Article first published as Running the Shakespeare Marathon on Technorati.
Theme marathons are the ideal running experience for runners just wanting to have fun or raise funds for notable causes. The Shakespeare Marathon is a course favorite for top club runners in Britain. It was first created in 1982 and organized by the Stratford Rotary Club in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and primarily benefits the Stratford Hospice and other charities.
Stratford-Upon-Avon is, of course, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, hence, the Shakespeare Marathon. As we all know, Shakespeare was an English poet (often referred to as the Bard of Avon) and playwright who is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language.
What is little known, perhaps, is that William Shakespeare knew a lot about running – and perhaps was even a runner himself!
“I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start...‘Faith, I ran when I saw others run” (Henry V).
The line-up begins outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with a leisurely start time of 10:00 a.m. To aid in the fun, many of the contestants, participants and bystanders dress up for the occasion, often as The Bard himself.
“These high wild hills/and rough uneven ways/draw out our miles/ and make them wearisome (Richard II).
For the most part, the course is flat except for Rumer Hill just outside of Welford. The runners have to negotiate the hill twice as the full-marathon is two laps; the half-marathon is just one. Most injuries reportedly occur on this long and steep descent towards Long Marston.
“I would give a thousand pound I could run as fast as thou canst” (Henry IV).
This year’s marathon held on May 9, 2011, was won by Andrew Siggers, a rugby athlete, with a time of 2:37:41. Sandra Williams was the first woman to finish in 3:06:42.