Endurancelife Northumberland Marathon 2014

I've entered this event as my first marathon and am wondering what the surface will be like, and how best to adjust my training to it.

I know it's listed here as being a trail run, and a flat (of flat-ish) profile, but was wondering if anyone who's run it in previous years could offer advice.

I'm fairly new to running and have only been training for this for about a month, and am getting out for a run 4 times a week, mainly running on a fairly hard dirt trail, but haven't been doing any particular hill-training, or cross-country or anything beyond regular runs, and a long run once a week.

Any advice on how best to prepare for this event would be welcome.




  • This will also be my first marathon.  I found a few race reports that should give you an idea of what to expect:








    There is a stream crossing that looks more like a small river early on so I'm expecting to get my feet wet.  I'm also expecting the marathon to be closer to 28miles than 26.2 with a mix of running surfaces to deal with. 

    It's going to be tougher than running a road marathon, but I think it will be a lot more interesting.  Good luck! image

  • It's a trail marathon with a lot of beaches thrown in, I'd practice running on sand and if at all possible get up to the Northumberland coast and do bit of the course.

    The last three miles is on beach followed by a steep climb, oh and it's 28 miles! I'd estimate that at least eight miles is on sand.

    In addition to your long weekend run, I'd look to do a longer run midweek too (12 miles) and your weekend run will want to be 20 miles by the end of January (how far are you doing at the minute)

    On the day just take it very easy, it's a beautiful route but your not going to be getting a fantastic time. I think my finish time was about 4:30, my road marathon time is 3:23.

  • Thanks Ben.  That's useful for me also.  I've covered the marathon distance in training earlier this year, but this will be my first event.  My last half was 1:30 in the GNR this year. I'd probably be aiming for 3:15-3:30 if this was a flat road marathon but I don't have any time goals for this one - I'll try to take it easy and enjoy the route.

    I did an 18 mile training run last week and I attempted to emulate some of the conditions by including a half mile section of beach plus some mud & grass sections. I've been running over 40 miles per week the last few weeks.  I normally do at least one mid week run of 10-12 miles.

    I'm more worried about running on sand than anything else.  The section of beach I did last week was almost impossible to run on.  I'm hoping the 8 miles of sand are not going to be the soft sand that your feet sink in to.  How did you find the sand?


  • I think I managed to find a point on the beach where the sand was hard enough to run on. These worst bit was the last few miles along the beach and then going into the dunes for the finish.

    I was lucky enough to be joined just about three miles from the end by an incredibly beautiful runner, and keeping up with her got me through that last beach.

    It sounds like your doing solid training, so I am sure you'll be fine! It is a brilliant route, so enjoy it!

  • Thanks! Hopefully the sand isn't too bad and everything works out on the day. Sounds like you had a good run. image


  • Thanks for the info & advice David & Ben - really useful.

    My last long run was 16 miles (after a slightly too lax Christmas) & I'm looking to build that up to 20-22 miles. I'm also building up a midweek run as suggested. I'm leaning towards not setting myself a target time for this run, and entering another marathon later in the year for that.

  • No worries about the sand of te beaches. It is pretty firm and very easy to run on. he mud on some bits are much worse. The route is really flat and easy. I explored parts of the route last week. Although in Dutch you can see the images on my website http://bit.ly/L61aHn of the route Alnmouth to Craster

  • Any advice on the best shoes? Road or trails?
  • I ran the ultra last year while my 2 friends ran the marathon. This year I'm doing the marathon.

    I would recommend trail shoes. I found it hard but really a very enjoyable race. I'm a 3.33 road marathon runner and my pb at Beachy head was 4.12. I'm hoping for 4.5 at Bamburgh but who knows, just looking forward to a girly weekend away with a greatmarathon  thrown in the middle of it! image


  • Thanks.  I'm planning to wear trail shoes based off the info on EnduranceLife's website and previous race reports.

    RunningMax - Google translate does a good job turning your website into English.  Thanks. image

  • Less than 3 weeks to go!!!  Hope everyone's training is going well.  image

  • @ david: thanks image Just did a 32 mile training run yesterday, my last long one before the run. I ran the last loop of the ultra as my last bit on the training run and that was fine. Hope the organization wil make sure the bull and caves are away from the last field at Budle Bay

    My advice trail shoes. I will test the beginning of the route next week and I will post the complete route with images one week before the race since I will have been running the complete course.

