By Mike Norton

This year’s Giant’s Head Marathon was an eventful one, so we are delighted to have received a report on the race from our very own Chairman Mike Norton! 

Saturday 17th June saw another brilliant instalment of the iconic Giants Head Marathon, organised by White Star Running. It was my fourth GHM and by far my slowest (I will come to that later). This Marathon distance can never be taken lightly and with over 3000 feet of elevation! (Mt Snowden*’s summit is 3560 feet) you take this lightly at your peril!! It’s an extremely tough and challenging route, with lots of loose stones and trip hazards. The other factor to throw in is the weather it was very humid on Saturday and the heat in some areas of the course was stifling and there is not a lot of shade. The flip side is the route is in a very attractive setting, starting in the beautiful hamlet of Sydling St Nicholas which is in the middle of nowhere but strangely easy to find being about 40 minutes from Langport. The route takes you through the valleys of Cerne and Sydling around the infamous Cerne Giant. The Cerne Giant is an ancient, naked figure, scalped into the chalk hillside above Cerne Abbas. Its colossal dimensions are 55 metres high and 51 metres wide, although size isn’t everything (I think you know where I am coming from). Talking of whoppers you should see the size of the ice creams afterwards! 

There were a dozen Langport Runners starting the race with Katy Armstrong lining up to do her first marathon (What a one to pick) and three doing the half on Sunday.

The race started at 0830 and was quite a large field some 500 runners Once you get to the top of the first hill the first 5 or so miles are pretty level to be fair but after that one word ‘Hills’.

Last year I ran the whole race with Bill Farmer this year I ran on my own but with a large field of runners there are always plenty of runners to chat to. There were a lot of runners tripping over some with just cuts and bruises. However, just after the 15 mile aid station (talking of Aid stations thank goodness there were lots of them) there was quite a nice fast downhill section. However, you had to be very careful because of the aforementioned terrain. I took it very sensibly on this stretch but unfortunately one lady runner didn’t and took a heavy fall. I was just behind her so was on the scene straight away to help her. Getting her in the recovery position and tending her wounds which were quite nasty fortunately her running buddy had a 1st aid kit which we used to patch her up a bit until the experts arrived. She was actually air lifted to hospital but I am pleased to say it was just bruising and nothing broken in the end! (My new top tip is to remember to carry a small first aid kit even if you don’t need it, chances are you’ll come across someone who does). I carried on with the marathon and walloped a big flint stone so that will be another big toe nail gone in the next few days.

The love station at about 20 miles was a welcome sight and a great place to pull yourself together, I topped up with sun cream food and sweets I gave the Vodka shots a miss this year too hot for that! I was glugging about a litre of water every hour! It was hot there were a few people at the aid station who were receiving treatment for heat exhaustion and had pulled out of the race at this stage.


Soldiering on at about mile 22ish you have a hill that goes up for about but when you get to the top of that you get a nice flat run to the Pimms and final aid station. This is where I found a rather distressed Anne Kelly who was suffering from Heat Exhaustion and was clearly not herself. I got her into the shade and cooled her down but myself and the Marshal agreed she needed some medical help. Fortunately she recovered well and after about 45 minutes in the shade was ready to walk to the Finish! All our runners got home safely. I am pleased to report and although I was 90 mins back later than anticipated Kate and Ellen who were meeting me for a picnic waited for me to return before starting the sandwiches!

There are many things WSR do well and one of them is runner’s safety with plenty of water stations and marshals on course and importantly plenty of medics! There were four runners taken to hospital numerous others patched up on site and 13 DNF. Kudos to all our runners that took part!

Well done to Andy Palmer (on his last race as MD of WSR) and all the crew, awesome as always.