It is the off road events shown in runABC South race listings that catch the eye this weekend. There is a 'three marathons in three days' challenge with spectacular scenery on the Jurassic Coast (see picture above), the Jog Shop 20 in the fabulous South Downs National Park and a point to point race from Berkshire to Hampshire that starts at a former hangman's gibbet on top of Gallows Down!
Votwo promote a number of tough and exciting events in the West Country, taking maximum advantage of the natural obstacles provided by the lumpy terrain. Jurassic Coast Challenge starts on Friday (23 March) on the coastal path from Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Completing all three days takes competitors through to Shell Bay, West Lulworth for a total of 78 miles – phew!
Jog Shop Jog changed its race title to the Jog Shop 20 to avoid being charged under the Trade Descriptions Act! The benign race title hid the true nature of this hugely successful event that has sold out for over 25 years. Originally designed as a training run for local marathon running legends Sam Lambourne, Steve Fortune and Alex 'Ace' Angell, this is a proper test of off-road running skill and stamina with almost 2,300 feet of ascent within 20 miles.
Coombe Gibbet to Overton is a particular favourite of runABC South reporter, Alan Newman. The race starts at Coombe Gibbet, Gallows Down near the village of Coombe, Berkshire. This is another training run that has morphed into a spectacular race and your correspondent is the proud owner of one of the small carved wooden hangman's gibbets given to former winners.
The course is a hilly, off-road 16-miler through stunning Berkshire and Hampshire scenery finishing at Overton village, where race organisers Overton Harriers welcome everyone with home made refreshments. Fees include a bus to the start and transport of kit to the finish.