In short: Surely one of the most beautiful marathons in England. In full: What a lovely setting for a great challenge! I am a big fan of off road and rural races so this hit the spot for my 4th marathon (the other three being London so a nice change for this distance).
The terrain was tough and the ups and downs were very challenging, especially in the latter stages but if we wanted tarmac we would have entered a road race.
I'll start with the negatives (sorry horrible word because they are not negative, they are suggestions). The mile 24 marker, although a guide was cruely placed...I thought my garmin was out and I had an extra half mile to go. The cost has been mentioned and it was a little steep considering as basic t shirt and medal. Remember we had to pay an extra £3 to park as well. Also as mentioned, an extra water station in the last few miles would have been most welcome (especially as this was the quietest stretch and the part where runners need the most encoragement to get to the line.
Now the positives... The location was out of this world, you cannot beat the scenery and this was surely the most beautiful the England has to offer. The organisation was pretty good with a laid back start and plenty of support from the marshals and army cadets. I didn't mind doing the peninsular twice, it was a nice part of the course. I will highly reccommend this event. Date of review: November 8, 2011
In short: Lumps, bumps and cattle grids; friendly, charming and fun. In full: Wonderfully low key, interesting profile and mixed terrain. Cattle grids and gates kept it interesting. Lots of local support. Well organised. Will be back next year. Date of review: November 7, 2011
In short: Enjoyed it In full: Support around the course was good especially getting further towards the end - when it makes more difference. Weather was perfect for running, not so great right at the start for waiting for the beginning of the race as the cold wind coming off the water was quite chilly. Water stations at the start were more frequent than each 3 miles and then at the end they seemed less frequent. I opted to not carry water, but I would do next time. A lot of people have mentioned the price. I think that Anglian water fees must be large portion of the fee? But I'd rather pay a bit more and get a technical T-shirt than a cotton one. Would be good if there was some type of coffee/drinks/toilet facilities at the start - as it was there was a tent and the start line. These are all minor niggles though, I enjoyed it - the scenery was good, I loved the undulations - took my mind off the distance! Certainly not a hilly course, but undulation is perfect a description (450ft elevation +/- from my garmin). The mile markers were a guide and not accurate, but this doesn't bother most people as we have GPS units right? I tracked 26.02 to the finish though so ran around the field at the end for .2 of a mile to make an official marathon distance! Maybe I took the racing line too well?! Would go back next year. A nice homely feel to this race - and this is what I enjoyed most :) Date of review: November 7, 2011
In short: Great scenery with more hills than you might expect. In full: Living in Rutland I run most of this course on a regular basis and it was a pleasure to share it with a few hundred others in such glorious weather. Twice around the peninsula shows a small lack of imagination in route planning given the fantastic countryside all around but is really no big reason not to run this. Lots of happy marshalls and a surprising amount of support around the route (although I suspect the weather helped with this, it may have been very different if it was raining). If you fancy a mix of road & trail for a marathon this one is hard to beat. Date of review: November 7, 2011
In short: Wonderful but hard In full: Glorious running along tracks through the woods and by the water. Sunshine and weather helped. Hardest 10km for the last part I've ever raced though. Memory of the last km into the finish, seeing it on the shore over the undulations will make me smile for a good long time. And thanks to all the cadets for their excellent support! Date of review: November 7, 2011
In short: harder than I thought mostly off road In full: enjoyed the views but the steep descents and short sharp climbs really hurt. thanks to all the cadets on the water stations and the little girl with the jelly babies at the 22 mile mark. I also agree with the 24 mile mark I thought I had got lost Date of review: November 7, 2011
In short: nice to tick this one off my list In full: A tough course and a back injury after 15 miles did not help. Marshals and water station cadets were excellent. Would rather have distance markers every mile instead of every 3 miles. Hills not as high as Loch Ness marathon but more of them. Terrain very mixed and tough in places. Glad to have done it but will not return.
In short: Scenic off road marathon In full: A very scenic and undulating off road marathon. Rolls up and down but no long climbs up or down, just short and sharp. Plenty of water stations but get a little sparse towards the end of the course. Mile markers every 3rd mile that were pretty accurate with the exception of the 24th mile marker that was 0.60 miles too late. Course came bang on distance. Given the race fees I expect a little bit more than a gernic medal and cotton t-shirt! However, the 9bars in the goody bag were welcome. Date of review: November 7, 2011
In short: Why didn't I do enough hill training?!! In full: A really lovely race, with gorgeous scenery and fantastic weather. Organisation and marshalls were brilliant (apart from the 24 mile marker - I nearly threw my toys out of the pram at that stage). A great race and well worth doing, but if you've not done it before it is definitely bordering on the hilly, so do lots of hill training. I'm beginning to relaise that marathons are like childbirth and you soon forget the really tough bits. Today I just have a lovely warm glow and can't wait to do another one!
ps - agree about the t-shirt. Either a techinal one or not at all. Date of review: November 7, 2011
In short: Undulating In full: A very small and friendly marathon over an undulating and challenging course. If you're looking for a course to smah out a PB then this probably isn;t the one for you; however, if you want a challenge and to enjoy some picturesque views then Rutland Water is well worth considering.