Trionium Greensand Marathon

Dorking, Surrey

10am, Sunday 17 March 2024

Greensand Logo

Never say 'Never' - it's back!

The Greensand Marathon will be revived in a one-off special edition, on 17 March 2024. Preceded by massed singing of 'Jerusalem.' The 'hybrid' course will be marked in the first and last quarters (essentially to Leith Hill Tower and back), but entrants will need to navigate their way to the half way point. Entrants are responsible for correctly navigating the route. There will be water stations in between the tower and the half way point, and at the half way point. Entry numbers strictly capped to 100. There is a cut-off point at Leith Hill Tower of 70 minutes. Headphones/ear-buds/broadcasting not permitted.


Steve Drake, ultrarunner and Michelin-starred chef/patron at Sorrel, Dorking:

"My favourite place to run is in Surrey, where I live. I've done marathons in Paris, Dublin and Berlin [and London], but my favourite is the now-defunct Greensand Marathon, which started in Dorking and went through the Surrey Hills. It was brutally hilly, but had stunning scenery and great cameraderie; I love races that are an antidote to big-city marathons." (Runner's World, January 2019).

Marathon route: Dorking - Westcott - Coldharbour - Leith Hill - Somerset Hill - Holmbury Hill- Pitch Hill - Reyards Hill - Winterfold Hill - and back again!

The final-ever official Greensand Marathon took place on Sunday 9 October 2016

Due to rising costs, it became uneconomic to continue to organise the Greensand Marathon and Half (it had always been a loss-making race - now the losses have become too great to bear). So, the 2016 edition of the Greensand Marathon and Half Marathon was the last and final ever official running of the race. Sorry!

Greensand Marathon start 2012

A rather testing marathon from Dorking over the Greensand hills of Surrey

Race records: Female: Julia Bleasedale, 2:54:50 (2014); Ed Catmur, 2:57:37 (2014)

"One of the true great trail marathons in the UK" Dill - 2012

The Final Greensand Marathon and Greensand Half Marathon

9 October 2016

Well done everyone today - sorry if you went off-course. Horse-riders had taken down some of the tape ("Because it scares the horses") - while the trolls of Pitland Street had also removed crucial tape at a sharp right turn (just after the water station) - after the tape had already been checked again this morning. Curse the trolls! Most people realise that this is a tough trail race, with an adventure element, and 'enjoyed' any extra distance - "It's what happens on a trail race" as one runner said.

Greensand Marathon and Half Marathon 2016 results (make sure to refresh your browser window to see this year's results)

See runner comments on the Greensand Marathon and Half 2016 (Runner's World)

Rate the 2016 races and leave your comments (Runner's World) - we aim for 100% satisfaction!

Greensand half and full marathons - Discussion thread (Runner's World)

Our Greensand Marathon and Half Marathon 2016 photos (photo credit - various!)

Beautiful conditions welcomed runners to the final ever Greensand Marathon and Half on 9 October 2016, with sunny intervals, cool winds and dry-ish conditions. In the half marathon, third female was Sarah Jackson of Serpentine in 1:55:50, second was Victoria Gosling of Highworth in 1:54:54 and first lady home in the half was Eleanor Jukes of Tri London in a cracking 1:47:29. For the gentlemen, Marc Soan (41) of Basingstoke and Mid Hants was third in 1:332:59, while Daniel Jeffries (30) of local club Dorking and Molve Valley AC was second in 1:27:11 - chasing down the final winner, another local lad and previous winner of the race, Steve Winder (45) of Epsom and Ewell Harriers, who is obviously on top form at the moment, finishing in a spectacular time of 1:26:00.

In the final-ever Greensand Marathon, third lady home wa Clair Towell (33) in 4:18:01; second home was Cat St Clair (40) of Clapham Chasers in 4:08:44, while fastest lady (by a long way) was legendary runner Sarah Rollins (also 40), who finished in 3:36:47 - notably finishing second overall in the race, beating many fast (and younger) men. For the gentlemen, John Melbourne was third in 3:49:16, Rory Spicer (31) of Team Dillon was second in 3:48:14, but romping home in a great time of 3:23:59 was Alistair Green (34), from Cape Town. Well done to all finishing the course, which is one of the toughest trail marathons in the UK!

Quotes of the Day 2016:

Thanks so much for organising this beautiful race Rob - Steve Winder

Fantastic race today Rob. The sun was shining and the runners were as friendly as ever which makes all the difference. Organisation top notch as usual  - Chris Wye

Great race today. Tough as it is I'll miss it because it's a one of a kind with so many elements that make it so. I first saw runners doing the Greensand in 2012 and was intrigued what the event was, later found out, and was then inspired to run a marathon, first the flat road Brighton, followed by 3 Greensands. Well done and thank you Rob (and all the volunteers of course!). - Mat Jones

Thanks for a really enjoyable race this morning. Very well organised and perfect conditions once again! - Eleanor Jukes

Thank you for organising another great run. Really enjoyed it. Well marked. Great marshalls. Sorry there will be no more Greensand but look forward to other races - Geoff Wilson

Thank you again for yesterday's race, really enjoyed the course and the whole event was even better than last year - Emma Covey

Thank you for organising a lovely event. I'm glad I got to do the half in October (it feels different from March) and I knocked 5 minutes off my time from Leith Hill Half this year! Jane Palmer

Great race, great day, fantastic organisation, just the right number of jaffa cakes, crisps and sweets, bucket loads of water, great trail marking despite the attempts of some locals ;-). Awesome event, I hope it may come back someday… Julian Calder

The marshals were excellent and gave great encouragement - they deserve everyone's praise. - Gavin Fouracre

Many thanks again for putting on a great event. Everything from the atmosphere to the course to the nice little touches on the medals make it a truly memorable experience. Also nice to have a half marathon PB out of it (by 10 minutes no less?!) I'll be back for the leith hill half in 2017. - Mark Robinson


Greensand Marathon one of Britain's top 20 best races in 2014 by runners voting at Runner's World

Greensand Marathon named as one of Britain's top five best marathons in 2013 by runners voting at Runner's World

Greensand Marathon named as one of Britain's top ten best marathons in 2012 by runners voting at Runner's World

Trionium Greensand Marathon named Best New Event at the Runner's World Personal Best Awards 2010

Greensand Marathon named as one of Britain's top twenty best races (and top five best marathons) in 2009 by runners voting at Runner's World

Including a lot of climbing (4050 feet of ascent and descent) and stunning views

Route will be marked: marshals will be present: feed/fluid stations will be provided.

