In short: Superb in every way In full: My wife brought me an entry for the 10k race as something different for my birthday. This is the first time I have gone to event like this and was immediately surprised by the friendliness of the runners and staff and the relaxed vibe about the place. The organisation was slick and everything was very well managed and coordinated.
From looking on the website I saw that there was quite a bit of elevation gain at the start and also that the second part of the race was all downhill, this was going to be quite different from a Hants League XC race!
The start of the race was interesting with a competitor and completer type system going on and very few of us stepping up. Just before we set off I found myself in the second row, fine for what i'm used two but perhaps not here!?
My fears were ill founded as we headed off along a beautiful river and then up quite a steep path onto the cliff path. The views were absolutely stunning and although windy the day was fantastically clear and bright.
The next section was nice, pretty much flat on grass before turning onto a path going through some heather and up to the high point.
I gave a stone to the Cairn God then leathered it back down to a checkpoint (another new experience). Once crossing the road the decent got a little steeper and I found myself having to ease off a bit but again, terrific fun.
Once off the hill the decent continued through some woods on a lovely dried earth trail. It was at this point the trail gods grabbed the newbie by the foot and I stacked it face first into the earth. The gent behind stopped check I was ok (yet another new experience) before passing. I dusted myself off, absolutely fine and pressed on. On the slightly flatter parts of the decent I was flying but there were a couple more sections where I was out of my depth.
Once down there was a pleasant path before breaking out onto the road and back to the start, finishing 22nd.
I left the event on a real high feeling like I had discovered a whole new type of running... and a hole new type of event!
Later on I released that I tend to enter paid events organised by running clubs or rotary clubs and avoid commercially organised companies thinking they were a rip off.
I think in the case of Endurancelife that would be rather unfair. The course and organisation were faultless.
For your hard cash (I think my wife paid around £30) you got a good quality, and trendy Polyester shirt with Endurancelife branding, a decent medal, some energy bars and free parking. I would argue that that represents very good value for money.
They had also clearly worked closely with the National Trust and there was another event the next day to get involved in some path repairs, what a superb idea.
My only observations were that the drop of point system didn't really work as the road was too narrow.
The second one was the thorny issue of race photography. My view is hire a photographer, absorb the cost into the entry and release free photos with strong event organisers branding. We all like photos and the likelihood is that they will end up on social media and there you have a fantastic form off free advertising.
All in all tip top, I will be keeping an eye out to see if the CTS will return to Doreset next year, and if it does I will be there! Date of review: April 18, 2015
In short: Fabulous, a real must-do race. In full: Been on my wish-list for ages and finally got round to it this year. Absolutely outstanding race overall. Scenery defies description. Great party atmosphere. Great location. Great hills. I did the half. Was a real buzz. Lower PB/beginner friendly scores only because of the hills - don't come here for flat racing. Despite description I would say not as tough as their Dorset race. Value is good despite being on the slightly pricey side just because of the generally excellent organisation - you get what you pay for. Only one minor downside to organisation was could do with perhaps considering a one-way traffic system, or even a no-traffic system, at the HQ. But stay at the pub long enough afterwards and it doesn't matter. Date of review: April 16, 2015
In short: A great day out accessible to all. In full: I've not done a CTS in a couple of years but wanted to do one again as Endurancelife have a habit of picking breathtaking scenery for their locations. This was no let down in the slightest. (Un?)fortunately they also have a reputation of finding incredibly hard terrain and this race didn't disappoint on that front either! That beast at the beginning was arduous the first time and horrible the second on the Ultra! Luckily a good day out for me and paced it well as I don't think I could have handled that horrible weather on the hill if I'd not had a good race up to that point. One small annoyance was that whilst tracking the run it seemed to be a couple of km shorter than expected which meant I lost a couple of places but I guess I should just go on feel in future and all in all it was a great day out! Date of review: May 11, 2013
In short: The hardest thing I've EVER done! In full: I went in for the marathon completely undertrained and unprepared for the course profile - all 5200 foot of ascent. It became apparent with the first massive climb within the first mile, a heady, steep climb on a single track path. In fact the first 10k was so draining ( you had to feel sorry for the Ultra peeps who would have the endure the 10k course again at the end of the marathon!). The scenery was spectacular. We had an extreme,y harsh headwind over the moors at mile 4-6 that literally took your breath away. Every climb was relentless and harsh but the views were outstanding. I had made the decision before I ran it that as this marathon was my first trail/mountain one & wasn't comparable to all the other road marathons I've done, i was going to enjoy it. I had a few tears along the way when it got ridiculously difficult around mile 17 knowing I had another 10 miles to go ( their marathon distances are 27.1 miles!) but a friend that ran with me encouraged me along the way.
