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17th Mar2014

Surrey Spitfire Review 20 Mile (and Surrey Tempest 10 Mile) – 17th March 2014

by admin-runningmarathons

This was the second time I had found myself running the Surrey Spitfire 20 mile race, it is the ideal training race ahead of either the Brighton or London Marathons, the event is run by Events to Live who organise a number of local races, generally with great success.

Surrey Spitfire Review

The race starts at Dunsfold Aerodrome (home of the Top Gear driving track), which is quite an impressive backdrop to the first few miles of the race, it consists of two 10 mile laps, the course is pretty up and down, with a couple of medium sized hills thrown in for good measure.

My wife was running the Surrey Tempest, which is a 10 mile, one lap race on the same course.

The race starts at 09:30am, we arrived about an hour before, the event is well sign posted, there is plenty of car parking and lots of marshals to provide directions.

Numbers and timing chips are collected on the day, this was an easy process, although there was a pretty big queue of people registering on the day, must have been the nice weather!

There is also a big heated hanger with hot food, drinks and a few stalls, which is the ideal place to loiter both pre and post race, toilets are plentiful, although the queues close to the start of the race were pretty long, nice to see there was a urinal block for the gents, this had no queue at all.

It was clear at the start line that the bulk of the runners were doing the 20 mile Surrey Spitfire, I believe there were around 800 doing the 20 mile run and 2-300 doing the 10 mile race.

We were away at 09:30 sharp, the course takes the runners around the airfield for 2.5 miles, before heading out into the countryside, the entire course is on road/tarmac, as this was to be a pre-London training race, I was hoping to do it under 3 hours to put me on target for a sub four hour run at London.

With it happening to be the sunniest day of the year so far I wasn’t so sure if this would happen, many runners ended up with sunburn and other heat related problems.

I usually train listening to music, but there is a strict headphone ban, after the race results were published there were several runners who had been disqualified for wearing headphones, while I think this is unfair and people should be allowed to run with headphones, there are a few stretches of the course on the road with cars passing, so I can see why the organisers would enforce the rule.

I ended up going out a bit quick, I completed the first 10 miles in 1 hour 21 minutes and not long after the first lap I started to feel it, this meant I did the second 10 miles 10 minutes slower than the first section and finished in 2 hours 50 minutes, overall I was very happy with the time but I would have preferred a more steady, measured run, I am not a big fan of hills, so these didn’t really help either.

My wife completed the 10 miles in a respectable 1 hour 39 minutes and ended up with a pretty decent suntan as well as a very nice medal.


The medal for both the Spitfire and Tempest are among the best I have seen, there are also plenty of water stations, with gels and jelly babies, although the water is in small plastic cups, which means most of it ends up down your front instead of your mouth.

Overall, this is a really good event, in a nice setting with a decent sized field of runners, if you are training for a spring marathon, this is the ideal run to have on your training schedule.

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