From Hannah Wise
New Forest Marathon, Sunday 8th September 2019
If you like the idea of running through scenic woodland and darting out of the way of a stampede of ponies then The New Forest Marathon is for you!
This is one of my favourite races because it offers some of the most beautiful running experiences in the UK. A mix of woodland enclosures and far reaching views and of course the famous ponies that like to roam around the villages stopping cars and runners in their tracks.
The main routes start and finish from New Park Showground, Brockenhurst and meander through the heart of the New Forest National Park. People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to take part and there is a large variety of distances for both runners and walkers to choose from:
New Forest Marathon
New Forest Half Marathon
New Forest Health & Leisure 10k
Go Run For Fun 1k and 200m Junior Run
I’ve run the New Forest Half for the last couple of years so this year I opted for the 10k route.
I wanted to take the pressure off a little and enjoy soaking up the scenery on a different route,
I wasn’t disappointed.
On Saturday morning we (Darren and I) stopped at the Race Village en-route to our Aribnb in Brockenhurst to pick up my race pack.
I’d recommend picking up your race pack in advance. This year we got a fashionable florescent green t-shirt, no worries about getting lost on the woods! The Race Village is equipped with a stage and aspiring musicians to keep you entertained and places to grab a coffee and bite to eat (and lots of places to buy more running t-shirts!)
We enjoyed some lunch then went exploring on our bikes through the New Forest.
Sunday morning (race day) we cycled 15-20 mins through the Forest to the start. For me this is an absolute highlight. The woodland feels fresh in the morning and with the sun starting to shine through the tree branches everything glistens. The 10K route takes your through the heart of the Forest and makes you feel alive and invigorated. On my run we saw a stampede of ponies, all the runners had to dart off track to let them charge on! This was a real highlight and a magical sight. There were two water stations at 2.8k and 7.5k and you get a decent medal at the end!
We stayed Sunday evening (to avoid the traffic queues home) and drove to Milford on Sea for dinner and a beach stroll– well worth checking out if you have time.
I’ve already signed up for the Early Bird price for the 10k next year.
Top Tips for the Race:
Places to stay:
The cheapest option is to camp in the New Forest. There are some great campsites right on the doorstep of the start line, so you can take your time on race day and take a gentle stroll to the race village.
Stay in Brockenhurst (or that way).
There are some fabulous and reasonably priced Airbnb’s and BnB’s in around Brockenhurst.
If driving the traffic tends to pile up coming in from Lyndhurst – leave yourself plenty of time as you could find yourself stuck in traffic for a very long time.
Take your bikes! It’s really worth it! The New Forest is HUGE and getting around by bike to explore is so much fun – watch the streams if you’re cycling through them – pedal fast and don’t stop in the middle?!
Look after the environment: The New Forest Marathon is big on respecting the Forest. Don’t drop gel packets or tissues or anything en-route otherwise you might receive a DQ.
Carry your own water/ drinks whilst running.
There are water stations on the course with water in recyclable paper cups. You must drink the water at the station then bin the cups there.
It was a hot day and some runners needed more water than provided so it’s a good idea to take your bottle.
Get involved in the race warm up! Every distance has an organised warm up and it’s a fun way to feel part of a community of runners.
Take in the scenery – it is simply stunning!
Sign up for 2020 now if you want the Early Bird discount price.