Andrew Baillie Ran the Clarendon in 2017
Andrew Baillie is, in his own words, “a gentleman runner and cyclist” from Sussex, who blogs about his races at illpreparedrunner.
Story reads as follows:
The race starts in Laverstock village on the outskirts of Salisbury. From the starting field you can just about see the spire. The facilities at the start are very well laid out, and the team of volunteers very helpful. Tea and coffee van at the start, as well as a bank of portaloos, and a gymnasium to keep warm in and take team photos.
The race started after a few announcements, including the whole entrants and spectators singing Happy Birthday to one of the runners. Klaxon sounded and we were off at 10:30.
The first mile saw us through and out the village, past the Duck Inn, and off into the wilderness. At about one mile in, the race stalled as we reached the first pinch point – cart track down to single-file path. As we waited, I asked a runner next to me what the wait was.
“It's a bottle-neck – the track goes to single-file here, but it widens a little later to get past people”, she replied.
The race then took on a familiar pattern – narrow paths through fields and woods, breaking out every so often into cart tracks through the Clarendon estate.
Every so often a view would present itself. Then we would be on our way, through the woods and along tracks to a new village.
The route is well signposted, and well marshalled. There are at least 12 aid stations, with water, juice, jelly babies at all (or so it seemed), with the stations after half-way offering bananas, home-made flapjacks (some with dates! Yum!) and fruit loaf (not malt loaf!). In between you would regularly find a marshal at a turn, or just in the middle of nowhere!?
Getting through halfway at Broughton, we went through woods, up hills, down hills and over a lovely river or two. I lost count (The River Test).
After this, we went down a steep hill into the lovely village of King's Somborne, and beyond that a long drag up Killer Hill and then an even longer drag up Farley Mount. This was particularly slow due to the fact that it was a single-track path, which included some of the 09:30 starters complete with backpacks holding up the traffic. But, it gave me time to check the view.
By the time I'd reached the top, I was struggling. I basically ran-walked the rest of the way to the finish, mainly through what seemed like muddier and muddier woodland tracks.
The finish is at the King's School on the western end of Winchester. I was given my medal by a scout and ushered over to drink more water. In addition to that, you get a nice green marathon t-shirt.
So, the usual sorts of questions:
What did I like about the race?
It was somewhere I've never run before.
It was hilly
It reminded me of other races I'd done – NDW50, Fittleworth, Beachy Head…
Friendly if sometimes a little overwhelming marshalling
What didn't I like about the race?
Muddy! Probably added a few minutes to my time. Well, that's my excuse!
Not a dislike, really, but I would have preferred more hills (I love hills, me!), and a few more views.
Is it a PB course? Er, probably not.
Would I do it again? Probably not
Why? I've done it now; time to do something else.
But would I recommend it? Yes, absolutely.
Is it worth the fee? Yes. The race itself is very well organised, and the marshalling top-notch with one or two exceptions. When you're 20 odd miles in, you don't want someone joking with you about taking a short cut; but there's always someone at right-angles with the rest of the world (and that's usually me!). I think some people would feel a little cheated about the size of the medal; if you're a bling chaser I would think hard about doing this one, but for me, as they only live in a drawer in my house, I'm not that bothered.