In short: Ridiculously tough race - expect to walk large sections of it. Especially the steps, and the climb back up from Cheddar to the top of the gorge (200m ascent in a mile). But worth it. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Needs some major improvements for next year In full: Pros: Good atmosphere and support from local community. Efficient bag drop pre and post. Steel bands were a highlight.
Cons: It was a very optimistic claim of 20 mins walk from the station, and the early start didn't help. Woefully stocked water stations considering the heat, missed the first one due to it only being on one side of the road with a packed field trying to get across would have resulted in a pile up. Start funnel was too narrow and there should have been separate entrances for pens. Mile markers were inaccurate. I thought I was going to be running round the fantastic venues within the Olympic Park, instead unshaded access road after unshaded access road, hardly inspiring. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Like Being Sodomised by an Overzealous Octopus In full: The website says its the hardest race in the UK. As i am an idiot i didn't quite believe the hype until i realised that i had to go up and down the Box Hill steps (280 i believe) four times. As i was about to start my second descent my mind stopped working and I could have cried. The race this year had a DNF rate of over 33% and I bet the 33% who didn't finish are all pretty seasoned marathon runners.
It is brutal.
That said it is by a long shot the best race i have ever taken part in, amazing atmosphere, scenery and organisation. Rob and the team do a fantastic job of making the race feel special. There is a true sense of camaraderie with your fellow runners during the many hours you are out on the course. I suppose it is the juxtaposition of the severity of the race with genuine feeling of goodwill whilst you are running that makes it so special.
If you are a runner then this should be on your bucket list, it is that good. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Chicken Oriental In full: I ran this race for the 2nd time knowing full well what was in store. This year however was particularly tough however with the heat. Running such a race when not feeling 100% isnt recommended yet the marshalls and fellow runners helped me through to still finish under the 5 hour mark. Great atmosphere and always fun to join fellow nutters on such a tough race. Roll on 2 years time. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Gorgeous race - and very hilly. Forget about PBs and enjoy it. In full: A very classy event. It was very easy to get to Gravesend from St Pancras on the HS1 line and there the start was relaxed but very well organised.
I signed up because the route was supposed to be scenic and challenging and it delivered on both counts. A number of walk-up hills - some a little close to the end - leave you with a very good sense of satisfaction at the end.
The scenery is as good at it gets - running single file across wheat fields or an orchard one minute followed by a mile or so through the woods. About 3/4 off road on a wide range of terrains, some requiring a lot of attention.
You won't get a PB here - there are sections where you can only go as fast as the person immediately in front of you.
Wonderful touches at the end - the race director welcomed everyone over the finish line and then there was tea & coffee and just masses of cakes (including gluten-free options - thank you!).
Great run. Will definitely do it again. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: In hindsight I loved it, but very hard on the day. In full: My first ever half marathon, and I have to say it was so much harder than I imagined it would be. As a Hackney resident I felt a certain amount of pride running this, but the weather on the day made this an incredible challenge, even if the crowd made it totally worth it by handing out water, hosing us down and generally telling us we were amazing. Loved this, and it really spurred me on. I have to say the event was let down by the last 3 miles. The part of the race that hurts the most did nothing to distract you from this, it was a thankless looping around the concrete desert wasteland that is the Olympic park with no shade, not enough water, and filled with poor fallen runners passing out around me. This was incredibly demoralising and I really resent the organisers for changing what was a lovely first 10 miles into a gruelling struggle. If you absolutely have to do that at least do it at the beginning! I didn't have any problems with water other than the last 3 miles where it felt like forever until the next water stop, thankfully a lovely runner behind me let me drink some of his, I would have been another casualty if not. Some stations early on didn't have boxes open in time and it caused crushing, but have to say the comment at the beginning by one of the announcers saying only take on water if you need it was very irresponsible in that heat. All in all I can look back on it with humour, but on the day after finishing I was adamant I woudl never run one again I was in so much pain....two days later and I am about to sign up for my next half marathon, so it must have done something to me. Nice work Hackney, but you need some work before next year's event. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Most enjoyable race to date! In full: Loved every minute, the Marshalls were absolutely fantastic and organisation was superb. My favourtie ever race to date in 8yrs of running! Well done! Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Meticulously organised, beautful scenery. Top class off-road event. In full: Even better than I remember it from five years ago, this has everything you want in an off-road event. Brilliantly organised, very well marshalled, and a challenging but very scenic course. Plenty of refreshment stops with water and squash, and the sponges were a nice touch on a warm day. The start/finish area is ideally set up, a great atmosphere at the end with an almost endless supply of water, fruit, and free tea and cake to consume whilst being entertained by folk renditions of classics by Peter Gabriel, Johnny Cash and Neil Young! Will definitely be back for more. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Crowds great organisation needs work In full: The start was very poor. Twenty five minutes Standing in baking sun with no clue what was going on was dreadful. No pace enclosures. We joined near the back, started running at the mat, but then twice came to a standstill trying to exit the show ground. Out on the roads the route was lovely although there was no water for a very long time. The marshalls were few and far between. They could have done with more on the demon hills which, in that heat, had great keel over potential. The crowds were superb - much encouragement, people with hoses, wet towels, jelly babies - so helpful. T Shirt very disappointing - non technical and no more than a series of adverts. I really hope it happens again because such a lovely town (despite the hills) needs and should be able to put on, a good race. Maybe get someone other than In the Running to organise it. Market Drayton is alot smaller but their 10k is superbly organised. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Fulfills all you've heard about it In full: Perfectly organised and the course was very varied and full of interest. I liked the km markers which give the illusion perhaps, of covering greater ground than mile marks. But... I'd be amazed if the 29km one was in the right place, but then again, I was so shot by then that a foot would have felt like a mile. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Best race of the year! In full: What more could you want from a race, cracking scenery, brilliant trails, great marshals, perfectly placed water stations, medal, t shirt, goody bag, free tea/coffee, cake, fruit, massages and even a free swim!
The atmosphere was brilliant and what a buzz it was to the build up, brilliantly kept up to date with the Facebook page and that was buzzing all weekend
Hills, mud, styles, fields, hills, trails, orchards, little villages in the middle of nowhere, friendly locals with hoses, scout groups running water stations and even a beer at halfway, can't sing the praises of this race enough, will be back for years to come, keep up the great work I&I, you've got something special here Date of review: June 23, 2014
In short: Beautiful course In full: This is the most beautiful course I've run so far (admittedly I've not done *that* many races yet!). The organisation was excellent, but it was a pretty small crowd (about 250), who seemed to be a lot of running club members and pretty speedy overall. As a newer and slower runner, I was towards the back of the crowd, which was fine, but because of the small size it meant there were periods where I couldn't see any other runners in front or behind me - and with the very strict no-headphones rule I found it really, really challenging to stay motivated and not to feel too bleak at times, especially for the last few km. While the course and organisation were perfect, I have to say that on a small, quiet race like this, the no-headphones rule would make me think carefully about entering again. Date of review: June 23, 2014