Route includes Wolvens Lane, a BOAT (byway open to all traffic - mostly motorbikes and 4x4s)

Changing rooms, 'showers' and post-race meal included.

The race will be preceded by the massed ranks of runners singing Jerusalem.

The Greensand Marathon doffs its (flat) cap to the following legendary events:

Surrey Summits100k/Tops 50k Surrey Slog (half marathon) Surrey Hills 30/16/10k

The Greensand Marathon is not to be confused with the excellent Greensand Ridge Relay (June, Bedfordshire)

Greensand Marathon: "The best marathon in all England, after the Farnham Pilgrim, that is" Hillary Carter, organiser of the Farnham Pilgrim

"I think the quarter way cut-off adds another slightly unusual dimension to the race that helps make this race what it is. " Anthony Ward - 2011

No MP3s etc... don't run in a bubble!

Surrey Wildlife Trust
Surrey Wildlife Trust

Why 'Greensand Marathon'?

You may well ask, since one thing that you will not see is green sand. However, the entire run takes place on Lower Greensand rocks (110-120 million years old, part of the Lower Cretaceous). The sandstones contain glauconite, a green iron-magnesium mineral which was and is deposited in shallow tropical seas. However, glauconite is dissolved by rainwater, which leaves behind iron deposits, leading to the characteristic 'rusty' yellow appearance of the 'green' sands.

For more information, please see 'The Box Hill and Mole Valley Book of Geology' by Richard Selley, 2006, ISBN 0-9534430-6-X

See also the truly excellent web site of the Open University - Great fun!

Enter the BGS Make-a-Map facility (Cretaceous rocks of the UK shown below left)

Map of the Lower Greensand (below right) from 'The Lower Greensand for Geologists' by Bedfordshire and Luton RIGS

UK Cretaceous UK Lower Greensand


And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

Agree with it or not, this is a great song, very stirring, well worth singing, and the perfect start to this most English of races.

Words will be provided on the day.

7th Greensand Marathon and half marathon, Sunday 22 October 2015

Great running today everyone! Well done - and big thanks to all our marshals and helpers!

Quote of the day 2015:

"A no-messing harder-than-nails adventure through the Surrey Alps." Steve Geary

Greensand Marathon and Half Marathon 2015 results (make sure to refresh your browser window to see the results - you may have to dump your cache)

Our photos 2015 of the Greensand Marathon and Greensand Half Marathon 2015

Steve Rencontre's many excellent photos of the Greensand Marathon 2015

Steve Rencontre's Greensand Photo-Story 2015

Kat Eagle's photos from Coldharbour - Greensand Marathon and Half 2015

Please rate the Greensand Marathon and Half Marathon 2015 - thank you!

See runner ratings and comments on the Greensand Marathon and Half Marathon 2015

Greensand Marathon and Greensand Half Marathon 2015 Discussion

On a perfect 'Indian Summer' mid-October day, a total of 165 tough runners took part in the Greensand Marathon and Half Marathon on 11 October 2015, starting from Dorking, Surrey. The international field included runners from Belgium, South Africa, Ireland, Bangladesh, Australia, the USA and New Zealand, among others! In the Greensand Half Marathon, Rebecca Shuttleworh of Clapham Chaser was third lady home in 1:54:17; Jane Morgan of Sheen Shufflers was second in 1:54:11 and first lady home was Ruth Holmes of Maidenhead AC in 1:48:45. For the gentlemen, Graham Blair of Crystal Palace Triathletes was third home in 1:33:47; Toby Conlon was second in 1:31:30, while James Neave of Clapham Chasers was first gent home in the Greensand Half Marathon 2015 in a cracking time of 1:30:39.

In the Greensand Marathon 2015, third lady home was Mel Eyre in 4:08:24; second was Erica Terblance in 3:58:23, while first lady in a great time was Sarah Rollins of AFD, in 3:37:17 (she would have beaten the pre-Julia Bleasedale course record by about 15 minutes!). Robert Feline was third gent home in 3:33:56; James Small was second in 3:24:08, while first home, and winning for the fourth time was Ed Catmur of Thames Hare and Hounds in 3:12:20. Great running Ed - espcially the day after contesting the tough League Division 1 in the Surrey XC League! (good luck in your 100-miler next week!).

A few runners went off-course, and enjoyed 'bonus miles:' Perhaps most notable was Yota Wada, who finished the marathon in just over six hours, but managed to cover an 'Ultra Marathon distance' of 48km. Well done Yota!

Left: Simon Burrell of Ranelagh Harriers finishes the Greensand Half Marathon despite a head wound from a collision with a branch. That's the Trionium spirit!

Greensand Marathon 2015: First 'hill' and first kilometre completed - legs still fresh. 41km and lots of hills still to come....! (Photo: Steve Rencontre)

6th Greensand Marathon and half marathon, Sunday 26 October 2014

Well done to all finishers!

Greensand Marathon and Half Marathon results 2014 (make sure to refresh your browser window!)

Please rate the race - Marathon and half marathon - 2014

See runner comments and ratings Greensand Marathon and Half 2014

Greensand Marathon and Half 2014 Leith Hill Tower photos - photo credit Susannah Sutton

Greensand Marathon and Half 2014 finish line photos - photo credit Laureda and others

Julia Bleasedale's blog on winning the Greensand Marathon 2014

Simply Seanie - Greensand Marathon 2014 race write-up

Michael Carraz' Greensand Marathon 2014 write up

Steve Rencontre's photo-story of the Greensand Marathon 2014

Steve Rencontre's excellent photos of the Greensand Marathon 2014

Greensand Marathon 2014 Discussion - RW

Greensand Half Marathon 2014 Discussion - RW

AMAZING NEW COURSE RECORD IN 2014 - 2:54:50, JULIA BLEASEDALE - RACE WINNER!!! (first-time marathoner... WOW!)

(The 'old' lady's course record: Kerry-Ann Marais (27) 2011, 3:52:10, and previous (male) course record 2:58:32!)

