In short: Excellent event In full: Brilliant event, extremely well organised and very friendly. As I came on my own this added to the experience - as brilliant atmosphere. The food at the checkpoints was great- just what I needed. Thanks to the kind man in baggage at the end of the run who called a taxi for me. My only gripe was the outside catering at Vindolanda - Not good - Would have preferred a big bowl of Spag Bol - Not a burger van. Big thanks to organisers and fellow runners for a marvelous weekend - Would do it all again! Date of review: June 30, 2012
In short: Brilliant first-time ultra event, especially being able to split the distance over 2 days. In full: Pros - Brilliant event even taking the weather into account! The other runners and marshalls were very friendly and the organisation along the route was great.
Cons - pricey. The overnight camp was below par. "Catering outlets" turned out to be 2 burger vans - somewhere offering pasta or something vaguelly healthy would have been more welcome.
Occasional mile markers along the way would have been helpful. Date of review: June 30, 2012
In short: unimpressed with Rat Race and their man Gary In full: He was very rude , campsite was just mud. no food offered to runners on the sunday morning. first aids very good, photographer went home before all challenges finished. some good point but the bad out weigh them. Date of review: June 29, 2012
In short: Epic and Emotional In full: Fantastic event for the ultra marathon first-timer, the organisation from start to finish was amongst the best I've ever experienced. I always felt safe and knew that if I had any problems I could get help immediately. A few people have criticised the route but to reiterate what's already been said, the route was well-advertised on the website and emailed to us, so we should all have seen the mix of terrain and chosen our shoes accordingly, there was even kit advice on the website. The catering was great as far as I'm concerned. At Vindolanda I wasn't keen on the burgers either but the huge serving of vegetable curry was great. A massive thank you to all involved, not least my fellow runners/walkers, it was great to share the experience with you. Date of review: June 29, 2012
In short: Tough ultra in a great place. In full: I felt this event was well organised from start to finish, ok, so the medals were the same but is that really why we run?
The stages were published well in advance and you could see that only 18 miles were on trail, with 8 of those later converted to road due to the weather and communicated to all runners well in advance. Out and out trail shoes would never be an option so I feel the criticism on this a bit harsh! The waymarking for me was spot on (15.34 finish) and the cp's and pit stops were well stocked and manned. More info on the distance travelled and how far to go would have been welcomed but again this could be worked out from the Essential Event Info, grid references were published for all stops well in advance. Maybe this could be done next year?
Most ultras are a lot cheaper but then you also have to have a map and a compass to navigate with very little waymarking, this race was an excellent introduction for those who have never done this type of distance or event before and would be put off by having to make their own way over such a long distance.
When I entered I knew the cost and figured it was worth it knowing that I would get support at known distances along with first aid if needed. Nobody held a gun to my head!
The weather was pants but that's no ones fault. Would I do it again, probably not, but that's because this kind of event is more of a once in a lifetime event rather than a yearly fixture.
For me it was just great to run with so many other like minded runners and nutters. Date of review: June 27, 2012
In short: Extraordinary event - nothing to compare this one too! In full: The ratings you have to give don't reflect the race but I've given it a go!?!
PB potential - well I got a 69 mile PB, so should that be a 5 really? Didn't quite work with the "pure speed" explanation of PB potential!!
Beginner Friendliness? - for an Ultra beginner (like me!) this was perfect so therefore 5? Again not really one for non runners (as per explanation for a 5!)
To summarise - awesome start to finish. Will never forget this one! The organisation was impeccable, from marshals to arrows pointing the way, but most of all the runners around me. There was a real sense of camaraderie amongst those running around me (around 11 hr pace - Challenger), and the whole "toughing it out together" atmosphere made this the best event I have ever done!
In for next year - yes it's expensive, but there's a lot to organise and a lot of miles to cover - obviously I would like it cheaper if possible but as far as I'm concerned - £200 well spent! Date of review: June 27, 2012
In short: Self-styled "UK's most iconic ultra"? Big claim, didn't deliver In full: Very pretty scenery. After the first 20 miles on dull roads, that is. We were finally treated to a patch of Hadrian's Wall that was off-road. Vindolanda was memorable and The Hill directly afterwards great fun. Running alongside the river, approaching the bridges, was certainly iconic.
Sadly the rest of the run didn't really deliver on the promise given in the blurb.
Having been emailed advice that both trail and road shoes were equally appropriate, my friend opted for trail shoes. After 20 miles of road, her shins were not in a good way. We all understand that there had to be some last minute changes to the course because of weather conditions, but it would have helped if we had been told that the course would be about 85-90% hard surfaces.
The soup at Vindolanda was ok but it would have been helpful if some complex carbs had been on offer, especially for people who were refuelling for the next day. Even the catering vans only sold burgers, hog roast etc. The no of wise at the end was just that - no pasta, only a roll to go with it.
The first part of the course was well marked out but it became confusing towards the end, could really have been better marshalled towards the end stages
Pit stops were really good - sandwiches, cakes, hot drinks, fruit, chocolate.
It seems a shame that the medals were so nondescript, and the same for everyone, whether they were running expert, challenger or relay.
The ribbon on mine unravelled, the same thing happened to one of my team mates. When the race had finished there were no ladies medium t'shirts left - only small mens, which didn't fit.
All in all I don't see how Rat Race can justify charging such extortionate prices. £200 for a 2-day event seems really overpriced. Date of review: June 27, 2012
In short: Optime In full: I did the Expert one-day event and had a brilliant time. First time running more than 30 miles.
- Loads of information emailed out before the race, and plenty of warning that there would be long road sections.
- Participants should understand that it would be impossible to run directly next to Hadrian's Wall for the whole distance as it is a heritage site and therefore protected from too much access, and parts of the wall are inaccessible because they are National Trust or Enlgish Heritage owned sites. Bits of wall that we saw were great, and running along all those dead straight Roman roads gave an idea of what the Roman army probably felt like.
- Weather was awful in the morning, but some of the watery bits were a relief for hot feet. I had good socks and no blisters though.
- Marshalls were very well spaced out, with surprise water and haribo stations en route. Very encouraging throughout, particularly when they were standing in rain and gales.
- I don't think any of the signs had been tampered with when we were running, but a more detailed map would have been useful anyway. Not least to remember after the event what I saw where!
- Checkpoints were excellently well stocked with food and well manned, but I would have liked something similar directly at the finish. Some bananas, Snickers bars, squash drinks, crisps....
- Finish was very quiet when we arrived at 11.30pm, but the staff were very awake and it made for a more personal finish rather than the usual scrum for water, photo and baggage.
- Great encouraging signs during the last stage of 7 miles. Everyone was friendly to each other on the route, but I think it must have been very hard to run on your own. Well done to those who did! Date of review: June 27, 2012