In short: Farnham to Guildford the scenic route. In full: If you were paying for a taxi to take you from Farnham to Guildford and you were taken on this route, you would be none too pleased, but to run it is a different matter!..
This was only my 2nd ever marathon and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it (except for being sent the wrong way once) for some strange reason. Was it the narrow trails through glorious countryside, the flora and fauna with the 'wooly bullies' in the field that we all ran through, or perhaps the crowd support (especially from the wife and kids at various viewing points) I am not sure. All I know is that I will definitely be running this again next year. I am now a convert to the full marathon after years of running 'halves' and trying to avoid 'the big one', so I am one happy camper. :-)
The only real issue was in entering Guildford where we crossed a main road (that was OK but the roads are not closed for this event) and missed the next check point, but all was well once we doubled back a little and continued on our way again. Thanks to the marshals, but please cheer up next time, it could be worse, you don't have to run it!.. Date of review: September 23, 2011
In short: Great off road race In full: This race is really one to put in the run diary and deserves all the praise (I did the half). I loved the chocolate biscuits at the water stations. I think Farnham Rotary did a great job of organising this event. The only thing I would change (and I'm sure they will fix this) is to put a palette of bottled water and bananas at the finish line so runners can help themselves. Otherwise great. Don't care about the mile markers - I have a Garmin. I'll be booking in early next year as I think this race will become more popular. Date of review: September 22, 2011
In short: Best race this year In full: Hills and valleys, canals and rivers, forests and meadows, bullocks and llamas - this race had the lot! Fantastic scenery, friendly marshals every few hundred yards, lovely refreshment stations - what's not to like? Oh yes, running uphill in sand for a mile - but I even loved that bit. Big thanks to the organizers, can't wait for next year's race. Date of review: September 22, 2011
In short: More hills than expected but a good race! In full: This was my first time doing a cross country half, so I found it a bit tough with the narrow trails and there were more (and steeper) hills than I was expecting. However, the organisation was spot on and decent support coupled with some nice scenery made for a nice race. Date of review: September 20, 2011
In short: Great marshalls, great cake, great course and great finish (apart from the weather!) In full: Really enjoyed this race, although it would be better if they could accomodate runners coming from the station (shuttle bus maybe?) as I had to fork out for a taxi. Brilliant atmosphere, very friendly, marshalls were great and never once did i worry about whether I was on course or not (although i couldnt have told you where i was!). No mile markers, but i dont think that matters too much with a trail marathon. The hills were runnable (although marthas church is challenging with the sand!) and the downhills were fabulous. Bit of a long queue to get a drink at the end, but that is easily amended. Great to have a good pub right near the finish to meet up afterwards too! Date of review: September 20, 2011
In short: Excellent off road race, tough but not too tough In full: I did the half marathon this year and will probably be back next year for either the full or the half. Pros: - Well organised, lots of car parking, clear route markings and marshalls at most turnings, potential trip hazards spray painted orange. Lots of water stations (some with food) and nice medal and food at the end. Started on time!! - Nice route, not that scenic in my opinion as you were never very high up but pleasant off road run. Not as tough on the calves as some off road runs as it is fairly even ground (running trainers were fine, no need for trail shoes) - No long, steep hills so you could always recover from any uphill with a bit of downhill the other side.
Cons: - No mile markers. All there was on the half were a 3 miles to go and a 1 mile to go sign (and not sure these were quite in the right place either). My garmin logged the run at 13.3 miles. Understandable as it is off road but did mean I thought I was on for sub 1:45 but missed out by 45 seconds running those 'extra' 0.2 miles - There are about 10 stiles or kissing gates to run through and at each you have to stop. Only costs a couple of seconds on your time each but particularly towards the end of the race it is hard on your legs stopping and then starting again - Some bits were basically single file. The problem occurred for me when the single file bits were uphill, as I tend to maintain my pace uphill and recover downhill. Therefore, I'd be overtaken on the downhill but then have to slow down for the person on the single-file uphill section. Only a small problem as there weren't that many runners but would become an issue if the race becomes more popular
I'd recommend this race, although probably not as a first half-marathon (better to start with a flatter road race). However, as a first trail race it would be very good. Date of review: September 20, 2011
In short: Tough but brilliant! In full: What a great race! Brilliant marshalls, which made up for the lack of spectators. Lots of yummy treats along the way and a brass band at the end who continued to play whilst runners arrived in the rain!
My only minor gripe was that when I finished there were no medium T-shorts left, only large....surely it would be better to have more small and medium than large? Also, what a shame the T-tent shut so early, when some runners were still coming in? Date of review: September 20, 2011