In short: An insane combination of hills, woods, stepping stones, outstanding views and hundreds of muscle-killing steps in the muddy Surrey countryside after a monsoon - with a few flat bits thrown in for good measure! In full: What a fantastic event to take part in! My first attempt at anything this hilly when running. I was using this as a practice for the Snowdonia marathon in October (I've only ever run 1 London marathon before) and found out that I CAN survive the hills! The trick really is to walk the stairs and the steep bits of the hills and run everything else. The monsoons before the race didn't help the conditions underfoot - especially the partially submerged stepping stones - but with the weather being kind during the race it was actually an enjoyable experience. There was a real feeling of camaraderie from virtually all runners the whole way round the course, which made the pain easier to bear and the less challenging (flat or downhill!) sections really enjoyable. Thanks to the fellow runner who said that, if I can run this, Snowdonia will be easy - I'll let you know in a few months! A huge thank you to all the marshals who were really encouraging and were happy to dole out copious amounts of water, mars bar cubes and jelly babies, and to Rob for being mad enough to organise this insane race in the first place! I particularly liked the piper, the snowmen, and the 13-mile marker placed handily 100 yards in front of the finish line! My hat goes off to the nutters who did the whole thing twice for the Picnic - maybe one day..... I'll definitely be back next year, if only to prove that I really did do it the first time. Date of review: June 25, 2007
In short: great day out - friendly - off-road running at its best In full: I had no idea what to expect - didn't really believe the slogan of it being the hardest 1/2 in Britain. There is a surprsing number of steps to take: I counted 273 whic we did 4 times plus 2 x 190 plus a few here and there! One of the most beautiful sightings along the route were the numerous orchids! What struck me was how supportive runners were to one another - it made me realise how rare this has become in other races. Large amounts of haribo bears and mars bar bits made the race a pleasant experience. I wonder who the two lonely characters were on top of that hill watching every single runner pass them at least twice! A big thank you to Ansy for counting those steps up towards the what's it called hill with the glorious piper! Grewat goody bag by the way - the best race shirt I've ever seen, the shoe bag comes in very handy and the glass trophy is marvellous. Great race, great day, huge organisational effort by the McCaffrey family and whoever else is involved. As far as the titel is concerned, I've still got my doubts: try and run Cape Wrath marathon, then you know the true meaning of 'tough' ... I'll be back though, having done some training for a change! Big big thank you! Date of review: June 24, 2007
In short: Apart from the weather at the start it was another great way to see Mole Valley. In full: 20 minutes off last years time what a way to finish. Totally great afternoon everybody did really well, very slippery after the rain, there's nothing like a drop of rain on the chalk to keep your concentration up. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up when I heard the piper. See you at the next one; probably before if you go to any of the other races in this area.
In short: Midsummer Murders on the Monroe 3000ft climbs - BoxHill Dorking June 2007 In full: I don't write many reviews but if I had to do one , it would be for this event. Dr Rob organised the whole event in superb fashion and made all newcomers welcome. I especially liked the well timed introduction the the lead marathon runner prior to the start of the 1/2 marathon (don't do the picnic marathon unless you have trained)who came down the huge hill at speed then slowly jogged back up to do his 2nd lap (or half marathon)- you have to be made of steel to do that run.
The course is a combination of steep climbs (pretty impossible to jog/run) along with forest trail runs across a river via stepping stones you basically get to see the whole vista of Box Hill and the surrounding area - its is quite breathtaking . Most of the half marathon guys met each other and the some of the full marathon guys since the routes were a lot of out/back stages but pretty easy to navigate with the exception of some sheer drops with very slippy slopes - but hey this is why we run isn't it !
Great to see Rob the crazy piper play the bagpipes at the start and at the halfway point. Had a pint with him at the hotel after the race - where he told me he thought we were all crazy - I agreed with that !
My trainers needed to go into the washing machine today since they were the wettest/muddiest/knackered shoes I have seen in a long time ! Despite being tired at stages of the race I was pleased to finish around 2.15 , my normal road half time is 1.30 - so that gives you some indication of how different this event/course. Its not about the time - its taking part that counts and I for one will hope to be signing up for the race next year in 2008 !
Ps - please bring the assembly plans for the Gazeebo since it took 12 blokes to work out how to get the thing set up in torrential downpours - very funny !! Even the bagpipe guy got stuck in to help out !! Date of review: June 24, 2007
In short: One of the hardest things that I have ever done - the legs are killing me! In full: Trained for the hills but was not expecting the slopes to be so steep or there to be so many steps. This really is a fantastic experience and one of the hardest things that you will ever do. I was shot after 9 miles and cramping by 12 but the comaderie of the runners, cheery marshalls with their jelly babies and mars bars and the down hill finish just about saw me through. Fantastic goody bag with a lovely trophy. Well done Mr Union Jack shorts you sadist! Date of review: June 24, 2007
In short: So much fun and so much pain! In full: You have to be slightly mad to do this race (completely mad to do the picnic). It is great fun and hugely satisfying to finish. Date of review: June 24, 2007