In short: I recommend this one for 1st timers, not perfect for a PB, BUT will leave you with a positive experience and a PB that can be beaten. In full: This was my first ever half marathon and had NO idea what to expect. Once I had registered I contacted the organiser, Steve, and asked loads of 'first-timers' questions including appropriate footwear for the conditions. He was extremely helpful and so I was much more prepared on the day.
Oh boy was it challenging or what? The route was clearly marked out and was true to the distance. There are 2 hills, equally spaced to allow for a recovery on the down hills and a level part in the middle. The marshals tracked your laps and the photographer gave you lots of opportunities for a decent picture as a memento as you were caught on each lap so 13-14 pictures! I thought the mile lap was going to make it harder to keep going but when we all have our greatest fans (family) with us then it is great for them to cheer us every mile- less chance of them getting bored too. Also they can look after your drink for a mile and have gels/ jelly babies ready for the next lap. They can also take your extra top for just in case. I think that made the world of difference to me as normally you are lucky to see them once especially if you are caught in the crowd!
I was buzzing, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The atmosphere was great and the organisers could not be faulted. It rained but was not too cold, it made it more refreshing. I would recommend it to first-timers because there are 3 different distances being done on the same day. There is no fear of coming last as there will be people doing the marathon so the pressure is off. Also there is no way of getting lost, there are plenty of marshals and there is very quickly a clear footpath to follow. There were energy drinks, jelly babies, fruit-cake, water and masses of encouragement.
There were not many entrants and so I got a trophy- never to happen again in my lifetime and that helped make it so so special. I will most certainly be there again this year and the next.
Just one thing, you need some change for the car-park. Date of review: January 7, 2009
In short: Enjoyable and challenging run In full: This event was well organised and had a friendly atmosphere - perhaps due to the weather which I think helped create that 'what am I doing in a muddy field on a cold and wet Sunday morning' feeling.
As well as some boggy areas there were a couple of hills to get the heart rate up, but you don't need to be a fast runner to enjoy this one as there was a mixure of abilities. Plus if your just doing the 10k as I was there are those on the half marathon and possibly a full marathon distance so the organisers won't be waiting for you to finish so they can go home.
The only problem I had was remembering what lap I was on, thinking I had one left when it was actually the last. It would be great if the run could use more of the park and reduce the amount of laps as this is such a great area to run in. Obviously this would mean more stewards so perhaps this was the issue.
This said it was a good challenge I am looking forward to next years run. Date of review: November 27, 2008
In short: A great off-road 10k or half, full marathon not for the faint hearted! In full: The joining instructions and maps could have been a little clearer, but once I'd found my way to the start it was well organised and very friendly. The course was well marked and there were plenty of marshalls who offered drinks, jelly babies and some very welcome encouragement! The rain kept going for most of it, and the ground was wet and even boggy in places - a good challenging off road course. There were medals and t-shirts for all the finishers of the three distances, and trophies for the first male and female for each one. Apart from the spelling on the t-shirt (which might just be me being picky, but it's always a good idea to pick one spelling of "Weald" and stick with it ;) ...), and choosing the correct car park and then finding my way to the start line, I have no complaints and I'd recommend this race to anyone looking to do some off-road running. Date of review: October 26, 2008