In short: The highlight of 6 months worth of training In full: You can;t really say anything that hasn;t been said already...Magnificent course and support and inspires the couch potato to go for a jog. Saw about 50 people out jogging the day after this when I am usually lucky to see 1. OK most of them give up pretty quickly but if only a few keep going that's surely the goal achieved! Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: Great opener for the four race series. Challenging but friendly. Excellent organisation and a beer tent for post race forum gathering. In full: This event was intended to be both a showcase for Hawkshead and an event to provide support to the local community. It worked on both levels. Last minute changes to the route made the opening climb longer and harder than previously advertised but this in no way spoiled the day. If you're concerned you won't be able to run the Trail Race - go for the Challenge (same course but less competitive and you get over an hour head start). Bring the family too - kids races are almost as well supported as the main event. Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: If you like Mass Participation events, this is for you... In full: I've had a go at this race twice now. I don't think I'll be back for a while. Too many joggers and Blue line huggers. Of it's type though, it is hard to beat. Berlin is better for my money...
And I'm the only one to question Deena Kaster's win using pacemakers ? She's turned this into an art form...
In short: Exellent race with glorious scenery In full: Altogether a fantastic occasion. The organisation was good and the locals very supportive and friendly. Traffic was a slight hazard bu the route was about s scenic as you can get. Well done to the organisers! Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: Knocked 9 mins of last years time!!! In full: Quick question though what happened to the 8 min mile pacer, he dropped out at the 20 mile marker!?? there were a few runners who were in need of a pacer for the last 6 miles!! Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: well worth it. smashing In full: even though the race went a bit pear shaped for me, it was a great experience. well worth travelling for ,and i found the locals some of the most friendly people ive ever met. thank you all Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: My first marathon. Would happily recommend it to others. In full: The organisation was great. I really felt looked after which helped boost my confidence. Everyone was so supportive and friendly. The views were spectacular. Lovely flat course except for a little downhill at about half a mile out that looked like a mountain uphill at 25.5 miles on the way back. Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: great support and plenty to look at In full: A really nice flat jog around Oxford with lots of cheering supporters and runners of all standards, but sometimes very hot and terrible queues for the loos at the start. Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: Wonderful scenic and friendly race, well worth it even if travelling from afar. In full: This was my first marathon and I was really chuffed to get my first ever race prize of fastest first time female marathon runner. I thought the large number of prizes was very generous - was nice to see so many people getting rewards. The weather was lovely, although this was lucky as it was horrible the day before! Organisation was brilliant, plenty of drink stations and toilets en route. The people that manned the drinks stations were BRILLIANT- one couple came back to the Nevis Centre just to return my empty drinks bottle to me personally. I was really touched by how friendly and supportive the locals were to everyone taking part. Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: What a ride......... In full: First ever marathon and didn't know what to expect! How I'd react to the crowds, volume of runners. It was great!! The start was very slow from pen 5 at the green start, doing over 9min miles so I knew eventually I had some catch up to do.
I experienced a wave of varying emotions going round from feeling choked up to feeling totally exhausted. The bands en route were excellent, particularly liked the drummer band that positioned themselves under a bridge - that was excellent. Running over tower bridge with tears in my eyes just knowing that at the corner I was going to see my little family waving and smiling at me......nowhere to be found - GUTTED! But press on with the job in hand. Managed to re-coup some time somehow and hit the 20 miler mark at 2.36 so knew I was close to my 3.20 finish - YIPPEE. Then suddenly at around 21ish miles, some fool stuck a brick wall right in my flight path - what is all that about - never ever experienced that one before. Positively limped from there to around 24 miles when I was about to be overtaken by the RW 8 Minute milers - no chance, get back with your little wooden sticks - I'm a woman on a mission!! I found some strength in my legs to up the pace. As I cornered at Buckingham Palace the crowd volume was immense, M People were blaring out "What have you done today to make you feel proud" - all this was wasted on me, the emotion was lost, I just desperately needed to cross the finish line!! I've done it - 3.27, not bad for a first!
