Race Report – Votwo Jurassic Coast Challenge 23rd – 25th July – By Natalie Bennett

Jo, Ros and Natalie took part in the Jurassic Coast Challenge, three marathons in three days along the Jurassic coast. They set off at 5:30am to race HQ at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy all kitted up and ready to go.

Day 1 Charmouth – Weymouth, the longest day of 45.3km. It was glorious sunshine, not quite so welcome with an elevation gain of 1,260m mostly during the first half of the race. They stormed up the hills and crunched their way over the leg sapping pebble beach to then realise that the miles left on the coastal path signs was not accurate! Oh, what a disappointment to have to drag themselves through over-grown grasses and long road back to race HQ but they made it in a time of 6 hours and 5 minutes, Jo second lady, Natalie 3nd and Ros 4th (although their final results have them in a different order) 7th, 8th and 9th overall.

Day 2 Portland Ferry Road – Lulworth 42 km. After a night in a noisy room above a pub with torrential rain, thunder and lightning they jumped out of bed to a drizzly morning to run round the Isle of Portland and on to Lulworth. The sun came out once off the island and 12 miles into the race and so too did the stunning views to Lulworth. A little more road in this race with Weymouth seafront but soon back on the trails with the beauty of approaching Lulworth and the incredibly steep down hills to Durdle Dor. The finish was just away from the busy beach of Lulworth Cove at a quiet sport where post race soup could be served – a welcome treat. Finishing in
6 hours 32, coming in 3rd, 4th and 5th ladies and the friend we made along the way came over the finish line with us (again the result’s page isn’t quite accurate).

Day 3 Shell Bay – Lulworth 43.6km. An interesting start on sand through the nudest beach! Once past Swanage this was the best day for trail runners, there are very few car parks to access the coastal path so it feels very remote and untouched, a contrast of large sweeping farming fields and an amazing coastline of white rocks and incredible strata. It was undulating until the final seven miles – 400 steps up and down the hillside and some hills steep enough to crawl up over the last 5km but the views made it all worth while. The coffee they scrounged off the marshal at the last check point was the needed caffeine bullet for the last hills! They crossed the line holding hands as joint 6th female in 7 hours 37 minutes.

It’s worth noting that not all competitors did all three days and that helps to explain the varied results on each race day. A lovely laid back event with friendly marshals, easy navigation uploaded to Garmin and holiday walkers praising our efforts of 80 miles over three days to help us remember that it really is quite a long way to run each day.