Senatus Populusque Romanus….

….. as they say in Dorset!!

Well, that’s it… I’ve popped by half marathon race cherry!! I covered the distance a few weeks back in training but race day was going to be something different, and if you want something different look no further than an event from the nice folks down at Whitestar Running!!

The Dorset Invader was a new event from the people who bring you the Giants Head Marathon (voted best in country don’t you know!!) and consisted of a full and a half (plus a charity event Sunday morning that I wish I’d planned for as the medal looked awesome!!)

Arriving with my work running buddy Chris Dawson (nicknamed Pingu, because of his big feet and constant jibber jaber, or OCD.. Obsesive Compulsive Dawson…because he’s a bit OCD of course) we quickly ran into my snowboarding mates Kat & Jools who were running another marathon, which they do on a fairly regular basis these days, Kat is also a serial blogger click through for a gander. Which was really nice to have a catch up, I think they’ve also talked me into some of the Saxon Shores events later in the year.

We were nice and early, so had a chance to walk around the ‘athletes village’ Chris got himself a nice shirt from the shop and we filled up with bananas and powerade as the bacon butty queue was to long to face (regreted not sticking it out tbh!!).

The full marathon nutters set of first, lead out of the start by a Roman soldier on horse back, legionaires and banner men.. with a fair few of the runners all roman’ed up in Togas ect as was a pretty impresive sight!

About 40 mins later the half’ers set off in similar style, heading into the first few 4km which is the only bit of the course that we see a little of twice, through hard packed farm track and out into the country, from then on it was a selection of farm tracks, bridleways, footpaths, field edges and wooded single track… i’d love to give you a blow by blow order.. but to be honest it’s all a bit of a blur!!

But what I can remember is the awesome aid stations and lovestations, stocked with water, cider, watermelon, cake, sausages, jelly babies and just about anything else you could imagine… A real lifesaver when you are hot, burnt and hanging out your arse!!

My pace was pretty good for the first 10km, averaging a healthy 6 min/kms as we hit the 10 at a little over an hour. I found the second ten pretty hard going, i’d developed a pretty big heel blister and along with some long slogs up hill through some pretty ankle breaking farm edges, and heavy rooted tracks, I had to dig deep to keep the pace moving, but some brisk walking and lovestation watermelon plus some pep talks from Chris helped me power home.

Still waiting for the official time but we were about 2:20:30 so about 6:40 min/kms which I’m pretty happy with on that terrain. As we crossed the line, the biggest medal on the planet was hung around my neck, in keeping with the theme of the event, the big clanking shield was an awesome reward, as was the tasty apple muffin cooked by the WSR ladies, as well as a brillaiant goody bag containing a special Muff (like a buff but without the trademark!!) as well as some local goodies.

All in all a great event, hard work but beautiful scenary, nice people and great organisation, I will definetly be doing another WSR half… and maybe even a marathon one of these days!!

Thanks to Chris for the support, and Chris P and Becci for the blister plaster!!

and to finish the blog…check out my aweome blister!!… note to self, don’t wear those socks on long distances again..oh and buy some zinc oxide tape!!



  1. Great post Branny, lovely to see you and stoked to hear you’re planning on joining us for a full! I’ll keep you in the loop for races with awesome medals, goody bags and aid stations 😄 hope the blister recovers soon and you find some socks that work better for you (I’m a fan of the Karrimor compression sock for about 5 quid a pair at Sports Direct)


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