Bristol + Bath Marathon

It’s been a while since we’ve been quite so excited about a new race appearing in the UK. Yeah, there have been some pretty impressive half marathons popping up, but for an actual marathon of the kind of scale promised by the Sanlam Bristol + Bath marathon, it was pretty hard not to get a bit jittery.

Our knowledge of both Bath and Bristol is pretty slim, and you know how much we love to run a race in a place we’ve never explored before. Running in two places is just too good to turn down.

But jitters and local tourism aside. Was it actually any good?

Well, instead of listening to us waffle on about it. We decided to speak to a couple of finishers to find out how they found it.


The first-timer: Amy Capper

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Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m 28 and grew up in the Scottish Borders, studied Biochemistry at the University of St Andrews and then moved to Edinburgh to do my PhD, where I met my boyfriend Nigel. I moved to London just over a year ago to work as a research scientist at the Institute of Cancer Research and enjoy running with Fulham Running Club, going to lots of Yoga, Pilates and fitness classes on ClassPass and cooking/baking/anything that involves food!

Do you do a lot of running?
I run 3-4 times a week – twice with my club, on a Saturday either racing or at Parkrun and then usually a long run on Sunday escaping the London hustle and exploring the trails.

How many marathons/half marathons have you done before?
At a guess I’ve run 20+ half marathons, but only one official marathon, Bristol to Bath, although I did run 26.2 miles as part of a group this year doing the London Marathon route in reverse.

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What did you think to the Bath + Bristol Marathon?
I had trained for 20 weeks before B2B and so I was expecting a lot from my first marathon. It was well organised and I felt relaxed at the start. The first 12 miles in Bristol were flat and the music and crowds on route really helped me stick to my target pace. Unfortunately when the hills began and the course became more challenging, I lost momentum and even the support from the crowds couldn’t pick me up. I struggled until mile 23 and we finally arrived in Bath, then knowing I was nearly at the finish gave me the final push I needed.

Would you do it again?
I wouldn’t run B2B again, simply because I always like to challenge myself with new courses and there are so many other races to choose from.

What was the toughest bit?
The hills, they were brutal, even though we knew they were coming they still took me by surprise.

What were the crowds like?
Great, especially in Bristol, Bath and the small villages we passed through on the way. I’m so glad I wore my club vest with my name on it. Hearing strangers in the crowd shouting your name really does spur you on even when you’re going through a tough time in the race.

You can read more from Amy over at her blog, The Scientist Runs.


 The old-hand: Steve Skinner

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Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m 24, have lived in London for the last two years having moved up from Devon. I work in an independent running specialist store, The Running Works. When I was younger I played a lot of sport, mainly football, golf and tennis. Now…

Do you do a lot of running?
I run quite a lot. Over the last year I have averaged about 60 miles a week. The reason being that I enjoy running around and exploring London with friends and different running clubs. I enjoy pushing myself and seeing how far or fast I can run.

How many marathons/half marathons have you done before?
I had done 4 marathons and close to 20 half marathons before the Bristol+Bath Marathon.

What did you think to the Bath + Bristol Marathon?
I really enjoyed the first Bristol+Bath Marathon. Having lived in Bristol for a year or so and having visited Bath a few times I was looking forward to running through and between two great cities, it didn’t disappoint. The first part of the route was familiar as I have done the Bristol half marathon twice and the Bristol 10k earlier this year. Luckily the weather was perfect, it’s not nice when it’s windy and you’re running near the Clifton Suspension Bridge as its exposed. Family supported and saw me four times, this was good as it broke up the run and mentally this really helped. The last two miles were particularly good. It was fun running through Bath, I paced myself as I wasn’t aiming for a time and knew that the route would be hilly so I could enjoy the adrenaline rush over the last mile.

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Would you do it again?
I would definitely do it again. I find I enjoy races more when there is good variation in scenery and undulation so for me it was great fun.

What was the toughest bit?
The toughest bit was around mile 21 where there was a long uphill section. The second toughest bit was when you’re heading West under the Clifton suspension bridge. Mentally, long flat straight sections of road can be a bit tedious.

What were the crowds like?
The crowds were awesome! Every few miles there was a good-sized group of supporters. There were a few bands around the course which makes you want to up your pace. One personal highlight was seeing a woman banging a saucepan with a wooden spoon to make noise. I ran past and felt the need to shout back “Nice saucepan!!” Ha.

You can read more from Steve over at his blog.

To find out more about the Sanlam Bristol + Bath marathon and to pre register for next year’s event. Pop along to the website here.