In short: Off road heaven, marathon meet orienteering - which meant 28 miles for me In full: You dont expect to get lost on a marathon, but I wasnt the only runner who lost my way and ended up running an extra couple of miles. Its a beautiful course with a great mix of terrain, so going the extra mile has at least some rewards. A small number of marathon runners and a lot of woodland means that you are on your own for a lot of the run (unless you group with someone else). A quick question to walkers "have you seen other runners coming this way" gives you some confidence that you are still on the right track. The directions are very good, but its still easy to get lost. It was the first time I used the "course" function on my Garmin Watch - this took some getting used to, but if it wasnt for this I wouldnt have finished. There was a positive party atmosphere at the 5 mile stations - a chat, a few glasses of water, jelly babies, mars bars. All marshalls and organisers were extremely friendly. Forget personal bests, this is a run with a difference, challenging but extremely enjoyable. I will definitely do this again. Date of review: September 16, 2010
In short: a good tough course. In full: for this run you will always remember the beautiful view across the dunstable downs near the start and before the finish and a very good challenging route on all terrens, plough fields, bridel paths and lots more. a great day out. will be back next year Date of review: September 14, 2010
In short: A Brilliant Challenge In full: If you want big crowds cheering you on... If you want a nice flat PB course... If you want a huge field... If you want loads of marshals pointing the direction... If you want mile markers... If you want any of the afore-mentioned, then this race isn't for you!
The Dunstable Challenge is easily one of the best races I have ever done simply for the difference in challenge from your usual road races. Be prepared for the unexpected to your usual race day routines when you get here.
First, the start was a little walk from the registration desk. Secondly, forget a nice easy start, it goes straight uphill and finally forget the marshals, a map and other runners are your only friends when navigation. Ok, there are a few arrows on the course to help you though. You want see many supporters on the course because most of the course is in the wilderness of the countryside, taking you into the tranquility and peace and quiet. Leave you Ipod at home.
The course takes in some awesome scenery and covers all sorts of terrain, I think a water crossing was the only surface missing.
The organisers on the checkpoints and at the start/finish are extremely friendly and embrace the challenge, appreciating what everyone is doing on the day.
The only downsides; the last mile isn't anywhere near as beautiful as the rest of the course. Also, another drink station on the half course would have helped, I was extremely thirsty after 4 and 8 miles, although perhaps I should have carried liquid.
The entry fee make it the perfect race, I will be back next year. Date of review: September 13, 2010
In short: Great variety of terrain, some lovely views, but half marathon was 14 miles not 13! In full: Very interesting race with some great scenery and challenging terrain. Not a huge amount of support from the locals but plenty of atmosphere provided by the scenery. Sandwich, cake and tea at the end were perfect. Only disappointment was a rather miserable last mile of finish which contrasted starkly with the great scenery of most of rest of run.
And would be worth making sure everyone knows that the course is 14 miles not 13! Date of review: September 13, 2010
In short: A refreshing and rewarding change from the conventional events. In full: The varied and unpredictable terrain ensured there was never an opportunity for boredom! Makes "normal" events seem extremely dull in comparison. In preparation for this event I had followed the instructions on a couple of training runs previously, which helped me enormously on the day. Alleviated having to stop and start. The only disappointing factor for me, was the finish. After the stunning scenery encountered on the run, the finish was on a less than salubrious public footpath. It was difficult to tell where the actual finishing line was and there was a notable absence of supporters - not even a clap or a well done. Seemed a shame to have such a soulless and non atmospheric ending. Date of review: September 13, 2010
In short: Great way to spend a Sunday morning. In full: Like nothing I have ever done before, always a good view or a different challenge to keep the interest up. Did 20.7 miles due to a couple of errors following route but it all added to the fun. Many thanks to all involved! Date of review: September 13, 2010