May 7th 2017
The Stroud Trail Marathon and Half Marathon are a fabulous & challenging mixture of local trails, Cotswold hills, famous Towpaths, disused Railway Tracks, nationally acclaimed Common Land and of course the amazing views on the Cotswold Edge all in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
"This Allrunners event, a marathon in this countryside, Wow. I've ran all Cotswold Allrunners other events over the last few years, which tease you with various parts of the Cotswolds, but this event offers it all, beautiful countryside, amazing views, tough hills and a great challenge", Dan Jones
Welcome to the Heart of the Cotswold
The Marathon has been changed to be slightly quicker, less towpath & easier to follow. The first half includes Bowbridge, The Bear of Rodborough, Minchinhampton Common, Toadsmoor Valley, Lypiatt and the fundamental view at the Heavens. Once completed the marathon joins the 1/2 Marathon coures with Selsley & Rodborough Common.
Let the run & fun begin ...
The Stroud Trail Marathon and Half Marathon will start and finish on Union Street, where the Stroud Farmers Market is based in Stroud. The race HQ for the weekend is the Cornhill Market Square.
Both the Marathon & Half Marathon begins with a short circuit of the Town Centre, before heading under the Railway Bridge and onto the newly redeveloped Thames/Severn Canal Path towards Chalford for the Marathon and towards Stonehouse for the Half Marathon.
"Just wanted to say what a fab event the Sroud Half Marathon was! Well done! It really was a fab route and well organised, I will most definitely be back next year", Karen Colmer
The Marathon route continues towards Capels Mill and under the Railway Viaduct, following the railway to meet Butterow Hill, heading left down the road to Bowbridge lock to rejoin the the Thames/Severn Towpath towards Chalford. After 1/2 mile the route goes over the canal via a white metal bridge and climbs gradually to Bowbridge lane (Montserrat), and on up onto Rodborough Common. Now passing the famous Winstones Ice Cream Factory, the Bear of Rodborough Hotel, & Bownham Park and across Minchinhampton Common to Brimscombe HIll, Checkpoint 1 (3.2M).
The marathon now crosses Brimscombe Hill, the Cirencester Rd and Dr Browns Rd to head towards Minchinhampton and to the Great Park. Here the route aims left, crosses the Cirencester Rd at Blue Boys Corner and straight over to the right of Besbury Common. After 400m, turning sharp right onto footpath as the lane descends steeply. The route continues towards Hyde and descends onto the Canal Path at St Mary's Mill. The run now turns west back towards Stroud for about 3/4 mile where it goes under the main road at Olympic Varnish on Knapp Lane, Checkpoint 2 (6.1M).
This Loop in Toadsmoor Valley takes in some stunning variation of scenery, from lakes, woodland & hidden gems of the Cotswolds. The route goes from Lower Bourne, through Stringers Woods and over to the east of the Toadsmoor ponds, before heading back through Toadsmoor Woods just below the village of Eastcombe. Following the Streams to the biggest of the ponds before a magical ascent to Middle Lypiatt. Once on top the run now goes through Mackhouse Woods to, Quarhouse Lane, Checkpoint 3 (9.9M).
"The View from the Heavens on most days is stunning not only the view across to the Severn, Brecon Beacons & Wales, but you can see all 5 Valleys of Stroud and on clearer days the Severn Bridge and the Malverns. This is the reason the Stroud Trail Marathon exists", Simon Barnes, Event Director.
Following on from here the marathon runners go across to the Heavens, before descending through Dry Hill Wood. Now the course meets the towpath at Bowbridge Lock again, to head back into Stroud to pick up the Half Marathon Route Checkpoint 4 (12.3M).
The Severn-Thames Canal ....
Also the start of the Stroud Trail Half
The Stroud Trails event continue along the towpath, past Ebley Mill and Ryeford to Bridgend. At Ocean Bridge is Checkpoint 5 (15.5M) and this is where the route leaves the Towpath and turn towards King Stanley.
Up for a view ...
The run now heads towards the Stanley Mill and over Ryeford East Road and onto the Old Cotswold Way. The fields up passed Manor Farm begin to ascend and once over the road at Middleyard, Checkpoint 6 (17.7M) there is a sharp ascent up into Pen Woods. Then after a brief respite in the Woods, the final section of the 600ft climb, still following the Cotswold Way towards Stroud and up onto Selsley Common and reaching the highest point in this run with a view lookng across the Stroud Valley out towards the Severn Estuary and Forest of Dean
Famous Roman History ....
From the Peak of Selsley common a small switchback and over the B4066 and into the fields next to Dingle Woods, is the top of a long descent into South Woodchester and the Ram Inn, Checkpoint 7 (20.1M), before joining the old disused Stonehouse to Nailsowrth Railway line (aka the Dudbridge Donkey Line) and heading towards Nailsworth.
After about a mile, Dunkirk Mill comes into view and now leaving the Cycles Track, the next 600ft ascent is here to take runners up onto Minchinhampton Common and over to Amberley, Checkpoint 8 (23.1M).
So in to the final few miles, the course steers back past the Bear of Rodborough Hotel, across to Rodborough Common and Rodborough Fort. The route now takes a steep descent from Rodborough Common towards Stroud, under the Railway Viaduct and onto the Thames/Severn Canal Path, west along the Towpath and into the Town Centre to the finish.
"This is an excellent event. The course has something for everyone, it's challenging and so varied that there is never a dull moment. A lot of work has gone into plotting the route. It is also very well organised. I'm already looking forward to next years run and would recommend it to others", Neil Taylor.