In short: Another fantastic event from White Star running! In full: A fantastic event from White Star running. Andy and his team do a fantastic job, very well organised, fab routes and views. Generous amount of goodies and awesome bling as always. Next up is the Giants Head Marathon. Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Muddy hilly fun In full: Fantastic race which is superbly well organised. The signs were excellent and I knew the sweepers were behind me so I focussed on keeping it like that. I also had an emergency number in my mobile to call in case of difficulty. This was such a friendly race, I ran with some people I met en route. I knew that if I was slowing down too much there were sweepers in the run to encourage me onwards. Thankfully I didn't meet them (nothing personal sweepers but I should have been faster). Aid stations were exactly as we were told and well stocked and friendly. The love station turned me from contemplating dnf to carrying on running feeling pretty good. There were also funny signs at points which made me laugh and took my mind off my aching calves. White star are super friendly and have a relaxed and welcoming feel. Don't be fooled though: they are slick and professional in the provision of routes, info, Marshalls, nice food, plenty of water, and even naughtier alternatives at the Love Station. When my legs recover and I want to slide around on muddy hilks, I'll be choosing Whitestar, no questions. For newer runners there was also a presentation of a certificate to Katie who completed her first marathon as well as to the winners. Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Another Hard as nails but awesome WSR event In full: My 3rd White Star Running half and the hardest so far.... But hard is good, it makes the massive medal and tech shirt well deserved. Regular, well stocked aid and love stations friendly organisers and marshals, scenery to die on...err I mean for! If you love mud, hills, cider and running, this is the event for you. Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: A serious risk to health In full: I’ve not posted on this site for around a decade or so and this time I have waited a few days to comment and largely agree with everything written. This was my 82nd half marathon and the best thing I can say is that it ranks in the top 82. Having run the Down Tow Up Flow HM which uses the same stretch of towpath as the first 10k of this race, I know there is an organisation, Purple Patch Running, who DO restrict entries to I think a few hundred for the very reason this is a difficult, narrow trail. To have 2500 runners on it is completely negligent. I run this route several times a year too, and was worried for everyone beforehand as I know what it is like. I don’t know how any organisers thought they could pull it off with so many runners. I am still waiting for the organisers to respond to me to confirm if I have or have not won anything for being first Vet – they didn’t know on the day if they were giving prizes for this (amazingly) but I guess are currently wading through everyone’s complaints before they reply to me. I am one of the lucky ones to be up front away from the melee, but still felt for everyone behind me. I cringed when I piled towards a few walkers and mountain bikers and thought ‘you guy are going to get hit in a minute when the other 1500 half marathoners arrive!’ I have also never paid such a price to enter and still had to buy a banana at the end! The biggest issue though is the weather with the lack of nutrition provided on route. On a day like 2 weeks before when it hit almost 30c we could have had serious issues with health here. F3 are lucky it wasn’t super-hot otherwise there could have been some even bigger problems with dehydration, exacerbated by the limited access points to the route for medics. This MUST be solved for next year if it goes ahead again otherwise I am with everyone else, enter at your own risk, it is very dangerous.
In short: If you want beautiful scenery, challenging hills and a party atmosphere, this is for you. In full: I have two reasons for being moved to write this review. Firstly, to rave about the awesome run I did on Sunday, the Ox full marathon. Absolutely stunning scenery. Bit miffed at Mother Nature for making it rain all day Saturday, leaving the course muddy, but as though she was being apologetic, where there was mud, there were views. Even the most evil of evil hills was wrapped beautifully in a blanket of flowers.
As always with White Star, the organisation was seamless. Everyone sets off smiling into the unknown, knowing the crew have spent days checking and mapping out the course, updating runners via email and Facebook and making sure everyone is catered for. The atmosphere is always friendly, it would be easy to see everyone and forget thet are running 10k, half, full and Ultra marathons. These races are tough, no getting away from that, but people always go back for more.
Now my second reason. I feel I must respond to the review left by mankelford. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and that is exactly what reviews are for. A lot of races are marmite in their opinion dividing. There are many races I hate, but generally because I've had a bad day, not because of bad organisation.
WSR are seamless professionals when it comes to race organising. From the moment you click enter, you become one of the family, and are looked after accordingly.if you don't believe me ask anyone who has done one, and have a look at their awards (not hard to see, always posting them, showing off!).
My first point is the "lack" of aid stations. 3 on the half. I have done a few halves, and around 5k is standard on a road race. Off road however there are no rules. 3 aid stations on a half is very unusual! And marshals, there were many where they needed to be, well spaced out all with radios. I'm not sure how many off road events mankelford has done, but I have done many off road events where you wouldn't see a Marshall at all!! And I am talking marathon distance, not half.Take an LDWA event for instance, given a couple of sheets of A4 with not great directions,unmarshalled and 3 checkpoints. For 26, miles (which is always 28 because I always get lost)!! Lapped events, I have done many. One checkpoint, no marshalls on course, a 6 mile lap thats a long way between water and a long way without assistance should you have a heart attack.Many ultras are the same, self nav,CP every 10 miles.
