Written by Chris Bradley
5 trails, 65 runners, 1500km
We kicked off our London Marathon Trail Series three months ago and with the final 22 miler now complete, and two weeks until race day, here’s a look at what happened.
Round 1 – Epping Forest trail run
We started light, 10 miles in the shaded woodland of Epping Forest. The 20 person turnout was impressive and it was nice to meet some locals.
We stuck to the main paths to avoid the January bogs and made a figure of 8 loop around the lower half of the forest.
Round 2 - Richmond Park trail run
For round 2 we swapped out forest for the open landscape of Richmond Park. This one started off a nightmare with cancelled trains left right and centre. Sixteen made it to the start line for a casual 14 miles twice around the park.
The particular highlight was being chased down by Angela, who after arriving late was tracking us via WhatsApp and at half way finally caught up and completed the distance with us. Excellent work.
Round 3 - Chiltern Hills trail run
This was easily the most scenic run of the series. Tim took us out to his local haunts and onto far more tough terrain than most London marathon training plans allow. Perfect work for the legs and 25km felt more like 30. We all made it round and enjoyed our post run cuppa and full english.
Round 4 - Henley-on-Thames trail run
The snow decided to play some games with us for round 4. In the end the Sunday turned out ok, but the damage had been done the previous two days. The prospect of an icy 18 miles up the Thames was not quite what the doctor ordered and we made the difficult but safe decision to stay at home.
Round 5 - Lee Valley trail run
We had reached the 20 mile mark. Which for anyone going through their marathon training is a big day.
The flats of the River Lee and our mission of reaching a pub lunch in Hertford was what we needed. With a train station every 5km and the constant temptation to slip off made it a teasing run. This one felt like a proper achievement.
Round 6 - Thames Path trail run
Two weeks later we were back and this time making ourselves do an extra two miles, running South along the trails of the Thames and Hampton Court.
The first half of the run was beautiful, the second not so much. The last 6 miles in Richmond Park were not only tough but with nearly half the runners requiring frequent pit stops, for reasons we won’t mention, the exit gates and finish line were a welcome sight!
Thanks to all that joined the trail runs, we ran a combined 1500km and personally it made my marathon training feel like a doddle.
We hope to run this series again in 2020 - Stay tuned.