28 September 2020

Event Review: The Jurassic Coast Marathon

April 14, 2015

Clarissa Goodwin took part in the The Jurassic Coast Marathon, which is one section of the infamous Jurassic Coast Challenge. This was Clarissa’s first event of her #takeonNATURE campaign, and also her first ever marathon! 

The entire Jurassic Coat Challenge involves running, walking or crawling a marathon a day for 3 days along the stunning Jurassic Coastal Path. Within the event there are several challenge options; you can either enter the whole 3 day ultra individually, or as a pair in the team relay option. You can also opt to do just a one day or two day challenge.  Clarissa chose day two, the challenge marathon from Weymouth to Lulworth Cove.

The Course

The routes each day are marked on issued maps but don’t require much navigation to follow as the coastal footpath is well marked along the way through a little acorn symbol on the path posts.


The Jurassic Coast Line is well known for its spectacular views and challenging hills. Each day’s route takes in a variety of terrain from coastal foot path to beaches and tracks. The start point is just outside Charmouth and the course runs from West to East, finishing on Day 3 at the National Trust Shell Bay Car Park, Studland:

Day one – Charmouth – Portland Ferry Road (HQ) (course map)

Day two – Portland Ferry Road – Lulworth cove (course map)

Day three – Lulworth cove – Shell Bay (course map)

I did the day two challenge marathon from Weymouth to Lulworth Cove including the whole circumnavigation of the Portland Headland. The views and varying terrain were certainly what got me through my first attempt at a marathon.

We were blessed with the perfect conditions of clear blue skies with a nice sea breeze to keep the temperature down. The views were simply stunning, from high up on the Portland Headland overlooking Chesil Beach to the famous landmarks of Durdle door and Lulworth Cove.


The challenge was predominantly off road on beautiful trails that found us weaving our way up to the cliff edges, negotiating our way through peaceful wooded areas and through nice spongy open grassland which my knees were incredibly thankful of!

There were some small sections on pavement, particularly through Weymouth, which I had not looked forward to since  I was seeking a truly natural experience. But In fact, going through Weymouth and along the beach was a lovely contrasting experience that made the sections away from any type of settlement feel that much more serene and wild.

It’s worth pointing out that there are some steep and long climbs, however, they are completely worth the effort for the awe-inspiring views you get at the top of (and the downhill runs on the other side!) It is also incredibly satisfying looking back towards the end of the marathon and seeing the whole bay all the way to Portland and take in the sheer distance you have covered.



The pre-race communication and organisation was spot on, which simplified everything on the day. Two weeks before the event I received an incredibly thorough information pack that covered everything, including kit list, registration times and emergency procedures. This made arriving at my first trail marathon less daunting and with registration being incredibly quick, allowed us to wander around and have plenty of time to warm up. There is also a mandatory kit list check to ensure you have everything in case the weather turns bad.

The event is facilitated at the HQ area, which acts as a meeting point, catering area, massage/first aid point and reception.  When we arrived there was a welcoming community feel with all the participants who were taking on the ultra having breakfast together. The event also offers official challenge accommodation less than 200 meters away – well within hobbling distance!

Along the course there are well (and exceptionally friendly) staffed check points that are located approximately every 8 miles. You scan your tag which logs your time and allows the event organisers and your own supporters, to track your progress through the website.  The check points were the best I’ve come across at any event, they were stocked with energy bars, jelly babies, salty snacks, filled rolls, water, squash, cola and hot drinks.

At the finish point each day a bowl of hot homemade soup and bread roll awaits, the Votwo team really do take care of everything at the event for you, which meant all our concentration and effort could be focused on simply completing the distance!

Would I do it again?

I can honestly say this was one of the most enjoyable events I have ever taken part in. It is both well established and well organised, and one which runners and walkers of almost any ability can come back to year on year and continue to challenge themselves. The community feel of the event was evident within minutes of arriving and the scenery was breathtaking.

I love the variety of options available for participants to get involved in, from individual to team options, walking to running. I will definitely do this event again, and hope to complete the full 3 marathons in 3 days at some point.

Good Points

–        Excellent organisation both before and during the race.

–        Stunning scenery and clear course using the coastal path to direct you

–        Minibus picked you up from the end and drove you back to the event HQ

–        Event HQ and check points were well staffed and had great facilities

–        The event finish was well located and had a fairly large crowd around it. There was a great vibe with the announcer congratulating everyone on finishing which was a great personal touch.

–        Online tracking facility so people supporting from home could keep an eye on your progress

Bad Points

–        Struggled to find any! Possibly to have toilet facilities on the map, however, the whole event is built around the emphasis on self sufficiency and initiative to find things yourself.

Want to give it a go?

If you want to #takeonaCHALLENGE and run, walk or crawl a trail marathon or ultra, you can find more details on the Jurassic Coast Challenge by clicking here.

The event organisers, Votwo, run another similar event called the Atlantic Coast Challenge, which again follows a coastal route in Cornwall including 3 marathons in 3 days, finishing at Land’s End. You can find more details on the Atlantic Coast Challenge, which takes place in October, and a range of other events from trail races to duathlons Votwo run by visiting their website: www.votwo.co.uk


Clarissa Goodwin, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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