In short: Tough but rewarding race! In full: After much nagging from my fell running friend I thought I'd give this a go. The first 6 miles were a brutal uphill slog, but luckily the weather was kind and it wasn't as hot as I thought it would be. The feeling of cresting the last hill was brilliant so much so I actually went "Whee" as I started the decent back down to Marsden! Managed not to get passed all the way back and actually caught one runner about a mile from the finish. Add to that a top 40 finish and a PB of 1.16.35 and all in all a great day. Thanks to the Colne Valley Lions for the nice and much needed refreshments at the end. Well worth visit next year! Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: Excellent in every aspect . Many thanks In full: Well organised, very well marshalled (number, safety and friendliness), course a good mixture of road (with road shut where necessary) and well surfaced track, good facilties etc etc Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: A well organised race. Well done to Mark and his team! In full: I liked the new route because it cut out some of the hills. I enjoyed running along carless roads and through the country lanes. Most of the marshalling was really enthusiastic and I liked the frequent drinks stations. I actually enjoyed the day! Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: Tough race not PB materal - more of a scenic challenge In full: Tough climbs in the first 4 miles. Plenty of water stations. Well organised and marshalled. Excellent value for money. Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: description says undulating..... reality is there was some steep hills :D In full: was really nice run but was definately not undulating, though saying that I suppose it is for Ashbourne lol really enjoyed it and will be back next year to tackle the hills Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: The hardest half marathon in the south In full: The second time I have done this half . It's my slowest half but my favourite due to the views , the terrain and the challenge . 15 mins faster this year , made sure I included plenty of hill training this time . Would recommend this half to anyone . Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: Beautiful scenery: meadows, woods, lovely cottages! In full: A great race. I found registration confusing at first, and at the first fork it was unclear which way to go (stewards need to stand in the wrong path, stopping people going there) but the rest of the race was great: beautiful Dorset scenery, helpful stewards. A great family event with several races going on. Date of review: June 9, 2013
In full: This was my first St Albans Half Marathon. Its a new route this year. I didnt like the starting leg from through the park. It was too narrow and bottle necked easily. Please make it wider next year. Also please organise the starting pens. Some very slow runners positioned themselves near the front of the start. This caused a little chaos at the bottle neck. On the plus side this was an otherwise a well put together event. Ok Medal, decent marshalling, good countryside views and an ice lolly at the end. Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: Soul to Sole....A day in rural Hickling is beneficial in more ways than one! In full: On a fair weather day (which we were blessed with in 2013), you can't beat a day out here. It's a good number of years since I ran the longer distance here (it used to be around 8 miles), so gave it a go again and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not too big a field, so it never got crowded on the canal towpath, yet I never felt isolated either. It is a pancake flat course, so if you're after a PB it's a good one to do...but, they're 'country miles', so bear that in mind. Majority of the route is along the canal towpath, and you return the same way as you set out, but with a loop built into the route which means that you don't see the leaders coming back at you and therefore potential collisions (and tumbles into the canal!!), are avoided. The Swans were keeping themselves to the water today, so no bother there (though I do re-call them, as others have duly noted, being a bit menacing back in the 8-miler days!).
Being rural, the Canal is flanked by fields and trees, so it's all pretty pleasant...just mind your head on the low bridge! Marshalls were cheery and enough of them in the right places, and as befits a race held alongside a Country Fair, a bottle of beer awaited finishers in the goody bag at the end.
It was nice to spend some time enjoying the attractions of the fair after the race and Especially not to be missed were the Dako Flying Angels male Gymnastics Display Team...these guys are good!
All in all, good to quit the Urban Rat Race for a few hours and run on a quiet, mainly traffic-free course.
Just one more point to mention...winners take all here, ie, if a vet comes in the top 3, they take away main prize plus category prize, so that might be a bone of contention for some.
In short: Very tough in places, but great value, friendly and gorgeous! In full: I ran this for the first time this year after entering at the last minute and had a great time! First time ever running on trails, but great fun, gorgeous race, well organised, friendly runners and fantastic marshals. Very good value for money and although I'm returning after injury, I look forward to coming back next year! Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: Nice course and something different. Shame about the price. In full: First time running this (and only second ever race) so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The course is nice and relatively flat with gentle gradients rather than any steep hills so is pleasant and comfortable to run. It's a 3 lap course which was nice as I could use the first lap to assess the course and learn where the uphill sections were, ready to speed up on the next 2 laps. I also particularly appreciate the water stations as they were available each time you went round on a lap. It was well organised and even had some jazzercise for warmups! I also have to commend them for getting the results and timings posted online the same day as the race.
On the downsides, it's not cheap. I know a big chunk of that covers the actual zoo entrance fee but it still seems pricey as the race itself is really just for the novelty factor of running it in the zoo. The goody bag was a letdown as well with a snack bar, bottle of water and adverts from the sponsors. For this sort of cost I would have expected some form of T-Shirt as well.
Luckily I was coming from local and it was just me, so I was able to keep the cost down but bring a few spectators and it soon mounts up.
I would be tempted to do it again next year as it is local for me and a nice course that I enjoyed, but it will all depend on the cost (or an increase in goody bag quality). Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: Brilliant support and marshalling, closed roads throughout and pleasant scenery In full: A much bigger race than I expected - c. 3300 entrants - and a little congestion at the start but soon thinned out. Was positively surprised that we ran on closed roads throughout, water stations virtually every mile and a huge number of marshalls, helpers and supporters. Generous goody bag too. Thanks to the organisers. Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: Well organised local race In full: A very well organised race over a gently undulating and certified accurately measured course. Marshals were efficient and enthusiastic but the finishing medal was erm, a bit crap. The cakes though were excellent!!! Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: Ignoring the cost, a different and fun race In full: Positives - well what other race do you run past a herd of somewhat bemused looking Rhino's? A fast flat(ish) course, great organisation, a 3 lap course which was great for spectators, and lots of vocal support from officials.
Negatives - cost. Yes it includes admission to the zoo and it was clear that I was far from alone in making this a family day out but even so almost £30 is an awful lot for a 10km. I know if you subtract the admission it's not bad at all, but it still feels a lot. The goodybag was a battle of water, a cereal bar and a load of flyers for sponsors which is hardly inspiring.
The positives did massively outweigh the sole negative, but it's not an event I envisage doing regularly if ever again. Date of review: June 9, 2013