In short: Charming countryside, if you don't mind the hills In full: A nice day out, with the course doing a good job of getting out out of the town as quickly as possible. Although blanket road closures aren't in force, the route is well-marshalled and the field is large enough that runners effectively have right of way.
The one black mark was the baggage store, which saw rucksacks and coats dumped directly onto a muddy field. Surely a tarpaulin to cover the ground wouldn't have been too much trouble? Date of review: February 2, 2014
In short: Tough course with strong field In full: No doubt this is a tough course. Doing hills in February is never going to be a walk in the park. Lots of serious club runners mean its less fun than some races. No goody bag but a technical T shirt and medal. Organisation is first class with great marshals and helpers. Date of review: February 2, 2014
In short: I smashed the PB that stood since 2006! A great run, In full: It should have been a bad run... I adhered to the no headphones rule and then my garmin wouldn't turn on before the start so I ran with no idea of how fast I was going! Knowing when the hills were coming I went crazy downhill and took 14 seconds off my time. Great Marshall's, water stations better than last year and a massive thank you to Watford Harriers and the chief Marshall for not cancelling despite the three lakes. My trainers need a wash but it wasn't dangerous. A great morning - my six year old did the junior challenge race and loved it! So pleased she's enjoying her running. Will do this next year! Date of review: February 2, 2014
In short: Sunny,hilly,rather large puddles. Lovely race In full: A good challenging run through some lovely countryside. My local run so I would always do it. A good race with lots of beginners although I think its quite a tough one. Puddles will not kill you although some people seemed to think so. Good enthusiasm from the Marshalls. Last mile is an absolute soul destroyer. Date of review: February 2, 2014
In short: A challenge; but a great half marathon In full: Brilliant race; very well organised with lots of volunteers on hand to assist. It is hilly, but we all knew that when we signed up!
Beautiful weather really helped make the day fantastic, the only downside being that we had to run through 3-4 large pools of water (although I understand the organisers spent serious time on money draining various sections of the course) which left my feet very heavy!
Thanks a lot to great volunteers all along the course; perfect level of drinks stations, medal and good t shirt at the end. Date of review: February 2, 2014
In short: Great race - Super organisation... In full: Was not sure how it would be but all went well on the day - bag storage efficient and there were no queues for the toilets, a first ! Course is not easy, scenic but hilly in places. The three lakes were fun ! Well done Watford Harriers for allowing the race to go ahead despite the water. Nice Medal, technical shirt and plenty of water available afterwards. Food would have been good but that's being a bit picky. Overall, really nice day out and decent time for a pretty tough course. Date of review: February 2, 2014
In short: Rather dull and low key In full: Sometimes the weather makes all the difference. This was a cold and mostly grey day, so that brings down the spirits. Even so, I found the course to be largely uninspired and dreary, with some pleasant bits, that never quite opened up into anything really enjoyable. Once out of the park there's some suburban streets, then there's some narrow country roads where the view is either the hedges or trees either side. It's actually a bit better than I'm painting it - certainly it's not ugly, but the views are not worth talking about, and are not what is going to bring you back.
The course is fairly challenging. It's a series of small hills, combined with a gradual slope upwards, so if you're not running down a hill, you're doing some form of climb up. This does become wearying after a time, but eventually the slope does come down until you're in the flat of the park for the finish.
The race and the organisation is rather low key. It feels like a very modest local run, but does manage to attract a decent crowd, and it has pace runners, which is impressive. There is little in the way of frills or actual organisation. There's a tent in the park, which is useful, and there are marshals, and you get a running top as a souvenir, but other than that, it's not what you'd expect for the money or the amount of runners. Everything feels a little too minimal and modest. And this is summed up by the lack of food at the finish. After a hilly half marathon in cold weather the least one can expect is some form of nutrition at the end - a sports drink, a cereal bar, even a banana. The only food on offer was some greasy meat you had to pay for. Veggie's like me had to walk into town.
The support of the other runners as I finished in the park was very moving, and it brought home that while there had been some support from the marshals, on the whole, it had been modest. And it would be helpful if organisers advised marshals not to say "Not far now", unless the runner is within 400 yards of the finish. It's not helpful. Really. Especially if you still have another hour left to run. And, the last few miles are NOT "The easy bit" - that is so demoralising. The last few miles are bloody well the hardest bit, and you need to dig deep, and to get the right support from the marshals, not to have your efforts dismissed as "easy". I would rather marshals kept shut than to tell me it's "not far" and that I've done the "difficult part", and that this is "the easy part now". Run a mile in my shoes and tell me that!
The combination of the hills, and the cold meant this was a stiff and painful run for me. But I kept at it, and did it in 2.40. Not a great time, but given the circumstances I shouldn't be too hard on myself. Date of review: February 15, 2013
In short: Those hills hurt!! In full: It was a tough race, with some nasty hills. The organisation went well and there seemed to be plenty of loos, as I never had to wait! This is a great training run for a spring marathon. The Pacers were a great touch, thanks 1hr58min man. Date of review: February 13, 2013