In short: Enjoyed every minute In full: I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this race. From the moment I was chatting to strangers on the train platform at Newcastle to the finish line back in Newcastle the evening afterwards.
Running nearly 70 miles (69.8 according to my Garmins) was always going to be tricky but having wet feet for the last 68 miles made it tough. Not a lot that could be done about that.
The atmosphere and scenery were fantastic. Much of the organisation was excellent and the waymarks were a huge bonus and part of the reason I chose this race. It was a shame that so little of the race ended up on trail compared to what was advertised 11 months ago, but I had known about this having read the updates so had road shoes and there was little they could do about the last minute change due to adverse weather. I nkow of people who pulled out when the route was announced so it wasn't that big a problem.
A couple of bad points - The official race photo, I only found out afterwards that this was a special photo at the end that you should have been taken for at the finish. Looking through the photos it appears that almost everyone who finished before 13:30 (only 4 out of 36) did not have their photo taken specially. When I contacted them I was told that as we had the opportunity for a photo that it was our mistake. DISAPPOINTING.
I did get slightly lost. Near to the final checkpoint there was a waymark missing and I carried straight on but luckily someone saw me and I didn't go any longer than necessary. I assume that it was tampered with though. In fact nearer the finish, they augmented waymarks with red and white tape as they are less likely to be tampered with, so that's a good point.
Overall, it was a great event. There are a few small things to work on, but it was the first year so a few teething problems are to be expected. I wouldn't do it again as I've done it now and need to find something different. It was also very expensive with travel and accomodation as well as the race.
I would recommend it to someone else who is looking to go long. Date of review: July 2, 2012
In short: Early injury caused pain and even more pain, but looking back....fantastic!! In full: The weather conditions before hand caused serious flooring to many parts of the route making foot care a major concern.
Realy impressed with the amount of food and drinks the pit stops and every member of the Rat Race team offered great encouragement all the way round.
During the race another runner must have missed a few of the signs as I passed him and then several miles futher along he was ahead of me again, a little anoying, but these this must happen?
Overall a great day out and everyone seemed to be enjoying the run, the scenery and every once and while the weather! Date of review: June 30, 2012
In short: Challenging Ultra over good terrain The nine seasonal weather made it more fun In full: A real good event pricey but well looked after at checkpoints and put stops would definitely do it again Date of review: June 30, 2012
In short: Excellent event In full: Brilliant event, extremely well organised and very friendly. As I came on my own this added to the experience - as brilliant atmosphere. The food at the checkpoints was great- just what I needed. Thanks to the kind man in baggage at the end of the run who called a taxi for me. My only gripe was the outside catering at Vindolanda - Not good - Would have preferred a big bowl of Spag Bol - Not a burger van. Big thanks to organisers and fellow runners for a marvelous weekend - Would do it all again! Date of review: June 30, 2012
In short: Brilliant first-time ultra event, especially being able to split the distance over 2 days. In full: Pros - Brilliant event even taking the weather into account! The other runners and marshalls were very friendly and the organisation along the route was great.
Cons - pricey. The overnight camp was below par. "Catering outlets" turned out to be 2 burger vans - somewhere offering pasta or something vaguelly healthy would have been more welcome.
Occasional mile markers along the way would have been helpful. Date of review: June 30, 2012
In short: unimpressed with Rat Race and their man Gary In full: He was very rude , campsite was just mud. no food offered to runners on the sunday morning. first aids very good, photographer went home before all challenges finished. some good point but the bad out weigh them. Date of review: June 29, 2012
In short: Epic and Emotional In full: Fantastic event for the ultra marathon first-timer, the organisation from start to finish was amongst the best I've ever experienced. I always felt safe and knew that if I had any problems I could get help immediately. A few people have criticised the route but to reiterate what's already been said, the route was well-advertised on the website and emailed to us, so we should all have seen the mix of terrain and chosen our shoes accordingly, there was even kit advice on the website. The catering was great as far as I'm concerned. At Vindolanda I wasn't keen on the burgers either but the huge serving of vegetable curry was great. A massive thank you to all involved, not least my fellow runners/walkers, it was great to share the experience with you. Date of review: June 29, 2012
In short: Tough ultra in a great place. In full: I felt this event was well organised from start to finish, ok, so the medals were the same but is that really why we run?
The stages were published well in advance and you could see that only 18 miles were on trail, with 8 of those later converted to road due to the weather and communicated to all runners well in advance. Out and out trail shoes would never be an option so I feel the criticism on this a bit harsh! The waymarking for me was spot on (15.34 finish) and the cp's and pit stops were well stocked and manned. More info on the distance travelled and how far to go would have been welcomed but again this could be worked out from the Essential Event Info, grid references were published for all stops well in advance. Maybe this could be done next year?
Most ultras are a lot cheaper but then you also have to have a map and a compass to navigate with very little waymarking, this race was an excellent introduction for those who have never done this type of distance or event before and would be put off by having to make their own way over such a long distance.
When I entered I knew the cost and figured it was worth it knowing that I would get support at known distances along with first aid if needed. Nobody held a gun to my head!
The weather was pants but that's no ones fault. Would I do it again, probably not, but that's because this kind of event is more of a once in a lifetime event rather than a yearly fixture.
For me it was just great to run with so many other like minded runners and nutters. Date of review: June 27, 2012
In short: Extraordinary event - nothing to compare this one too! In full: The ratings you have to give don't reflect the race but I've given it a go!?!
PB potential - well I got a 69 mile PB, so should that be a 5 really? Didn't quite work with the "pure speed" explanation of PB potential!!
Beginner Friendliness? - for an Ultra beginner (like me!) this was perfect so therefore 5? Again not really one for non runners (as per explanation for a 5!)
To summarise - awesome start to finish. Will never forget this one! The organisation was impeccable, from marshals to arrows pointing the way, but most of all the runners around me. There was a real sense of camaraderie amongst those running around me (around 11 hr pace - Challenger), and the whole "toughing it out together" atmosphere made this the best event I have ever done!
In for next year - yes it's expensive, but there's a lot to organise and a lot of miles to cover - obviously I would like it cheaper if possible but as far as I'm concerned - £200 well spent! Date of review: June 27, 2012