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Blenheim 7k: Course preview

January 29, 2010

The Blenheim 7k takes place on 9 May 2010 – a week before the Oxford Town and Gown, if you’re looking for preparation for the road-running season. It’s an undulating (genuinely hilly in places) course around the historic grounds of Blenheim Palace, taking in some  of the spectacular scenery and offering a very friendly atmosphere.

7k is, let’s face it, a slightly strange distance. If you find the last third of a 10k grueling and that you’ve still got something left in the tank after a 5k, this might just be the race for you. It’s also good preparation for the 10k season coming early in the calendar for middle-distance road running.

Map of the Blenheim 7k course

The 7k race takes in some of the spectacular sights of the Palace – and some of its more challenging hills

Blenheim is locally renowned for its hills, and while the course cuts out one of the larger hills it still takes in the longest and steepest hill between the 3k and 4k marks. However, you’re rewarded for the long slog by a sustained down-hill section through the woods between the 4k and 6k marks. A climb over the humped bridge at the 6k mark is followed by a short climb up to the finishing line.

A water station is situated around the half-way point, just before the toughest climb. Water is also provided at the finish line, along with a goodie bag (always important for souvenir hunters).

Although the whole course is predominantly traffic free and  on decent roads, there is a short section through a wooded footpath that traces the side of the lake. This path is basically dirt and covered with knots of tree roots, and as such comes considerably closer to trail running than you might expect. That’s not to say you’ll need some reinforced shoes, but it is worth considering your footwear. (I ran the Cancer Research 10k at Blenheim in 2009 and saw a man running barefoot, which I’m sure he regretted when he came to a pebbled section of the course.)

The event is usually well run, and with a field of just over 450 in 2009 it’s got a good atmosphere. Highly recommended as a race, and certainly one I’m looking forward to running this year.

Entry details and more can be found on the official website, here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sarah Airey permalink
    February 2, 2010 2:06 pm

    As organiser of this event, it is great to read your write up – especially the last paragraph!!

    Hope to see a great crowd again in 2010.


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