In short: Slugfest at Whitebrook In full: Dropped another road event on the same day to use this as a fair reflection of the IMUK 70.3 run course which is also off road. This is significantly more challenging which was exactly what I needed :) . Some fast technical descending as well which is quite rare coming from triathlon/road race background. Thought it was going to be dry and wore racing flats = error. Trail shoes only if it hasn't been as dry as a desert.
Well organised friendly event - perfect for beginners but don't let the course scare you off the sport. Course is quite unique (in a good way) and has x2 tough 600ft climbs with 3044ft vertical gain in total. Scenery and support around the course is fantastic - which you need for the second lap.
Other matters of great importance are loos and post race refreshments. Plenty of loos (clean and no queues) with an abundance of cakes, drinks and hot food all of which was deserved post race.
Particularly enjoyed the technical descending and the long climbs that just sap the life out of you.
If you're looking for a PB course this isn't it but offers so much more of an overall challenge. Just over 16mins slower than my 1/2 marathon road time - it was a little long but wasn't a problem - same for everyone else. Not easy but came away with some good war stories for the pub :D
In short: Tough run but great organisation and course In full: My own fault - but I did underestimate this a bit having run 60ish half marathons over the years and it was a last minute decision to enter. The course was excellent (13.6m with my garmin but couldn't care less about that). 1.9m of steady climb is a long way up (especially twice as two loops) and fast descent afterwards. Lovely scenery and very well marshalled with lots of water and jelly babies too ! Date of review: May 20, 2012
In short: The friendliest half marathon I have ever run!!! In full: Hats off to the organizers, I emailed Saturday morning to see if there was still space in the race, and got a very swift and welcoming response. This continued upon arrival all the registration volunteers and organizers were very welcoming and efficient. Race village in a field, but sufficient toilets, good catering for spectators and runners, and shelter provided had it been raining (it wasn't!)
The course is a real mixed bag, despite dry weather today we have had a hell of a lot of rain over the last month, so patches were very wet, muddy and boggy. Sections were on grass down by the river which was quite uneven under foot, then we moved onto hard tracks with quite a lot of loose stones in places before heading into the woods and down some slippy mud footpaths. There is no getting away from the hill (that you have to tackle twice!). Its an unrelenting incline for the best part of a mile and it does take it out of the quads on the second lap. However, once at the top we were rewarded with running through the bluebells, fab! Some of the downhills were a bit steep and slippy for my liking but others were pure speed! The final stretch for home is all flat which is always a big thumbs up. Great marshals, 4 water stations, 2 on each lap with jelly babies, what more can you ask for? I didn't have my garmin on, and did hear that it may have been long, but I always thought trail races were measure in 'country miles' ;-)
Cannot say anything negative about this race, the only thing that I would personally change (and this is just my opinion!) I would have much preferred the route in reverse, although appreciate this would mean moving the start to thin the field out a bit before getting onto the single file tracks through the wood. Announcing the prize giving via the megaphone, I didn't expect to get 3rd Senior lady (as I was technically 4th Lady overall) however totally missed the presentation as my other half was scoffing a burger in the catering tent! And now I am being really cheeky but if the T shirt got upgraded to a technical T that would be the icing on the cake!
Will definitely be back next year!!! Great Job guys!!!! Date of review: May 20, 2012
In short: Great challenge, very tough hill. Excellent atmosphere and organised well. Also feel the course was a tad long. Don't feel it has pb potential due to the climbs. Overall good race. Date of review: May 20, 2012
In short: Tough, but worth it :) In full: I did this race as a preparation run for another hilly off roader, and hilly it is make no mistake!! Don't under estimate this race it is a challenge, but a great day out and a wonderful sense of satisfaction at the end. It was very friendly, a brilliant medal and t-shirt, great prizes (my partner took MV40 and got a lovely lump carved of glass), great catering and just generally great craic. Water stations and jelly babies accessible four times round the route, and a difficult trail marshalled so well there's no chance of getting lost. Only moan, I think it was a little too long - more trail for your money perhaps? ;) Date of review: May 20, 2012
In short: TOP MARKS!! In full: Well done to the organisers,marshalls and drinks people.This was a fantastic race in stunning scenery,tough hill to run up but thoroughly enjoyable all the same!I will definately be running this event year after year.As with most half marathons etc a race T-shirt is given to all entries abd I normally give mine away to friends and family but this is one T-shirt I will be keeping as it was well earned indeed!! Date of review: May 26, 2011
In short: Hard but fun! In full: Very well organised, super-friendly atmosphere and marshalling, well marked course in superb location - what else could you want? Only my second half marathon and completely enjoyable. The secnery was fab, the uphill was really tough without being impossible to run up and the downhill was just a massive adrenalin rush - especially with the dog (though not sure I'd want to attempt it in wet weather)! Thanks to organisers for a great race and for letting us canicrossers join in, fantastic and interesting course for the dogs. Look forward to next year! Date of review: May 24, 2011
In short: The most stunning scenery and a well-organized friendly event . In full: As a super-vet (plus) woman I wasn't expecting to win, just hoping to run the event in reasonable time. I chose the Whitebrook half for my first as I couldn't face doing 13+miles on roads. This was the perfect answer - more like X country but easier to pace and kinder to my joints. I actualy preferred the 1200ft climb to the 'free fall' through the woods! I will definitely do it again. The standard was high but as clearly stated on the website it was a 'challenge'. Luckily I was mostly running alone, but wondered how the front runners were coping with narrow paths, especially if there had been more of us. Date of review: May 23, 2011
In short: a good day out In full: A very friendly crowd. Some of the paths were narrow and/or uneven. Parts could get congested if the numbers increase dramatically. The downhill would also be a bit of a nightmare if wet. But it wasn't and despite walking most of the way up the hill the second time, I think I enjoyed myself. Beer and scones at the end, nice. Date of review: May 23, 2011
In short: Faultless In full: For Whitebrooks first race you would have thought they had been doing this for years. Stuck with the obvious basics with the organisation which cannot be said for some other events. Nice course,long,long climb. Proper village event atmosphere. Spoke to a couple of ladies who were doing their first half, hats off to that. Think they were happy to hear that any other halfs will not be anywhere near as tough. No advert for bag storage but it was a pretty obvious "Just leave it in the marquee" next to the BBQ & cakes!!!
For those thinking of next year it is all off road on very good footpaths & fireroads. 3.5m flatish. 1.5m up, 0.5 down (Mud track but well defined) followed by a short sharp uphill sting. Then do another lap Date of review: May 23, 2011