Lenham Cross Marathon

20. Lenham Cross Trail Marathon

50/50 marathons

20. Lenham Cross Trail Marathon

24th February 2020

Lenham Cross Marathon

Today’s adventure took me back to Kent, Maidstone to be exact, for the Lenham Cross Trail Marathon. I camped last night in a campsite on Sheppey Island, bit blowy but otherwise quite warm and comfortable.

The race HQ was a little village hall in Detling. Quite a good turnout of a few hundred people for this one.

The Lenham Trail marathon follows the north downs way. It’s a 28.5 miler, so more than I want, but I’ll give it a go and see what happens. One thing that’s also notable about this one is the amount of elevation across the course, way more than any of the previous marathons. I just had to hope I had enough in the tank.

Pretty much right from the off, the trail goes up. The very first hill was a total lung buster. As the course went on it was clear that you were either going to be going up, or you were going down, but not a gentle down, a treacherously slippery and very steep downhill.  Guaranteed, where there was a down, this was then followed with an uphill worse than the last. I had real trouble trying to get my heart rate at a comfortable pace.

It’s fair to say that I was struggling way before the halfway mark, the hills were taking it out of me, and my ankle was really hurting. I wasn’t in a good place at all.

The problem with struggling so early on is that there’s a lot of negative thoughts buzzing through your head, all I wanted to do was turn round and give up running marathons.

Apart from the hills, the course was riddled with steps that just kept going. These were killing me, and the worst part about it was knowing that the hideous downhill steps would be uphill on the way back at the later stages.

Lenham Cross Marathon
Lenham Cross Marathon
Lenham Cross Marathon

On a positive note, the scenery on this trail is truly beautiful. When you get up top on the downs, it’s worth catching your breath and just looking around a bit. But the wind was buffeting up there, making it difficult to run at times.

I decided that I wouldn’t be doing the full distance, I really didn’t have it in me today, but I would complete a regular marathon distance. I was disappointed with myself but I was far too uncomfortable to worry too much about it.

The later few miles were no more than a crawl. Not sure why I struggled so much, could be the previous 19 marathons taking a toll, but I think it was a combination of that and the hills, along with some technical trail to negotiate.

Not my best attempt, but another one down, I’ll put it down as a bad experience and hope that next weeks Steyning Stinger treats me better.

If you feel the need to put yourself up against this beast of a run, go and take a look at Hit The Trail Running.

Lenham Cross Marathon


Time taken





I am running these marathons to raise money for Mind. If you like what I’m doing and would like to donate you can go to my Just Giving page below.