somebody’s ‘brutal’ is somebody else’s 8 year old kid’s warm up, but don’t get me started on people who overuse the term ‘brutal’. The Purbeck Marathon is nicely hilly and not at all brutal.

So, saving the best for last – the finish! There are too many things I loved about the finish to recount here but I can best sum it up in four words: cider and ice cream! You run along the promenade, being high fived by children with ice cream smiles, you cross that finish line and are given a goody bag, t-shirt and medal, then a bottle of local cider and some local ice cream! Races don’t get much better than that. Thank you Purbeck Marathon!

The Purbeck Marathon & The Purbeck 16 - September 20, 2015

Find out more about the Purbeck Marathon at www.thepurbeckmarathon.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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