Marathon Training Runs

Open to ALL runners


Please see below our re-scheduled Marathon Training Run dates for 2021.


We look forward to seeing you all again and this year we will be trialling the use of contactless card payments on the day.


At the end of January, February and March we hold our well-renowned Marathon training runs, which are open to ALL runners whether you are a member of an affiliated running club or not.

The course is mainly along quiet country roads through the stunning Ashridge Forest with a small section on the towpath of the Grand Union canal. It starts and finishes at our clubhouse, which is at the Boxmoor Cricket Club, St Johns Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1NP. The routes are well sign-posted with mile markers every mile, fully marshalled with water stops and our much-loved jelly baby stop!

At the end there will be well-earned tea, coffee, juice and cake waiting for you!

Whilst we don’t like to set an official “cut-off” time for these runs (they are not official races and are very much catering for first time marathon runners), for the benefit of our marshals out on the course and also due to the time we need to vacate the clubhouse, we do ask that if you expect to be over 15mins per mile pace that you join one of our earlier starting groups. One of our coaches will run with a 12min+ group at 9am for the first 4 miles of the course and we are always happy to set you off even earlier if required. Just email us prior to the day if you would like to run our event but are worried about your finish time.

We also do ask that if you drive and are intending to park nearby, please avoid parking on the grass verges or illegally across private property or driveways for the benefit of our neighbours.



The use of in-ear headphones is permitted for the Marathon Training Runs.  However we ask you to make sure you pay attention to our race briefing, any instructions from marshals and listen for cars.  This is especially important on the narrow roads of the course such as Pouchen End Lane.

2021 Marathon Training Run dates

Sunday 11th July 2021

12 Miles

9:00am start for 12min per mile+  runners

9.30am main start

£5 cash or card on the day only


12 mile course map

Sunday 8th Aug 2021

17 Miles

9:00am start for 12min per mile+  runners

9.30am main start

£5 cash or card on the day only


17 mile course map



Sunday 5th Sept 2021

20 Miles

9:00am start for 12min per mile+  runners

9.30am main start

£10 cash or card on the day only


20 mile course map



Important Information

We operate a slightly staggered start to try and alleviate the problem of congestion getting onto the canal towpath, so please line up at the start according to your estimated pace and do take your own timings as this is a training run and not an officially timed race.


Please download this REGISTRATION FORM and bring it with you on the day. There is NO pre-registration.


Please arrive in good time to register and get ready to run. You may leave bags in the Clubhouse, it will be supervised but anything left is at your own risk. These runs are always popular and it gets busy in the clubhouse in the 30 minutes leading up to the start!  We typically have between 400-500 runners taking part.

DIRECTIONS from the Hemel Hempstead Rail Station Car Park to the Clubhouse

MAP of how our training run routes fit together



We will continue to issue wristbands instead of the ribbons to show you are taking part in our event.

This allows us quicker access to your emergency contact details as well as making us aware of any medical issues in the (unlikely) event of an incident.

When you hand in your Entry Form and money you will be given a numbered wristband. Please ensure you add your name, emergency contact details and any medical issues to the wristband before you run.

The Entry Form will be numbered to match your wristband.


There is not a huge amount of parking in Boxmoor village or around the clubhouse so we would strongly recommend using the Hemel Hempstead Rail Station Car Park (10 minutes walk away) or consider travelling by public transport.

We also ask you to please respect both St John’s Church (adjacent in Heath Lane) and the local residents by parking legally and not on the grass verges if you do drive.

Hemel Hempstead Station Car Park costs £4.80 to park on a Sunday and the machines take cash or cards.

Post-Run re-fuelling

After a long run if the cake wasn’t enough to put back those lost calories why not pop across the road to our local pub, The Steamcoach, which does a fantastic Sunday lunch.

If you’ve come by train, you also have The Fishery Wharf Cafe, which you will have passed as you go under the final bridge to the finish, which does excellent food in a very relaxed environment



Charitable Contributions

The funds raised by the marathon training runs enables Gade Valley Harriers to make a sizeable donation each year to our nominated local charity.  Each year the charity is selected by members at our club Annual General Meeting in September and for the 2019-20 season this will be Prostate Cancer UK.

In May 2019, we presented last year’s charity the Herts Mind Network with a cheque for £1000.  Sue Nicholson, CEO, said:

“We are really grateful to GVH for such a generous donation. It will help us to run our Meeting Places at Dacorum Wellbeing Centre – safe spaces where those struggling with their mental health can come and be themselves and seek support.”

To find out more about their work, please visit their website:


Previous runner feedback

We’re delighted to welcome back many runners who do our marathon training runs every year, whether as part of their training for a Spring marathon or just because they enjoy the event.

We gathered some feedback from runners after the 20 mile event in March 2019 and over 16% of runners completed our feedback form (thank you!) and rated the event a fabulous 4.75 out of 5, with 96% of respondents saying they were very likely to recommend it to others, with the remaining 4% being reasonably likely to do so…

Here is a selection of the feedback people left:

“Well organised, friendly and supportive. You really are a lovely bunch!!”

“Loved doing these runs for the last 10 years, long may they continue”

 “Fabulous, well-organised event. Fantastic, supportive marshals and cake at the end. What’s not to love? Thank you all”

“These runs are incredible for those of us training alone for a marathon irrespective of ability. Well organised and great practice. These runs have inspired me to run harder and better in this years London Marathon

“Marshals were fabulous. 10/10 event for organisation, support and sheer enthusiasm of everyone involved 

Click on the below video to see what some of the runners had to say: