In short: A rewarding challenge with excellent support and organisation In full: The marshals were excellent, particularly Juniper Bottom Cheerleaders. Lots of support from fellow runners and a great picnic. Thunderstorm was a nice touch. Date of review: June 20, 2011
In short: Quite hilly in places. In full: A big hilly thanks to Dr Rob and his band of merry marshals for making a tortuous six and a half hours seem like fun! This was my second Picnic and I plan to be back every 2 years ad infinitum!! Date of review: June 20, 2011
In short: What? Another lap? In full: Dr Robert, you keep organising these horrible things, and I keep entering them. As always, very hard work. the submerged stepping stones and the extra slippy approach to the turnaround point make things even more interesting. I'm in agony today, but I know I'll be back for more in two years. See you in Bath for the Hilly Half! Date of review: June 20, 2011
In short: Does what it says on the tin! In full: Turned up 25 mins late for the start due to horrendous London traffic, but very kindly allowed to start anyway - and about 6 miles later was wishing I'd stayed in the carpark. I should have been forewarned by the Knacker Cracker (many familiar hills), but I'd thought Dr Rob was exaggerating when he claimed that this was Britain's Toughest marathon - how wrong I was! Hills, steps, more hills, more steps, (a total ascent equivalent to 1 and 1/2 times up Ben Nevis) a few river crossings and no more than 5-6 miles of flattish trail in the whole course. My slowest marathon ever by a very long way - but one of my real favourites.
Views superb. Magnificent, enthusiatic marshalling all the way round - the best I have ever seen in a race. Quite how some of the marshalls managed to keep up such vocal support for nearly 7 hours is beyond me - I assume some of them were voiceless come Sunday. Lots of mutual support from all the runners as we passed each other. A truly magnificent, agonising, fun (!) event - although it;'s a good job it's only every two years. Date of review: June 20, 2011
In short: Great and glorious race...... wheres my Ibuprofen? In full: Wow but my word, what a race. A true feeling of accomplishment. The marshalls were fantastic and if any of you read this the guy in the Hawaiian shirt says hi. Can't take away from the runners, no matter where you were in the field everybody made time to egg each other on. Stunning and hard as nails. Date of review: June 20, 2011
In short: Storms, Hills, Mud, Steps, Falling, Rivers = awesome delicious pain! In full: The lightning storm at the start heightened my sense of fear but strengthened the camaraderie as we all pointlessly huddled together under the non-waterproof tent! So the fact that I was soaking before it started meant that wading through the river 4 times was less of a shock! I loved it, the downhills were steep enough for fearless sprinting/tumbling, the mud was mostly controllable, the uphills were torturous but usually followed by long flats or downs. The never-ending challenges meant that the miles and hours flew by. The marshalls were awesome, lots of loud and smile inducing encouragement, they urged me to push it so much more than I would have without them. The other runners felt like my best friends by the end. Having my name on my shirt (as well as my number) meant I got so much support. Great value for money; great t-shirt, medal and mug as well as some decent cake at the end. I'm so proud to have survived! Date of review: June 20, 2011
In short: Lightning Flashed, thundered roared and down it poured..... In full: What a start thunder and lightning and torrential rain before the start - did it dampen the spirits - not a bit.
The race (and for those mental guys at the front it was a race) is tough - I managed a Personal Worst time for a marathon - so unless it's you first ever marathon a PB is unlikely.
The course is cleverly designed to extract as much psychological torture as possible. Every hill you run down - you will be running back up at some point. You know how far ahead the leaders are as they come steaming by you in the opposite direction. And then there is reaching the final line for the first time, where you have to turn round and do it all over again.
Having said that, the downhills and flats (and quite a few of the hills) were all runnable.
Hats of to the marshalls - top notch cheekiness from all of them.
The only bad point was that I had the wrong name printed on my running number - but by the end of the race I had stopped thinking there was somebody else behind and became my new alter ego "Matt"
P.S. Hats of to the guy from Colchester who did the steps 5 times (instead of the normal 4) - I tipped the marshals a fiver to send you the wrong way ;-)
Overall a great race - may even do it again in 2 years time.