On the 6th running of the Greensand Marathon, about 100 runners set off for the challening off-road course from Dorking to Leith Hill and thence to Winterfold Hill and back. The course was drier than expected, leading some good fast times at the front - and not too much discomfort at the back! Third lady home was Julia Donovan from Wimbledon Windmilers in 4:05:57, while second was Nina Campbell, just a minute ahead, in 4:04:46. The first lady? We'll come back to her in a minute... As for the men, third man home was Jonathan Ratcliffe in 3:28:00, second home was Chris Walker in 3:23:36 while first man home was previous race winner Ed Catmur of Thames Hare & Hounds in 2:57:37, breaking the previous course record.

HOWEVER, first home, winning the Greensand Marathon, running in her first marathon, breaking the previous women's record for the course by 57 minutes, and setting a new course record (for any gender) for the course by 3 minutes and 18 seconds faster than the previous record, in an amazing time of 2:54:50, was Hillingdon AC, Great Britain Olympian and world top-10 athlete Julia Bleasedale. Julia shadowed Ed Catmur for the first three quarters of the race, being within about 10 seconds of him for most of the way, but once they regained Leith Hill Tower on the return leg, Julia went into overdrive, passing him and taking nearly three minutes off his time. Julia thus became the first recipient of both engraved tankards for the race: Winner AND First Lady!

Beautiful South - Leith Hill Brewery

Your objective, should you choose to accept it...

Quotes of the day, 2014:

'Excellent organisation, friendly atmosphere, great marshals, great pacing, lovely breakfast. This was only my second marathon and I am pleased with my 5:03 time. It was tough, and that adds great value to the time, the medal and the t-shirt. I'll be back!' Charles Walker

'Many thanks to you and the team for organising the best event ever. Firstly the route marking was exemplary. In the past I frequently got lost but the signage was logical and consistent. The marshals were professional and enthusiastic and I was overwhelmed by their support. I love racing and I will recommend your event and company to everyone I come into contact with. Lastly thank you for providing an Olympic athlete to chase, if rather forlornly. Her performance was sensational with a superb time. Julia is an inspiration to other runners and enthusiasts. Mr Catmur’s time was also a stunning athletic achievement. More importantly was the strong sense of camaraderie amongst all the entrants, a true part of sport that is no longer unfortunately recognised. It’s the hardest running event I have ever done. I am still exhilarated by the experience four days later. I will be back again. Congratulations on your achievements!' Jonathon Paul

5th Greensand Marathon and half marathon, Sunday 13 October 2013

Horrible conditions - great running!

Thanks to all participants - and HUGE thanks to our marvelous marshals!

"The marshals were simply outstanding - so cheery despite the rain crashing down and the rivers of mud washing round their feet" Steve Winder - marathon runner

"This was my 189th marathon and I think the marshalls were some of the best I have come across," Nick Kyritsis

Greensand Marathon and half marathon photos 2013 (perfectly capturing the rotten conditions!)

Steven Rencontre's great photos (including runners of comparable speed to Steve's better half, Amanda) or try here

See runner comments on the Greensand marathon and half races

Leave comments and rate the races

Greensand Marathon and Half Marathon results 2013 (the results are there - make sure to refresh your browser!)

James Adams' Blog write-up of the Greensand Marathon 2013

Justin Bateman's race write-up of the Greensand Marathon 2013

Martin Bamford's Greensand Marathon 2013 race blog

A first-timer's write-up of the Greensand Marathon 2013 - Sean Parry

Garmin Connect trace of the Greensand Marathon 2013 from Sean Parry

Laureda Tirepied's race write-up, Greensand Marathon 2013

Marathon quote of the day: "Brutally tough and epic race - second and third quarters were cruel and unusual punishment." Martin Bamford

In persistent heavy rain, some good times were recorded in the 5th Greensand Marathon, 2013. Third lady home was Sarah Jackson of Serpentine in 4:24:17, while Helen Smith was second in 4:13:12. Carla Denneny of Serpentine was the winner in a very sweet 3:59:59. Among the men, third man home was Steve Winder of Epsom & Ewell, in 3:25:49 and Oliver Sinclair of Serpentine was second in 3:25:09. Ed Catmur, former winner of the race, took five minutes off his PB time for the course, coming home in 3:03:15 (and probably would have been even quicker, if he hadn't set a marathon PB of 2:34 a week before). Incredible!

Half marathon quote of the day:

'Felt like a re-enactment of the Somme at about the 3/4 mark, but once again the thought of bacon, beans and toast lured me to the finish. Awesome race - whatever the weather.' Bruce Devlin

In the half marathon. Cara Annett was third lady home in 1:58:26, and Ana Berenguel-Anter from TriLondon was second in 1:57:10, while Sarah Gruber of Sittingbourne Striders romped home in first place in an impressive 1:52:34. Among the gentlemen, Alan Chapman of TriLondon finished in 1:43:20, with Toby Conlon (Wimbledon Windmilers) in second place in 1:37:37. However, victory in the first official Greensand Half Marathon went to local runner Stuart Prentice of Dorking and Mole Valley AC in a fantastically quick 1:32:11. A special mention goes to Andy Fay, 58, also of DMVAC, who finished a strong fourth in 1:43:35, which is not bad for an old guy.

Greensand Marathon Discussion (RW)

Greensand Half Marathon Discussion (RW)

That's the spirit! Photo by Steve Rencontre

"I enjoyed helping out at the Greensands marathon. I told a number of people that I spent my morning standing in a car park, in the middle of nowhere, in torrential rain and it was almost as good as running the marathon. They thought I was bonkers.... but looking back I think it was one of my more memorable days of the year." Tony Ostrowski - GSM marshal 2013

Greensand Marathon 2012

2012 Greensand marathon race write up by Rob - race director

On a morning overhung with glowering clouds, a total of 170 brave souls lined up at the start of the fourth Greensand Marathon, on the Nower in Dorking, out of 239 who had registered for the race: Just to be at the start was a small triumph. Following a rousing rendition of 'Jerusalem' from the assembled athletes, the clock struck '10' and the runners departed, some of them never to return. The field spread out during the ascent of the Nower Ridge and were constrained by the tight back passages of Westcott before enjoying the sand and puddles of Woolven's lane, a byway open to all traffic (including motor bikes and 4x4s). Onwards and upwards, past the Plough at Coldharbour, and onwards still, ever upwards and into the clouds, to the hallowed grail - Leith Hill Tower, the quarter way point. Twelve of the runners took the decision to turn around while the going was still good, and raced back to the start to complete a half marathon distance - probably the best decision of the day.

