In short: really enjoyed it... In full: despite the lack of signs it was heaps of fun. If you were there to run 'fast' or get a placing then you'd have been p**sed about the lack of signs. But as i was just there to run a tough event i just looked at the "not knowing if i was going the right way" as part of the toughness.
Recommended if you really want to cause yourself some pain and suffering :-) Date of review: May 2, 2005
In short: With some decent signposting it could be great. In full: 26 miles of mud, hills and more hills with no shade on a hot, sticky day is tough enough without adding the extra complication of an almost completely unmarked course. Even the helpers at the drinks stations didn't seem to know which way to go. It's just too demanding a route to have runners going 3 or 4 miles overdistance.
Sort out the route and it could be great race. Date of review: May 2, 2005
In short: A word about the half-marathon race In full: I know there is probably somewhere else I should post this but I can't work it out!
I had a really great time doing the half but, compared to my other experiences (Great North and Sussex Beacon) it was a small field and at times I was genuinely worried that I would get lost on the Downs!
Once or twice I had to shout at unsuspecting members of the public to ask if they had seen other runners and if I was going the right way... and I was by no means last as it turns out!
More signs/marshalling would be useful.
I would definitely do this again but it is punishing... sometimes the downhills more so than the ups if you're not used to the terrain. It has definitely motivated me to go out training on the Downs and maybe try the marathon next year.
The cakes and biscuits at the end were very much appreciated and the atmosphere was really friendly.
In short: A new concept in running - orienteering without the map In full: This is a glorious (although extremely tough) race over staggering scenery, with easy access, good parking, changing, excellent drinks/biscuits, a nice medal and a good t-shirt.
However, all of this was negated by the almost complete lack of course indicators, and the A4 map provided was nowhere near detailed enough. I and the rest of the front runners took a huge (2-3 mile) detour and then struggled through the field to make up the lost time. Another 3 turns were complete guesswork, and at 2 I simply stopped to let people behind me catch up to debate about which way was next.
Added to this were marshalls 3 or 4 miles off in their estimates of remaining distance, and not much help crossing roads. In poorer weather conditions this could have been a real nightmare.
I don't like to criticise the volunteers who organise these events too much, but they need a marker at every turn - relying on local runners to figure it out is just not good enough.
In short: Very scenic - very tough! In full: Due to poor signposting dozens of runners took a wrong turning and had to run 3 extra miles. No mile markers, definitely longer than 26.2! Date of review: May 1, 2005