In short: Hillier course than expected - rain was dreadful this year! In full: This was a hillier course than I expected. But saying that, water points at the bottom of the hills which helped, and because course was 2 laps by the second you knew where the hills were and could prepare for them. Weather was appalling (which could not be helped) but meant carpark flooded so you had wet feet before you began. One section (miles 10-11) on a busy busy road where traffic did not slow down. Forced on a narrow pavement single file which did not help your running speed and felt a bit dangerous. Rest of run on quieter roads. Date of review: March 1, 2010
In short: Terrible conditions for organisors & runners, but well worth the trip. In full: This race is fairly local to me and it's timing fell nicely into my marathon training schedule, therefore I would probably do the race again.
The weather conditions were so appalling, they had knock on effects, that, the organisers are now getting the blame for.
Normally, people would get themselves ready 10 minutes before the start, and be at the start line taking there positions, but due to the runners wanting to keep dry and warm before the start, this did not happen, everyone seemed to go the toilet at the last minute, then got delayed by a big puddle. The race was meant to start at 9AM, and at 9AM it started, please explain to me what is shambolic about that?
Not really a PB race, but a very good stepping stone towards London.
The scenery would've been nicer had there been brilliant sunshine and blue sky's, but every thing looked grey and miserable in the conditions.
The marshals were excellent, must've of been horrible standing around in the wet, windy & cold, but they didn't let on, and kept us going with many positive words of encouragement. (Thank you)
I found the long steady hills quite challenging and with the added drive of it being a timed race, this was better than a training run.
I see the race organiser is planning on posting a video of the us all finishing the race on you tube, this is a great initiative that I look forward to seeing.
In short: Chaotic start and moderately hard course, but v difficult conditions for the organisers In full: The wet weather made it very difficult for the organisers; the marshalls who turned out to stand in the rain deserve our thanks. There were problems with loos - a huge queue in the gents and no urinals meant many must still have been there when the race started (I gave up five mins before the start time because there was clearly no prospect of getting in). The start itself was chaotic and seemed to involve two laps of the track followed by five hundred people trying to force their way through a narrow gap in a hedge. In retrospect this was obviously because the intended route was flooded and people at the front headed for the nearest alternative route they could see. From further back in the field all you could do was follow the crowd, with the messy results which followed. It really needed some clear signage or marshalling to indicate where we were supposed to go, though I'm sure resources were over-stretched at that point.
Thereafter the organisation was good and the marshalls were very encouraging. From conversations afterwards, I think there was a bit of confusion about what we were being told to do at the point where we had to cross the main road twice, but again the poor conditions meant communicating wasn't easy for the marshalls.
It's not a pretty run, but challenging and good preparation for longer distances to come.
Again, thanks to all those who gave up their time (and comfort) to make it happen. Date of review: March 1, 2010
In short: Well Marshalled, good atmosphere, lots of support In full: I have run this twice now and each time the marshalling has been excellent - no having to wait for traffic and very safely managed. The atmosphere is friendly with a mixed range of abilities and lots of smiles (even in the cold and rain). It is worth remembering that this is the Roding Valley so it will be an undulating course and when it's rainy there will be plenty of puddles - but that's all part of the challenge. In the most recent race there was a bit of congestion due to flooding at the start point, but that was because of the excessively heavy rain.
In full: The race took place in terrible weather conditions, which resulted in a chaotic start to the race. The marshalling overall was good and could have been a better race had the weather been kinder. Date of review: March 1, 2010
In short: Maybe you could fix the weather next year!! In full: I found this race a bit of a hidden diamond actually, and if it weren't for the rain it would've been great. Much of the course is concentrated around the town of Woodford, which is not especially picturesque but there is a fair amount of quiet road to run on, and if you're a fan of oggling swanky houses (I am) there are a couple of residential streets with very nice front gardens to admire (and well done to the marshalls for ensuring these didn't become littered with plastic bottles). The course has quite a few small hills in it, making this not really a PB prospect, but I was within a couple of minutes of mine. When you're running uphill on a circuit course at least you know you're going to get a downhill stretch too!
Many people have commented on the weather, and no doubt this made it exceptionally difficult for the organisors. Suddenly finding 6 inches of water blocking the track's exit must have been a bit of an annoyance to them! They did their best to find us an alternative route, but I switched my watch off during the delay so as best to pace myself during the race. This is reflected in the official times, but I think that most people were probably using this as a training event rather than their big focus, so it shouldn't be too big a deal.
Contrary to some previous posts, I heard a very clear announcement that there were 5 minutes to the start, and given the conditions I was very keen for there to be no delay, who wants to stand around in the wet? Its always a runner's responsibility to be prompt at the start, there is only a certain amount a club can be reasonably expected to do with limited resources. A megaphone and more regular announcements would help though.
Toilets were the other big issue. People are glossing over the fact that there were 4 toilets available in the clubhouse for which there was no queue when I went 15 minutes before the race (the changing room toilets, by contrast, had a very long queue). This doesn't change the fact that a few portaloos would be a good investment.
The marshalling on the course was absolutely superb, as the volunteers worked through terrible weather to help runners cross the roads safely, and were never short of an encouraging word either.
Overall this is a well organised event which suffered from atrocious weather conditions. If you turn up expecting London Marathon-type organisation then you will of course be disappointed. If you have reasonable expectations (bearing in mind the rock-bottom entry fee) and arrive keen for a bit of fun, then this is a rewarding race to do, on a challenging but approachable course. Thumbs up from me. Date of review: March 1, 2010
In short: Cold, wet and windy...but it was worth it. In full: I was fortunate to turn up to the event 10 minutes before the event. Found a fairly close parking space and left my bag in the car. This was a bit of a blessing as passing the club house I had realised it was the the right thing to do. The start was prompt, 9am on the dot which was great considering the weather conditions, however the first quarter of the mile was a little bit shambolic. I wasn't too sure if the late joiners had been informed about the 2 laps of the track. Once out of the park it was pretty much all systems are GO! Lots of hills and chatty runners to soften the blow. Very brave and supportive marshals with plentiful of water stations. Yes the roads were wet but that was no way the fault of the organisers. Not really a PB track but it was most enjoyable. I have been to worse runs and no way was this the worst (Richmond, Deer Park anyone??) Well done to the organisers.
One final thank you to the lady who paced for me in the final mile we finished on 1hr 51mins Date of review: March 1, 2010
In short: Shambolic organisation. Only worth doing as a training run. In full: Shambolic organisation at the start, there didn't appear to be anyone to guide runners off the race track and out to the road. The toliets were a joke and there was no warning that the race was about to start.
Boring, boring course - 2 and a bit laps of dull townscape. Several sections where you have to cross roads and negotiate traffic, not great.
The only positive with this race is that it's a challenging course which is good as a training run. Date of review: March 1, 2010