Off Salisbury Plain you briefly pass civilisation via a short stretch of road and a pub. The next section is a bit of a shock as you find yourself on a deeply rutted track and facing the question of balancing along the middle or down in foot-deep ruts, some of which are inches from ditches This was the only section where walkers were really annoying, as in some places you had to ask them to move aside so you could pass.
Then on to a farm road You approach the finish up a stony track. Some people complained about this last hill (small compared to what's come before, but it is sharp right at the end), but I loved it. There was actually a nice stretch of turf running alongside. The best running surface the whole way in my opinion, and I ran up it!
Over the top, and in site of the finish below, you turn into a field. And another nasty surprise It's full of huge grass tussocks! Perfect ankle turning facilities By now I'd been spotted, and someone with a loudspeaker was announcing my arrival! With a welcome like that I had to run didn't I? However a straight course was impossible. I ran slowly and carefully along a meandering animal track towards the finish where several of the staff gathered to clap me in.
After that the announcer turned to the walkers coming in (including a gang dressed as Roman centurions who I'd talked to a few times (they were walking, but fast, which meant for a while my runs took me ahead, then they caught me again on my walks!). I got my medal, which is one of the best I've had, some food and a drink, all free. The food was delicious veggie stuff: a pita with humus, pizza, and I think some cake. Then it was on to my free visit to Stonehenge, which I've reviewed separately.
All in all I wouldn't recommend the Neolithic for those looking for a personal best. I'd also say for a first marathon you'd be better on an easier course (like London!). But for a challenge and for organisation and atmosphere it's hard to beat. Definitely a must do.
Search for 'neomara' in the United Kingdom for more reviews along the course.
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