I wonder when going out for a 10 mile run from home if we all think of who will catch us when we fall? Through woods and fields? If this is something that concerns you, and it is a consideration, run with a phone, some ID, a friend.
My point here is this, if you want marshalls at every turn, water stations every couple of miles and protection from the unpredictability of life, then I don't think off road is for you.
If you want a course that will challenge you both physically and mentally, an event crew that meticulously plan every race, who are out on the course days before, Think about how people will eat, sleep. Look after every single runner from beginning to end, then choose White Star.
Thankyou for another amazing weekend. As usual, we will be back for more.
Seriously though guys, flatten some of those hills!! Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Fantastic race with stunning scenery and superb atmosphere In full: This race was excellent from beginning to end. Pre race instructions and briefing ensured you knew exactly where to go, and the amount of aid stations, water, and support were excellent. The route took you through some exceptional countryside with the most stunning picturesque views, and the marshals were always happy, smiling and friendly. Lovestation was out of this world and brought a big smile to my face.Only thing I could fault was the weather, but they even managed to change that around so I picked up some sunburn. They are good these organisers !! Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Tough but brilliant In full: This was my first ultra, and I loved it! I was very slow, but the marshals were as cheerful and kind as I could have wished, at the end the organiser took time to shake my hand and present me with the medal and tshirt even though I was practically last. It was a hard slog, but it was beautiful, and being directionally challenged I was relieved to find it was practically impossible to get lost! Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Super Duper despite those pesky Whiltshire HILLS In full: My 1st WSR event, I found the organization superb. I read the prerace instructions and watched some of the videos provided by the organizers even with humorous commentary. I did the Ultra, it was light hearted and fun the whole way round. The aid stations were a plenty, I was wearing an Ultra vest so didn’t need all the stops. All the marshal’s were jovial and happy despite being out in some testing conditions sun then rain and then sun again followed with a bit of rain! The course was well sign posted but I have to admit I lost my way at around 30ish miles my fault for being blonde and following the person infront of me rather than poor signage (Yes there was a sign but I was temporarily blinded with pain also known as being blonde!)
The aid station was accompanied with ‘The man in the Kilt’ who was very encouraging and gave an honest run down of what lay ahead on the rest of the course. The ‘Love Station’ hid well the down side of long distance rural running whereby the marshal’s had a good look at you to check that you were all good to continue, they masked this serious issue with good humor and interacting with you.
The scenery was second to none. If you don’t’ like mud or puddles do not apply. If you don’t like hills don’t not apply and with equal measure if you are a road junkie this is not the event for you. Now I must confess I am a part converted road junkie and this was a baptism of fire (sporting my lovely lightweight Adidas tempo8’s), I slipped and skidded my way round the 36ish miles sometimes with humor but on more than a few occasions a few huffs and chuffs spilled forth. Retrospectively I absolutely loved this event, it found me found big time and I respect it for that but most of all I look back at it and smile.
If you fancy something different, give this a go! I’ll be back for some more next year.
In short: A tough choice for a first Marathon... In full: I chose the Worcester for my first marathon mainly because it coincided with my training program. Boy do I wish I'd gone for a less hilly route! I made it round in 4:41:39 but there was some walking at the end and more than once I wished I had more company on the second loop to chivvy me along (once the half-marathoners had peeled off it felt like it was just me and a couple other blokes!).
Having said that, the volunteers were very friendly and the low-key nature of the race was quite charming. The views around the countryside outside Worcester were phenomenal, and more than once I wished I was cycling rather than running (and it is a popular cycle route).
The course, no matter what you've heard, is hilly. The second half of the loop is especially difficult, with what seems like an endless amount of up the second time round the lap. If like me you loose it around the 21 mile mark then there's little opportunity to regain it without giving your legs and heart a serious talking to. My watch clocked around 300m ascent.
I did have some friendly help though from a passing veteran who talked me into a jog for a km or so. The local runners were very friendly and concerned and there was some lovely (if sparse) support around the route. I was especially grateful for a "spray" from a cheery youngster with a garden hose.
The organisation was generally good, although I felt the water stations were too far apart, and when I got to the one around mile 22 and was told there was no more water left, just a sticky isotonic drink that did not satiate me I could have cried.
The finish was nicely organised but there was practically noone there when I got in, and the pictures reflect that.
My one disappointment I guess was that the medal and t-shirt were generic and had "worcester half and full marathon" on them - presumably the half-marathoners get the same reward. I felt I worked bloody hard for my medal and ideally it should reflect that. T-shirt is a reasonable technical Tee with again full and half.
However, that's what I get for my choice of marathon I think - next time I'll go for a big one! For a home-spun event it was a good one and felt very communal. Maybe more of a choice for more experienced runners. Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Fantastic! In full: Fantastic race, route, organisation, food, cider, cake and lots of aid stations and water. Cannot believe somebody has left a bad review of this event - but then again looking at their profile they have moaned about every race that they have done! Should stick to running on a treadmill and star at a wall! THis is a gem of a race and we will be back next year!!
