4 Aug

Armchair Marathon Or Actual Marathon?

Centurion North Downs Way 100With the IAAF World Championships in London's Olympic Stadium in full swing and both men's and women's marathons on the roads of the capital on Sunday (6 August) you would be forgiven for thinking this will be a quiet weekend for events in the south – wrong!

In depth TV coverage of the events in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium and outside on the marathon course, which starts and finishes at Tower of London, will be like a magnet to armchair athletics supporters everywhere but that has not put race organisers off, with at least ten marathons or longer events this weekend.
 
The longest race is Centurion North Downs Way 100, where the 100 stands for 100 miles! This is the seventh annual running of this event, which includes almost 10,000 feet of ascent, held on the Long Distance Trail between Farnham, Surrey and Ashford, Kent. There is a 30-hour time limit to reach the Julie Rose Stadium finish line and course records are held by Ed Catmur (15:44:39) and Debbie Martin-Consani (18:34:54). 
 
Mendip Marauder 50 Miler promises a more laid back ultra on the Mendip Way between Frome and the finish at Weston-Super-Mare's expansive beach. Elevation is still an issue, with more than 6,000 feet to climb on the Downs – which are named after the Old English word dūn for rounded, grass covered hills in southern England.
 
Coming down in distance we have the North Downs Way Ultra Run over 30 miles – a guided trail run on a loop course from Guildford. This is not a race but an opportunity for ultra novices to experience going the extra distance accompanied by elite competitor and endurance coach Matt Buck of Running Adventures. 
 
If a mere 26.2 miles floats your boat then there are full marathons on offer at Walton-on-Thames and Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Surrey on Saturday and Chislehurst; Gloucester and Croydon on Sunday.    
 
In the long run it always pays to check out runABC South race listings, brought to you in association with Sports Tours International.
 
Image courtesy Centurion North Downs Way 100