Then another mission...... excuse me, walk up that ramp there as high as everest to have my chip removed? I don't think I can, sorry, I need to carry a bag too that feels like it's filled with bricks!!!!
Then I saw my hubby and children - the emotion took over - WHAT AN EXCELLENT EXPERIENCE - SEE YOU ALL NEXT YEAR!!!! Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: The only race to do .... In full: The chicken at wimbledon station, the crowd at Clapham, the toilets at waterloo, the wait to get in to blackheath, the marshall who ignored my red number so i could run on blue with my other half, the bag men from tnt, the balloons, the toilet cue, the wait, the off, the guy with stella who shouted come on fordy (at 10.30am) the bands, the rain, the places in south london i have never been too, TOWER BRIDGE !, the serpentine runners not running, Clic Sargent, the rain, Canary wharf, geoff on the samba band, the sign for pips and dave, the st johns peeps, water peeps, lucozade peeps, the guy with the jelly babies, the crowd at lower thames street, my kids, the embankment, pips digging deep. Beating Matthew Pinsent for the second time since junior trials 20 years ago. LOVE IT ... LOVE IT ALL
In short: Best - and most painfull running day of my life. In full: Great weather, perhaps a little too wet but a perfect temperature. Got through from pen 5 on the Red start in under 6 mins and we were already running quite freely. Started off slowly which felt like the right thing to do, first few miles were all over 9 mins. Crowds were great right from the beginning, amazing that so many people could be bothered on such a damp and grey morning, passed a church in Charlton somewhere playing Chariots of Fire on the church bells which gave me goose bumps. Running into Greenwich the noise of the crowds really picked up but Tappers and I became a little concerned that we weren’t also picking up the pace. Did a few miles at around our target pace of 8.35 from about mile 7 to 10 but the tightness of the field (and my own desperate need for a “mini-paula”) not to mention the daunting task ahead, held us back. Went across Tower Bridge still feeling reasonably strong and relaxed even tried to smile at the huge crowd and slap a few kiddies hands on the way over. By the time we went through half we were already more than 4 mins outside our target but I still hoped that we would have the space and energy to recoup at least some of the lost time. Found it very tough going around the Isle of Dogs up to Canary Wharf and I had thought this would be one of my better sections as I had spent so much of my training time on the same streets but at 17 things really started to hurt. My wife and kids had been instructed exactly where to stand on South Quay Road but unfortunately decided to move to the other side of the road to get a better view before I got there. I was intently scanning faces in the crowd on the right while they were on the left and needless to say we missed each other. This was a surprisingly big mental blow and seemed to really knock my pace too. Thankfully less than a mile later on the Wharf my team from work who were pulling an all-weekend shift had come down to cheer and I actually saw them and they shouted masses of encouragement, suddenly I had a little spring in my step again. By this time Tappers had dropped back on the expectation that I would stop to greet the family; when I didn’t I was on my own – though the concept is meaningless in this race. So much for the “showbiz 6,” the last miles were agony. I could feel the strength draining out of me with almost every step but again the crowds were massive and very vocal, there was no way I was going to stop unless the cramp got me and I could feel it was close. Dragged myself into Birdcage Walk after doing the last few miles pretty close to target pace but not close enough to make a difference. Had absolutely nothing left in my legs to make a final dash over the last 800m and was really just happy to realise only then that I would definitely finish. Final time 3:50:24 – target had been 3:45:00 but was very happy to break 4 hours on my first attempt. Also happy to have managed a negative split, only by 56 secs but at least it means our strategy was right; and you look for private victories once the thing is finished and the real pain kicks in. Took ages to meet up with the family – not made any more pleasant by having to stand in the rain on Horse Guards Parade in wet shoes and socks. Everyone was happy to see me but Sophs soon suggested that perhaps the medal should come off, it having lost its cool factor in a matter of minutes in her eyes, shall we say I successfully negotiated a few more hours. All went up to Tiger Tiger, met up with Tappers and the famous KatieB and her family, and I had something to eat courtesy of Anthony Nolan, which was a bit cheeky seeing as though I ran for CCETSA. Decisions about more marathons or FLM 2007 are along way off, thankfully.