The Bristol Bridges Marathon

The Bristol Bridges Marathon

At the beginning of April, I turn the grand old age of 30.  I had annual leave left over due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, so I took the week off.  It had been over a year since I last run and organised event and a couple months since I had gotten some serious mileage under my feet.

I am always keeping an eye out for local challenges or runs that are long, interesting, or just a bit weird.  The Bristol Bridges ticked all the boxes.

The Bristol Bridges route was devised in 2013 by Dr Thilo Gross, from the Department of Engineering Mathematics of Bristol University.  It was in answer to the Königsberg bridge problem.   The Königsberg bridge problem is a 300 hundred old puzzle which asked if it was possible to find a path over every one of seven bridges that span a forked river flowing past an island—but without crossing any bridge twice.

The Final Bridge which returns to Castle Park.

As it transpired, this was not possible in Königsberg but it is in Bristol. Bristol has 45 bridges that span the main waterways which can be crossed on foot.  The route crosses each of these bridges without crossing the same bridge twice and covers a distance of 45 km (28 miles) in the process. 

As soon as I heard about this run, it was high on my to do list, so as I had some free time with no agenda, this was put in the calendar.

The route is circular, and it starts and finishes in Castle Park.  I would say that the beginning of the route is a bit confusing as there are many small streets and passageways in the centre of the city.  There are a couple less enjoyable sections which are on the busier road bridges but overall, the route was brilliant.  I have been living in Bristol for many years and it took me into interesting corners of the city that I had not seen before as well as enjoying some pleasant trails through Leigh Woods and along the River Avon.

Running through the spring blossom along the River Avon

By the end of the route my legs were feeling heavy, so I got an espresso from a small vendor near Bristol Harbour side which saw me through.  That is one benefit to not running remote races in the mountains.  Having a good caffeine hit I crossed the “finish line” in 5 and a half hours.  Considering this included a coffee break and an extra 4 km of navigational errors, I am pretty pleased with my time even though speed was never the objective.

Enjoying my espresso, with my coat on to keep warm
Banksy’s famous “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” which is passed along the trail

I highly recommend giving the route a go, it was a lot of fun and through the Bristol Bridge Society, I can now get a lucrative, limited edition badge.  What more do you want?

For a more accurate GPX file and further information on the Bristol Bridges, visit the Bristol Bridge Society page here.

I am on the look out for what to do next, if you have any suggestions, write into the comments below.

Feeling pretty done in as I sat on the fall by a wall in Castle Park

Happy adventuring.

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