The Cotswold Marathon is an overnight winter hike around Gloucester and the Cotswold hills for Scouts and Guides. The event requires a level of fitness, determination and stamina to negotiate the course, carrying full kit so that walkers are prepared for whatever the weather throws at them. Longlevens Guides start training from December until the event in February so that everyone has some knowledge of the route and what they are letting themselves in for.
The event is run by Gloucester District Scouts and has three Girlguiding members on the organising team. It takes a lot of organising, and has many volunteers from Scouting and Girlguiding ensuring that it is run safely. The team meet regularly throughout the year to update the event and its operating procedures - and of course the Risk Assessment, which is very comprehensive!
Longlevens District has been a part of this since 1995: initially entering adult teams to walk the Gold route; then from 2000 we have had our young members walking the Silver and Bronze routes. Leaders from 21st Gloucester Guides are part of the organising team.
This 50th year we had a Bronze, Silver and Gold team enter. We were also joined by a team from 1st Birdlip and Witcombe Guides.
Here are some quotes from our teams of their experience of the event:
Beth - Age 14. 21st Gloucester Guides
“I am really proud of myself and my team for completing the Cotswold Marathon 2023. I had entered the silver route in 2022 and had to pull out after about 12 miles due to injury. This year I was determined to complete the 20 mile course. I enjoyed training and the main event and now after some rest I am thinking about doing the 30 mile route in 2024”.
Sophie - Age 13. 21st Gloucester Guides
“This was the 2nd time of doing the Cotswold Marathon. Last year I completed 10 miles and was proud of myself for beating one of my friends walking time( all friendly banter ). This year I completed the 20 mile route as part of a team, when we checked in at our last check point, I was tired but very happy and proud of us as a team for completing the route. This year was very good weather wise, but mud adds to the excitement. I will definitely be competing in the 20 mile route again next year, and then knows who how far I will go after that!!”
Sophia - Age 12. 5th Gloucester Guides
“A brilliant experience and would definitely recommend. Everyone was so nice and the checkpoints were lovely! Can’t wait for 20 and 30 miles!”
Lexi and Lucy age 12 5th Gloucester Guides
“A great experience- highly recommend, can’t wait to do 20 and 30 miles!”
Becky – Leader. 21st Gloucester Guides
“I've walked various routes of the Cotswold Marathon for over 20 years now, first as a Guide, aged 13 and now as a leader. This year was one of the best we've had weather wise, I didn't touch my coat, hat or gloves the whole night and there was very little mud! My proudest achievement is getting a team of my own Guides through the gold, 30 mile route and seeing them win the lasses trophy. I've used my experiences of the event in job interviews to demonstrate perseverance, leadership and usually when they ask me what the hardest thing I've ever done is!”
Viv – Leader. 21st Gloucester Guides
“For me the Cotswold Marathon is an important part of my Guiding calendar. I started walking with a team of three 13 year olds in 2000 and have been training and walking every year since. Becky was one of those first 13 year olds! I’ve lost count of how many Guides, Rangers/Young Leaders we have trained and walked with over the years. But many are still Guiding. We receive messages every year wishing us luck from ex Guides and leaders who clearly remember their own experience of the Cotswold Marathon. We have held promise ceremonies at 3am at a checkpoint in the past and this year we presented 2 Gold awards to members of the Silver team. The Marathon was their Gold award Challenge. The third team member has just a few more UMA minutes to do.”
Each walker gets a badge and if you complete the route, a medal. There are trophies to won too and we have won a few over the years. Each trophy winner gets a stone walking boot to keep too, these are very precious.
If you want to join us in 2024, visit the Cotswold Marathon Website.