In short: Faster than a galloping horse - beat the tide In full: "Is there a cut off time?" the bloke sat next to me on the coach asked. "Only the tide!". Certainly an incentive to us plodders.
Don't let the flat course fool you, this is tough going. Head wind, totally exposed to the elements, three river crossings (I think) plus about a mile ankle deep in water. The net effect is totally draining on middle aged legs. I've done two full marathons this year, including Coniston Trail and think I felt more tired at the end of this.
BUT what an amazing experience to be so far out on the sands, seeing a snake of runners far in front and far behind. Well worth doing for the experience, and the bragging rights.
Lots of great friendly runners at the start, the man with a generous supply of jelly babies much welcomed at 11 miles, the little jokes cracked all the way and a warm welcome at the finish.
Organisation wasn't perfect but good enough and a bit of bling to hang around my nexk for the journey home.
In short: My socks smell of fish! In full: As others have commented, this is a hard, hard run. I was 23 minutes slower than my PB (in April), and only part of the reason was that according to my watch I ran 13.51 miles. Parts of the course are an easy run, but the areas of hard, rippled sand are not easy underfoot and the Kent Channel crossing at around mile 6 is slower than walking pace. I agree with the comment about the placing of the mile markers - the first three or four were placed well ahead of the mile they denoted, but towards the end they were a similar amount beyond. Scenery would have been better if it had been less overcast, but it was impressive (if a little demoralising) seeing the snake of people for (it seemed like) miles ahead. The goody bag was practically empty and the medal only average, and finishers had to pay for a T-shirt if desired, but I don't really mind all that as one of the main aims of this event is to raise funds for Cancer Care and not to give out freebies. If I do this again (and I will - despite the 680 mile round trip from Plymouth) I will definitely go barefoot. I have washed my socks and trainers but there's still a distinct tinge of fish about them, so they're definitely going back in the machine. Overall a run you should do if you get the chance, just don't expect a fast time. Date of review: August 15, 2012
In short: Not a lovely jog across the sands... In full: The idea of running across a picturesque tidal bay may seem appealing but don't be fooled. This is one hard, hard race. Good for the challenge but not for a pb...my time was 30mins above my WORST time!
Sand is not flat it is ridged making an uncompromising running surface. Add to this river crossings, water underfoot and a constant biting headwind and it's tougher than even the hilliest race.
Scenery? Yes very pretty for the first mile or so. However the nature of the course means you are looking at the same thing for the duration. Trust me you soon stop caring. Saying that there is the Chariots of Fire sensation s the runners snake across the sands.
Also the distance run is difficult to gauge...I got the feeling that 13 mile markers were planted less than accurately and more as a countdown than an accurate representation of distance. You are warned beforehand that given the dangerous nature of the sands the distance can vary. I get the feeling this was a longer year!
Yet this race is called the Cross Bay Challenge. If you treat it as such you will not be disappointed. It is unlike other half marathons, in many ways more difficult than many marathons. As such there is great and lasting satisfaction in completing/conquering the bay.
In short: Wow In full: Loved it! Although be prepared the coach journey to the start may be longer than you think! Was starting to amicable thinking I'd got on a marathon coach ! Lovely unique course I personally loved the wind kept me cool going through that thigh high water I was ruining how easy it would feel when I got out out not so ha ha talk about sapped energy but certainly a race to do in your life time Date of review: August 15, 2012
In short: Nothing like any other race I've done before In full: Had plans to walk across the bay a year or so ago but decided this would be better (and quicker). With the strong head/side winds and plenty of water underfoot that's questionable. Very happy with the organisation and cheerful marshalls (particularly the children) out on the sands, not so with myself for managing to forget socks. Blisters after 5 miles meant running the rest barefoot. Brilliant - wish I'd done it from the start. I didn't get a PB, in fact it was a PW, but managed to significantly reduce the time difference between my finishing time and that of the winner from all previous races. Try it barefoot next year although not sure how you'd manage the track at the start though. I enjoyed it but it was a long trip up from Northamptonshire and I prefer the fields and lanes so probably won't do it again. Date of review: August 14, 2012
In short: Tough - but definitely worth it! In full: The hardest half marathon I have done to date but certainly the most interesting, changing weather conditions, crossing rivers and being in the middle of Morecambe bay all combined to make this race unique. No major grumbles about any of the organisation, little things here and there could have been slightly better such as the water station regularity (though I would imagine it's a bit of a logistical nightmare). I'll be recommending this race to friends but it's certainly not easy (the wind direction did us no favours mind) so be prepared to have a slower time than normal! Date of review: August 14, 2012
In short: Hard work! In full: I came over from the Isle of Man for this one, it was my first half and was certainly a challenge! I don't think I'd do it again but you never know..... Definitely worth doing but not much to look at scenery wise. Prepare to get soaked and stay that way, running through all that water really takes it out of you too. Date of review: August 14, 2012
Hard, definitely not PB material, organisation was good, scenery was perfect, need more toilets at start, although having mens specific urinals were good also seemed to queue for ages for pens and safety pins so that we could write on the back of our race numbers (not a problem if you had your own)
Water stations stopped being as frequent once we crossed the main river. Really could do with more bins, as the number of water bottles lying on the pristine sands of the bay was terrible, the empty ones were blowing away. The organisers had biodegradable cups, but handed out water bottles as well. The goody bag was nothing more than a collection of adverts for other events etc.
I have only mentioned the above as feedback to the organisers, and I don’t want it to create a negative impression. This is GREAT race, and one definitely worth doing, not to mention the good cause that it supports, after all we enter races for the race and not the goody bags surely. Very good medal, nice and weighty.
The river crossings really take it out of your legs and mess with your rhythm, I found it hard to get going again, the wind was tough especially the last big corner heading back to shore. Tucking in behind someone (preferably a big bloke) was most sensible.
In short: Hard as nails, full on head wind, water crossing, phew ,tough tough tough In full: If you want a challenge then this is it. I reckon this was harder than a marathon. Mainly due to the head wind, boy it was windy, then rain that stung you as you ran, then, river crossings that literally just sapped the last bit of energy out of you.
A unique experience that I would probably not do again. As close to a desert race as many of us will do.
Im a 1-50 HM runner and this took me 2-21
Only real critism is that there was a lack of toilet facilities a the start, meaning I abandoned that hope and set off. Of course, there are no hedges to jump behind here neither. Date of review: August 14, 2012