In short, a brutal race that's known as one of the toughest marathons in the UK but totally worth it in terms of achievements. I just wish there was a medal instead of a dog tag but I've been told when you've run it you're considered 'hardcore' and don't need a medal to tell us!, Date of review: April 18, 2013
In short: Super scenic super hard race - the worst climb was after the finish line going back to the car park In full: It starts in the middle of deepest darkest Devon so just getting to the event is a logistical challenge. The course itself takes in some staggering climbs over the cliffs and coastal path around north Devon. The atmosphere amongst the runners is first rate. A i had a horrid fall and several runners offered help. I got marvellously lost at the end missed the turning for the finish and ran a couple of miles of the ultra course thus guaranteeing me last place? Elic. This race should be twinned with the Six Foot Track in the Blue Mountains in Australia, as they are identical in nature even down to the remote hotel which forms the race hq both are just over marathon distance and have the same 5200ft of climb and both have awesome cliffs. Date of review: April 15, 2012
In short: Breathtaking scenery and great organisation In full: Positives: A beautiful course shows off some of the best terrain in the UK and the most challenging. The organisation was very good and the course directions as good as any I've seen even in such barren countryside.
Negatives: The start of the race was single file up a narrow pathway meaning that there was no overtaking. As I was near the back of the pack I spent a long time walking at a slow pace in a traffic jam. This could be avoided by positioning oneself higher up the field.
In short: Very hot, very hilly, magnificent scenary In full: Brilliant race although cost is quite dear at £50 for what you get. For this would liked more than just plain water and jelly babies at water stops which were too far apart for a race in this heat even carrying your own drinks. Could have provided at least a coffee at the end! Organisation good but drink stations not always aware how far to the next one. However the stupendous scenary takes your breathe away as do the hills and, on this occasion, the heat. It's a hard race make no mistake but makes you smile when you have, rather painfully, finished. Came from Kent on Fiday, overnighted in Taunton and late back on saturday night after race. Knackered but great fun. Wouldn't have missed it. Date of review: May 25, 2010
In short: One of the hardest marathons ive done so far In full: Killer hills, the hill climb at 18 miles really takes it out of you and just when you think there cant be anymore climbs there's the climb out of lynmouth and the climb at the last mile. Date of review: May 23, 2010
In short: Hot and Hilly! In full: A returnee from last year so I knew what I was letting myself in for. According to reports, this marathon has 10,000ft of ascent and 10,000ft of descent, and so your calfs and quads are going to take a real hammering regardless of your level of fitness!
I managed four of the Endurancelife marathons this year, and I would say that although Exmoor was pipped by Cornwall in terms of difficulty, it was top in all other categories including scenery, weather, enjoyment, and variety of terrain. Thankfully, when you weren't walking the back-breaking hills, the course was quite runnable (not as rock-strewn and techical as Cornwall).
As well as the course difficulty, the main challenge was the heat. Gloriously sunny, but the temperature rose above 25C. With only four well spaced out checkpoints, you had to be pretty self-reliant and I would say a hydro-pack was a must.
Endurancelife events are a little expensive, but the are well organised. The route was so well marked and there was no chance of going offroute if you stayed alert. All the staff were helpful and friendly. The good thing about this type of event is that you can't race them (well I can't) and so you try and take in the superb scenery (the sea was a deep blue, the sunny was bright, and you felt you were in the Mediterranean or even the West Indies). You also chatted with the other runners, and teamed up at stages to work together to complete this extreme challenge.
I still haven't worked out if this one or the Picnic Marathon (in June) are the more difficult, but I'll choose Exmoor for now as that's why I'm walking in alot of pain! Date of review: May 23, 2010