Belvoir Challenge 15 or 26?


I am entered onto the 15mile Belvoir Challenge in three weeks time, but I don't know if I should take the plunge and up it to the 26mile route?!

I ran 18miles last week (canal towpath/park/pavement) and it was the furthest I have ever run. Hoping to try a 20miler this coming weekend all on canal towpath.

I don't care about time and am happy to trundle round at circa 10:45 to 11min miles (or slower image ) and walk if necessary (times for last years slowest finishers were around 20min miles). I don't really know how hilly the Belvoir is though, so I don't know if stepping it up would be crazy?

Any advice welcome....


  • Noone got any advice? Am I being unrealistic, stepping up from 18 to an off-road 26?

  • If you don't mind how long it takes and will be within whatever cut offs the organisers impose I don't see why you shouldn't do it but Belvoir is not an easy course - I did the 15 there last year as part of my marathon prep and it wasn't just the hills, it was the conditions underfoot, running in a knee deep track the width of a tractor tyre, boggy ground, stony ground etc etc.

    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • Yikes! Sounds a bit scary. If I can crack 20miles tomorrow, think I will go for it. Thanks for your reply image

  • How did your 20 go? To be honest I think the 15 at Belvoir would be equivalent to at least 18 on the flat. Looking at my training diary I ran 17.7 miles for my LSR on the Sunday before at an average of 8.28; AHR 151 - Belvoir 15 took me 2.15.22 (8.51 pace) for an AHR of 159.

    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • Thanks for asking! The canal was like a bog and I ended up doing 17. Was tough going. Averaged 1min/mile slower than an pavement/slightly undulating run I did on Monday. Think 26 might just be a bit too much.....but made the mistake of telling a few pwople I was doing the 26! image

  • Don't do it! It will put you off or put you out for weeks - not worth it. The weather we've been having will make the course more difficult too.

    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • Belvoir will be muddy as muck !!

    I did the 15 a few years back, and fairly enjoyable it was too except the last 3 or 4 miles all through deep mud.

    Having said that, the first mile wasn't too clever either. One guy returning to the start after loosing both shoes to the mud in the first half mile.

    It also depends on which direction they go (clock or anti) as they used to change it every year.

  • Think I will plan on doing the 15, or I have a friend who is walking the 15 so I may walk to the split with her and run the rest of the 26. Probably leave it till the day and check the weather image

  • To be honest with you, many marathon training plans do not involve a training run of longer than 18 miles.  There is no very compelling reason why you could not do the 26 if you so chose. 

  • I might be wrong but i'm sure the 15 and 26 used to go off in opposite directions.

    As I said in my previous post, it was a few years back. (probably 2005 or 2006).

  • Mad Scientist, I'm also doing LSRs of about 18 and I've entered the Belvoir Challenge race for 15 miles.  I did my first marathon last year and I've done a few trail races (including the Mourne Way Half) and the conditions underfoot make a huge difference to how much energy you expend. Running a mile on a flat towpath and running a mile uphill across a ploughed field are not comparable. Plus the distance between 18 and 26 miles feels a lot, lot further than 8 miles! I would strongly advise you to stick to the 15. After all the rain we've had it's going to be a mudbath.

  • Windquick, while you are right to say that trail races can be heavy going compared to road events, you sometimes have to take the plunge with them.  I chose the Northants 35 as my first ultra, and at the time I had not done any off road events, or any events longer than the Kilomathon.  Sometimes you have to take risks, in order to get the most out of your sport. 

  • hi all, enjoyed the posts so far. I'm doing the 15 too, my first time, and looking forward to it. I've only done 15.5 as my longest run, so hoping my lesser mileage will equate to me being fresh as a nervous daisy on race day! belvoir is my first foray into cross country style racing, so slightly daunted about the great unknown. race well everyone!
  • That was a tough event and no mistake!

    It was very picturesque and interesting route, and the marshals and checkpoint crews did a superb job.  The conditions under foot made for hard going, and the piles of ballast on the trail definitely made things more complicated.  Quite a few people got lost, but that seems to be due to a sign being tampered with, either deliberately or inadvertently. 

    To top the day off, I even won two free entries to next years event, in the tombola!

  • It really was tough. It could have been the freezing cold or because I'm getting over a cold but I was surprised how much I struggled a bit over last few miles. Amazing views from the escarpment made it all worth while and it's such a friendly event and the food at the checkpoints was amazing!
  • Hi Guys, sorry I missed the last few posts - I was getting emails to say people had replied, but they seem to have stopped. I had a bug all last week and decided not to run on Thursday, but by Friday night my legs were twitching and decided I would do the shorter distance. Ran with a friend and was a very enjoyable day image I only got lost trying to find my way back to the A46 afterwards!

  • I think that the 26 Belvoir Challenge sits among the tougher marathon distance events around.  It really took a toll on me, and it feels more like I have ran an ultra than a 26 miler. 

  • Hi all, well done to everyone for your efforts yesterday at Belvoir! I managed to get myself round the 15 mile route in 1:51:27, surprised myself really as after 9.5 miles I felt like I understood what people mean when they say they hit 'the wall.' Apparently it was one of the less muddy years!! I can't imagine how bad some of the fields must have been in previous years. Felt sore straight after I'd wolfed down the soup and bread and a cuppa and then tried to stand - I felt like I imagine an 80 year old with bad arthritis might feel! Just my hamstrings and quads feeling it a bit now though...well done Ben for completing the 26, I'm full of admiration. 15 is the furthest I've ever run!

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