Yesterday, I ‘ran’ a hilly half marathon along the Dorset coast. It was organised by Endurancelife, part of their Coastal Trail Series, which are set in the most beautiful locations around the UK. You can choose between 10k, half marathon, marathon, ultra and ultra plus distances, and each venue has a rating which tells you how demanding it is, from 2 – Moderate to 5 – Extreme. The Dorset set of races gets an Extreme rating which is evident from the start at Lulworth Cove. We set off at a jog and then just a couple of hundred metres in, most of us settled into a steady tramp up the steps to the coastal path. This photo shows the first really big hill a bit later, but it was by no means the steepest. There were six huge inclines in total, some with steps, and the trouble is that by the time you get to the top your legs are so knackered that it’s hard to get running again. I thought I’d done a fair amount of preparation for the hills with runs round Richmond Park and loops of Richmond Hill, but that clearly wasn’t enough.
But I absolutely loved it. It took me nearly four hours to do the 16 miles of the race but the time just flew by. The location is stunningly beautiful, and there was a real camaraderie among the racers. The hills were daunting, both the ups and the downs, but we were following a trail of people and you just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I ran most of the way with Andrea who is a fellow Eagle; she did this race last year and has done several others in the series. Around 12 miles in, I thought ‘I just don’t want this to end’, but by the time I got to the final climb down the steep steps into Lulworth Cove and the run along the beach, I was very ready to stop running! Huge respect to all those who did the longer distances.
The race was brilliantly organised, very friendly and welcoming of all kinds of runners. I’ve booked a place in the Pembrokeshire race next April and I’ll definitely be back for more.