In short: Scenic, challenging and very well organised In full: My first time at this event and I'd be happy to return.
The 10k course takes you across a scenic, rural landscape of trails and fields. The terrain is uneven in places, so watch your footing, especially if you're not a seasoned cross-country runner.
This year's race took place in warm, dry weather, but I can imagine the course could become particularly muddy in places after rain. Even today, there was a large puddle to leap over just before the 5k-point.
Running at 46/47-minute pace, I encountered no bottlenecks on the course, although the pathway across a crop field just after the halfway point allows single file only, and you need to take care not to topple forwards when heading down the steps at 7k, as the race starter had warned. There is also a kissing gate to pass through at around 8k, so, as the organisers point out, this is not a PB course for most runners.
Amenities at race HQ are good - plenty of refreshments, adequate toilet facilities and sports massage. There is also a bouncy castle and an inflatable slide to keep children occupied.
Car parking in the village centre seemed limited, but there is adequate street parking available within easy walking distance of the start/finish.
Unlike some events I've taken part in, the souvenir medal which all runners receive at the end clearly indicates both the race and the year - an added bonus.
I found this an enjoyable run, well-organised and with a certain 'feel good factor'. Date of review: May 19, 2014
In short: Lovely village 10k over green fields and footpaths In full: Starts off on a very charming, narrow road. Only issue at the start is quite a lot of people (as always) get their pace wrong and start off too far at the back/front. It led to quite a lot of runners trying to squeeze through a slow bottleneck. Nothing the organisers could do here to improve this - just comes down to runners being able to predict their pace, which is always a difficulty.
Once the runners spread out, the course takes you up a lovely trail path covered by leafy trees. Not a road in sight - the only thing flanking the route were crop fields.
The course then wiggles through some fields - again, only issue on these parts were the fact that the trodden path was single file. The fields were quite up-and-down; so runners who chose to go quicker on the downhills were flying past slower runners on some very uneven shrubbery. Led to a few falls from what I could see. All part of the challenge though, really - I wasn't sure if I should feel bad for a farmer somewhere that I was kicking his plants around.
After the series of fields, the course gets back to a trail path. Dotted around the course are various intersections where small groups of family members shouted words of encouragement to all runners. Very nice for such a small event.
A much needed water station at 7k (not at 3k - be careful of how you interpret the map), and the rest of the course is straight and very flat back to the finish line.
The last chance of scenery is only during the final 300 metres when the course comes out onto grassy fields and you get a lovely home straight with 100s of people cheering everyone who crosses the line.
Water and a medal given at the end of the race.
Well marshalled event, not very hilly, moderate trail terrain, lovely family event. I'd do it again next year! Date of review: May 19, 2013
In short: great trails In full: ...only one moan....a pinch point coming off the bridle path into a field....slowed everyone down for a bit.....other than that and excellent event and i'll be doing it next year hopefully Date of review: May 19, 2013
In short: Great off road race, quite hilly In full: Enjoyable race mostly on towpaths, cycle tracks and trails. Certainly more cross country than road - so muddy and a fair few hills. Friendly and helpful marshals. Banana, snack and drinks at the end, also food and drinks available to buy too. Good location although we did have trouble finding the right car park as couldn't see any marshals in the car park. Good value local race, will do this again. Date of review: November 30, 2012
In short: Good Race for 1st 10K In full: This was my first ever competitive 10K race so I was quite apprehensive about it.
The start line is a short walk away from the playing fields in a narrow lane. A nice touch was the markers as to where to stand depending on what times you post for 10K. A little bit of other racers "bumping" into me to get past even before the race had started but I presumed thats the norm for a race.
The course has a few bottlenecks that previous reviews have commented on - the kissing gate, some steep downhill steps and a small bridge near the end that is only wide enough for one person at a time. Water station at the 5K mark, though it was impossible to drink out of a plastic cup whilst running!
I was surprised how hilly the course was (80m elevation gain)and it was shorter than the advertised 10K(9.82km).
Medal, banana and bottle of water at the finish line was a nice touch also.
Overall a nice race as a starter for someone new to 10K races. Date of review: May 23, 2012
In short: PB highly unlikely - and all for the wrong reasons! In full: Unless you start out at the front of this course, you'll be caught in at least 3 bottlenecks - one before a kissing gate and two before some (steep) downward steps. I had about 20 folks queuing in front of me 3 times, we were all standing still for 15-20 seconds each time. Bye bye PB and hello cramp. Also the track is narrow in many places so you can't overtake when you need to. Nearly came cropper.
Terrain is rough underfoot so watch your ankles. In fact you spend so much time looking down the scenery is neither here nor there. I know the organisers rave about the beauty of the countryside on the route but IMHO it's nothing special... Green and rural yes but overall this run feels cramped and claustrophobic.
Water station at 5k? Might as well not have bothered - please use bottles instead, plastic cups are impossible to drink from on the move! Or provide a space to stop/slow down by the water tables, it was too narrow. Or put the water stations near the 3 bottlenecks so at least we can rehydrate while we're standing still.
No baggage deposit - a definite negative - lots of freezing cold runners as we had to leave jackets etc in the car. With the 20 minute walk to the start line there were lots of chattering jaws and cold muscles. Car parking was already full when we got there so we squeezed in on the side of the road - a 10 minute walk away. There was a long and cold queue for the Portaloos even though there were about 10 of them. More for next year perhaps?
A fair few inclines on the route - in fact it seemed like one long climb with 2/3 sharp descents/steps. Seemed to be a good event for families, 2k, lots of kids around, bouncy castle, burgers etc.
Medal, water and bananas on finishing. Nice touch having prizes for 200th and 400th position but goodies for all would be better.
I might consider this one again but it's not a race I enjoyed much. As you can tell.
Positives: timing chips worked well and the signs at the start allowing you to get into position according to your estimated finish time. Date of review: May 21, 2012
In short: not a 10k and never has been (but alot of fun!) In full: Great cross-country 10k BUT..This is shorter than the 2011 course by 100m. It actually measures 9.71 km not 10k. My watch said it, the mapmyrun shows it (http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/94597881/?open_ive_done=1&new_route=1) and others observed it like naturalbornrunner. If I want to compare with 2011 times I must add 23s to my time given my pace. If I want to compare it to all my 10k, I must at 1.07 mins to my time to know if this was a PB. It wasn't but I had a lot of fun, so thanks Wheathamstead.
To organisers: Nice day out but please get the course measured properly. You need an extra 300m somewhere. Date of review: May 21, 2012