For the mob of full-on marathon runners, Leith Hill Tower was but a signpost on the way to hell and back. The second quarter of the race is along remote pathways, through isolated woodlands and up and down near-forgotten and overgrown steps and banks. The mud sucks at your shoes, the puddles splash your legs with grime, but at last the half way point hoves into view with smiling marshals, food and music. And now comes the hardest part: the reascent of Leith Hill, with the Greensand foothills between you and that demonic course marker. Put a foot wrong, stumble and fall, knock your head on a stone or a root and you will be out in the wilds and in the dark before you know it. Only hope that you have brought your space blanket, whistle and mobile. Without them, it will be a long time until you are found. As you ascend yet another sandy track, upwards - always upwards - your legs grow more tired, more weary. You begin to doubt yourself and your strength. Surely, you are too old for this and should be by the fireside, in comfort? NO! Be bold! Keep on fighting, because at the top of every slope, there is rest and comfort of a sort. The fireside be damned! It will wait! Run while you can, while the strength is still in your limbs and the urge is in your loins. By gad it will be gone some day, but while the urge burns in you, run on!

At last, Leith Hill Tower looms again through the swirling mists, with fatigue cooling you as you start to descend back to your next water station. Stuff in a few sweets and it's back onto the interminable sandy lane through the forest with its all-engulfing puddles cooling your legs and aching feet. The scenery is blurring, the oxygen struggling to revive your brain, thinking going, vision tunneling. Run on! Can't remember these hills on the way out - this must be a different route, but it's out and back, must be the same, just not sure. God bless the markers and their yellow tape. Ah, the back passages, the blessed back passages - we must be nearly home. But now, the final test: the steep hill we all skipped down on the way out, the end of the Nower Ridge, must be climbed. Legs feel as though they are melting, lactic acid coursing through them, screaming 'don't do this!' but rest and satisfaction beckon and only a small hill lies between you and oblivion. The long restful descent from the Nower Temple means that there truly are no more hills and now you can see the finish, the flags fluttering in the breeze, family and friends or just happy fellow runners waiting to congratulate you. A final sprint perhaps (where did that come from?) and you're over the line. It's over. There is no more. No more today, at least. You've done it. Nice one.

Third lady was Sandra Bowers of Winchester & District in 4:06:46, while second lady home was Jennifer Bradley of Serpentine RC, just in front in 4:06:32. Clear winner but just outside the course record was Carla Denneny, also of Serpentine RC, in a cracking 3:55:11. Third man home was Majell Backhausen of Clapham Chasers in 3:16:47, while second, equalling his previous course record was Ed Catmur of Thames Hare and Hounds in 3:08:52. However, in first place, smashing the course record by ten minutes and posting an awe-inspiring time of 2:58:32 was Lee Kemp (30) of Tortoise & Hare running shop, on only his second marathon distance (he normally runs off-road ultras).

MEGA-THANKS to all the marshals... it couldn't have happened without you!

Sorry, we couldn't do anything about the weather/views this year!

Trionium Greensand Marathon 2012 Results (be sure to refresh your browser window!)

Race report and photos from Kris (the Hungry Runner)

Race write-up from Sandra Bowers

Our photos 2012

Steve Rencontre's photos - Steve's shot of the start is above!

Stuart March's photos - very good and funny

Photos of start and top 3 finishers from Lynda Murray

See runner comments and ratings 2012

Add your rating 2012

Discussion 2012 (RW)

73 minute cut-off in 2012

That other Greensand Feeling, that one where you trip up and smash your face and dislocate your fingers (thanks to Allen for the photos) - not for the squeamish!

Greensand Marathon 2011

Well done to everyone who competed in the race in 2011: there were 199 starters out of 290 entered (!): just getting to the start is a triumph!

On 23 October 2011, 199 hardy veterans (and a few marathon virgins) started out from The Nower in Dorking to attempt the Greensand Marathon - 26.2 miles of trails, hills and views, over the Greensand hills of the North Downs. Despite a very tough and strictly enforced 70-minute cut-off at Leith Hill Tower, 184 runners successfully finished the marathon. First man home was Chris Townsin (38) in 3:20:05, while second man home was Andy Ward (40), running for Guildford and Godalming AC. Third man home, only 24 seconds behind the third placed man was Dan McCormack. First lady home was Kerry-Ann Marais (27), in 22nd place in a time of 3:52:10, just ahead of Kate Mercer (also 27) in 26th place who finished in a time of 3:55:11. Third placed lady was local runner Anne Davidson (49( of Dorking and Mole Valley AC, who finished in 37th place in 3:59:54, just six seconds inside the four hour mark!

Quote of the day (in Northern Irish accent): "I've been running races for the past 35 years and yesterday was as good as it gets. Hope to be back for more next year. A special word of thanks to your marshals; they were efficient, friendly and glamorous - and that's only the men!" Terry Eakin, North Down AC (+ his photos...)

Excellent write-up from Kez (dog) and owner

Excellent write up from Grant Wyatt (fuller version below)

"Greensand Marathon is indeed a very tough marathon, but at this moment in time, it goes down in history as my most favourite (out of about 60 ish). The most physically demanding marathon I have run, but definitely the most emotionally rewarding." Sandra Bowers

Results 2011 (make sure you refresh your browser window!)

Video 2011

Photos 2011

Leave comments/rate the race 2011

See runner comments 2011 (Runner's World)

Discussion 2011

Track your race progress with Racetracer (Race ID 33 - Runner numbers here)

Competitor Grant Wyatt is running for charity...

Grant Wyatt's write-up for 2011

Firstly, a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who has donated to this wonderful charity so far

26.2 off-road miles. A vertical mile of ascent and descent. The South of England's highest point, Leith Hill, followed by the next five. And back again. What was I thinking?

