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A lookback at Giant’s Head… and getting ready for 2022

Ah, Giants Head Marathon. Our first race. And wasn’t it a good one to start with? Andy has been getting a bit nostalgic in his latest blog post, as we’re in the middle of prep for a return to Sydling in 2022.

On this, in the year of our Lord 2013, Giants Head marathon was born… ish.

I spent a lot of time on the GHM and Hill Race routes back in the day. Giants Head is actually a place you were meant run to and then back… that didn’t work, but I liked the name so it stuck. The GHM route, once I was happy with it, has not changed vastly, but because of various boring reasons we changed some bits of it, mainly for safety. So back in 2013, I submitted the route to TRA for approval… and here we are 9 years later!  

The race is on two sections between Cerne Abbas and Sydling Valley. In total you go onto five landowner’s areas who all kindly let us run on a some big chunks of private estates – so think yourselves lucky.

The race has an air of legend about it. It’s hilly – Dorset hilly not the Himalayas – it’s a very scenic race (hills = great views) and we are able to run in places that few are allowed.

It’s hard to get into as we have limited spaces. But you never know… try your luck on the waiting list and there’s always a good chance of snagging a last-minute place.

We have had a naked farmer in a bath, escaped bulls, the bar being drunk dry twice in one night by runners, marriage proposals, two hen dos, Ivor breaking most of his upper body but still finishing, Gary and Sarah’s ballet warm up at the Bell Race, starting the races with shotguns and hunting horns… yeah.

It’s a tough race, yet loads and loads of people hit milestones at this event: first marathon, 50th marathon, 100th and more… all for a spinning willy medal.

The village of Sydling lets us in and we treble the population for a weekend. It’s the village’s marathon as much as it’s ours, and after two years of lockdown we’re looking forward to returning to our old stomping ground.

If you are lucky enough to get in, camp. You won’t regret it. When you take part in the barn dance in the village hall on the Saturday night, there’s one thing that’s difficult to work out: who is a runner and who is a villager. Everyone for a weekend becomes part of Dorset village.

Find out more about the event here: https://keeprunningrural.co.uk/wsr-events/ghm-sydling-hill-race/

Join the waiting list here: https://whitestarrunning.clubtrac.co.uk/e/gh-weekend-7059

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