In short: A well organised multi terrain race In full: The second running of the NF Forest Marathon at its new venue. I collected my race pack and parking ticket the Friday before, which obviated the need to arrive ridiculously early on the day.
The Organisers had listened to last years constructive comments and changed the course to include more off road, and improved the signage, which was a bit iffy, or non existent in place last year. Energy drinks were an improvement over messy gels which are difficult to open, sticky, and get thrown on the ground, spoiling the forest. The Marshalls were helpful and encouraging and the water stations were well staffed by enthusiastic helpers. There was lots of encouragement from spectators enjoying the sunshine, which helped to keep us all going.
I will definitely do the marathon again next year, all being well. Date of review: September 15, 2016
In short: Hard going but fantastic scenery In full: Yes there are Hills but fortunately not all the way. Lovely course, very well signposted. Excellent fuel stops along the way. Would definitely recommend. Date of review: September 15, 2016
In short: Great atmosphere, well organised In full: This was the best organised and supported race I have done this year. The course has some gentle hills but is generally quick. The levels of support from the marshals and the locals was very impressive. There was constantly marshals on bikes running the course to check for issues, plenty of drinks/snack stops and a great finish on the sports field. I also found the goody bag to be rather generous with numerous treats/samples and a rather good t shirt. Well done to all those involved. Date of review: September 14, 2016
In short: Ironed out the logistics from last year to make a fantastic race In full: My third time at the New Forest Half - last year the traffic gridlock beforehand was a problem, but all the issues had been ironed out this year. The course was also tweaked to add more forest trails and the atmosphere was wonderful. Definitely one of the best events on the regional calendar now. Date of review: September 14, 2016
In short: A gem In full: My first trail marathon and only really entered as it was local to me and I needed a long training run. Turns out I found a gem of a race. Agree with all other comments. Particular stand-out was the frequency and friendliness of the marshals and feed stations. You always came across one before you needed it which was a great encouragement. See you next year. Date of review: September 14, 2016
In short: Beautifully organised scenic marathon In full: This was my first marathon in over two years. My fitness levels were not great. I chose this one because I have wanted to do it since it started. There is an eight hour cut off, so walking it is also an option. Fancy dress is encouraged as the organisers want this to become the 'fun' event to do. This is also reflected in the fifteen feed stations where all but two of the feed stations provide wine to taste as well as having live music playing at a number of them. So there is no pressure to run fast. The start and finish is at Denbies Wine Estate just outside Dorking in Surrey, the biggest in England. The majority of runners were in fancy dress. We were started by the countdown from thunderbirds by the DJ. The marathon is two laps, there is also a half marathon and fun run, these are set off 30 and 45 minutes later. The course is undulating with one hill that lasts for just over a mile, but the views are worth it. Some of the feed stations were in fancy dress and the marshals etc were fantastic and very encouraging, all helping towards the great atmosphere. The last mike and a half was all down hill and if you had any energy left you could have one of your fastest miles! At the finish my name was broadcasted over the tanoy and my hand was shakedown as well as a hug from one or two ladies. A glorious medal was hung round my neck and a tach top given to me. I had tea, fruit and cake, followed by a ten minute massage and then received a becks beer and hog roast BBQ. All in all a great marathon to do. My thanks to ETL team and all the helpers. Date of review: September 14, 2016
In short: Love love loved it!! In full: A beautiful route with such a variety of scenery from canal locks to llamas to churches. The marshals were the friendliest I've come across and the aid stations a-plenty. Great bespoke medal and t shirt too. I will definitely be back again! Date of review: September 14, 2016
In short: A real variable, challenge. Never boring.Great scenery. In full: 250 marshals! Great signage. Lots of water and feed stations. Once I've forgotten the aches from this year, it will be on my serious consideration list.
