Midsummer Munro 'Best in the UK'
The Midsummer Munro 2008 was named the best race in the UK in 2008 (of a total of approximately 2500 races) by runners voting on Runner's World (as published in the February 2009 edition).
The race has since regularly placed in the annual top five trail or half marathon lists of Runner's World.
A 'gratuitously difficult' half marathon with high gain/loss of 3000 feet - equivalent to a Scottish Munro - an 'ultra-half'
A run for very hearty man fellows and lady fellows, mostly on rough tracks, and including superb views over the North Downs, the Mole Gap, Denbies Vineyard, and Dorking.
From the start line, run out to the chalky plateau at the top of Box Hill, overlooking Denbies Vineyard and turn RIGHT. Run down the hill to the turnaround point (marked) next to an obvious tree. Then reascend (120m) the imposing Burfoot slope of Box Hill. Run past the grave of de La Billiere, buried head downwards, and then turn right to descend (120m) to the footbridge at the foot of Boxhill. Turn left and cross the stepping stones, before running back up the way you came down.
At the top, turn right and run on gently rising paths to the lookout at the top of Box Hill. Turn around the triangulation pillar and go back down the track to a well-hidden sharp turn on your left. Descend down the south face of the North Downs on a narrow path, through a gate on the path and then through a gate on your left. 15m after that gate, turn sharp left and go up the rutted shady track, nearly to the Smith and Western pub. Jink left up a few steps and through some bushes to cross the road (marshalled) – take care.
After the drinks station plunge into the woods, following signs and tape to eventually emerge on Juniper Top and fabulous open views. Descend until you find the marsha (at the second bench from the top)l, then re-ascend and, trending right, run along the side of the hill on the wide and pleasant track. then turn right at the ‘forest crossroads’ and descend the track along Juniper Bottom to the water station in the car park. Cross the road with care, before climbing the stairs – many stairs – of the Eiger Steps. Marshals will guide you through a dogleg left in the woods, (THIS IS THE HALFWAY POINT in terms of distance since you don’t descend and re-climb the first hill) before you trot off along White Hill, take a turn right at the end and make a cripply descent to a drinks station. Turn around, and do it all again, but this time in reverse!
Go back up to the open area of White Hill, find the dog leg (marshalled), and then run down to the huge flight of stairs down the side of the hill. Crossing the road (look out for yourself!) you will proceed up Juniper Bottom, a rustic and uneven track which steepens towards the top, over about 1.5km. Turning sharp left, you will run along to Juniper Top, down the hill to the marshal (next to the second bench down from the top), (taking in the very pleasant views), turn around and retrace your steps and back into the woods (now trend right), towards what is now the Smith and Western Bar and Grill, and what used to be The Pilgrim’s Rest. There will be water at this point. Crossing the road (look out for yourself!), you will again descend all of the altitude you have previously gained, and at the bottom (now on the south side of the North Downs), turn sharp right and climb back up to the top of Box Hill on very narrow paths.
At the top of Box Hill you will be rewarded with excellent views of Dorking, but now you have to lose all that height again, descending to the footbridge over the River Mole, running to the stepping stones (more water) and back up Box Hill (‘the hardest run you’ve ever done’) – keep left! At the top, the marshall will direct you to your left, where you will pass the grave of an eccentric gentleman of Dorking buried head downwards. In only 100m after the grave, take a sharp right through the bushes to find the Old Fort and the finish (DO NOT DESCEND AND RE-ASCEND THE HILL!). Congratulations – you’ve completed the Midsummer Munro, Britain’s toughest half marathon!
W = Water station. The first descent and re-ascent is not repeated at the end of the course, so that the halfway point of the course is not at the turnaround point anymore, but instead is before that, at the start of White hill/Mickleham downs.
Midsummer Munro weather forecast
Partly cloudy throughout the day.
Midsummer Munro reviews
5 out of 5 stars
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