    We DO need some dry weather because the mud at Craster is awful

  • 32 mile training run...that's some serious miles! image

    My long run has been 20-22 miles recently.  I haven't decided what to do yet this weekend - I'd like to do another long run, but it might be time to cut back a bit on the miles.

  • Yep, but it felt great. Did a short 4 mile tempo training yesterday and did not feel a thing. Not even sore muscles. But I am a slow runner and enjoyed my training run. What is your time goal? If you are interested the training run with images is at http://bit.ly/1goVqCb the last images are from the last loop of the ultra.

    edit: I noticed you will do the marathon distance. the last loop is not that interesting in that case image

    @ Clair: how long did you need for the ultra last year? Do you remember if the last bit to the castle goes via th path at the front or the seaside of the castle?



  • There is always a possibility I'll get lost and end up on the ultra route.  The marathon distance is long enough for me this time though. image

    I don't really have a time in mind.  I'll probably just put a similar amount of effort in as I do on my long training runs and pick the pace up later in the race if I'm able (or slow down if I need to).  Last week I did 22 miles at 8:01min/mile (Penshaw to Beamish C2C route).  This week was 16miles at 8:20min/mile (Roker to South Shields coastal run - mixture of mud/sand.  Very wet.)

    Looking forward to marathon...hope I've done enough training. image

  • I bet you will enjoy it. I am simply going to do that and finish with a good feeling and healthy. The video is almost done, only the start is missing now. Just did Beadnell to Seahouses the other day. It is at http://bit.ly/1guPo45

  • I made the video with images of the route from start to finish

    It is at http://youtu.be/1twH87M-vME


    Did any of you hear anything regarding the run yet? Confirmation/mail etc?

  • Thanks for the video - looks great!  

    I've not had any communication from endurancelife but my entry is there when I've logged into the website.  I don't think they send anything out prior to the run.

  • Strange.. not even an email image Well... I wonder how routing will be. I spotted one old sign on a strange location and in Alnmouth there was (an old) sign pointing to the wrong direction. I am very happy that I can run it without a map now image

    Will run the Craster bit on Wednesday to see how muddy it is and I will check the field with the bull and calves on Friday evening (that is nearby). I will not cross that field if the bull and calves are still there....

    Hope everyone is in good spirit. We had some dry days with rain during last night (sigh). But maybe the previous days were good for the mud. I will post my findings after Wednesday

  • The path approaching Craster from Boulmer looked fine today with no mud. So a few more dry days and everything will be Ok image Will check High Newton tomorrow

    In dutch bu with images: http://bit.ly/1hu5F8O


  • Great.  I've received an event update email now from endurancelife. image

  • Yep me too. It seems we are going to be lucky, because the last few days were dry and sunny. So much of the mud has dried now image It was almost spring today!

  • The weather was great on Saturday - same again for this weekend please!  A bit less wind would be perfect.

    Your dog must get plenty of exercise - I'm guessing it must clock up a few extra miles than you on your long training runs.  image

  • image hahaha she is fit and happy image I don't know yet where I will pick her up on Saturday. There is one fence that I can't lift her over if and when it is not open during the run.. So depending on the weather etc... Maybe you will recognize me and my doggy image We will be sloooooow so you will overtake me somewhereimage

  • Dunstanburgh Castle up to High Newton is also pretty good now. Checked that bit again today and was pleased. Images are at http://bit.ly/1llIK4p and I will upload a new video with new images from the Craster/High Newton stretch

  • I'll probably recognize the dog - what breed is it?  Looks like a spaniel of some description.  I'll be happy to get to the finish line in one piece.  You'll have over an hour's head start so doubt I'll catch you up. Good luck for Saturday.  image

  • @ david: no she is a wire haired hungarian vizsla image no spaniel she is larger than a spaniel image I bet you will overtake me, no doubt about that, you were aiming at 4 hours?

    latest video with every bit on http://youtu.be/ftBSPYMcP7I (new photos from craster to high newton)

    good luck everyone


  • Cool - don't see many wire haired hungarian vizsla's about.  image

    I'd like to do 3:45 to 4:15.  I'm not really sure what to expect so my primary goal is just to finish. 

  • Did anyone see that they changed the ultra route??? IDIOTS


    NOT too pleased, really angry. route is different AND longer

  • Hope everyone made it round ok & enjoyed the day.
    I got round in 5:05 which I'm reasonably happy with. I feel like I've learned a bit from doing the race, and could be better prepared (both mentally & physically) if I did it again. 
    Think I'll try a road marathon next to see how that compares.
    Thanks again for all the advice on here.

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