In short: Tough but satisfying In full: My 2nd year running this race, and looking forward to the next! Not a p.b course by any means, but some lovely scenic veiws to be had! The first 6ish miles seem to keep going on up it seems for ever, but the last 4, are much easier on the legs until the last mile when you catch sight off the queens stand again, and you descend into the finish area! Changing facilities are top notch as well! Date of review: November 15, 2016
In short: Scenic, well organised low-key event, nice setting. In full: A reasonably scenic 1-lap course which is fairly challenging, with some hills in the first half and a fast finish. HQ at Epsom racecourse is great and Epsom & Ewell have clearly got the organisation down to a tee after many years running the event. Recommended. Date of review: November 14, 2016
In short: Even the '10k' felt brutal In full: This has to be one of, if not the toughest, amusing and most rewarding race you can do. Rob has to be congratulated on his super slick organisation, route, marshaling and amazing control over the weather, just perfect! Date of review: November 14, 2016
In short: Great atmosphere, really challenging off roader In full: Did it last year and came back for more. A fun, nicely eccentric event. The mud was slightly kinder this time; the gradients remain as brutal as ever. A cracker. Date of review: November 14, 2016
In short: A very enjoyable and rewarding challenge In full: I was previously unaware of this race but I will definitely be coming back. I thoroughly enjoyed it as it's a great off-road run in fabulous surroundings. Very well organised with loads of friendly marshalls at all key points on the course. Lots of sweeping downhills with some very testing uphills too and after the recent rain, lots of mud. Thanks to Ashford Tri for putting on a great open XC race that I will recommend. Date of review: November 14, 2016
In short: Thoroughly enjoyable, even the hills, and the best atmosphere of any race, ever In full: Lots of downhill, loads of uphill, amazing views, the friendliest marshals and runners ever, definitely one to do again and again. Date of review: November 14, 2016
In short: Could be a fabulous race with some improvements In full: We were lucky with the weather on this marathon, after a horrible soggy Saturday the sun came out on race day and it was fairly warm. The start was great - you could stay in the warm inside an event room in the hotel, there were plenty of loos and the baggage drop nice and efficient. Picking the event number and timing chip was nice and quick, although would have prefered to have this posted to me.
The promised catering truck did not turn up - the race director explained the poor chap had put his back out, hope is OK. However this wasn't communicated very well before hand to the runners. The pre-race email said the hotel was charging extortionate prices for food and drink - £4 for a coffee was quoted, yet I bought one from the hotel for £2.60. Not sure what is going on there. Luckily I had breakfast before I left for the race, but felt sorry for those runners who had to race 26.2 miles with an empty stomach.
The start was a short walk from the hotel across the road, where we observed a minutes silence (being remembrance Sunday). This was a very nice touch, thank you. There was also a short briefing from the race director, and around 100 runners started and crossed the timing mat.
There was a considerable amount of running on the footpath along the A20 - almost half the race I would say. Sorry to say I found this was just awful, as the vegetation had not been cut back by the council, and it was very easy to run into brambles and overhanging branches. Quite a few deep cuts and grazes, my hands and arms were pretty shredded by the end. Having the traffic thundering alongside you was not great and also lots of hidden trip hazards (kerbs etc covered by leaves). There was also a lot of leaves on the path and mud etc, which made it slippery underfood and caution required. The sections away the A20 were very nice though, although very hilly ("Hubbards Hill" in particular was very challenging!). My garmin told me there was 1,500 feet of elavation so this isn't really a PB chasers race. There were many sections of country lanes with BMWs, Range Rovers etc caning it along way too fast, forcing you to jump into the hedgerows to avoid being splatted. However there was some gorgeous scenery especially along the Pilgrims Way, and some nice villages to run through. I enjoyed those parts very much.
The marshalls out on the course were very friendly and very chatty - thank you so much to everyone who volunteered, it really lifted my spirits. I was not impressed though with the lack of food on the early checkpoints - one had run out of all food - this is not acceptable, and another said "oh, we haven't put the food out to avoid the half marathon runners nicking it". I was at the tail end of the marathon runners so they must have had a lot of food indeed left over! I don't see what the problem is, surely us runners at the back have paid the same entrance fee as the speed demons at the front, and so what if the half runners take the food - the field wasn't that big, so please just buy a bit more food! Luckily I bought some of my own food which kept me going for the first half, glad I didn't rely on the aid stations alone.
Some of the turns were not marshalled leading to a few moments of panic especially in the last six miles when going through the village - wondering if I had taken a wrong turning! I also went past an unmanned aid station at about mile 23 which was odd. I did see a couple of fast runners coming the other way complaining about having taken a wrong turn so it seems I wasn't the only one who was having navigation issues.
