In full: A good day, quirky with having to wade through water at times, wet sand makes it a bit more interesting, people are friendly, good atmosphere. Saw people from Watford so this meet must a definite for those that want a change from the commercial races and enjoy running Date of review: June 16, 2013
In short: Great afternoon's running, friendly, brilliant scenery, challenging course! In full: Definitely do this one again. A slow time, but understandable given the amount of wading. Lots of friendly chat among participants. I know the area well and have always wanted to go out on the sands - couldn't think of a better way. Date of review: August 22, 2012
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.