50/50 marathons

10. Salisbury Plain Marathon

7th December 2019

Salisbury Plain Marathon

The Salisbury Plain Marathon takes me to double figures!!! Believe me, that feels like a milestone in this challenge. I’m finding it a lot harder than I thought I would so am happy to take any nugget of positivity.

A 5am start for this one to avoid an overnight stay. On the 6am ferry out of East Cowes, then an hour drive to somewhere near Salisbury. The meeting point was in a place called Tidworth, but essentially it was in the middle of nowhere. That being said plenty of people were pulling into the car park and there was a nice pre race atmosphere. It was a fully booked up run so there were quite a lot of people, but there was also a half marathon distance so not sure how many people took part in the full marathon distance.

After a very brief briefing, the marathon runners were led to the start and set on there way in the dot of 9. From the moment I started running I was uncomfortable, my legs were aching, especially around the ankle areas. I did do a little recovery run earlier in the week so maybe that left me with a bit of tightness, but to be honest, I think the marathon a week regime is beginning to take its toll.

Nevertheless I plodded on across Salisbury plain. The weather was good, cold to start but it soon warmed up and the sun came out, plus there was only a slight breeze. It could have been different, wet and windy. That would have made it a totally different experience. I imagine on days when the weather is less than favourable, Salisbury plain is a bleak place to be.

Salisbury Plain Marathon
Salisbury Plain Marathon

Salisbury plain is used by the MOD for military training so there were caution signs everywhere and the constant sound of gunfire and tank cannons going off, which made for an unnerving atmosphere.

The terrain was mostly rough flint/chalk paths. These are always quite hard going under foot, leaving your feet a bit bruised and battered. There was plenty of muddy track and hills were a common feature. I’m beginning to realise I prefer the trail type of marathon to the road ones. It’s far more interesting running on varied terrain and surrounding countryside. It’s physically harder, but far more enjoyable.

The markings were few and far between, plus there were no mile markers, making it difficult to know where you were and at what distance. But in some ways this was nicer. I checked in on my Runkeeper app from time to time, but otherwise it was nice not knowing. Near the end I checked and had gone beyond the 26.2 miles, and was still running, so I think this was more like a 27 miler.

Coming into the finish is always a treat. You go so far just wanting it all to be done with and for the pain to stop, so when you finally do see the finish line it’s always a massive relief. I actually felt ok this time. Normally I feel quite nauseous and have been getting used to being sick, but this time was fine. I didn’t have any gels of sugary sweets so maybe this made the difference? I’ll try this method at next weeks run and see how it goes.

Next week is back to the Christmas theme with the SVN Festive Frolic.

If you’d be interested in running the Salisbury Plain Marathon in the future, take a look at Andover Trail Runners.

Salisbury Plain 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.