A very popular and very hard half marathon that takes runners up to the highest point in the south east of England. Not for first timers but the view at the top is worth the pain! As part of the event the annual Wife Carrying race also takes place.
When: Every March (since 2007)
Size: 225 runners
Official Race Website here.
- Not recommended for first-time half marathoners.
- Train for hills, lots of hills.
- If you are used to running with sports gels you need to bring your own, as during the race there are no gels given out, only sweets.
- Enjoy the view at the top – you’d have earned it!
- And finally don’t miss out on the cooked breakfast, it tastes divine after over 2 hours of tough running.
Unofficial race video…
What’s the organisation and set up like?
You sign up prior to the race on the organizer’s website. On the race day the race headquarters are set up in a school near Dorking. When you arrive for the race you receive your racing bib and head to the start line. The race has no official sponsors as it’s quite a small event. Along the route there are water stations organised by the marshals and an endless supply of jelly babies.
The route is well marked and there are marshals ensuring you follow the course. There are no timing chips and the time is recorded manually at the finish line. After completing the race every runner receives a medal, a glass and a technical t-shirt with the names of all participants. It’s pretty cool for such a small event!
What’s the course like?
The course takes the runners from Dorking to the top of Leith Hill, which is the highest point is south-east England, and back.
The route runs along country pathways past some very scenic houses, fields and forest. At the top of the Leith Hill at half way point the runners are rewarded with amazing views over the south of England and the iconic Leith Hill tower.
How difficult was the race and why?
This is a tough race and not recommended for beginners.
The race route includes a few steep hills, as well as a long gradual ascent on the way out. At times the pathway is very narrow, which becomes even more challenging. The total ascent and descent are 1836 feet each. And running down steep hills isn’t that easy either!
How’s the atmosphere?
The atmosphere is very friendly as you’d expect with a small event.
On the start line just before the race started the organizer asked everyone to sing the national anthem before we set off, which made us all smile. The race marshals did an excellent job motivating all runners along the route.
What is there to do Après Race?
Before the main event there is a wife carrying race, which is a short sprint race, which includes carrying your partner on your back while jumping over obstacles and having water sprayed on you by the spectators.It great fun to watch and always makes it onto news programes as it’s quite a spectacle!
All participants receive a small keg of beer afterwards, and its very entertaining to watch! After the race all runners get a free cooked breakfast and can use a swimming pool for free.
My Race Diary
By Zuzanna Feline,
My time was 2:10:32, some 25 minutes slower than my personal best for half marathon, which just shows how much of a struggle this race was for me!
It was the first time I did this race so I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m looking forward to improving my time next year.