The Portland Coastal Marathon 2016 will be taking place from the iconic Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on Sunday 7th February.
Along with the full distance event there will be a Half marathon and a 10k so all abilities can take part in this festival of running in a what is possibly the most stunning of coastal trail locations. This is a run of dramatic, rugged cliffs, nationally rare plants, hidden coves and stunning views.
The Isle of Portland is a large mass of limestone which is linked to the mainland by the shingle ridge of Chesil Beach. Centuries of quarrying and military presence have altered the natural landscape, leaving visible records of the history of this important part of Dorset. The Isle’s white limestone has been used for construction since Roman times. Nature has reclaimed some of the disused quarries, which become a stunning mass of grasses and wildflowers in the spring and summer months. The run will take you clockwise around the South West Coastal Path for the first loop of the island, taking you past the recently built Osprey Quay around to Portland Castle, heading up Merchants Railway to the Verne – The impressive architecture of The Verne Citadel: now used as a prison, the citadel was designed by Captain W Crossman of the Royal Engineers and enclosed an area of 56 acres on the highest point of Portland. Work began in the mid 1800s and the Great Verne Ditch took 30 years to complete. The run continues along behind the back of the YOI and down Goat Hill. You will be running past one of the best places and most popular areas to climb in Dorset along the old disused railway line until you reach the back of Rufus Castle. The remains of the striking Rufus Castle, which is thought to have been built originally for the red-headed William II, who was nicknamed Rufus. Much of what remains dates from the 15th century. The views stretch out to the English Channel for miles to sea and you may get a welcome message from your phones provider welcoming you to France! Heading along from the Castle you will descend in to Church Ope Cove: this is the only beach on the eastern side of the island and is a peaceful, sheltered spot with soft sands, making it a good place for a picnic. The next prominent point will be Pulpit Rock and Portland Bill: especially dramatic on a rough day, the southernmost tip of the island fills you with an exhilarating feeling of space as you take in the spectacular views which extend to Start Point in Devon and ahead to Durlston Head in the east. On a clear day you can actually see more of the coast from here than from any other part of the entire South West Coast Path. The distinctive red and white striped Portland Bill Lighthouse is at the tip of the Island where the centre is open to visitors from Sunday to Friday between 11.00 and 17.00 from April to September, and it is also possible to climb the 153 steps to the top of the tower for some exceptional views. Heading back towards the Sailing Academy you will encounter breathtaking views from the top of West Cliff back along Chesil Beach and the Fleet Lagoon, which is the largest tidal lagoon in Britain and a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the extraordinarily rich variety of wildlife found here. The ‘Spirit of Portland’ sculpture which depicts a fisherman and quarryman to represent the two main industries of the Isle can be seen before descending down Lankridge Hill on the Southwest coastal path – towards the Cove Inn – one of the finest pubs in the land (We’re not biased in anyway!) The final section of the first loop will take you out along Hamm Beach before a 180 turn sending you back to the Sailing Academy. At this point you will cross the timing mat for your half way split and you will be sent on your way for loop 2. This loop will be run in an anticlockwise direction making you retrace your steps giving you the opposite views to what you may have seen on your first time around. With this naturally stunning location, Olympic facilities, brilliant course support and rewarding finishers mementos, you can enter any of the races and you will be guaranteed a stunning day out.
Early entry £35 from now until end of July 2015
Normal entry £40 from 1st August till end December
Late entry £45 from 1st January 2016
Please note – entries will close when we reach 500 or 24th January, which ever comes sooner. There will be NO entries on the day. This is a No Kit NO Race event, please read all of the information before entering, you will have random spot checks of your mandatory kit, if you are found not to have it you will be DQ’d – this is for your own and others safety and it really isn’t very much to carry.
All competitors will receive a high quality tech tee shirt, medal and full bragging rights at future events.