At the finish there was no timing clock, I though this a bit odd although I was handed a slip of paper with my time on it. And they had run out of medals, promising it would be in the post! The excuse given "more people had entered than we expected". Please order sufficient medals for everyone at the finish line. Sorry guys, I was not at all impressed at all with that, it was a massive let down after 26.2 miles. Yes it's only a medal, but it's a big deal to runners!
According to the entry list, over 100 people had entered yet less than 100 had finished. To be honest I felt let down, with what was quite a steep entry fee it seemed short cuts had been taken to save money, I didn't feel very well looked after. I appreciate all the efforts made by the organisers and hope the above feedback is taken in the spirit of improvement rather than criticism - with a few improvements this race could be made fantastic.
If the food on the aid stations could be sorted, and perhaps move the race date to a time of the year where the paths on the A20 were properly runnable, sort out the medal and catering situations, I'd consider doing this race again.
In short: An absolute beast, but enjoyable race In full: If you like your hills, muddy tracks, hills, great scenic views, hills and a medal that doubles up as a bottle opened, then this is the race for you. Very well organised, good marshals and plenty of facilities for the runners pre-race. Starters all sing the national anthem on the start line. Finishers all got a bottle of beer at the end, a carrot (as is tradition apparently), and plenty of snacks. Very good overall, did I mention the hills! Date of review: November 14, 2016
In short: Beautiful sandy muddy boggy mountainous run! In full: V difficult to describe briefly. Beautiful part of the world, and v well organised run. The hills are massive and keep on coming - but there are plenty of walkers at the back. The terrain keeps on changing which keeps everything interesting. The checkpoints are manned by fab cheery marshalls. The finish is low key but nearby café and pub were very welcoming! Am aching all over but can't wait for next year! Date of review: November 14, 2016
In short: Decent race in Kent - worth it as a late autumn marathon calendar spot In full: Quite enjoyed this - some nice countryside lanes to run in, in the heart of Kent.
Decent marshal support along the course, which was needed, as this can be a bit of a lonely race at times once the field spreads out from the start. If you like small scale marathons and largely having nature to yourself whilst running, this might be perfect for you, as there is some beautiful autumn scenery to behold. Although do note: does have a handful of difficult hills along the way, so probably not a personal best course if you're an experienced runner.
Other pluses: nice venue generally to start in within the Mercure Great Danes Hotel, if this continues - good changing facilities, and free shower facilities after a race are often lacking, so this was nice to see. Plus if you wanted a pint after to celebrate, or a (swanky) meal, they have this facility on site. Nice medal too.
Aspects I would want to improve on: seemed a strange absence of a basic timer clock at the finish, so not sure exactly what time I estimated I finished (I looked on the race website to see if results were posted evening of the race, but no cigar as yet). No race T shirt as part of the package, which is always nice, especially if this is one of the few marathons you ever intend to run.
Probably the biggest disappointment though was that the race advertising and past runner reviews give the impression that the hotel's pool, jacuzzi and sauna room have been part of the privileges post-race. This was not actually the case - you had to pay £10 each for the privilege.
All round, a fair experience for a run, and if you're local to this part of Kent, a fine one. Date of review: November 13, 2016
In short: Great HM In full: Great point to point HM. On the whole well organised eg coaches to the start worked well. Race started 5 mins late for some reason. Not a big deal but if it had been colder wouldn't have been good. At one of the drinks stations I got to there were cups and water but had to fill my own as all were empty. All the marshalls were friendly and encouraging. PB potential is low IMO because you get stuck behind groups of slower runners. Having said this there is much more to running and this half marathon than always chasing a PB. I'll be back next year. Date of review: November 13, 2016
In short: Perfect day for a fantastic race - we were a group of all abilities and the marshalls cheered every one of us home ! lovely friendly atmosphere and the event ran like clockwork. Thank you will be back next year! Date of review: November 13, 2016
In short: Good route but rubbish organisation In full: Good scenic flat fast route. But... Cycled to the race. No bike parking. No bag drop. Poor. Start delayed for second year running. Poor. No excuse for that. Warmed up ready to go and then find it's delayed. Start was very narrow and congested. Poor. Didn't effect me but could see the chaos at end with cars leaving getting in the way of runners. Was very dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. Beyond poor. Cotton T shirt only. Poor. Overall not a race worth bothering with. I've done countless events and this is by far the worst organised race I've seen. Date of review: November 13, 2016
In short: Very professionally organised In full: I have taken part in a number of running events organised by Purple Patch. I always have very good experience with them. They are very good and professional. The staff and marshals really look after us. I trust the brand. I know the running events organised by Purple Patch are of good standard and well managed. Thank you for looking after us runners !!! Date of review: November 13, 2016