Three weeks after completing the Jurassic Quarter (46 miles along the SW Coastal path) I took part in yesterday’s Race to the Tower – a double marathon along the stunning Cotswold Way. Threshold Trail Series organises three ultras – Race to the Stones (100km) and two double marathons – Race to the Tower and Race to the King. It was whilst listening to the race brief at the latter event last year, where the event director said that the Race to the Tower was the toughest of their three events, that I decided to enter. Having now completed all three events, I am in total agreement!
The course is beautiful, but the hills are significant. It starts in a field near Stroud and finishes 53 miles later at Broadway Tower – the second highest point on the course. Probably not the longest hill, but it certainly felt like it! Once again the weather conditions were rather warm.
The race is brilliantly organised. Completely signed throughout with all 160 of the gates/stiles numbered! The aid stations were very comprehensively stocked. Not being very good at taking on nutrition I always feel I never really get my money’s worth at these sorts of events! Despite a few grim moments out on the trails, and my rather sore legs today, it was an absolutely fantastic event with, as in all their events, the option to camp overnight and break the race into two sections should you so wish. I think there were around 1,200 people taking part in total with over 500 doing the nonstop option.
The winner was Mary Menon in 8:46:52. I finished in the more sedate time of 10:56:37 (45th overall and 9th woman).
Having run my last few races in hot conditions, I am now looking forward to my next marathon in September – the Giant’s Causeway Marathon. Irrespective of the time of year, it is invariably a good 10 degrees cooler in the North of Ireland than it is in the south of England.