Brutal Events - The Oner Recci Part 1 Charmouth - Ferrybridge
by IronjediFeb 2nd 2015
With the Oner Ultra coming up in April, Grant and I decided it was time to recci the Oner route. The decision was made to break it into three marathons. So we picked a day in the diary and, thankfully for us, we couldn't have picked a better day. We got down to Ferry Bridge early, dropped a car off and then drove back to Charmouth to start the run. The journey back seemed a very long way. So it was 9am, we parked the car in Charmouth and went up the hill to what would be the start of the race. We headed off in glorious sunshine and within a couple of miles we were at Golden Cap, the highest point in the race. However, if the day was going to continue like this then it would not be easy as even the first hill was a challenge.
As we reached the top of Golden Cap we were a touch out of breath but rewarded with fantastic views. Portland seemed so far away we could hardly see it in the distance. Looking back towards Charmouth we said our farewell, we would not be returning for another 6 hours or so. The ground was hard and the weather bright and clear, it was a little cold in the shade but the undulating terrain kept the core temperature up. The wind was non existent. We carried all the food and drink we required for the 26 miles. We decided we would keep moving and eat on the go, trying to hold off until we reached the imaginary checkpoints. This system seemed to work well. The first 10K took us from Charmouth over the Golden Cap and down into Seatown. Grant told me about the great bar/restaurant on the front and suggested that we go camping there later in the year.
Although there would be no stopping for a drink today, I had been told about a number of great tea stops (sadly today would not be the day to sample them). We headed up and down dale past Eypes Mouth and then into "Broadchurch", and what would be Checkpoint 1, I mean West Bay.
It was difficult getting into a running rhythm due to the ups and downs, the ground was slippery underfoot and we had to take it easy going down.
Having never been to West Bay before I felt compelled to stop and take a picture of the cliffs. I joined the other tourists and waited my turn. No sign of David Tenant today, although I later discovered that they had been filming there after we passed through. The climb out of West Bay is pretty steep and I was grateful of the mud steps which had clearly been pounded into the ground.
So we headed across the plateau and ran solidly across the top of the cliffs. There were more ups and downs until we hit Burton Bradstock at 14K, we then did a small detour inland over the river and then ran onto the flat part of stage 1 along Burton Beach. Sadly the coastal path was under water and we were forced to run across the beach. The stones were small and with every step I sank into the pebbles. Running across the beach sapped my energy and I was relieved when we moved off the beach and into the mud around the Mere for about 1K. We were then back on the beach for another 5K to Checkpoint 2. Once off the beach we had a quick stop, emptied our shoes of the fine small pebbles, grabbed a quick sandwich and headed inland at the start of Chesil Beach.
I really enjoyed this section. It was not too testing as it was not particularly hilly however the mud and wet ground was challenging. This inland section took us to Checkpoint 3. After Checkpoint 3, at 30K in, you hug the inland coast and we basically had about 11K of sloppy mud to run through. What was nice is that you sort of lose where you are, and due to the ins and outs of the coast line, you come round a corner and suddenly see the pub at Ferrybridge and Checkpoint 4. The marathon was done! We completed it in just under 6 hours - 5:50.
We just have another 2 marathons to do on race day! Yikes. Running Part 2 in a couple of weeks.......