A lovely local, low-key event, the cat was let out of the bag when it was announced that, whilst there had been 270+ entrants, fewer than 200 felt able to tackle it come race day. Uh oh. Did they know something I didn't? We both know the answer to that one but it did feel like I suspect marathons used to feel: intimate, friendly and special. Starting the race with a rousing rendition of Jerusalem only sought to highlight all of this and with an unassuming 3-2-1 count we were off. No starting-time waves, no pens, no crowds, just 200 runners heading off up a hill. Brilliant! For about three minutes until the first big hill where I had to walk. Gordon Bennett, this was going to be tough.

Wanting to get us home whilst it was still light, race organiser Robert McCaffery, had wisely set a 'Leith Hill' cut-off time of 70 minutes, but at 6.5 very uphill miles, it meant one had to run quickly or face the ignominy (irrespective of how the organisers billed it) of being sent back on the 'half'. Running with my friend Carl, we made it just on the 1 hour mark, but the cracks were already starting to show.

The next quarter of the race was simply up and down, on very difficult terrain, and I was almost pleased at the 11 mile mark to see the leaders of the race passing us going the other way as we went down a steep downhill; and they were walking, well striding, but not running. Carl and I reached the halfway point in about 2:05 and turning for home was great, but the half-way point of a marathon they say is around 20 miles physically, and we were a long, long way from home.

At some point in the next few miles my left knee started giving me trouble, and walking 200m and running 500m became the 'norm'. Hitting Leith Hill again was very, very welcome because from there home it is all flat / downhill with the exception of one big climb (which everyone walked). A half mile of sandy path gave my knee a rest too, and so the last 3 miles, buoyed by the adrenaline of soon-to-be-finishing, felt great..

The crowd support at this race was just incredible, everyone telling one to 'come on, keep going' or 'you're looking great' (terribly liars, the lot of them) and even the front-runners when they passed us, encouraged us back-markers; it was truly awesome.

Turning the corner at the top of the last hill, and seeing a nice, long grassy downhill to the finish made my heart jump with joy, and when Emily as well as Jo of Transform Housing were there to meet me (and take my photo) it was truly a wonderful moment. For the record I made it around in 4:34, and considering I was aiming for a sub-5 hour (this is not a normal marathon time) I was pretty chuffed. A full English breakfast at the end really made the race; so bring it on next year, I can't waitÉ

One last point is that one meets some incredible people on races like this. Michael, a level 3 cancer sufferer, awaiting his fourth operation, who has recently completed a Raid Gauloises (; Hayley, with her magic Jimmy Choo running shoes, who works at Headley Court Military Hospital, and who raced an IronMan with Joe Townsend, part of Team True Spirit; and Nick, a slip of a lad, one of the friendliest (and fastest) guys I've met at a race - these are incredible people and this is why we do these kinds of ultra-races.

Some statistics for those so inclined :

Winning time : 3:20 - awesome
First lady : 3:52 - also awesome
Grant : 4:34 - awesome in my own, slow, oldish way, 107th out of 189 finishers
Last person home : 6:08 - awesome, it is sooo hard to run for this long, hats off to everyone who completed this race

Thank you soooo much to everyone who has donated money to Transform, but for anyone who would like to donate that final fiver or tenner click here!

And as Jackie said in her donation, what on earth am I going to do next?

Greensand Marathon 2010


Special thanks to all the marshals....good job guys and gals - we couldn't have done it without you!

2010 new course record - Ed Catmur (defending champion) - 3:08:01...

Photos 2010 - Thanks to Jon Kyte - ace photographer!

Race ratings and comments 2010


Quote of the day 2010... by GEOGAB

Trionium (to the tune of Jerusalem)

And have your feet in recent times
Run over Dorking’s hills so green?
And was that famous Doctor Rob
On that first hill climb to be seen?

And did that Doctor Rob divine
Say that “the last ten k was fine”?
But calves and quads did cramp up there
Upon that last Satanic climb!

Bring me my cup of lucozade
Bring me my endless rolling trails
Bring me now, st. johns first aid
Bring me my tee and many ales

I will not stop to view the sights
Nor will I call for Medivac
‘Til I have run Trionium
Out to Winterfold Hill (and back!)

Greensand Marathon 2009

THANKS to all the marshals!

UK Athletics Permit No. 20090317 (2009)

The race raised £640 for charity, including Rianna's Fund

Preliminary results (make sure you refresh your browser!)

Our slightly hit-and-miss photos (some good ones!)

'Official' photos - lots of great shots!

Runner comments and ratings

RW discussion on this race

2009 official starter: Emeritus Professor Dick Selley, Royal School of Mines, Imperial College

Greensand Marathon Start 2009

Fortune (and the weather) favours the bold...

That Greensand Marathon feeling....

That Greensand Marathon Feeling

Remi Brunier (M 28) gets into the swing of things at 17M at the Duke of Kent School (and still finishes in 4:05:29).


Runner comments 2009 - thanks to the Runner's World thread

Brilliant race, amazing scenary, amazing day, really encouraging and friendly marshalls. Organiser sent out the most informative email containing race details I've ever received. A hard race but organised by someone with humour and diligence. Thanks

Tough but excellent! Unfortunately, a few motor bikes, cars and quads along one part of the route, driving quite rudely - but this can happen at any race and is not the organisers fault.

....easier than the Picnic ! Lots of up hills, but lots of downs too! Great race, good turnout and very good weather for so late in October. Very good off road course although the signage wasn't great (locals removing the tape) so ended up doing an extra half mile at ColdHarbour. First quarter was all up hill which meant the last was the easiest. The views from the top of all the hills were staggering. Lots of walkers and cyclists made it very sociable and the last 8 miles was very 'chatty' as everyone was fading ! Met lots of XC regulars which also made it good. The medal and goody bag (rucksack and named t-shirt) were fantastic and the post race fry up was very welcome indeed. Well done Dr Rob, another fantastic race with the only issues being largely out of your control. Will definately be doing more trionium events!

A tough race, friendly marshalls, but wd like to have seen more. First time I've ran a marathon without my club colleagues around me, very tough as I expected, beat my predicted time though so was happy with that. Other runners tended to be more sociable towards the end of the run when were all worn out together. Nearly got lost though and sometimes although on right track was unsure whether I was going the right way. A big thank you though the the Trionium Greensand Marathon Team

Really enjoyable - lovely course, good organisation and great atmosphere. Enjoyed it much more than I expected as it was my first marathon and expected more pain given the profile. Broad mix of runners , many had done a hundred marathons but a few first timers, very happy atmosphere. Great water stations with jelly babies and very encouraging marshals. I had some gels but the forcing down the sport drinks at 1/2 way and 3/4 way really helped. The showers spraying water everywhere but down were a laugh.

