In short: I certainly would recommend this to anyone who fancies a nice run in the forest, does not care about their time, enjoys great scenery, likes a few hills or is in training for something longer / tougher, oh and does not mind a bit of mud In full: “This race will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think the people that like Beast, Stickler, and Studland etc might like this. I certainly would recommend this to anyone who fancies a nice run in the forest, does not care about their time, enjoys great scenery, likes a few hills or is in training for something longer / tougher, oh and does not mind a bit of mud, well lots of mud actually.
Being the day after Weymouth 10, and “across the border” into Hampshire, there were not many runners I recognised – well none actually, until just at the start line I caught up with Carole Loader, Caroline Horder and Debbie Camp from Bournemouth Joggers (Did not see them after the start though- they are all a lot quicker than me !).
It’s a great scenic race totally traffic-free event through the New Forest - 15K of undulations and hills (but nothing as steep as the Stickler – I did run the whole race all but about ten yards !!!).
But there was mud, some up hills, some more mud, some downhills, some more mud and few more up hills, (you get the drift ….). At about 13K there were a couple of places of calf-knee deep water (that washed the mud off) and then more mud for the rest of the race.
Hard to compare your time really as you kind of squelch and swagger in places rather than run, but is a really good workout and unbeatable forest scenery and views, plus ingeniously organised route and race venue. One I’d do again.
We often comment that marshalls are friendly and encouraging – This race is a contender for “best race marshalling of the year award” – A feature unique to this race is where the marshalling points had lists of the entrants, and the marshals were giving out first name cheers to all the passing runners – even from a stranger a “Come on Ray” is always welcome. Marshalling this one is quite a lonely affair with just 124 runners quite strung out across the forest with marshalling points miles from anywhere, but each marshal was very lively and supportive (and some apologetic about the mud and hills !!!). I did like the positive spin they put on everything including classics such as: – “there’s a nice downhill section soon” (meaning – “there’s a flipping big hill up ahead first”; “There’s a nice section to wash your shoes coming up” (meaning – here comes the water !!!) and “nearly there, I’m the last marshal” which I heard three times, including from the one dressed up as a six-foot Bumble Bee !!!
This event is organised by Totton Running Club who used to organise the Totton 10K, the first race I even ran in. That used to be a great event with children’s races and such, raising money for the local school and charities, yet due to difficulties with local authorities, police and safety concerns is not allowed to run any more. So Totton RC ingeniously went off-road and organised a race in the forest. This is its third year, and my initial prediction that this would be a cult race like the Stickler and grow in popularity has not yet materialised, but I do think it deserves more than the 124 entries it had this year.
It is hard to fault the organisation – As a previous entrant I was sent an e-mail months ago when the date was announced (I am surprised more races do not send entry forms and notifications to runners who have entered before, especially those smaller races who wonder why their entry numbers drop if their race is not in the DRRL); once entered you get e-mail confirmations – and even updates regarding the traffic and road closures, etc.
Upon turning off of the A31, the Totton RC flags make the race HQ entrance visible from a long way away, and the quaint Race HQ of a car park, tents, gazebos, Burger van and portaloos within seconds from the race start and finish make it all very relaxing and easy.
Goody bag was a bit different, with a “Running Belt” (for you to carry gels, I Pads, phones, drinks, etc) and an “Arm Strap” thingy (to carry even more stuff if you feel so inclined). Also contained a nut bar (any kind of food after a race is always welcomed), complete with a health warning that it contained nuts.
Congratulations to Totton Running Club – a great event. This race really does deserve more recognition and more entries”
In short: nice run in the forest In full: enjoyed the mud at the start finish, all the gravel tracks did get a bit boring when we went under the A31 . just needs to add a mile of mud about half way round to turn it into a great 10 miler - no-one wants to run a 9 for some reason! (please don't turn it into a half-marathon) Date of review: November 11, 2012
In short: Wet, muddy, hilly, brilliant, this is what you train for! In full: An off-road race with everything. Wet open parts, hard compact trails, deep slippery mud, river crossings, technical descents, if you like off-road, this is a brilliant course. Only my 3rd off road race, but difficult to see how a course can offer more. Great, friendly organisation as well. Date of review: October 22, 2012
In short: Challenging run, glorious countryside, friendliest marshals In full: An excellent trail race in the New Forest with some extremely challenging hilly bits to make things interesting.
Very enthusiastic marshals, most of whom take the time when possible to look up your number and give you a name check. I was also impressed with the effort made to advise runners of how best to get to the start after a road was closed in the area.
A pretty good goody bag as well that puts some of the more expensive "bigger" races to shame!
In short: Challenging run in great scenery In full: A varied and at times challenging course. Dry weather in the preceding two months meant the tracks were hard and no issues with mud. I wanted to particularly thank the organising club Totton RC for the superb marshaling, no chance of getting lost here! The marshals were amongst the best I have seen in races, all offering cheery encouragement. A nice touch was marhsals using lists of entrants to call out people's names as they went past. Overall, well organised, great scenery (I am very local but had never run some of the tracks used) and definitely a stinger! Date of review: October 25, 2011
In short: what a great off-road race In full: well done totton, great off road race with enough hills to make it a real challenge in this part of the world. Please pass on my thanks to the marshalls - lots of smiles (or where they laughing at us struggling up those hills) and encouragement and plenty of them all round the course. All topped of by an impressive 'race village' and goody bag. Looking forward to next year Date of review: October 24, 2011
In short: A great race In full: A fantastic race. Great organisation, nice goody bag at the end, plenty of water stops and encouragement along the route. Beautiful day for it too: lack of rain recently meant that there wasn't too much mud, which I can't say I was sorry about when heading up those hills towards the end of the race. Thanks to the organisers - really impressive - will be back next year. Date of review: October 24, 2011