New Forest Marathon

GuyGuy ✭✭✭
Is anyone running this on 22nd September, or has run it before? I have entered it with a view to improving my time for London (and ideally doing a sub 3:15). However, the course is described as "undulating", which in my experience can either mean a few gentle hills, or that you need crampons and a team of sherpas. Which is it?

The alternative is Kingston 3 weeks later, which I know to be dead flat (and very boring). However, the timing of the New Forest suits me better from a personal point of view. I obviously need to decide pretty soon whether I start tapering with a view to racing New Forest, or keep training for a another 3 weeks and treat New Forest as my last long run (if I run it at all). I would be grateful for any input.


  • Hi Guy,
    I'm not running New Forest nor have I done it in the past, but I know quite a few people who have and they seem to have picked up fast times. I have a club pal who is doing it this year and if I know him he wouldn't run it unless he thought he could get a fast time.

    Not much help I'm afraid but a little to go on. Good luck!
  • haven't done full marathon, did half a couple of years ago found it quite tough
  • GuyGuy ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the responses. I think I'll probably give the New Forest a try and see how it goes. If it looks very tough I always have the option of taking the second half easy and still doing Kingston.
  • I did the New Forest Marathon four years ago. It took me an excruciating four hours - two hours for the last eight miles!Needless to say, I had not prepared properly. I am having another go this year and, given my 10K times, I should be comfortably under three and a half hours. Living in West Yorkshire I would say that 'undulating' is something of an overstatement. The course is very pleasant, its just the distance that makes it difficult!
  • I ran it a couple of years ago when it was very hot. Lot's of people suffered.
    Undulating is, for once, a fair description. There's a big hill around mile 18/20 if I remember right, but it looks worse than it it. Other than that rises are small or gentel or both.
    It's not one for a PB though.
  • GuyGuy ✭✭✭
    Thanks. Although it doesn't sound the ideal course of a PB, my current PB was at London this year, where things went badly wrong from mile 16, and I averaged 10 min/mile for the last 10 miles. If I don't manage to beat that, even on a slightly tougher course, I will be disappointed.
  • I live in the New Forest and would agree with the description of 'undulating'. The biggest hill, as Graham Spratt says, is Marlpit Oaks at between 19 and 20 miles. I ride up it every day on my way home from work (having ridden down it on the way to work!) and it's a pig - long and deceiving - and usually straight into the prevailing sw wind! I'm running the half and will, thankfully, avoid it! Also, some of the miles in the marathon are on gravel tracks through the forest, which may or may not slow you down. Most of the hills in the New Forest would not be recognised as serious by those who live in Dorset, or further north in Yorkshire (Mike Shoemark) or the Lake District for instance, and I do wonder - when I come back from hilly places - why I find them hard. But they seem to drag on a bit. Most people I know who've run the New Forest marathon say that it's not a race for a PB. But the scenery is nice!!
  • Hi there, I'm also doing the New Forest Half on 22 September. If anyone has a placing they are not intending to use, could you let me know. I have a friend who applied after the deadline and has unfortunately not been given a place. Thanks all
  • GuyGuy ✭✭✭
    There appear to be some contrasting views about how tough the course is, judging by the replies in this thread and the one started by Bear in the General Forum.

    However, as things are turning out I am unlikely to get a lot of running done in the next 3 weeks anyway, so I am effectively committed to a taper leading up to 22nd September. I'm going to give it a try, taking comfort that I train in some fairly hilly parts of Surrey, but with increasing doubts as to whether a sub-3:15 is really on. Of course I may regret that decision when I am struggling up Marlpit Oaks at 19 miles into a headwind!

    Thanks for all the advice - I will let you all know how it went in due course.
  • I'll be doing the half for the sixth time. It's a lovely scenic course, yes with undulations, but the organisation is superb - friendly and efficient, with showers, baggage store, plenty of parking and quite a bit of support both in town and out on the route. Oh, it's been warm/hot every time I've done it.
  • I'm also doing the half - just hope it is not too hot, I remember a couple of year's ago it was quite cool until the race started and then the sun came out - lovely for a day relaxing in the Forest.

    Look forward to seeing you there

  • It's my first attempt at a half marathon, but I am feeling fairly confident after The Beast last Sunday (13 miles off road in Dorset). I live 10 minutes walk from the start line and will see the start banner go up probably this weekend as the town gets ready to host the event. I can't decide if knowing the roads really well is a good thing or a bad thing! I've never run in an event with 1800 people in it (the number of entrants in the half so I'm told - the organiser is in my club) so I'm a little nervous about the crowd. I'm going to be pacing about at home before the start with butterflies in my stomach, I think! I must remember to tell myself as usual that I'm just going for a run with some like-minded people! See you all there.
  • Well if you managed the Beast last weekend you should not have a problem, I regret now not having done it, instead I went out for an 11 mile training run - having done a hard 7.5k on the Saturday - is the field usually 1800? It is natural to be nervous before a race - I spend so much time in the loo beforehand - all because I am nervous.

    See you there

  • Whizzy, it sounds as though you may have worked harder than I did over the weekend - doing a hard run!? I just run and hope for the best, pretending all the time that I'm out there for the scenery!!! That's the only way to control the nerves, I find. I've worn myself to a frazzle in the past worrying over training schedules and race results in cycle racing, which I also do. I can't be bothered now with all that, although my stomach doesn't seem to have realised! I don't know if 1800 is a normal number of people for the half - some of them may not turn up. It'll be a slow start for me somewhere near the back - shuffling along for a while. That'll probably be a good thing really.
  • Katie

    Good to start at the back to save yourself for a good second half - trouble is it is easy to get pulled along with the crowd, I tend to always start a bit too fast, then I settle down, but have the pleasure at the end of passing the people who really rushed past me at beginning - you must know the course but remember the hill at about 6/7 miles - plan for it!!

  • Whizzy - I know that hill well and was thinking about how hard it would be to run up it in the half marathon as I rode up it on my bike the other evening on my way to meet my running club at Wilverley Plain! Ouch! I actually run better up hill than down, so I shouldn't be worried really! I suppose we pick on all sorts of worries prior to an event. One of mine is the fact that I'll be doing 13 miles on tarmac, which is not my favourite running surface. I normally run in the forest, with only a few miles of tarmac on my routes. I'm planning some tarmac runs before the day, including the Littledown 5 in Bournemouth next week.
  • Katie

    I assume you are a member of New Forest?

    What's your number for NF 1/2 I will recognise the vest - could end up saying hello to the wrong person

  • Whizzy - I can't remember my number. It's at home. I'll let you know next week!

    What club are you in?
  • Katie

    Lordshill!!!! Don't know what my number is, will let you know

  • Whizzy - Aren't you Lordshill lot really fast?!

  • Some of them are - mainly the men - not me I'm afraid

    (not so )Whizzy
  • Perhaps I won't be alone at the back then in a fortnight!!

    As I rode in to work this morning I saw that the mile numbers have been repainted on the road in nice bright white and the advance warning notices are up for the motorists. Now I'm starting to feel nervous!

    I ran the first bit of the course on Saturday, but turning onto the heath just as the road starts to go up Wilverley hill.....oh dear! I hope I go faster on the day than I was going then! I shouldn't really have gone that way but I had to deliver something and it was the best route.
  • I drove the last section of the marathon course on Sunday, I wish I hadn't now! Its not too bad, nothing too steep or too long but a lot of uphill sections which by that stage I will really feel. The last mile and a bit is all flat or slightly down hill so there is something to look forward to:-)
  • Hi Whizzy

    My number for the NF half marathon is 1095. What's yours?

  • Katie

    2058 - see you there.

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