Hello, on November 3rd 2012, you’ll be organizing the Broadway Tower Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?
The race is held in the northern part of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is renowned for its honey-coloured limestone, beautiful hills and ancient woodlands.
It will start and finish in the Broadway Tower Country Park, near the town of Broadway in Worcestershire. The route will take runners south to Winchcombe, known as “The walking capital of the Cotswolds”, passing through some of the area’s most beautiful villages and woodlands.
The area is easily accessible due to the main transport links to nearby cities, including a newly upgraded train line from London to Moreton-in-Marsh and Evesham.
It will be the inaugural edition of the race. Why was it created?
I run many of these trails regularly, and have often thought they would provide some great race routes. The countryside can be spectacular, and the hills are an excellent blend of challenging and achievable.
In the end, I stopped waiting for someone else to realise how lucky we are to have these trails available and decided to create the race myself.
What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
The course is quite challenging, but certainly achievable. The route can be broken down into roughly quarters. The first quarter includes some excellent descents and gentle undulations through the pastures at the bottom of the escarpment. The second climbs back onto the hilltops and takes in some wooded tracks before dropping back down for a flattish third quarter.
The final quarter is where runners who have conserved some energy will get their reward as they climb up two steep hills to take them back to the start. The footing ranges from limestone trails to muddy tracks, with plenty of open grassland in between. There are a few road sections along the way, where necessary to connect the trails. We would rate this as mid-range in terms of difficulty compared to other trail marathons around the UK.
How many runners do you expect on Saturday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
We would like to see between 75 and 100 participants for the marathon. The field size will always be small to avoid putting too much strain on the trails, but we want a field big enough to give a great race atmosphere.
We expect to attract a mix of experienced trail runners who are seeking a new challenge and endurance runners who want to give off-road racing a try. We also hope to see some local runners who will take a marathon in their back yard as a great opportunity to “go long” without the costs of travelling.
Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?
We also have a 14 mile “half” marathon starting a bit later in the morning. It will cover the first and fourth quarters of the marathon course, giving the runners a chance to enjoy some of the key challenges of the marathon route. We expect to see a larger field for the half than for the full marathon and hope to attract runners new to trail racing.
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
The weather in early November is pretty unpredictable. It’s best to prepare for cool and wet weather, with early morning mist in the valleys, but you can also get wonderfully crisp and sunny days. The leaves in the woodlands should be turning colour as well, adding to the overall beauty of the surroundings.
Have you planned festivities around the marathon?
We won’t be organising any additional festivities around the event, in part because the weekend will already be filled with local activities. The event takes place on the weekend of the UK’s “Bonfire Night”, which means that many of the nearby towns and villages will have fireworks displays on Friday or Saturday evenings and other festivities during the weekend.
There will be plenty going on for participants who take the opportunity to make a family weekend of the race.
The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Broadway Tower Country Park before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
Our race HQ is supported by Morris & Brown, the fantastic cafe and shop at the Broadway Tower Country Park. I frequently stop for a warming latte after my training runs on the hill, and their food is excellent. The park also has a variety of sights including the Tower and a cold-war bunker. For runners and their supporters who enjoy formal gardens, there are several National Trust properties nearby, including Snowshill Manor, which the runners will pass on the way to their final downhill of the day.
Broadway has several fine restaurants and all of the towns and villages in the area have excellent pubs where visitors can recover as they tell tales of the day’s efforts. A bit further afield, Stratford-upon-Avon is less than half an hour away by car – a good chance to repay those hardy supporters with a show at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Broadway Tower Marathon?
The Broadway Tower Marathon is designed by trail runners for trail runners and offers a chance to enjoy a challenging trail race in one of the most beautiful settings that England has to offer.
For more information
Interview with Kurt Dusterhoff. Kurt has been running and racing for most of the past 35 years, but only discovered trail running after a day in the Cotswolds in 2008. Since then, he has run a variety of trail halfs, marathons, and ultras. Now, he sees the potential for so many great endurance races in the Cotswolds that he is fully committed to bringing them to the running community.