In short: It will take me two years to recover from event but I will never forget it! In full: As a returnee from 2007, I should have known better! I can't really add anything to the brilliant ratings that have preceeded mine, but feel I need to say something to sum up an event as monumental as this.
I loved the pre-race briefing from Dr Rob - it was as though he was the gatekeeper to the asylum, and he wanted to warn us of the consequences before he let us in. The singing of the National Anthem fired us all up before what felt like going into battle.
It did help having run this in 2007, although didn't prevent me from missing that right turn shortly after the road-crossing from the Smith & Western. Although dispondent at the time, I was grateful to have been picked up by a group of runners coming back the other way - adding only 0.5miles (and not having to worry about making up the distance later on). A marshal reassured us that the missing sign would be in place in time for the second lap.
With the weather almost perfect for running (21C and cloudy), the main opponent was the course difficulty as the runners were well supported by the marshals, feed stations, and especially the other runners.
With all the steps and steep ascents/descents, it is difficult to pace this correctly. I tried to hold back on the first half, but still experienced pain levels and exhaustion that the steps in particular were responsible for in the second half.
With the climb to Juniper Top completed the 2nd time, and a gravity paced progression down the chute, I was able to muster just enough strength for the final descent/ascent of that remaining set of steps before that glorious downhill finish! An unforgettable experience, especially as I managed to break that 5 hours milestone by a comfortable 32secs (having missed it by 90secs in 2007)!!
An gigantic medal which rewards you perfectly for your pains, a super t-shirt with a roll of honour of you and your comrades listed on the back, and a hat (that makes you look like an eccentric Englishman - as we are all a bit mad for having completed this torturous but pleasurable undertaking).
I'm not too sure able making this a 3 lap Ultra (39 miler), but would love this marathon to happen annually rather than bi-annually. Eat your hearts out - Exmoor Coastal and Wendover Woods, the Picnic Marathon gave you boys one hell of a beating!
Thanks to Dr Rob and everyone else who was involved - see you in 2011 if not before. Date of review: June 22, 2009
In short: great race In full: A big thankyou to all the marashalls,they and the fellow runners made this a really great classic race. we really do need more marathons like this, loops on city streets is so boring. Date of review: June 22, 2009
In short: Insanely tough but an amazing race! In full: Every runner worth their salt should attempt this race, or its shorter sibling (The Midsummer Munro) at least once in their careers. It is simply the toughest event of this distance I have ever experienced but surprisingly one of the most enjoyable too.
The organisation (apart from a minor course marking error), marshalling and the post race goodies and food were fantastic as was the camaraderie from the fellow runners.
There's not many races like this around, I wish there were more. I'll be back in 2011 to do it all again. Date of review: June 22, 2009
In short: Picnic My A*** In full: Probably the most inappropriate name for a Marathon there could be. So hard it was a real challenge not to be taken lightly. I had no problems with route finding and thought the marshals and runners were magnificant with there support. A very special race indeed Date of review: June 22, 2009
In short: The signs on the way round claiming Britains Toughest Race were more than justified In full: This was tough....really, really tough that had the demons nagging at the half way point to stop, but am so glad I managed to kick them in to line and carried on to complete this monster of a marathon. A huge thank you has to go to the marshalls who were just brilliant! I did pity the poor two girls who had to spend an entire Sunday afternoon each stuck at one end of a hill full of cows - an extra thank you to them! The organisation was brilliant and I was one of the fortunates who managed to stay on route without any wrong turns - could see how it happened though, but the race organiser does seem to be taking full responsibility and even offering a place in another marathon for those who are not happy about that. And this leads to my only niggle - the fact that a number of runners cut off part of the race meant the results are not true, and it was very demotivating to suddenly see a group of runners I knew were behind me, suddenly coming up a hill I was still going down, perhaps checkpoints could be introduced for future races. All in all though, an amazing race that has to be done, even just once and I loved the huge medal at the finish, along with the t-shirt and hat. One last mention also has to go to the half'ers - out on the course, they really did make you feel like you were doing something special by running the full. Date of review: June 22, 2009
In short: Bonkers, totally bonkers. One for your "Bucket List. In full: Up the first hill. Easy, easy. Down the steps to the river. Easy, easy. Up the steps from the river. Holly crap what have I let myself in for? And so it goes. Up, down, up, down, up, down, fall over, up, down, cramp, fall over, up down, up down. Are we there yet? Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Roll on 2011. Forget London. This is a proper marathon. Date of review: June 22, 2009
In short: Awsome race, still well stiff even after the weekend. The thought of stairs maakes me cry!!! In full: Fantastic race - even if a bit insaine. A real friendly feel to the race with competitors all the supporting one and other. Date of review: June 22, 2009
In short: An amazing race that gives an amazing sense of achievement. In full: A devastatingly hard race in an outstandingly dramatic and wild area of Britain. Gorgeous scenery and wildlife, a Scots piper, 6000 feet of ascent and a chorus of God Save the Queen make this event unique. I loved every last painful minute of it. Thank you to all involved. Date of review: June 22, 2009