In short: Very special race..Carlisle Castle, the Wall and then vibrant Newcastle..fantastic! In full: Amazing fun...lots of long flattish road sections mixed with gently undulating trail. A smattering of hills to keep it interesting ,,,and in myview, would be a great intro to ultra racing. The hot food at Vindolanda (overnight stop) was fantastic!Organisers were really encouraging to those towards the back and we had a really fab time overall. Even through the rain we were still smiling. Thanks guys! :) Date of review: August 7, 2013
In short: Clearly 69 miles isn't for everyone, but this has to be as beginner- friendly as Ultras get. In full: Having done nothing longer than a half marathon before, I thought I was being crazy to enter. My brother must therefore be utterly mental to agree to join me, since he wasn't a runner at all! Long story short, it was painful and tortuous, but it was also the most amazing thing I've ever done. The feeling of crossing that finish line has to be the best legal high you can get. You can see how much I loved it by looking at the photos: I was number 24. Not that it was all smooth. My brother and I signed up as a pair to get the discount. We didn't realise that it meant we would only get one timing chip between us and had to stay together for accurate results. I wouldn't bother doing that again. Also some of the pre-race info turned out to be wrong; basic things like the distances to the stage finish (it turned out the older online info was better) which was a little disconcerting. In the end we just ignored the leaflet we'd been given. I was also disappointed that the evening meal for the challengers was at extra cost. Massive plus side: the race was perfectly marked from start to end, the aid stops were well stocked with food and friendly comments, the finish was dramatic and exciting and there was a decent free meal on crossing the finish line. One other thing I have to emphasise:the support from crew and the public was exemplary. Nothing but support and kindness (and useful info!) all the way through. So to summarise, I will absolutely do this again, and now that I know the minor issues to avoid it will be an even better experience next time.
In short: Disappointing in parts, decent in others... In full: Some lovely scenery on the wall and along the river. Route was hard at points and very roady but you needed trail trainers for some segements.
Marshalling was poor in some places with them not aware of distances. Not enough signage at the end, which was hard for an expert finishing without support. Food at pitstops was very samey. Great camaraderie with other runners.
Staff at end and facilities were excellent. Date of review: June 30, 2013
In short: Outstanding from start to finish, well organised at check points and pit stops very friendly atmosphere and a very challenging race a definite do it again foe Me! Date of review: June 25, 2013
In short: Fabulous, tough but enchanting run. In full: Friendly, brilliantly organized run. Tough, but do-able (slowly!) for this Ultra virgin. Uplifting scenery, great marshalling and some really challenging sections. Not easy, but accessible, and with great support. I can't recommend it highly enough. Date of review: June 25, 2013
In short: Knackering but worth it. In full: My first race over 10 miles, had a great time. The checkpoints seemed frequent and well organised, the course was interesting and there was a nice atmosphere to the race. Date of review: June 25, 2013
In short: Enjoyed every minute In full: I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this race. From the moment I was chatting to strangers on the train platform at Newcastle to the finish line back in Newcastle the evening afterwards.
Running nearly 70 miles (69.8 according to my Garmins) was always going to be tricky but having wet feet for the last 68 miles made it tough. Not a lot that could be done about that.
The atmosphere and scenery were fantastic. Much of the organisation was excellent and the waymarks were a huge bonus and part of the reason I chose this race. It was a shame that so little of the race ended up on trail compared to what was advertised 11 months ago, but I had known about this having read the updates so had road shoes and there was little they could do about the last minute change due to adverse weather. I nkow of people who pulled out when the route was announced so it wasn't that big a problem.
A couple of bad points - The official race photo, I only found out afterwards that this was a special photo at the end that you should have been taken for at the finish. Looking through the photos it appears that almost everyone who finished before 13:30 (only 4 out of 36) did not have their photo taken specially. When I contacted them I was told that as we had the opportunity for a photo that it was our mistake. DISAPPOINTING.
I did get slightly lost. Near to the final checkpoint there was a waymark missing and I carried straight on but luckily someone saw me and I didn't go any longer than necessary. I assume that it was tampered with though. In fact nearer the finish, they augmented waymarks with red and white tape as they are less likely to be tampered with, so that's a good point.
Overall, it was a great event. There are a few small things to work on, but it was the first year so a few teething problems are to be expected. I wouldn't do it again as I've done it now and need to find something different. It was also very expensive with travel and accomodation as well as the race.
I would recommend it to someone else who is looking to go long. Date of review: July 2, 2012
In short: Early injury caused pain and even more pain, but looking back....fantastic!! In full: The weather conditions before hand caused serious flooring to many parts of the route making foot care a major concern.
Realy impressed with the amount of food and drinks the pit stops and every member of the Rat Race team offered great encouragement all the way round.
During the race another runner must have missed a few of the signs as I passed him and then several miles futher along he was ahead of me again, a little anoying, but these this must happen?
Overall a great day out and everyone seemed to be enjoying the run, the scenery and every once and while the weather! Date of review: June 30, 2012
In short: Challenging Ultra over good terrain The nine seasonal weather made it more fun In full: A real good event pricey but well looked after at checkpoints and put stops would definitely do it again Date of review: June 30, 2012