In short: Beautiful, well organised and friendly race In full: It's not a course for a PB, but it is a race for those who just love running... or are about to.
It starts and finishes on road, but I'd estimate all but 1.5 miles is off road through beautiful countryside. There are pinch points as you'd expect, so make sure you put yourself in the correct part of the funnel at the start. The water stations are frequent and well stocked. It's difficult to know what I'd change, except maybe the uphill finish as that was pretty brutal!
The organisation was very smooth, the marshals friendly, and it's all for a good cause too. Plus a free t-shirt! What more could you want? Date of review: October 3, 2016
In short: Superb, superb superb! In full: Having read some reviews of this before entering, I was expecting a super tough, very hilly trail marathon slog. It was very hilly indeed, with some brutal climbs, but the overall scenery and views made up for it, it was so beautiful, sweeping hills, deep woods, pine forests with shards of sun pouring through, little villages with thatched cottages and quaint churches..simply amazing...and super friendly marshals all cheering and clapping at EVERY station, very uplifting....lots of local people supporting it, with small groups all over, cheering and generally really lifting everyones spirits...one of my favourite trail runs from my 18 marathons completed so far since last January! I managed to beat my trail marathon PD, and got a decent 5hr 11 mins, very happy! Medal is ok, shame there's not a bespoke one for the marathon, all runners go the same...one thing, half way through the marathon, the half marathon joins, which is a little off putting, swarms of runners tearing along do make the pace totally change, and there are lots of them...the first 12 miles felt spaced out and quite nice paced, then it changes to a busy run, lots of runners, and on single track for miles, so constantly having to move out their way...its all good though and I think that actually made my pace increase, hence my good time! overall superb, highly recommended for beginners or veterans.... Date of review: October 3, 2016
In short: Great run, great marshals, great atmosphere In full: This was my third consecutive year running this race and year on year it just gets better and better! It's extremely well organised and the Striders make everyone feel welcome. It's well marshalled and there are plenty of opportunities to keep hydrated and nourished, especially with cake at the end ;-) Date of review: October 3, 2016
In short: Probably the best trail marathon around! In full: Superb event.....amazing organisation....brilliant marshals and drinks stations. Should be on everyone's list to do! Date of review: October 2, 2016
In short: Beautiful scenery and good route but easy to get lost! In full: There was a small field of runners (30?) and a mix of club and non-club runners. The organisers were friendly and it started bang on 12 noon with no preamble. The route is fantastic, through woods and along the river, with some brutal ascents on the way around! Think my Garmin worked it out at around 350m gain. The only real negative was the lack of signage or marshalls at some points - I ended up going off-course 4 times, sometimes adding on fairly significant distance before heading back and finding my way onto the course again. And I wasn't the only one! Other people seemed to struggle with this also. All in all, a great inaugural race and one I'd definitely consider doing again. Date of review: October 2, 2016
In short: Enjoyed the iconic Aintree Racecourse setting and perfect sunny weather, but the organisation let it down (see below)... In full: The organisational problems can be easily solved if only they are recognised, so I am trying to be helpful with this list, rather than just complaining - so here goes :
1. online entries were still available until Thursday night, so a note on the website could have stated whether numbers would be posted so late, or preferably held at the registration desk to avoid uncertainty of the post.
2. the charity donation collectors caused a bottleneck and delays at the course entrance, leading to a 15-minute traffic jam on the approach road outside. They could instead have been in the car park to collect after parking.
3. we were left to organise our own parking, so some selfish idiots blocked other cars in.
4. the race start was delayed by 10 minutes because a taxi was parked on the course - the weather today was great, but imagine if it had been cold and wet. Date of review: October 2, 2016
In short: Not a PB course In full: Mistakenly I signed up to this marathon believing it to be reasonably flat.
There is nothing on the organiser’s web site to actually tell you what the course elevation is and strava puts it between 1000ft and 2000ft and it was my own fault for not doing enough research, replying purely on my visits to the beach!
Having said that I think the organisers could give a lot more detailing their map which could have actually been drawn by my 3 year old.
Today was glorious sunshine and the majority of the route is exposed so this is never going to be a great PB course, sun, you’ll get too hot, beach, you’ll get battered by the wind (none today).
The route is full of tiny peaks and troughs which make getting into any sort of rhythm impossible and just when you’re starting to feel the pain, a short sharp hill is chucked in to destroy your legs. Once you’ve cleared the lactic acid out of your legs, you’re faced with a longer, soul destroying hill.
While the scenery cannot be beaten, the constant doubling back gets a little tedious and seeing the lead runners constantly passing in the opposite direction hits hard on moral.
Take fluid if the weather man says it will be sunny. In my opinion there are not enough water stations and they serve screw top bottles without the lid meaning you have to gulp down a couple of sips before throwing the bottle away or face spilling the rest of it all over yourself. Sports lids would have been much handier and may have stopped my urine from taking on the appearance of tar.
Plenty of toilets before the race began and on the route itself, but that said, there are plenty of people out enjoying their day on the beach, don’t expect them to be bothered about the race and control their dog/kids from running out in front of you.
Those that were bothered gave great support and joined the marshalls in giving great encouragement. However there were long stretches on the course were I felt lonely :)
As for value, over £50 makes it one of the more expensive races around and while the goody bag contained water, high 5 rehydration tabs, an eat natural bar and a keyring, the shirt, while of normal quality, is generic and does not differentiate between the 10k and the marathon.
Due to the cost and my dislike of inclines, I doubt I will be doing it again.
In short: Not for beginners In full: A brute of course! Had to walk some of the worst hills. First timer. I spent the last 7 miles running on my own (apart fromt he sheep and cows) asking myself if I was mad. But somehow I loved it, incredible scenery and nice people. I hope this is on next year so I can do myself justice. This isn't for novices. Well done to the organisers Date of review: October 2, 2016
In short: Bottle necks spoilt run In full: Reasonably well organised run but the race was very congested, especially at the beginning when at times it was too busy to run. There were several bottle necks where we came to a complete standstill on route. Very disappointing and wouldn't do this again. Date of review: October 2, 2016
In short: Excellent race In full: Fast baggage stow, hot drinks wagon, chip timing and results online pretty much in real time. Great start/finish venue. Course is varied, flat and pretty fast. And decent bling. A very pleasant morning out. Date of review: October 2, 2016
In short: Great first race In full: Absolutely loved the 2016 race. Great route despite a very challenging first 3 miles. Nice mix of countryside and city, added bonus of running past St Catherine's Hill in the final few miles (thank you for not taking us up it!). Organisation was amazing, marshals were much friendlier and encouraging than many other races I've done. All in all it was a great day and I look forward to doing it next year. Date of review: October 1, 2016
In short: Great run along the river, flat course, enthusiastic marshalls, safe. In full: It was 'suggested' at the start that runners should not run with ear phones. This is a rule dating from April and more than a few runners have been disqualified in other races. Time to enforce? Date of review: October 1, 2016