In short: A few changes from previous years has changed my opinion in a good way! In full: I took part in this event for the first time in 2011 as part of my spring marathon training. I can't say I was overly inspired to take part again, but as the main reason was beyond the organiser's control (bleak weather), I was tempted to give it another go. And I'm so glad I did...
Pre-race number collection was effortless, and this time, the collection point was stationed on the tarmac (as opposed to water-logged grass in 2011 from memory, which did little to inspire my frozen feet to move). An emergency visit to a rather lengthy toilet queue with 5 mins to go was no trouble at all - plenty facilities meant I was in, out & at the race start with 2 minutes to spare.
The first nearly 3 miles is all run on the race track before disappearing into the Surrey countryside. It is here that the mild undulations start but they are nothing to be concerned about. As much as there are uphills (maybe 4/5 in total for each 10 mile lap), there are some great downhills too. And the marshalls are really good at shouting words of encouragement along the way.
This was the first time I'd raced a 20 miler & managed to take 15 mins off my time, so a PB for me :) Whilst not pancake flat, I personally enjoy the variation the course has to offer & would say this has good PB potential.
A great finishing touch to the race was being greeted by the race organiser with a handshake & the words 'Well done, did you enjoy it?'. 'Absolutely' was my response.
A great big shiny medal, refreshments & chocolates on offer. A group of us gathered afterwards in one of the hangers where a selection of tea, coffee, bacon rolls & running gear was available. A great way to wind down after a race. Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Excellent marathon preparation event In full: First time at this event for me. Loved it, easy number pickup, a chance to run around part of the Top Gear track and then out into the undulating minor roads around the area. Loads of marshals and enthusiastic drinks station helpers. The shiniest medal I've ever received at the end and a top bacon buttie from the guides. I'll be back. Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Flipping brilliant, again In full: 2nd time of doing the 20 and have a 10 under my belt too. Gets better every time, perfect positioning of facilities and the best community support going. Like the airfield as a chance for a flat warm up, although it always means going off too fast.And when you're through it there's only 7 miles on country lanes with a few bumpy bits as they say. Blasting headwind appeared from nowhere on the 2nd lap but all the nicer to get out of it. Plentiful water stations, jelly sweets galore and gels on tap. Loved it. PB my 15 mins and literally swept off my feet by the RD at the finish. Hope his back's alright!! Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: This race just gets better and better each year! In full: 2013 was my 4th outing at the Spitfire 20 and I wasn't disappointed.
Perfect start, the race HQ had been relocated just a little further down the track which meant you didn't have to walk across the wet grass to get to the HQ from the car park, so not more pre-race cold wet feet.
Efficient race/chip collection and right next to the car park. I was able to leave my car just 10 minutes before the race started, perfect.
I love this race, but it does help if you like Top Gear as the first 2 miles are on the track and then repeated for miles 11 and 12. The route out in the lanes is picturesque and the marshals all the way around were absolutely fantastic. The water stations were brilliantly manned. Just a fabulous atmosphere.
I managed to finish the 20 miles with a PB so I was absolutely thrilled. The great finishing touch to this race is the Race Director standing on the finishing line shaking the hand of every race finisher (I got a hug too for my PB!)
In short: Birds tweating, marshalls smiling, big shiny medal and perfect organisation - would more could you ask for! In full: In my mind there simply aren't enough 20-mile races out there and every year this one brings a smile to my face for weeks afterwards.
Two laps through picture-perfect coutryside - a few ups and downs to keep things varied - unlimited parking and no delays in and out. I can't think of how they could improve on this - even the medal is one of the best I've seen around. I'm already looking forward to next year! Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Great organisation and a fantastic race In full: This is a perfect prep race for a Spring marathon. The course is great with the first 3 miles on the track then on to the country roads. As it's a 2 lap course it's ideal to practice those negative splits!! The hills weren't too challenging and plenty of downhill as well as up. The gel and water stations were great and the volunteers very friendly. The marshals were fantastic and very encouraging. Thank you to all those involved.
It was lovely to be greeted by the race director at the end and the chocolate bars were very welcome! Love the shiny medal.
This race is definitely worth considering as part of a Spring marathon training plan as it's given me the confidence to know I can achieve my marathon target time now.
In short: perfect for spring marathon training. In full: Always enjoy this 2-lap route,a 10 miler soon turns into a 20 miler without really thinking about it.
Loads of gels and sweeties on the way round, much appreciated!
Easy parking, just by the start. Good bacon butties, afterwards.
Some of the most jolliest and cheerful marshals on any race. Big thank you to them for standing in the cold, smiling and cheering all the way round, (especially the two lovely ladies at mile 8/18). Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Brilliant 20 miler. Excellent in all ways In full: Parking, simple. Number and chip collection, doddle. Zero congestion in 3 miles due to width of runway. Varied 10 mile circuit x2. Second lap always good as you know the course well. A few decent hills to test. This is a very fast course. Excellent marathon training. All good. Nothing to moan about. Good value, well organise, great course. Fantastic 20miler. Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: superb organisation and a great training run In full: This is everything that a race of this kind ought to be. A very good course, 2 laps is idea for a 20 miler and the course is varied enough to be constantly interesting. Plenty of (effectively unlimited) parking and ample toilets. Very well marshalled with efficient, friendly and well organised water stations. Thanks to the guides for the bacon rolls at the end. Also great to have the race director greeting and thanking finishers, we should have been thanking him really. It is impossible to find anything to complain about in what is in my view the best of the "pre london/ Brighton" training events - though the Cranleigh 21 gives it some good competition on that score. Date of review: March 3, 2013