A suitably sadistic Race Director to take you up a hill, round a ruined church, St. Catherine's, and then past the same marshal you passed 10 minutes earlier, just to make the distance "right"! Date of review: September 13, 2016
In short: Great atmosphere for runners and spectators alike In full: Second time around for me at this one and even better than 2015. Running round the local streets is never going to be scenic and the revised route is still a bit clumsy in places, but the atmosphere is great. Starting and finishing in the museum makes for a great day out, especially for any friends and family who come along to support. Highly recommended. Date of review: September 13, 2016
In short: Fabulous and fun marathon In full: The wholeevent was wonderful and we all hada great day out in the countryside bathed in glorious sunshine. The aid stations every couple of miles were superbly run and well stocked, with great wine tating opportunities! The volunteers and marshalls were brilliant and made the event special. Will be back. Date of review: September 13, 2016
In short: A marathon of two halves. In full: This was my first New Forest Marathon, and it will also be my last due to a few niggly issues. I will deal with these first as there were many good points as well. My main gripe would be the signage. There were many occasions on the marathon course where it was not easy to find the way. With the small marathon field we were spread out quite early on and I, as a back marker, found myself running alone quite often. Towards the ends, around about 23 miles I even took a wrong turn, following a small group ahead of me, I realised I had gone wrong and had to use my phones to look up the route map to work out where to go - this should not happen. (I have no idea where the group ahead of me went, perhaps they are still lost?). Whilst most of the marshals were lovely and smiled and encouraged us as we passed there were a fair few who seemed disinterested in those of us slower runners/walkers. At one point I was virtually next to a marshal before he pointed me in the correct direction, he was too busy talking to people walking by. He appeared to be giving them directions, which is fair enough, but as I tired runner, I should have been his priority. Water in cups. I know bottles cost more money, but they are so much easier to use. My partner, who finished in the top 10 was reduced to a standstill at the water stations, not something the fast paced runners want to be doing. The 'gel' drinks were very weak. We had been expecting actual 'gels' not a diluted mix. I am glad I had a couple with me. There should also have been clear signage telling us which side of the road to run on as often I would start on one side and then the runners ahead of me were crossing over, leaving me in a dangerous position because oncoming cars may have been paying more attention to the other runners. But... The race village was excellent, with lots to keep people entertained whilst they were there. Registration was well organised, we picked up our number/chip with no issues first thing in the morning. We had headed the organisers plea to arrive early and were able to pack close to the race village. The scenery was, of course, lovely. There cannot be many UK races where you may have to stop to let a pony and her foal walk across in front of you! Neither of us want to do the full marathon again, but will more than likely sign up for the half, as the course does not include long sections on open roads. Despite my gripes about the marathon we did come away with good memories. Date of review: September 13, 2016
In short: Iconic but harder than I thought it would be. In full: How often do you get to run across an iconic monument like the Severn Bridge? That is the main appeal of this race - doing just that. Twice, in fact. However with the bridge being just over two miles long, it's worth remembering you have other parts to run to make up the 13.1. Luckily the rest of the race - if not as spectacular - is interesting enough to make this a special race. I mean, it's not often you get to run in two countries on the same day. I've noticed a few complaints about the mega hill at mile 11. If you're worried about tough hills, check the route before you enter. It was bloody tough, especially with the temperature in the mid-20s. It maybe wash't a pb course, but if you ran the first half quickly there were enough minutes spare to allow the much harder second half a bit more respect. Loved it, generally speaking, and very well organised. Date of review: September 13, 2016
In short: Brilliant fun - stunning location and amazing idea getting better each year In full: This is a brilliant race. The weather was perfect this year! Superb water (wine / cake / crisps / sausages / cheese / lemonade / bags of sweets!!!) stops, great entertainment and the scenery did the rest. Nice downhill finish. Great if you don't take yourself too seriously!! Brilliant, thank you Events to Live! Date of review: September 12, 2016
In short: Wow, just wow In full: It was a very last minute thing me doing this half marathon, I found out the Friday before that I had won a competition so it was a mad dash, 6:00am start, two hour drive down to the New Forest and it was worth every minute of my sacrificed lay in.
The welcome at the registration tent was wonderful, the tshirt pre-race was something different, as were the Garmin sweat bands. The wonderfully cheerful lady also handed my two sons sweat bands to make them feel part of the day.
After a little walk around seeing what the local businesses had to offer, I made my way to the group work out where I got a nice shout out and round of applause for winning the competition, then we made our way to the start line.
The loud horn sounded and I set off at a quick pace, getting covered in mud from the puddles and the woman in front of me who also forgot to put her mud guards on her shorts.
The course was without doubt the most beautiful place I have run in. The scenery was gorgeous: huge redwood trees, rivers and streams galore, beautiful trails and smiling marshals. The atmosphere around the race itself was quiet and tranquil, but there were some pockets of support around the course which was lovely.
Towards the end of the race, we entered an open part of the race and I saw a group of beautiful wild horses galloping around... and then crossing the road in front of all of us! There's a joke about a zebra crossing in there somewhere....
We got back into the forest for the last couple of miles and running parellel with the pathway were more wild horses. It was a surreal experience and one I will honestly remember for the rest of my life, like something out of a film. Watching these majestic animals just inspired you to run quicker... until they crossed the pathway again and held up the race for a couple of seconds. Noone minded though, it was beautfiul witnessing them.
We left the forest and made our way back to the race village, one final outer loop of the field and I crossed the finish line in 1:27:03 and came 41st overall.
What a race, I absolutely loved it and my only regret was that I never did the 26.2. But saying that, I will be there in 2017 taking part.
After getting my race medal and goody bag, I mingled with all the other runners and watched the fantastic live band playing. If it wasn't for the early start the next morning, I would have stayed all day enjoying the party.
Thank you New Forest, can't say enough how amazing it was. Date of review: September 12, 2016
In short: lovely event organisation and amazing marshals In full: I have to say this race is quite a gem and so nice to find a brilliant super friendly trail marathon that is so well organised to look after the runners its a positive delight to be taking part ! I look forward to taking part next year and I will be telling people well in advance to book this up for 2017 . Well done the marathon organisers !! Date of review: September 12, 2016