In short: A well organised trail Half Marathon in a beautiful area. In full: I was pleasantly surprised at the smooth running pre-race organisation. Car parking was exceptionally easy (and it’s free car parking), chip collection was military slick and then I noted a massive queue for the portaloos. ‘Ay up’ I thought but on looking around I spotted smaller clusters of loos with hardly any queue. That’ll do nicely !
I actually enjoyed the vast majority of the course; I managed to run (I use the term loosely) all except for the last incline, where I walked about six steps before mentally berating myself back into some sort of trotting action. I truly wasn’t keen on the running surface (I predominantly run on tarmac) and I found one particular stretch near the end of the course really bumpy and punishing on my whole body. I guess that’s trail running for you! In truth, only one thing flawed this race for me and that was getting stopped at the road crossing. I felt emotionally wrecked jogging on the spot as the last competitor across the road headed into the distance. I understand the traffic has to be managed; it’s just exasperating when the clock is ticking. To be honest, my time is already slow enough without stopping.
The marshals were well positioned, friendly and did a great job out there on the course, a big thanks to them. The water stations were also well manned. I have always hated the plastic cups of water but after running Reading Half last weekend and seeing so many discarded bottles of ‘almost full’ Lucozade and water, I’m having a change of heart. I say, save them for the end and give them out in abundance when runners can drink them and not waste them.
Thank you for the lovely memento. I know I’m sad but the total highlight after the run was the pancake stall. I just loved my pancake (only £1.50) and if you can promise me that will be there next year then I’m in. April fool or not ! Date of review: March 28, 2011
In short: Hard but fun In full: Having only just got back into events after about 15 years of laziness I found this tough but really good. On arrival I was pleasantly shocked to see that I was parked within 200m of the start and finish (and it only took 10 minutes to get out at the height of the rush after the race). The atmosphere was friendly and helpful. The route was pretty tough but any truely steep sections were short enough to dig in and get over, most ups were long and gradual. It was narrow in places but overtaking was generally easy due to the lowish numbers. Well recommended. Date of review: March 28, 2011
In short: One to pump your fist to as you cross the line! In full: Having gradually and unintentionally built up running distances over the past 8 months, this was a first attempt at the half-marathon distance and found it (ultimately) extremely fulfilling!
I love trail running; the Spartan Race (3 miles with obstacles) lit the flame and found myself subsequently ploughing through the MudRunner Classic (6-7 miles), Hellrunner (Down South/In the Middle (10-12 miles)) and now this.
Quite a fast course in terms of trail running with no water, mud or other natural obstacles. A nice load of hills though, and I agree with the other comments that I wouldn't describe them wholly as 'gentle gradients'; the inclines weren't massively severe (only saw a 1 or 2 people reduced to a walk (where I was)) but they were very long with the occasional steep bit.
Nice twisty dry trails through the forest and enjoyed the support from the spectators- even clocked a few high fives on the way!
Went for the Asics as opposed to the muddy trail runners, fine for the course and weather conditions.
Came in at 1hr 40 which was pleasing with the legs not quite but almost as punished as Hellrunner: Hell in the Middle (which was 11 miles but crazily hilly with water/bogs/mud). This was faster and an enjoyably different race (1:52 for Hell in the Middle). Would recommend a bit of hill training for beginners or runners used to flat races.
Must say it was very well organised with everything from arrival to the race to the exit running very smoothly. A few more portaloos wouldn't go amiss however :-)
One area of improvement I'd suggest would be better chip stats. Would love to have a reading for times crossing the start line/halfway point added.
Overall it was a great morning and found the distance provoked many undulations of the mental spectrum. Would certainly do it again!
Next one's the MudRunner Oblivion in May, bring it on! Date of review: March 28, 2011
In short: Tougher than I expected! In full: My first time at this race and the course was much more challenging than I expected it to be given its description. However, it was a beautiful course and the organisation was great with a smooth start,no problems with parking or chip collection and great catering. Of course the inevitable 30 min queue for the loo meant we were clambering over a fence to make the start. My only disappointment was finding out when I got home that I should have won a t shirt but there was no way of knowing this until the results were posted on the website...my first ever prize and I missed out on it! Date of review: March 28, 2011
In short: More hilly than undulating but enjoyable all the same. In full: This was the first time I have ran this race and I thought it was a very well organised race in beautiful surroundings. I found some the hills hard work, but some of this was down to my lack of fitness due to having a long lay off because of injury more than anything else! I definitely will be back next year. Date of review: March 28, 2011
In short: A privilege to take part In full: Well done,organisers! You are lucky to ahve such a spacious venue amidst a network of super trails, but you took full and efficient advantage to present a memorable race. I train on such surfaces and gradients mostly, so was well prepared and met the challenge to my satisfaction. Date of review: March 28, 2011
In short: Fab fab fab In full: Oh just perfect! Alhough I do hope it doesnt get any bitter as runner congestion is getting worse. Am facinated about their website comments each year saying they've changed the oourse to make it easier though... Please can we have sport drinks after mile 9 pls? Date of review: March 27, 2011