Stunning Hoad Hill

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This marathon has been on my “To do” list since its inception back in 2015. Friends who had run it had all recommended it, and having now run it I must say it deserves all the praise it has been given.

This race is going down as one of the most spectacular courses I’ve had the pleasure of running. It’s by no means a PB course, it’s hilly and awkward under foot in places but it oozes interest with many changes of beautiful diverse scenery. The course had absolutely everything.

hoad-hill-start-2017

The course started and finished in Ford Park at the foot of Hoad Hill with its impressive light house style monument at the top.

The course first took the runners through the quaint streets of Ulverston and then out on to the Cumbrian Coast path showing off the Lake District’s beautiful countryside. Some 5 miles out we were on top of a small hill overlooking the impressive Morecambe bay in one direction and Hoad Hill and its monument in the summer sunshine in the other.

We then twisted our way down through fields of ferns and picturesque cottages before running along a pebbled path at the edge of the beach. Not the easiest surface to run on but a great contrast to the countryside a mile earlier. Shortly after we came off the beach and to my surprise we were met with a canal which ended or started (depending how you want to look it) at the sea with a lock at the end. I’d never come across a canal ending at the sea before. The perfectly flat canal path took us back to Ulverston for a run round the edge of the town before a run up the hill to the Light house monument at the summit. There was a great view of the interesting coastline from the top, which I took a moment to enjoy, while I had a drink at the aid station.

Hoad-Hill-2017

It was then time to run down the other side, through a pleasing bit of woodland, my favourite running environment, before some more country paths. The course took us onto a tarmac lane, an easy surface to run on but the start of the course’s highest and climb, which was a sustained climb for several miles taking us high up into moorland covered in bright purple heather and dotted with huge white wind turbines. We made our way to the top of the moorland, I looked back and could see Hoad Hill far below in the distance, reaffirming how high we had climbed. The course weaved thought the carpet of purple heather, passed several of the colossal wind turbines, busily rotating and making a powerful whooshing sound which I’ve never heard before.

The next sight was a huge working quarry, which although not beautiful in any way, it was still very imposing and a very interesting landscape to run through. More hills, purple heather and Wind turbines before dropping back down in Lake District farming countryside. Finally, Hoad Hill came back into view, with a run round its slopes then, into Ford Park and I was at the finish.

hoad-hill-finish-2017

By no means a fast race for me with a finishing time of 4 hours 27 minutes and with 11th place this probably shows how tough the course actually was. This said I thoroughly enjoyed its fascinating varied course, it was like running several beautiful and interesting races from many different locations all on the same day. I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to experience this race. This is a great marathon and certainly gets my recommendation for anyone looking for a challenging marathon with a wealth of stunning scenery.

Thank you to Pure Outdoors for holding such a fantastic race and to all the marshals, some positioning themselves in very obscure hilly places to help guide us round the course, they were all so friendly and helpful!

Hoad Hill 2017a

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