In short: A runner's event In full: The inaugaral Battle of Northamption Marathon Challenge didn't disappoint. Although a charity fundraising event, alot of attention to detail was put in by the organisers to construct this event with the runners in mind.
Good facilities at the gym HQ including refreshments, changing/showers and pre/post race sports massage (donations discretionary).
A group photo-shoot at the start and a nice speech from the mayor got us away. Being a challenge, we were armed with clear written instructions (my only observation is the print-size was too small for me to read without my glasses!).
The route consisted of a short dog-leg book-ending a 5 lap loop (including another short dog-leg within the loop to the checkpoint/drinks station which you did 4 times). Being near the back for the first few miles allowed me to follow the route instructions until I was familiar with the main loop section - this stopped me merely following the runners in front and going off route within the first mile.
The weather was cold but dry - perfect for running once you warmed up. The terrain was multi-terrain, with road, pavement, gravel, tarmac, grass and some soft and muddy sections - testing in some bits even though the profile was almost entirely flat. Being out in the open, the wind did freshen things up and add to the challenge.
Marshals were posted at key junctions and were without exception friendly and encouraging. They would have felt the cold being out for 5 hours plus. The drinks station was brilliant - well stocked with a variety of drinks and stacks, and doubled up as a checkpoint to record the runners after each lap with your race number being marked - simple. The two people manning the station were great, and especially encouraging after the fourth and final visit to give you a boost for the final few miles.
Generous post race refreshments and a free raffle including (in my opinion) a top prize of a 24-pack of lager which this said runner won! There was no shortage of needy runners happy to relieve me of most of these as I don't drink the stuff!
A really enjoyable event and a nice change to see when the marathon calendar is becoming increasingly filled with corporate events companies charging high entry fees purely for profit.