I recently decided to start running again after a 25 year absence. I did this for two reasons, the first being like most people, to get fit and the second, to see some of the great countryside that I live in and the coast that I live on. And where better to start than running in Dorset?
So, there I was standing clutching a gate post gasping for air with all my muscles burning and feeling like I had run a marathon; when a group of similarly dressed mad people stopped beside me, to see if I was okay. They, of course, were jogging on the spot and breathing normally and looked as if they were on a country stroll in lycra.
It was the conversation that I had with them all about where and what they ran that was fascinating, and I did not realise how much the Dorset County offered for all levels of running while showing off its magnificent scenery. Perhaps once the pain is less I might try a couple.
Starting with baby steps to the Cerne Abbas Giant and beyond; the promise of beer, cider, tea, Dorset Apple Cake and of course the wonderful views as you run through the countryside or along the coastal paths of Dorset will certainly have you and maybe me coming back for more.
These are some of their suggestions for running in Dorset and it gets more extreme the further you read!
Durberville Dash. Running on forest tracks, heath, paths and some quiet roads in rural Dorset.
Lulworth Castle 10 km. Run through the Lulworth Castle Estate on paths and tracks whilst enjoying the view.
Sydling Hill Race. A hilly valley run with magnificent views.
Studland Stampede. Run through the National Trust reserve at Studland Beach enjoying views of the Isle of Wight and Poole Harbour.
The Hard Way Half. Run Portland Bill, the most southerly point on the Jurassic Coast providing magnificent panoramic views “the hard way”!
The Bovington Half Marathon. Starting at the Tank Museum, run through the Army’s tank training ground – mud and fun await.
The Beast. Running from Corfe Castle out to St Aldhelms Head, a race through the heart of Purbeck.
A half marathon and a bit!
The Purbeck 16. The not so little sister of the Purbeck Marathon but still running through some of the most scenic countryside imaginable.
Purbeck Marathon. The Big Brother of the 16, it climbs 3000 feet and is largely off-road. It follows the Jurassic Coast and includes some of its most memorable views – if you have the time or energy to look. It is in fact 27 miles, but, who’s counting?!
Giants Head Marathon. Put simply, voted best UK Marathon in 2014 by Runnersworld Magazine. A hilly course running under the Cerne Abbas Giant and there is no mistaking that he is a “Man Giant”!
Portland Coastal Marathon. Run around Portland Bill with its dramatic landscape and panoramic views.
Dorset Doddle. It’s “apparently” a doddle to run or walk from Weymouth to Swanage along the South West Coast Path. It’s only about 33 miles!
Even More Extreme
Jurassic Quarter. 46 mile ultra marathon from Portland Bill to Old Harry Rocks along the South West Coast Path – that’s got to hurt.
Toughest, yet most rewarding
Jurassic Coast Challenge. If you have heard of The Jurassic Coast, have you thought of running the length in three days? Yes, that really is three marathons in three days!
We can qualify this as the toughest – try running through 185 million years in 3 days totalling 78.6 miles. You can’t get much tougher than that! Rewarding – the scenery offered by The Jurassic Coast is there for you to see in 3 days of running including: the 18 miles of pebbles on Chesil Beach, the rocks and race around Portland Bill Lighthouse, the sand of Weymouth Bay, The Clavell Tower standing proud over Kimmeridge, the arch of Durdle Door and the peace and tranquility of Lulworth Cove leading on to the magnificent white cliffs of Old Harry Rocks and on down to the sands of Studland Beach. Nowhere else in the world could you have this experience.
So, if your New Year resolution was to get fit as mine was, then why not choose one of these as a target/motivation? I hope this will inspire you to start running in Dorset, the scenery will be magnificent and the to die for views “MIGHT” just take some of the pain away!
Oh and while you are at it, why take a holiday to enjoy what you have seen during your run at a more leisurely pace and book a cottage to rent now!
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