Tough run - rewarding views - well organised and friendly event. A tough course with some good hills, awesome views and loads of jelly-babies at the water stops! Watch the course - easy to lose your way if you miss the tape. Nice T-shirt - thanks! Thoroughly enjoyed the event - I'll be back.

Don't underestimate this race's difficulty - almost on a par with the Picnic. I'm ecstatic that I beat my marathon PB by 1 hour, 2 minutes and 31 seconds! This is perverse, considering this race involves a vertical mile, unlike the London Marathon five years ago (at the time I was much less fit and had long term injury). Even the Picnic was done in a comparable time to the latter race. In spite of the tight deadline to reach the quarter way point in 1h20 (gradient-wise the toughest quarter), I felt that the third quarter was far harder as I felt fatigued (hips, knees and all leg muscles). I have to say the deadline made me panic, and I ended up running it much faster than necessary, which may have proved costly later! There were moments of despair around mile 16/17 when I wondered if I could finish at all. So I walked for ages, but got second wind and comparatively blitzed the final quarter of the race, realising the potential 1hr+ PB potential. However, under normal circumstances, this is not a likely PB race. During the uphills in the 3rd quarter I walked, yet the downhills were arguably more excruciating with the impacting on joints bearing in mind the muddy / rocky / uneven surfaces. Flat surfaces were seemingly non-existent! However, it was a perfect time of year to run - a breathtaking English Autumn and an ideal cool breeze. I was helped hugely by my Garmin 310XT, which having used it for the first time in this race and uploaded my data to the website, I really feel it was a worthy purchase and would highly recommend it. Somewhere before the final pass of the tower, I would have appreciated an extra water stop... That is my only request! Overall, a seriously tough and extremely rewarding and well-organised race. Roll on Greensand 2010! The marshalls were extremely helpful! Congratulations to Dr Rob on a great inaugural race, and to all who dared to attempt running it.

Very hilly, muddy and memorable. A must-do event!

My first marathon so quite the baptism of fire but well worth it and i'm sure i'll be booking myself in next year. Big thankyou to all the marshalls and an extra thankyou to Dr Rob, good work fella.

Great race, good atmosphere and well organized. A short notice first time marathon for me, so it was a PB which was a bonus ;) Great scenery, nice and sociable race, especially during the last slower part. All seemed very well organized, with a nice fry up at the end.

Stunning scenery, must do it again next year! Tough, but the hills weren't *that* bad, still needed to walk bits. absolutely loved the race, the route, the organisation (even with the wrong turns for over 1 mile), the uber-friendly marshals, and the participants. brilliant!

Tough course but a lovely run. Tough course - but have you ever come across a Trionium event that isn't? Beautiful scenery and great weather. Marshals and fellow runners were very supportive too. A great day out.

Yet another brilliant Trionium event. A very tough run made easier by the great organisation, the best marshals, perfect weather and scenery and great fellow nutters. I'd thoroughly recommend any Trionium event and this was a cracker. Speaking of which roll on the Knacker Cracker, Box Hill 1st Jan - definitely the best event of the year for me - and this came pretty close!

Excellent race, with a surprising amount of support for an off-roader. Many thanks for a great race. Well marshalled and very well supported. An excellent goody bag with nice t.shirt, medal and bag. A very scenic (and challenging) route with regular water stops. Well signposted along the majority of the route. My only suggestion for the future would be a sign in the town centre pointing us to the race start, but apart from that a great day.

Fanbtastic organisation and a stunning new trail. Will be back.

Hills + more hills + more hills = Ouch. Smooth organisation, lovely marshals and well stocked feed stations. The course is wonderfully scenic, but its mostly up and down. Perhaps a change of signage (laminated cards instead of trail tape maybe) may stop the locals removing the route markers? Excellent medal, shirt and rucksack at the end- heard that the breakfasts were good, but was feeling to nauseous to partake. My finish time was 8 minutes slower than Beachy Head, just to give an indication as to 'how hard' the course is.

Excellent race and organisation

They said it would be tough! And they were not wrong! Stunning scenery and autumn colours on a beautiful day. The views made the pain wortwhile. Just had to stop and look! Well, that's my excuse.

Great race through magnificent scenery. Really enjoyed the atmosphere and friendly feel to the whole event. The marshals were very good. Although I did not get lost there were a couple of sections, on the return leg, where there was quite a long gap between tape. Overall very enjoyable

Tough, but worth it! Great race, really well organised, well signed given that the route was was totally off road....just have to concentrate to spot all the tape. Actually found the last quarter the toughest despite being mainly down hill, the ups and downs prior to that offered welcome changes in pace whereas the constant pace of the long downhill at the end started to take its toll!! Only suggestion for next year would be an additional water stop if at all possible - between the 6&9/17&20 mile stops (they weren't really 3 miles apart were they?!) Big challenge, lovely marshalls, nice breakfast afterwards made it a great day out!

Fantastic scenery, great atmosphere, very friendly, a must do marathon. Only ever done one marathon before this and that was Snowdon...this one was far far tougher but just as much fun, bit lonely in places as the field was quite small, but any bigger may cause problems as some of the tracks are single tracks and as its out and back you see the faster runners coming back your lost on a couple of occations as did a few others but this just added to the excitement!Big thanks to the organisers and marshals a welcome sight around the course.

A brilliant race through glorious countryside but not to be underestimated.

Tough hilly course - but views more than make up for that.

Fantastic. Painful Hills, but the scenery made it well worth the effort!!

A magnificent race through outstanding scenery, I enjoyed every bit. Having completed the Picinc earlier in the year I was worry that this might be nearly as bad, but without all those steps keeping a rythem going was much easier. It was good fun trying to follow the trail of green marks and tape and don't think I took any wrong turns. The organisation was brillient, the marshels very encouraging and helpful. The venue for the start and finish helped greatly being able to shower then a full English to start recovery. Everybody was very friendly and my Union Jack outfit generated much cheering by supports and the public around the course. I hope this is not the only time this race is organised and would seriously contemplate another go, not to beat my time but to enjoy the views along the way again. Thanks Dr Rob and everybody who made our day one to remember.

