In short: Loved every moment In full: Another excellent event from White Star Running! They have all the ingredients for making every event 100% enjoyable. Brilliant marshals, slippy mud, cake, fancy dress, hills, stinging nettles and a man in a kilt with a badger sporran. You don't get that at every race! ?? Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Big event, lots of support. In full: This is the 3rd time I have done the Great Manchester Run and probably wont be the last. Its a big and noisy affair with lots of beginners and super speedy types and everyone in between. I suspect unless you are in the first wave or so, you will get stuck in the crowds and wont get a PB. But you don't enter huge events like this to get a PB do you? You enter for the atmosphere and joy of running with people of all abilities who are out there giving it 100% no matter if they take 45 minutes or 2 hours. Despite the weather being awful for the later waves, the people of Manchester stayed out in the rain to cheer us along, my name was called out whilst encouraging me all the way around the course, despite some parts being a long way from the city centre. This kept me going and I thanked everyone who took the trouble to cheer me on. As you hit 8km and see the Beetham Tower loom above, you are spurred on knowing you are nearly done, having gone past some other great buildings, Old Trafford and the Imperial War museum to name but 2. The start and finish are well organised and marshalled so you get through both as quickly as possible. All in all its a great event to be part of and Manchester should be proud of how well it does a big sporting event such as this. Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: My first WSR as a runner , marshalled previously . Cannot rate this highly enough . Amazing scenery, challenging hills, fantastic support at more than adequate aid stations. Andy is doing a brilliant job at WSR . Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Need to have a serious think about next years organisation after this years poor effort In full: I did this race after seeing a video by someone on YouTube and the race looked lovely, this is correct the route is nice however the organisation was a shambles. For me personally the most annoying thing was the non existent wave start, what happened was everyone was encouraged to start at the same time which meant walking for much of the first few miles as on narrow trails the congestion was ridiculous, this eliminated any chance of a pb attempt. More seriously the water stations were undermanned and infrequent. This didn't bother me too much as I had heard this was an issue last year so I took my camelbak but I felt for people relying on the water stations on such a hot day, it's not acceptable at all. Also at the end all we got a bottle of water and (nice) medal. There were also issues with bag drops which didn't really effect me luckily. I'm not sure I'd do it again depends on whether they can be trusted to sort out the issues, judging from past years reviews I'd say not. Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Felt compelled to review this race due to a negative review complaining about 'lack of support'! In full: You couldn't ask for more aid stations, support, food, water and information pre-race!I never felt like I was lost in the middle of knowhere and if I did, well it's a trail run and I'm an adult! There were emergency numbers if I keeled over & I had the forethought to print out a map! I did the ultra, rather than the half, which was part of the ultra route. Just look at the white star running website and you will she how well loved these races are! Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Great race and great people In full: my first ultra and it was brilliant, had a lovely chat to some of the other participants during the run and the marshalls were all enthused. Wonderful course, i did go off route but that was because i was looking at the scenery rather than where i was going. it was long and hard but that is what i signed up for. Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Brilliant organisation, superb course and great atmosphere In full: WSR events are some of the best around and you're guaranteed to have a good time. Ok the courses can be a bit "testing" and underfoot conditions a lottery, but that's why we run off road :)
The Marathon course was really well marked and looped around the Wiltshire downs with some great views once you'd conquered the hills. Aid stations were perfectly spaced offering water, juice and cider (!) and lots of nibbles.
There is one opinion posted against the Ox half marathon event suggesting it was 'unsafe'. All I can say is, in my view White Star Running set the bar with respect to 'behind the scenes' planning, preparation and on the day safety for runners. I would not be put off by the “on the day and in isolation” opinion. If someone wants/ expects aid stations every mile and marshals at every turn, they should stay on the roads.
In short: Beautiful, challenging and very well organised. Best medal ever! In full: A lovely and well signed course, excellent organisation and really good safety cover. Hilly this year, made harder by a few miles of gloopy mud in places. Scenery and aid stations were excellent. A challenging and fun run. Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Fantastic In full: Last year I did the half so I thought I would give the marathon ago. Challenging yes due to the mud but a fantastic course. The marshalls were great water/aid stations had everything you could ask for and a little extra. Will definitely be back next year. Well done WSR Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: A totally brilliant race all credit to the WSR team In full: A body and mind shattering race but lets face it thats why we all run trails - the organisation and event team are brilliant and the only thing i could say at the end was well done Andy you know how to make a great race. this is both the toughest and the best race Ive run - no way i was getting a pb but id recommend to everyone to do one of the Ox races whichever distance suits. Date of review: May 24, 2016
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