In short: Pleasant enough but less than ordinary In full: I enjoyed the run. The weather was good, and the course went through countryside - not spectacular countryside, but decent countryside nevertheless. I enjoyed the course. Indeed, I would recommend it. That is not to say that the race was anything special, but it was pleasant, and provided you don't have much in the way of expectations, then it does the job nicely. An early morning run in January, through decent countryside over a challenging but not aggressive course, with plenty of friendly marshals. And, as it's held in St Albans, there's the opportunity for a decent pub crawl afterwards.
I didn't use the suggested car park. I parked in a sidestreet near the start/finish point. As I wanted the loo before the start, I did go to the race HQ, and noted that there were plenty of parking spaces available. There was no loo paper, but this is not uncommon, and experienced runners should bring their own.
The start was a little messy. People seemed unsure where they needed to be, but - again - having been to a number of such low key club runs, one learns to expect this. I didn't notice any signs pointing to the start, but I had read the fairly decent instructions beforehand, and there were enough runners heading in the right direction to guide the way.
There were at least two water stops (the same one actually), which consisted of water cups, and I did notice some jelly babies, but too late to grab any!
At the loop end the organisers had the returning runners crossing over in front of the outgoing runners, which seemed clumsy. Why not have the outgoing loop turn left, so there is no crossover? Also, the marshals, while pleasant, could be a little more alert in giving directions. They are sometimes poorly placed, and more than once I had to ask which direction. Indeed, at the loop crossover, one marshal was blocking the way I had to go, and only moved aside when I was asking which was the way I had to go. It helps if marshals point the way as soon as they see a runner coming.
No goodies, water or bananas at the end. Often goodies are donated by sponsors - it's just a question of the club being proactive. The medal was decent quality, but not individual. If you're an experienced runner you'll already have it, with some other race name scratched on the back. For ordinary club runs like this, I'm not fussed about medals anyway. I'd rather have some sports drink and nibbles. Or a hat or a t-shirt, or a sweat band. Something a little different, perhaps.
All in all, pleasant enough, but rather less than ordinary. I'd do it again, but it's not a favourite race. Date of review: January 29, 2012
In short: Well organised and enjoyable In full: I had a bad run last year, should've pulled out after 2 miles, so I was apprehensive this year. In the end, I improved by 30 minutes and I only walked up a couple of the late hills. Great organisation and well marshalled. Date of review: January 28, 2012
In short: nothing bad but nothing too exciting either. In full: Fairly predictable "club" race. Nice enough course and very well marshaled. The start was chaotic with marshals shouting at runners to get off the road and the HQ as quite a hike from the actual start/finish area and an even further trek from the recommended parking. Would do it again purely because it's a rare event - not that many 10 milers around and not that many races in January in the area. Date of review: January 24, 2012
In short: A good tough 10 miler to start the year In full: I didn't like the start as it was very congested and they should consider closing the road for 10 minutes, otherwise a good challenging 10 miler. Well organised and marshaled. Date of review: January 24, 2012
In short: Half decent 10 miler In full: I enjoyed my first attempt on this version of the Fred Hughes 10. Having run several of these races on the old course at the old venue I knew that the Striders work hard on their events. This was evident in the pre race info sheet advising about all the important matters like parking, baggage and distance to the start from the HQ. Signage at the HQ was also plentiful so toilets and changing could be found easily. The course and route was good in my opinion except for the first/last 300 metres which were fairly rough tarmac pavement. The rest of the course I enjoyed on decent country lanes with the odd moderate incline. Not quite as quick as the old course in my opinion but on the whole I believe this route is better.
In short: Defines "Undulating" - good fun and just the right time after Xmas In full: Good fun this one, the route is undulating, covering 3 different loops that all end up back at the same pub. Nice to run on lanes rather than pavements. The hills kick in after mile 5. The start / finish was a bit further from HQ than I was expecting - it might be an idea to remind people to leave the hall 20 mins before the start in the future. Will certainly do it next year. Date of review: January 23, 2012
In short: Just tough enough In full: Good parking facilities. Organisers were very encouraging almost to the point that you want to join their running club. Nice course with just enough hills and nice medal to finish. The long hill at mile 6 deserves a special mention. Date of review: January 23, 2012