In short: I ended up going the wrong way twice, once down someones drive In full: Could have done with clearer directions at some points and much more water. Was a bit chaotic at points with people going in different directions. Bottles of water wd be better instead of cups as you enbd up losing half the water with the cups. Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Favourite race - gorgeous route, well organised, friendly and fun In full: Gorgeous countryside route with loads of marshals - I managed a PB but not sure how as it's certainly not flat! Really enjoyed the friendly village feel and the BBQ tent at the end. The chip timing with ability to immediately see and print your time was a nice bonus. Date of review: May 23, 2016
In short: Beautiful Course, lots of negatives though In full: A lot of reviews already on this race, but helpful to add another as its always good when researching new races to attend.
Positives: The course, Chip timing and print out at the finish line, medal engraving on spot (optional charge), Easy parking due to a last minute notice of £5 parking at Windsor Boys school. The medal was substantial and attractive. Free High 5 gels along the course at 3 water stations.
The negatives: Poor communication (after signing up we received no other emails until the week of the event) Queues galore - which meant we ended up returning to our car to drop bags instead of waiting in the VERY long q and paying £5 per bag. Due to the Qs we started at 9.10am and nearly got caught up in the 10K start. Although as we were so late starting we didn't experience the congestion like other runners have said - at times we really felt we were 'on our own' which was nice as running with friends, but might put off someone running on their own in their first event. Water stations inadequate - a couple of them ran out and we were spared of thirst by a local resident who filled a bucket with a hose pipe. On a hot day this is inexcusable. Sparse marshalling - we used common sense in places and kept to the river line (there were times when we thought, should we keep going or turn right/left) Course measured long on my garmin: 13.34 (I think a few others found this too) No goody bag just a tiny bottle of water and a medal
This event has so potential and I really dislike writing negative reviews. My enjoyment of the day was marred but feel that if the organisers could just up their game on the organising and improve it that would be good.
I would love to do it again as the course was one of best halfs I've done. But unless a serious improvement I am not sure I'#d pay £30 to run again. Maybe just train in the area instead on a 'day visit' to make the most of the scenery. Date of review: May 23, 2016
In short: A gem of a race In full: Beautiful scenery (it's the first time I have had to give way to deer!), an undulating trail course (a mix of cycle paths, gravel and lightly wooded earth/grass)and a village fete atmosphere, what's not to like about this race? Whilst it is low key compared to road races, it has everything you would expect of a bigger race (chip timing, photos, video of the start) but many things you don't usually get with larger events (such as free parking at the start and finishers sitting around on the grass post-finish, ready to cheer on later finishers such as myself). Plenty of aid stations, with water. jelly babies and bananas (cut up for easy eating). Marshalls and aid station volunteers were enthusiastic and encouraging. The only minor gripe was lack of route flags around the 22 mile mark - I did go slightly wrong, but luckily another runner put me right. I loved the goody bag - a Mars bar (which was cold despite the heat!), an event buff, a pen, running magazines, an event water bottle and a lovely medal. I debated whether to wear road or trail shoes, but given the dry course (there had been little rain the days before) I found road shoes were perfect; if it had been raining trail shoes would have been advisable. OK, only 2 portaloos, but the organisers had provided a jar of 20p to use in the main toilets to ease the queues (and to be fair, the toilet queues were not as long as many other events I've done). I note that some runners had problems with cyclists - I didn't experience this, and in fact received a few encouraging comments from them, which was totally unexpected. This race definitely is on next year's 'must do again' marathon list. Date of review: May 23, 2016
In short: Dull, ugly, and crowded In full: This is the only Great Manchester Run event entry I could find, so I'll leave my comments and rating here.
I like to do the big races, and I think I have pretty much done all the big UK races. I like the buzz of a big race, but often they are over crowded and held on non-scenic dual carriageways. This race was typical.So crowded I found it impossible to get into a rhythm as every few yards I had to either slow down, or step sideways to avoid slow moving runners who over-estimated their speed, and started too far forward. This happened for the full 10K. Crowd support was minimal. One of the most poorly supported races I have encountered. To be fair to the folks in Manchester, as the bulk of the race was held on a largely inaccessible and ugly dual carriageway, there was little opportunity for spectators. The best support was right at the end during the last 500 metres. And this was the first time someone called out my name. It was odd because I was just thinking that I have run for eight years in my named top and this was the very first time nobody at all had called out my name when some folks did. I think I had five people calling out my name in the last 500 metres.
Anyway, that's Europe's largest 10K out of the way. Job done. What's next..... Date of review: May 23, 2016
In short: Fantastic first effort! In full: A very well planned race. The course was lovely. I even enjoyed the hilly fifth mile! The marshals were friendly and there was loads of support from the locals. I hope this will become a regular event. Date of review: May 23, 2016