In short: What a crack! Top banana event! In full: Tough course, lots of hills, loads of mud, but loads of smiles and wisecracks from other runners. My favourite was "I didnt want to join the army anyway". Will be back next year, Date of review: October 24, 2005
In short: Surprisingly quick course - another PB! In full: This was my first attempt at the Stroud Half, having been assured that it was fast and flat. I'd agree with the former, but it was a bit too undulating to be called flat. I still can't understand how it was so fast - I knocked 3 minutes off my PB.
Perfect conditions and an enthusiastic PA - he told everyone to make their way to the start with plenty of warning. If you chose not to heed his advice, whose fault is that? I do accept, however, that there were the eternal problems of the start 'cage' being too narrow and too many people starting much too far forward in the field for their ability.
Although there were no portaloos, the PA did stress that they had been let down on the day - I don't really think it's fair to have a go at the organisers for that.
Similarly with the traffic - it would have been great not to have to run alongside traffic jams - but the shutting of roads is probably down to the local council and police. Maybe we should direct our anger at the idiots in the cars sitting in long queues with their engines running?
Overall, I found the course interesting, well supported most of the way round and very well marshalled. As someone else has commented, the mile markers were pretty much spot on according to Garmin. There was plenty of water (and squash) available at the finish.
Personally I prefer a T-shirt to a medal, so I'm pleased with the memento - I guess the T-shirt vs Medal argument will run and run (sorry :) Date of review: October 24, 2005
In short: Most challenging run I have ever done, but just fantastic!! Cant wait to go again next year. In full: My first full off-road run, but certainly not the last. The organisation was fantastic and the course very tough, particlary the waist deep water/mud wetlands, followed by numerous sand hills to finnish! Everyone ended with a smile, can't wait for next year. Date of review: October 24, 2005
In short: Good challenge In full: First 5k so difficult to compare. I've no complaints anyway. Not too crowded, undulating but nothing you couldn't cope with, well organised and marshalled. Date of review: October 24, 2005
In short: Could this be the best cross country ever? In full: Where to start with the plaudits? The organisation was exceptional, the marshals the most encouraging I have ever come across, the scenery superb, the course a true challenge (and this is from the woman who will throw herself around plenty of muddy courses on a Sunday morning and thought she knew what tough was until yesterday!), the t-shirt fabulous and the cake selection so impressive I had to keep going back for more! I am singing the praises of this challenge to anyone who will listen because it was utterly fantastic. Minehead running club certainly know how to lay on a great race and deserve every ounce of praise for a truly memorable morning - thank you! Date of review: October 24, 2005
In short: A stonka of a HM course.... One of the fastest around ?? In full: Heard mixed reviews of this race last year from forumites and fellow club runners alike - but if there were any such probs in the past, someone has taken the bull by the horns this year and got it sorted
Well organised, great athmosphere, nice medium sized entry (so not too big nor small..), a fun finish, and the relative novelty of an A to B course (rather than going round in circles from A to A !)
The organisers deserve a medal for turning this round. Looking forward to 2006.. Date of review: October 24, 2005
In short: Very hilly & very muddy! In full: Excellent event, the hills and the water take your mind off the distance you're actually doing. Was great fun, and the lack of distance markers added to the excitement because you had no idea what was left to come. Turning the corner towards the end and seeing all the sand dunes was a killer!
Can't wait till next year!!! Date of review: October 24, 2005
In short: Excellent fun, great atomsphere, fantastic day... although dont be fooled by the elated comments its was still the toughest race I have done to date!! Cant wait untill next time? Date of review: October 24, 2005
In short: A real challenge but at the same time brilliant fun, can't wait for next year. In full: Didn't think it was possible to have so much fun whilst being in so much pain! Fantastic organisation, great atmosphere and one hell of a challenging course, both physically and mentally. Date of review: October 24, 2005
In short: Poor first 6 miles along A20, but scenic 2nd half. Changing rooms a long way from finish, so got very cold at end. Cr@p tee shirt . Overal not up to Maidstone's previous high standard. Date of review: October 24, 2005
In short: Good quality race with real PB potential, but understanably lacks polish of big city races In full: Back for a second attempt at this race. The weather was ideal, cloudy, cool, with hardly a breath of wind. Pre-race build up was a mixed bag - the signed directions from the motorway were spot on and ample parking for those who turned up early, but again the lack of toilets is a problem and the start, whilst not as shambolic as last year, was problematic as I had to crawl under the fence to get to my timed position (Lots of people lined up in wrong place as usual) and many seemed not to get to the start in time. As for the race and course itself - well I'd say it is well marshalled by enthusiasts of the sport, plenty of support for what is mainly a rural race (especially at top of hill on A38) and has plenty of PB potential if you allow for the hill at 8 and the final undulations in the last mile. Kudos too for having the mile markers (According to my Garmin) nearly spot on - even if white on a black background they are a little hard to see sometimes. Niggles: same as last year really: 1. the traffic on the final 3 mile stretch is worrying (A transporter came up very close to me and drove alongside emitting stenching fumes) and should really, if possible, be coned (even if little more than single file) like it is on the A38 section. 2 The T-shirt is nice, but personally I would still prefer a medal. 3. The finish procedure was a little odd with the onus on the runner to remove the chip (which had to be put through laces - no Tyvek) and find a bin to put it in. Fine - but what about some seats to allow tired runners to actually reach their feet! Bending over for 2 minutes after a half marathon grappling with cold hands trying to pull the laces from your trainers is not fun!!! Overall a great race for someone looking for a PB and some good competition near the front. If you are making a debut or like the big city race atmosphere and all that goes with it, maybe look elsewhere. Date of review: October 24, 2005
In short: A lovely run through the Hampshire countryside In full: A thoroughly enjoyable race helped by the weather, scenery and organisation generally. Some of the marshalls could have looked a bit cheerier but in the main were friendly and encouraging.
KM markers would have been nice, but I had a Garmin so not a major gripe.
Taking in breaths of 'country air' with the water at 5k was a new one on me!