Route Outline

23rd Marathon route outline map

Leg One: Start to Beaune
Sunday-Monday 20th-21st November

There will be two start locations, Chester for the UK starters and Noordwijk in Holland for the Europeans.

The UK starters will have a grand send off from Chester at 9am and follow a route southeast across England via a number of relaxed passage and time controls to a lunch halt at Market Harborough in Leicestershire. This section will include a Practice Regularity that will help you see how we run things…

After lunch, a fast run south on the M11 and around the M25 into Kent takes competitors to a 5:30pm “tea” halt at the (in)famous A20 Roadhouse Café near Lenham. From there it is a short run to either the Tunnel or the Ferry Terminal at Dover. We’ve not included the channel crossing as group deals offer little saving and you will all have your preferences as to the tunnel or ferry. The “restart” Time Control will be just outside Calais at approximately 11pm so you will have plenty of time between the tea halt and the “restart” to get a meal and relax for the night ahead.

The Noordwijk starters will leave the popular Dutch seaside resort at about lunch time for a run that takes them down the North Sea coast and over some of the impressive dams that defend the Netherlands from the sea. Once into Belgium, a fast cross country route leads competitors, again via relaxed time and passage controls and a Practice Regularity, to a supper halt near Ypres. From there, they have a short run into northern France to join the UK starters just before the first Regularity Section of the night.

The Winter Challenge

The night run through northern France to the breakfast stop at Tonnerre is designed to enable you to drive at a speed comfortable for you and your car as well as hopefully giving you a chance to catch up on some sleep. There are no time controls on this whole section, only passage controls open for a generous “window” which should enable you to get ahead of schedule by the time that you reach breakfast.

After the breakfast halt, things warm up a little with a succession of time controls and regularities in the hills of the Morvan preceding a run into Beaune for an early afternoon finish to Leg 1. This early finish is designed so you can get a few hours sleep prior to having a welcome dinner where you can share experiences with the other starters.

Leg Two: Beaune to Aix-les-Bains
Tuesday 22nd November

At the moment, all days are scheduled to start at 8am so you should get time for a good breakfast before heading south-east across the Bresse Plain towards the Jura Mountains. A small section of today’s route between morning coffee and lunch is being kept secret and will be issued as a marked IGN map at the coffee halt. The rest of the day is quite straightforward with half a dozen regularities in the familiar lanes of the Jura, and a number of time controls in the traditional village cafes that became the hallmark of the event. The first cars are scheduled to reach the traditional Monte watering hole of Aix-les-Bains by early evening in time for a relaxed dinner.

Cantabrian Mountain road

Leg Three: Aix-les-Bains to Gap
Wednesday 23rd November (Day)

Today takes you into the higher mountains of the Alps, Vercors, Drome and Vaucluse. Heading south from Aix-les- Bains you will soon be climbing Monte favourites like the Col du Granier and Col du Porte in the Chartreuse before by-passing Grenoble to enter the limestone massif of the Vercors. There will be a lunch halt at the top of one of the more familiar cols before heading deep into the barren hills and tortuous lanes of the Drome and Vaucluse on roads that have probably only seen goats since the Monte last came this way. Three more regularities make up a challenging afternoon before you reach the supper halt near Gap, and a chance to have a breather and re-fuel before tackling the four hour night leg to Digne…

Leg Four: Gap to Digne-les-Bains
Wednesday 23rd November (Night)

Once night has fallen its action from the word “go!” as the night leg tackles the maze of mountain roads and lanes to the south of Gap. Two regularities in quick succession will kick off the nights proceedings followed by a string of timed to the minute sections designed to keep the pressure on. A brief stop for a caffeine shot in a lively village café precedes a final regularity on a Monte favourite before the rally enters the famous spa town of Digne-les-Bains for a welcome nights rest.

The Winter Challenge

Leg Five: Digne-les-Bains to Monte-Carlo
Thursday 24th November

Another 8am start means that you still should get a reasonable nights sleep before the final push to Monte-Carlo. There are just four regularities on offer this morning, but as Monte regulars will know, they are over some of the most testing rally roads anywhere in the world. By the time that you reach the top of the famous Col de Turini at about lunch time, you will be sick of hairpins! From there, it is a relaxed run down to the Mediterranean and the welcome sight of the finish on the famous harbour side at Monte Carlo. All that remains is to enjoy a drink at one of the waterside bars, watch the rest of the survivors arrive, and then get ready for the gala prizegiving that night. Who knows, if you’re lucky you might have some silverware to pick up!