Hilly, muddy, cold, wet... Lovestation(obviously), smashing goody bags and there will also be a discount for entry into the Tank Museum for you and the family for all finishers.
Fortunately this was not my first WSR event so I knew a little of what may lay in store. On the plus side the marshalls and organisation were superb and the lovestations were as always a welcome sight. On the down side the bl**dy mud and clay were horrible, but then I didn't enter because I thought it would be easy! The medal was as always with WSR epic and overall a great event
Posted on 12.01.18
Why did I only score Logisitcs a 4 out of 5, simply down to the lack of bag drop, yes the car park was only a very short walk away, but for people car sharing sometimes it means waiting around on a cold day for a change of clothes and dry shoes.
However the Marathon itself was a great route in an original setting, running tank training grounds and seeing some of the inhabitants of Monkey World looking bemused as we ran by.
4 small river crossings in the first 1.5 miles meant wet feet or hanginhg onto muddy banks and branches trying not to slip. I went for the former, we knew the course was going to be wet and muddy, my shoes drain well, so in through the middle I went. You cross these same rivers on the way back at the finish.
The Marathon was 27.8 miles long, varied terrain, sunny buy chilly weather, great check points, I had no issues with signage on the route, had a freindly chat with other runners as we plodded towards the finish and was glad to get the awesome medal.
Sadly for me the 2 hour car journey on the way home, saw my calf muscle cramp every ten minutes or so, it was agony, luckily I was not the driver.
Would I do it again, yes with friends, its a fun event when shared with others.
Posted on 19.12.17
This was certainly more than your average trail half marathon!
Starting from the Tank Museum at Bovington there were plenty of impressive looking tanks around to look at before the start of the race.
Everything was well organised beforehand with numbers sent in the post so you could literally go from car to start line in a matter of minutes (via the ample portaloos). The lack of a bag drop was an annoyance to some people but didn't bother me as I just left everything in the car and then took my car key with me.
The first mile or so was on tarmac before getting out on to the trails which started off as nice compact earth before getting to the ground which were easily identifiable as the tank training ground. Huge ruts, puddles (small lakes?) and mud glorious mud!
There were 3 aid stations along the route (the now-famous amazingly stocked lovestation during mile 4 and mile 11 plus a basic water and gel station about halfway).
After the 2nd trip through the lovestation you feel like you're almost home but little did you know at that point that you still had about 5 miles to go, hence the "ultra" half marathon comment in the headline.
When running on trails you know your races aren't going to be bang on the distance, but an extra 3 miles on top of the advertised half-marathon was bit of a shock! I was already a bit sweary when my watch ticked over to 14 miles so having to run through 4 (or 5) knee high puddles / ponds in during the bonus miles made me a bit more grumpy.
However, all grumpiness was forgotten when I crossed the finish line. The medal was phenomenal and you also got a buff / snood as well as a bottle of local ale. There was even a couple of hugs dished out too which is always a nice touch at White Star events.
Would I run this race again? Probably not as I have ticked it off the list (plus I don't think it is happening again next year) but I would certainly recommend it to trail runners who know what they are signing up for. And as event orgnaisers go, White Star certinaly know how to put on a good crack.
Posted on 18.12.17
Another fabulous race from the White Star Running crowd, flat by WSR standards around the normally closed Bovington tank training area.
River crossings, mud, mega tank themed bling.
loved it so much back for Marathon in 2017
Posted on 24.08.17
See my FB page for photos and full review (https://www.facebook.com/rungrantosrun)
Scores above, point dropped for "race briefing" - i couldnt hear it from where i was stood (it might have been a 5/5 for all i know).
Ease of navigation - was very easy had it not been for someone tampering with signage. Not the organisors fault but thought it fair to dock a point because some runners did go off course.
White Star Running (WSR) pulled a blinder with this race, wrangling permission to hold an event on an actual tank training ground! Bovington Tank Museum hosted hundreds of runners acting as guinea pigs for the first running of the WSR's new end of season race in this unique location. A mix of hard packed woodland trail, sharp short inclines, calf deep water crossings, sand, mud and Cranborne Chase Cider! There is too much to mention for the brief race report but suffice to say if you've got a love for gettin' off road then you will not be disappointed. WSR put on great events, whether you are a whippet chasing a fast time or new to running dipping your toe into the icy pools of trail running you'll feel perfectly at home on this event.
The rambling review
Prior to this race all entrants were warned that they were guinea pigs for White Star Running (WSR) at their first attempt at organising a logistical nightmare of a race. With multiple land agencies to deal with, restricted access and limitations on route recce times it's a wonder that this race even got off the ground! However in true WSR style the race sold out early and the pre-race banter in the WSR FaceBook group went into hyper drive! Race week, and the WSR email and FB update became progressively more tongue in cheek. Amongst the serious instructions (Don’t touch anything shiny on the route, it might kill you) were also the more light hearted (route updates incl’ photos of the WSR 4x4 bumper deep in brown water with the caption "Damp"). Route conditions got a tad more sketchy in the days preceding the race when Dorset was blessed with a downpour. Race day, arriving at Bovington Tank Museum entrance and we were treated to our first glimpse of tanks! Turret's shrouded in mist akin to some eerie movie set. The chill in the air didn’t dampen the warmth being generated by the electric atmosphere. Fancy dress was the order of the day, adding to the party spirit! father Christmas, elves and cammo were all in abundance. some more specialist outfits included some guy dressed in full sniper ghillie! Race numbers had been sent out previously so there was no registration involved, just rock up, grab a coffee or some last minute race nutrition from xmiles mobile store (http://xmiles.co.uk). 09:30am and we were off. Round the back of the museum and out on the trails. This was end of season social for me, a few mates and plodding round the countryside celebrating my 40th birthday. As such, we situated ourselves smack bang amongst the party. Conversational running pace, laughs, splashing and general high jinks. A few miles in, conversation subsided and down to the business of grinding out the miles. Onto the woodland trails, keeping an eye out for the camouflaged tanks, the sun began breaking through the mist. This gave a hint to the unexpected warm day ahead of us and making for some fantastic photos. More trail, mud, some short sharp climbs before we popped out on the tank training ground proper. Wide wet sandy trails, sitting high above the Dorset countryside, making for great views of the misty landscape below. before we knew it we had looped around and were heading back towards home. Just one WSR tradition before pushing on for the last few miles, The hallowed Lovestation. A drinks station on steroids! Mulled wine, Cranborne Chase Cider, vodka and if that didn’t float your boat, Water. Feeling peckish? Then time to chow down on homemade cakes (Gluten Free and Vegan too) alongside the usual fayre of Haribo, cocktail sausages and other nibbles. The volunteers had obviously worked tirelessly to produce a stunning array of cake and drink to cheer up the weary runners. After loitering around the Lovestation for several minutes, drinking one too many ciders, it was time to crack on. Pushing on for the last few miles, double backing on our outbound route, the finish was soon in sight. Across the line and one of the biggest, heaviest, most detailed medals by WSR to date was hung around our necks. A goodie bag stocked with a bottle of local ale, Piddle Brewery, and some Dorset Christmas flap jack! yum! This was a fantastic run, in a very unique location. Not excessively hilly suggesting fast times would be possible if you so desired. As with all WSR races an abundance of friendly supportive marshals. If this race is back next year then I for one will be chalking this on my race calendar and signing up early as sell out is guaranteed.
Posted on 15.12.16