Beautiful scenery, friendly, good-humoured. Tricky route finding. A tough Surrey hill marathon on a glorious autumn day. Small, very friendly, good humoured. The marshals were really encouraging (though not enough of them and some folk had taken down the waymarkers, which made route finding tough), the rucksack, t-shirt and medals were handed out by charming kids, and fellow racers were all in great spirits. There was a lot of smiling - a good race!

Great race, amazing views and gorgeous scenary. Great route, frustrating to lose the trail 3 times but all part of the fun really. Was starting to lose motivation around miles 19 and an additional water stop around the 7.5 mile mark and 18.5 mile mark would have been very welcome. Other than that a fantasic race, great t-shirt and medal...

Couldn't have wished for a nicer DNF - beautiful course. Looking forward to the opportunity of returning next year, staying on my feet and not requiring the assistance of a stick to get back!

Great challenging course through gorgeous forests and trails; hilly but most are very short (thank goodness) good crowd and organisation. Would defo recommend!

Quirky, fun and tough with a very welcoming atmosphere

A delightful romp over the hills of Surrey. Get behind me you demonic and dark satanic hills of Surrey. I have monsters to slay in the murky forests of Dorking under the gloomy shadow of Leith Tower where many a poor traveller has come to an untimely end. Well okay then, maybe not dark and satanic but certainly demonic even though the woods around Dorking are not populated by as many trolls as in Mirkwood (apart from the marker stealing miscreants who are clearly sub-human). As a Picnic veteran from 2009, I had a feeling of deja vu as my route took me past the signs for Box Hill Please do not let it be so exquisitely hard? Surely it cannot be so tough? Dr Rob said it did not have many steps as The Picnic and He is an honest upstanding sort of bloke without an ounce of malice, isnt he? He was right. The Greensand does not have nearly as many steps as The Picnic, although the small flight at about mile 25 nearly dun me in. He was also right in that this is a tough event, and that makes it the more rewarding. The weather was amazing and the scenery spectacular. Lots of support even though it is off road. The organisation was great and I commend the marshals who must have been quite lonely at times. A great mix of abilities from first-timers, to tri-athletes, to very good club runners, to 100M runners and all the rest in between. If anyone is thinking about doing an off road race, they should look no further than this. A great running shirt, running back pack and a real proper medal., and if that was not enough, a full English breakfast what a way to replace the burned calories..I will be back, trolls and all.

Blissful scenery and nice, hard course.

Nice long steep hills and challenging terrains made this a tough marathon. Very well organised and a great atmosphere. Looking forward to next years!

Great challenge

Lovely hills, lovely views! Great if you like hills, and the last 5 miles makes up for it by being nearly all downhill apart from the evil steps up to the top of the last hill (yes I did "run" up them!)

Excellent race and a superb day out in the hills.

Great race, but the term hilly doesn't really do the profile justice! Trionium events are always really well organised and very friendly. The term Trionium is now synonomous with hills and this route certainly lived up to expectations! Certainly not a race for PBs but it was a fantastic day out with beautiful views and a nice bit of singing :-)

26 miles and over 6 hours of blood, sweat, tears and all that jazz. At the start of the race, Doc got us to sing Jerusalem. I think this was to warm up our lungs and exercise our diaphragms. I think it must have worked because I had no problems with my Asthma.The race started up a hill; it was hills, hills and more muddy hills. It was slippery (loads of wet autumn leaves were on the ground). Doc threw a spanner in the works because the cut off time for the first six miles was one hour and twenty minutes, which was quite tough. My biggest fear was that I would trip and fall down, which I managed to do in the Leith half marathon earlier this year. So this time I was tip-toeing like a ballet dancer in places and at other times I was jumping and leaping like a Natterjack toad. I am pleased to say I never fell down but had some near misses. The Marshals were great and supportive, but towards the end they were few in numbers. Throughout the race, I was running by myself but it did get a little bit spooky at times. I felt comfortable and reassured to see red and white tapes which were tied around branches and yellow arrow sprays on the ground. I found that five miles towards the end there were a lack of ties and no yellow spray markings. I started to panic because I thought I was lost. There was no one to turn to, but after some time the wonderful locals saved me and pointed me in the right direction. The local Cyclists were all very friendly and supportive and had a great sense of humour. The leading cyclist said to the other cyclists to give some space to the walker (me). I corrected him and informed that I was in fact a runner- we had a good laugh about it.Doctor Robert McCaffrey, please could we have a more varied choice of biscuits like digestive, short cake and malted biscuits. Also could we have one more extra feed station with energy drinks. To avoid the confusion of being lost it would also be helpful if there were more red and white tapes and yellow arrow sprays pointing in the right direction, all the way to the finish. This is especially crucial at the halfway point, where many runners found it particularly difficult to find the check out point.Coming to the finish I could hear music. Dont quote me on this but I think it was called The ride of the Valkyries. It pricked up my ears and gave my flagging legs a rude awakening; I was able to sprint to the finish line in style. Throughout the race I was eating jelly babies and I ate one too many and suffered terrific stomach pains during the last half of the race. It was so bad that I was nearly sick over the young lady who put the medal over my head. My finish time was over 6 hours. I was the last female to cross the line- my worst marathon time ever! Some runners thought the race was expensive, but one does get a big florescent rack sack, a lovely white technical t-shirt and a beautiful thick medal. We were also provided with a big hearty breakfast, fit for a King or Queen. They also catered for vegetarians which was good. Eee by gum my legs were shattered but mentally I was strong and fit. I need to go back to the drawing board and analyse what went wrong. I better shape up! Thanks Doc, you certainly made me sing for my supper. This was a memorable race for all the right reasons. Would I do it again? Yes, Yes, Yes! Why do I do these marathons??? Because I find it comforting. I have been rejected from the London marathon ballot in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and now 2010 (SIX TIMES). I am glad that I did this race it has never left me disappointed.

Super course and organisation! From the singing of Jerusalem at the start to the t-shirt with everyone's name on the back it was a great race with a difference. Great course (even getting lost in the woods was pretty) that maybe needed a bit more tape in places. Very cheery Marshalls and a wonderful atmosphere - out and back meant everyone you past cheered you on the other way! Let's hope for good weather next year - the scenary made up for not seeing much over Beachy Head the day before! Well done Trionium, a triumph.

