South Downs Midnight Marathon

Keeping Cool Pays Off In The Long Run

It looks like the very hot weather of the past week will take a dip this weekend and there is the possibility of a cooling shower. That will be welcome news to anyone planning a long run and we preview a few tempting events from the runABC South comprehensive race listing...

We start with the Twilight Ultra at Redbridge Cycle Centre, Ilford on Saturday (28 July). This is a three race programme, with staggered start times that finish just as the temperature drops at twilight. The 50K ultra is off at 10am followed by the marathon at 2pm and half marathon at 5pm. All events are scheduled to end by 9pm and take place on multiple laps of the secure, traffic-free, undulating cycle racing circuit. Why not celebrate the closing stages of the Tour de France with your own endurance challenge, courtesy Nice Work race management?

Also planning to take advantage of the cooler evening conditions is the South Downs Midnight Marathon starting at 9pm on Saturday at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Petersfield. Head torches are compulsory as the route is out and back along the South Downs Way. Finishers are expected between midnight and 4am on Sunday and all 200 entrants will be welcomed with hot chilli and bread rolls (with vegan option). Runners are advised the course includes 1,265m of ascent and the terrain is described as hilly trail, sometimes chalky so slippery when wet.

A much flatter 26.2 mile challenge (62m gain in elevation) with the promise of some well shaded sections is available at the Chislehurst Commons Marathon promoted by The Bridge Events Dartford. This is a remarkably flat run round Scadbury Park and the Commons of Chislehurst comprising three 7.33km laps for the half and six laps for the full marathon.

Of course, there are plenty of shorter events on offer and local knowledge will be important if you need to escape from the sun's rays. You could do that by heading for the treadmill in an air-conditioned gym but will that give you the same sense of satisfaction as a well planned battle with the elements in the great outdoors?

Weekend race details and results are always shown in runABC South race listing brought to you in association with Sports Tours International

Image courtesy South Downs Midnight Marathon

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