In short: Epic and Brutal In full: The Picnic lived up to its reputation of being the hardest marathon in the UK. Epic and brutal the full off road marathon course encompassed massive hills, uneven ground and thousands of steps. This combined with the heat of the day meant that one third of those that started the race didn't make it to the finish! I'm very proud to say that I was one of the 66 that did, although it took me so long to complete the course I very nearly didn't make the seven hour cut off.
The event was very well organised and set in the beautiful surroundings of Boxhill offering amazing views. The marshals were excellent and the aid stations plentiful. The race goodies were great too you got an excellent medal, technical tshirt and commemorative pint glass. There was a slight mix up with the tshirts at the end which meant some didn't get one however this has now been sorted with the shirts being mailed to those who missed out.
There is something special about Trionium events, small, friendly and slightly eccentric. If you really want a challenge then the Picnic is the one for you. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Great race.....needs more organisation! In full: Second time for me doing this race, i thought the route was much better this year. Late start was bad, felt like i was hanging around to go, not enough room to do the warm up. Water stops were terrible and not enough stops considering the weather, i was standing still waiting for water and then tipped half of it down me due to the plastic cup it was in. Great support, loved people with hoses, sprinklers and wet towels, such a good idea in the heat! No pb for me but i was happy to get round considering the conditions. I would do it again but some things need improving. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Don't think, don't feel, just run, walk, stumble, survive and feast your eyes! In full: A fantastic way of celebrating the solstice. Challenges every muscle and every moral fibre. Hugely friendly, efficient and supportive crew. Definitely eccentric but who can resist a bag piper, the national anthem and a slap up picnic at the end. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Decent first effort In full: Good points: Having a half marathon in reasonably easy reach of tube stations, excellent first 10 miles and a nice finishing area in Hackney Marshes. Good atmosphere from the locals.
Bad points: poorly organised water stations (need more and on both sides of the road), idiosyncratic mile markers, undisciplined starting pens, super-tedious last few miles, with no good use made of the rather over-sold attractions of the Olympic park. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Brutally tough, but worth it In full: I did the first ever midsummer munro and this year was my 7th time of running the race. It's always a highlight on my racing calendar and well worth every step. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Tough and glorious In full: Tough race (hills, stairs!) but absolutely one to do once (or more!!!) in your lifetime. Organisation and atmosphere fantastic: the marshals and race veterans make you feel welcome and special. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Hardest race you will ever do In full: Great atmosphere, killer course. Could have done with sports drinks instead of water at the feed stations, but I'm quibbling. You will love this race. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: hard earned fun In full: My first trionium event and im sure it wont be my last. It was such a buzz. So varied in the terrain, in and out of the woods, open flats, steps (oh the steps!) hills and incredible views. It had everything including stepping stones. Will hopefully be back next year for some more punishment and hopefully get there on time as well (damn you M25!) Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Only it's second year, and has potential to be a good one, but poor planning meant many elements were very disappointing! In full: Shrewsbury is my wife's home town, so we travelled up from Surrey to take part. We made sure we arrived early, and got parked up, then made use of the the BP & pulse-ox tests provided by Nuffield Health - a nice touch. Due to the poor parking set-up and everyone having to find cash to pay for parking the race start was delayed (people still queueing to get in) which meant standing in the blazing midsummer sun in the starting pen for half an hour. On the start line there was no kind of order - most races ask you to stand near a marker for the time you think you can realistically achieve, so that the faster runners are near the front. After crossing the start line we had to shuffle round the start circuit to a narrow gate into a narrow lane and then round a sharp bend onto the Berwick Road, before we could even start to break into a jog, then being held up by large numbers of slower runners on the next narrow single-track road meant our first couple of miles were several minutes slower than they should have been... if the course took the next right off the Berwick road instead it would have been wider and extended the country section and avoided having to loop up and down the killer hill on Kingsland road (which we hit around midday with the delayed start). The poor volunteers at water stations were frantically filling up flimsey plastic cups from 2 litre bottles, and couldn't keep up with demand, so many runners were stopping to wait or giving up on getting a drink (bad move in the heat). It's also impossible to drink from these while running without spilling most of it so the only way to stay properly hydrated was stop or walk. Our friend knew a couple of the medics on duty and they said they'd never worked so hard - well done to them! The finish line was a little chaotic with kids handing out raffle tickets (I don't think there was a raffle, I'd rather have received the medals on the finish line like in most races), then finally getting some bottled water. We then cheered our friends across the line (we'd lost them in the crush at the start), and collected goody bags and tee-shirts on the way back to the car. Getting out was a battle of wills, with the whole car park trying to funnel into the single lane that had to cross the course 200m before the finish line, so getting out took ages, particularly if you'd arrived early and were parked in the back corner. The plus points: The countryside section was very scenic, and the support in the town centre was brilliant. We also thought the Medal was a nice design - it'll certainly stand out in the collection. This COULD be a really good event IF: 1) Put the parking in the huge field that we drove through on the way out, so we don't have to cross the course to get out, and include the parking in the entry fee to reduce queueing to get in. 2) Put a starting order in place so the faster people can be near the front and not get held up - it'll also help spread the field out faster to prevent bunching at pinch points. 3) If we have to pass through a narrow gate to get out of the showground, make the start line narrow and have a long narrow start pen, so that runners don't have to shuffle round to the pinch points - with chip timing, I'd rather take 5 minutes to get to the start line, then be able to run than to all start at once and spend the next 5 minutes shuffling round to the pinch points. 4) provide bottles of water at water stations, easier to pass out, easier to drink on the move. 5) If it's going to be a midsummer race start earlier so most people are done before midday - a 9am or even 8am start would mean most people finished before it's blazing hot, we'd perform better and put less pressure on the medics. I know it's only the second year, so please learn from the mistakes and make this the excellent event it COULD be next year! Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Up to Mile 10 Spot On! In full: Up to mile 10 I couldnt really fault this event, water and toilets on route, clear signs etc, from mile 10 it was horrific, almost as if they gave up at that point and thought its only the last three miles.
I live in Hackney and there is a nice 3 mile loop out of the park and around hackney marshes through the shade of the tree line to finish would have been much more preferable than enduring a water less two miles of zig zagging around the park watching people falling to dehydration with every step.
Next time ship in loads more water or start with that 3 miles, or change the route to run out the back and through the tree line in case of shade...it was a great race but that could be improved as the end was so disappointing. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Not bad for a first attempt! In full: Toilets available at the start (lots of them but still huge queues!), but not nearly enough over the course. Baggage bays seemed really efficient, and race village had a really good atmosphere. The pens at the start were a joke however, as they were too crowded and near impossible for people to get the the right area. The roads were wide and there were very few bottle necks, except for around the water stations which were badly spaced and only on one side of the road causing mayhem when trying to grab a pouch of water. The pouches themselves were interesting. I liked the idea of them, but found them difficult to use, and I couldn't get much water out of one of them. The water I did get went straight up my nose! The mile markers were off by a huge amount....the last 0.1 mile was nearly half a mile! For the price I would have wanted a t-shirt, but the medals were really nice! Seeing as they were charging for the t-shirts, I think they missed a trick by not selling them in the race village. Overall, it was a nice run, the scenery could have been better, but the Hackney residents and the steel band playing were great! Would do it again, but would hope for better organisation. Date of review: June 24, 2014