Gritty steep trail marathon, great views but you earn them, well delivered with smiles. A superb event,awesome scenery ,fun athletes to be with and a big challnge. However not for the faint hearted, PB seeker or the cavery runner. You need to take some responsibility for understanding the course, the terrain and your nutrition.

Fantastic race- highly recommended! Had a great day - views from the top of the hills fantastic, perfect weather, great organisation and everyone very friendly - both marshals and other runners. The climbs were not as bad as I feared, and the last 6 miles were probably the easiest (apart from 1 short killer hill) which was a relief to my shaky thighs! Great for the family to come and watch also - lots of room for the kids to run about. Only downside was the pathetic showers at the school - don't know how the school kids manage! Could do with a few more marshals as not sure where to go at a few points - but generally well sign posted with tape and arrows. Most enjoyable race I've ever done - thanks Trionium!
A tough race with great scenery, good water stations and brilliant marshals. A great medal, t-shirt and rucksack for finishers plus showers and a meal to finish off a perfect running day.

Quality race, scenic, friendly and well put together. It's a real test of those muscles other marathons can not reach. Great training run for ultra marathon racers.

What a fantastic mix of good time pleasure and extreme pain!BIG thank you to all the organisers and marshals on the day. Fantastic atmosphere, clockwork operation. Loved every minute of it! (even the last mile...)

What a laugh! Great company, astounding views, and the most painful race I think I'll ever find! My legs have now rebelled and are on holiday in Granada...

Best race in the UK...tough but great fun

A tough one for my first marathon but thoroughly enjoyed it, great atmosphere and support!

It was my first time and it was very, very special

A grand day out, plenty of hills to keep it interesting and great views from the top!

One of the most beautiful courses I have done in years

My personal low point was being asked by a man on a horse 'What WALK are you doing?' - it was steep at that point!

Perfect off-road marathon ...even with the hills generally speaking very runnable and the perfect weather on the day made this a race not to miss!

Wonderful run. I'm still running up and down hills in my sleep and humming Jerusalem to myself

Tough course. Well organised. This is what trail running is all about. I really enjoyed this run - beautiful scenery on a very challenging course. The route was easy to follow and well supported by marshals and public alike. This sort of race is why I continue to run. I don't know whether I was having a bad spell, but there seemed to be a big gap between the second and third water stations. I liked the technical top and one member of the family has shown an interest in the ruck sack! The breakfast was a nice touch. Thanks to the organisers for putting together a great race.

Up and down , back up again then down repeat until knackered. Fantastic race, great small field, lovely countryside, sunshine and a great run down to the finish. Roll on next year.

That race made me fall in love with cross-country racing!Beautiful sceneries, excellent organisation, more than generous goodies, friendly marshals, public and fellow competitors made for a superb race! I'll be back!

Dr. Rob does it again. Another must-do marathon for the race calendar. Nowhere near as tough as The Picnic but it's still a challenging course with great views. Organisation exceeded expectations for a new marathon, other race organisers could learn from this.

'O Boy' I thought I loved hills - I did until Sunday! Absolutely fantastic race, not to be missed, definitely one of the most challenging courses out there, loved every minute.Can't wait till next years. Excellent challenging course, some of the marking could have been better, but on the whole had a thoroughly enjoyable race with an excellent atmosphere.

Top race

Great intro to Trionium marathons. I probably shouldn't have done this as day 2 of a triple with Beachy Head the day before and a quick trip to Ireland for Dublin the day after....
This is a great, and tough, race. It's easier than the Picnic, but on a par with Beachy if you're looking for comparisons. The initial cutoff is stiff but achievable and the camaraderie among runners very special.

Dr Rob's races are unique for all the right reasons - very well organised, sadistic (including having to climb over a gate after the finish) and start with a stirring rendition of Jerusalem, and reward his runners better than any other race with a superb medal, technical t-shirt with all your names on the back, a high quality (if dubiously coloured) rucksack and a full cooked breakfast. Well done. I'll be back next year when the pain has subsided.
Wooded, cool. great views when woods opened out. Slow uphill outward trail, some pressure to get to Leith Hill before cut-off time. Having to stop sometimes to give way to runners in opposite direction as trail quite narrow in parts - might a round route be better? Blissful downhill back to Dorking with veggie sausages and tomatoes soon afterwards!

Would make a great 52 miler if the organisers can be persuaded to double the distance !

Fantastic scenic leg burning Marathon. Loved this event, the route was almost completely off-road and not particularly flat at any stage. The views from Leith Hill were spectacular and well worth the effort to climb it on two occasions. Nice goodies at the end and sound organisation. Will be back for more Trioniom events.

Excellent new event. Have done a couple of DR Robs events and as usual well marshalled and great atmosphere, hard but very enjoyable.

Even though I had only done a half-marathon before the contrasting scenary and types of running made for an enjoyable run - but wish I had done 15 weeks of training instead of the 7 weeks I did!

Absolutely loved it. This was race 2 out of 3 in our 3in3in3 challenge. Never done a off road marathon before - knew it was going to be difficult with the hills - I was extremely apprehensive and nervous - but it turned out to be amazing and I loved it. Recommend to anybody!

Hardest marathon I have ever run. Wonderful event. Singing Jerusalem at the start of what was in reality mostly hardcore runners with a few brave and dare I say mad, first timers, was a great experience even for a Welsh man! I had run Snowdonia marathon the day before and was running Dublin marathon the next day, which meant slow and at times painful progress. Led to my worst ever time by a considerable margin, but the weekends plans caused that and not just the race. Good to see a number of treblers present and despite my time, would love to have done this without the pain in my legs.

Great off-road marathon with beautiful scenery and a perfect climb profile.

Magical! Brilliant! There is nothing not to like about this race if hills and stunning scenery is your thing. A great, friendly atmosphere with enocuraging marshalls and loads of support all the way there - and back!

That other Greensand Marathon feeling - where you trip over and smash your face and dislocate your fingers - NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH

That Other Greensand Marathon feeling...

"When the medic lady said to me 'You won't look very pretty when you get up tomorrow morning' I told her not to worry because I did not look very pretty when I got up this morning." Allen -2012

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