In short: Tougher than it seems, suicidal overtaking manoeuvres and plenty of leg draining bridges In full: This was my first ever run and I enjoyed myself more than I thought I would. Am used to running this canal but in the other direction so was pleasantly surprised at how much nicer to look at this side was. Horrible start line crush completely messed up the first km and tight towpath proved difficult to over take for the first few miles. Constant speeding up and levelling off really pushed all the cobwebs out and the very real threat of slipping in mud and going head first into the canal soon pushed any brave overtaking out the window. Once it got going the mud was easier to avoid and it was obvious the lock bridges were taking their toll as I saw plenty of people crumble after the half way point! The marshals were very friendly and encouraging but the odd cyclist/dog walker going in the opposite direction was quite annoying yet unavoidable on a public path with limited room. The final push after the last bridge was horrendous in my opinion and totally took me by surprise sapping all the remaining energy from my legs. Overall I was happy with my time of 1 hour 57 minutes which was at least 15 minutes faster than I expected so the potential for PBs is higher than you'd think. Well done PurplePatch, excellent race, shame about the drizzle! Date of review: November 15, 2010
In short: Tougher then you think but enjoyable In full: There was definitely mud and a lot of short hills over locks and bridges. The marshall at mile 11 who said no more hills to go lied big time because the drag at the end was certainly not flat!! Although reasonably flat I think the terrain makes it hard work. Definitely a great race as the surroundings are always changing and nice to do a route that isn't laps. The only critism I have is that my entire warm up consisted of queuing for the loo (and stretching) followed by queuing for baggage drop off (while changing). Would also be nice to have some squash as well as water at the end as desperately needed sugar! Date of review: November 15, 2010
In short: Not as muddy as some make out In full: Judging from some of the previous reviews I was expecting conditions reminiscent of the Somme, but it really wasn't that bad. It had rained a bit in the days leading up to the race, so there were a few puddles and muddy sections, but this was no cross country shoe sucker. In fact I'd say the relatively flat course (barring the half mile hill at the finish) is quite quick considering, and though it's not tarmac has reasonable PB potential. You just need to get ahead of the main group in the initial lap round the park to avoid getting hemmed in. I beat my previous time (and came 6th, to my surprise). Slight confusion with the coaches, they were not at the car park as instructed but a mile down the road. There was an official somewhere letting people know, but he wasn't there when I was trying to figure it out. Otherwise, organisation was pretty good. Marshalls along the route were very friendly and encouraging, so special thanks go to them.
In short: Mud, Mud glorious Mud!! In full: I have not been this muddy in a long time!!. Really enjoyed the relaxing race along the canal. The first few kilometres were rather crowded due to the mass of runners on the tow path and mud. this really messed up my average, but I would still do this run again as it was thoroughly enjoyable and scenic. Look forward to next year and hope it rains a lot less the days leading up to it!!. Date of review: November 14, 2010
In short: Purple Patch organise events like no one else - an excellent race In full: A super event along the wonderful Grand Union Canal. Tough, muddy with a naughty little slope to overcome at the end in Cassiobury Park. Purple Patch Running Club is a master at organising these off-road events. Criticism - a few more portaloos at the start would have been nice! Date of review: November 14, 2010
In short: Well organised, but very slippery & muddy, narrow in places. In full: The start had a couple of bottlenecks but soon spread out, but the towpath is narrow & only single file in places. Due to recent weather a few stages were extremely swampy, muddy and slippery which made it a tad difficult. Well organised & nice finish & medal. Date of review: November 14, 2010
In short: Marshalling, mile markers and water stations were excellent; lavatory facilities prior to start and baggage handling very poor; hwoever, the positives outweighed the negatives and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Date of review: November 11, 2009