The first mile of the course is on the Two Tunnels Greenway shared path along Linear Park. It is on a slight incline up to Devonshire Tunnel which is the first of the Two Tunnels. Devonshire tunnel is 408m long and is well lit. The course gently curves round to the left through the tunnel. Next runners emerge in Lyncombe Vale and run along the elevated embankment through a very pretty wooded area.
After 1km of running along the top of the embankment it is time to enter Combe Down Tunnel which is 1672m long making this the foot race with the longest underground section in Britain! The Northern side of Combe Down tunnel is 50ft higher than the Southern portal which ensures a cool breeze circulates through the tunnels. The tunnels themselves are lined with a combination of bricks and the exposed limestone rock through which the tunnels were originally bored.
Upon exiting Combe Down Tunnel runners head over Tucking Mill viaduct. Runners turn left after crossing the viaduct and towards the steps to Tucking Mill reservoir. Following the public footpath leads runners onto Tucking Mill Lane past the house of the world renowned Geologist William Smith who produced the first Geologiclal Map of the country. Tucking Mill Lane is not being closed by the race so there may well be traffic along this section. Please be careful, stick to the left hand side of the road, and follow the direction of the marshals.
The roads wind through the pretty village of Monkton Combe following the
National Cycle Network Signs. The route runs alongside Monkton Combe
School (please stick to the correct public footpaths) and onto a lane
which was a track bed of the Bristol and North Somerset Railway which
met the Somerset and Dorset Line (the line through the Two Tunnels) in
Midford with the Bristol and North Somerset Railway line passing beneath
the Somerset and Dorset Line and each line having it's own station.
route now crosses into the car park for the Dundas and Canal Company
and it is here where we are positioning out second Feed Station. This
car park will be in use by visitors to the canal and National Cycle
Network routes so please be careful and follow the instruction of the
marshals. The footpath from here runs alongside the sole remaining spur
of the Somerset Coal Canal. This canal served Bath with coal from nearby North Somerset Collieries before it was bought out by the Great Western Railway
Company who built the aforementioned Bristol and North Somerset Railway
over the line of the canal as a speedier way of transporting coal into
The Somerset Coal Canal quickly merges with the Kennet
& Avon Canal at the beautiful Dundas Aquaduct which is over 200
years old. If you look to your right after the second Feed Station you
will be able to see the Aquaduct through the trees. Once on the Kennet
& Avon canal the route contours around the hills of Bath through the
beautiful Limply Stoke valley. Keep an eye for great sites along the
way; Warleigh Weir and Warleigh Manor and Brown's Folly up on the hill
top on the right hand side.
The 3rd Feed Station is on the
approach to Bathampton just before the stone hump back bridge (near the
turning point of the Long Half Marathon and Marathon of the Bath Running
Festival routes). The race runs back into Bath through Sydney Gardens
with ornate bridges running over the canal. The canal passes underneath
Cleveland House, where canal boats used to pass their toll payment
through a hole in the roof of the tunnel.
There are a couple of
road crossings as the canal descends into Bath to merge with the river
Avon. Runners cross over the canal using the bridge over the Lock Gate, the 2nd deepest Lock in the country! (if it
is in use we can cross the road - it is a little too far to jump ;-)). Shortly after the canal and river meet and the runners head right along the river bank into the heart of
Bath for the 4th Feed Station. The feed station is right on the river,
by the world famous Pulteney Bridge and Weir. With Bath Abbey over
looking this spot, it may be tough for runners to leave this prettiest
of Feet Station stops.
The next few miles are along the river
Avon heading pass old warehouses with original crane houses still
intact. The route goes under the original railway line of Green Park
Station, the terminus of the railway line, which now hosts a variety of
small businesses. As the route heads out of Bath there is one final
river crossing to complete the loop back into Linear Park and rejoin the
route of the Somerset and Dorset Railway. There is a crossing of a
potentially busy road. Please use the zebra crossing and follow the
instructions of the marshals. Through a couple of streets and the route
rejoins the Two Tunnels route in Linear Park. The route then goes back
under the start point at Claude Avenue Bridge and towards Devonshire
Half Marathon runners turn left left into Bloomfield Open
Space to the finish line 50m through the gate! Marathon runners head into the Devonshire Tunnel to start their second lap of the same route. Upon completing the second loop runners turn left info Bloomfield Open Space just before the entrance to the Devonshire Tunnel.
The route for the half marathon is
22.5km long and the marathon is 43.7km long as we had to include all these beautiful features of Bath's
history and we couldn't bring ourselves to make it any shorter!
10km 'Return Ticket'
The whole route is on a fast tarmaced surface with gentle gradients of
no more than 2% in only a few places on the route. This makes this a
great fast course, certainly the fastest Relish Running course out there
and there is a great chance of recording a PB on this route!
The 10km heads steadily uphill towards the 408m long Devonshire tunnel, passing by the finish area on the left hand side and registration area in Bloomfield Open Space. After rounding the first tunnel runners emerge out in the wooded Lyncombe Vale area. There is 1km of open running along the elevated embankment and through cuttings before entering Combe Down tunnel. Combe Down Tunnel is over 1 mile in length and that makes this event the running race with the longest tunneled section in the Britain.
The race heads over Tucking Mill viaduct on a gentle downhill gradient towards Midford Station. Look out for Midford Castle on the right hand elevetion! At Midford station runners make a U turn around the cones before retracing their steps through the Combe Down Tunnels and Devonshire Tunnel. Please keep to the left hand side as you start to run back to Bath to ensure you don't meet runners heading the other way.
This route will be an accurate 10km, though don't be surprised if your Garmin thinks you have run up and over the hills of Bath and have been flying up 10% hills!
The 5km will run through the 408m long Devonshire Tunnel and out into Lyncombe Vale. There will be a turn around point just before the entrance to the Combe Down Tunnel before runners retrace their steps to Brickfield's Park.