In short: Purple Patch organise events like no one else - an excellent race In full: A super event along the wonderful Grand Union Canal. Tough, muddy with a naughty little slope to overcome at the end in Cassiobury Park. Purple Patch Running Club is a master at organising these off-road events. Criticism - a few more portaloos at the start would have been nice! Date of review: November 14, 2010
In short: Well organised, but very slippery & muddy, narrow in places. In full: The start had a couple of bottlenecks but soon spread out, but the towpath is narrow & only single file in places. Due to recent weather a few stages were extremely swampy, muddy and slippery which made it a tad difficult. Well organised & nice finish & medal. Date of review: November 14, 2010
In short: Marshalling, mile markers and water stations were excellent; lavatory facilities prior to start and baggage handling very poor; hwoever, the positives outweighed the negatives and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Date of review: November 11, 2009
In short: A nice way to end the racing season In full: I was looking forward to this race and it didn’t let me down. The morning was chilly, but that’s how I like them to start with. It was unfortunate that it had rained for several days before as this made the path a little slippy, especially in the last third, but that adds to the challenge. Plenty of places to pass, no problem with the water stops or even the “threatened” angling competition (I think the fish had frightened them away). The marshalling was fantastic, no chance of getting lost and I though the nice lady by the first bridge after the start who gave us a smile on the way through set the tone nicely (thx Di). The mile markers were pretty spot on, which is always appreciated.
Bananas, water and a medal at the end were all in order. However, special mention for the massage tent with Thames Valley U which was extremely welcoming and very professional. A donation was asked for, no problem there. Best post-race massage I’d had in a very long time.
On the organizer's side, I can see that some people felt a bit aggrieved with the baggage/transport situation. I'm sure the organizers will do their upmost to ensure that doesn’t happen again (and maybe a few rolls of bin bags on emergency standby just in case). I was more concerned about the toilet queues - longest I'd seen in quite a while (I was directed to a local café but he made it clear he didn’t want runners in there). A bit more work needed there I think.
I’ll definitely be there next year, if only to try the course in reverse, downhill!!
In short: Great route but slippery and muddy adding new challenge In full: This was my second HM this year and compared to the road race this one was definitely harder - I did not achieve to beat my time from the last time - but I contribute this to the up hill finish as well as the muddy route which made it difficult to have a grip from time to time .... I have run parts of this route in summer and it is definitely "easier" without the mud ....
Loved the relaxed atmosphere and am planning to run it again next year just to see if I can beat my time from this year!
In full: Why did I sign up to run along a tow path for 13.1 miles which linked one dull commuter town to another? Quite a few casualties as they slipped on the fallen leaves/slippery path. This route would be so much better in summer months.
Not much of a view to distract you, mind you you had to watch your footing all the time and the guy ropes of the moored houseboats, otherwise you would have fallen into the canal!
Nice atmosphere at the end, shame about the start. Not one I'd do again. Date of review: November 10, 2009
In short: Nice easy 1/2 Marathon In full: I'm going to join in the complaints about the lack of toilets but it's a common gripe about most races. I queued for 20mins having arrived an hour before the start so 6 loos were far from enough. The race is pretty much what you would expect from 13 miles on the towpath. If you don't like muddy, slippery surfaces then don't enter off road races in November DOH! Probably not one I'll do again but I only did it this time as part of my 2009 new years resolution of running one 1/2 marathon a month for a year... so on to Bedford in December then job done! Date of review: November 10, 2009