In short: No complaints this time round In full: If Runners World had an award for "Most Improved Race", this would have to be in the running!
Last years faults were pretty well documented but the organisers have certainly learnt from them and have managed to put on a very good race. Yes, there was a stretch next to the busy A31 but it wasn't that bad on the eyes and ears - the mud and wind at that point may contribute to the odd negative comment though!
The organisation was great, led by the very charismatic Nick who kept everyone smiling in the cold at the start. There was no shortage of water this time round with a nice selection of nutrition at station 3/6 as well.
Overall a really enjoyable race - I am sure it would become even more popular with people training for marathons if they could avoid the clash with the established Mad March 20 in Christchurch (you wait all Spring for a good 20 miler in the area and then two come along at once!)
In short: Excellent organisation, fabulous marshals, scenic but extremely tough course......so great for marathon training! In full: When I entered the race I ignored the previous years reviews putting these down to first year teething problems and hoped they'd be resolved for 2013 and I wasn't disappointed, they were!
The organisation and pre-race email communication could not be faulted. Marshals were plentiful directing you on arrival to the car park and race registration.
The race briefing was thorough and informative and the race started on time.
The marshals and water stations around the course were fantastic, especially in the adverse weather conditions!
The course was tough, especially after all the rain and was not made any easier with the freezing temperatures and biting wind. Mud, water logged areas, hills and wind were plentiful but there was also miles of dry track and some road, certainly not a PB course! A varied course which certainly tests your stamina, so great for marathon training!
Thank you for a great race.
I certainly will be back for 2014! Date of review: March 11, 2013
In short: Great scenery but tough course In full: Reading reviews from 2012, looks like this race has certainly improved it's organisation. All seemed to be fine and I had no problems.
Course was far more challenging than expected. The 20 mile race was 2 identical laps. Not really a road race at all - most was on track with some road and there was about 3-4 miles per lap through mud, boggy marsh and scrub. If it had been dry it probably would have been fine (just hilly) but there had been a lot of rain the week before. It was very tough going here and most people just walked/squelched through these parts. It was also alongside the dual-carriage way so noisy from the cars. I was hoping for a 4 hour time but despite feeling strong I finished in 4.15 as the mud really slowed everyone down! A rather hilly run – both long, shallow uphill climbs and short, steep hills. Not a PB course! Mind you a lot of people were training for a marathon and we all agreed that it was excellent training and hopefully the roads of London/Brighton etc. would seem easy after this!
The race was small, about 150 runners for both the 50K and 20 mile race which took place at the same time. (The half started later, at 2.30pm).This was a surprise as the website gave this impression it was going to be a lot bigger – a whole weekend festival of running. It did feel more like club run though. There was a brief before each distance/race and then we made our way to the start line. They did wait until everyone was on the start line before mentioning iPods though – which were allowed but keep them low-volume and be careful on the roads (if they had banned them at the last minute, I’m not sure what the runners (myself included) would have done with them as there was no time to go back to baggage!!). All the runners were a very friendly bunch, and everyone said hello as they passed, or chatted, and helped each other round. But there were times when I was the only runner in sight and if there was not a marshal for a while I was running completely alone. With the freezing weather, strong biting winds and the open landscape it could at times feel a bit on the lonely side! Marshalls were friendly and supportive and there were a new on bikes as well. Well done to them as they were out there pretty much all day in the cold, in the middle of nowhere! They were pretty much the only spectators though. As there were 2 runs going on in the morning (50K and 20Miles) with the possibility of some runners not finishing when the Half started in the afternoon, they did not put out distance markers. I’m sure they could have managed this though perhaps with different colour boards for each race. I did not find this too much of a problem though but did ask a few people wearing GPS what our distance was. You could roughly work it out from the water stations and the fact that there were 2 laps of 10 miles each. However the marshals didn’t seem to know how far we had left, so with over a mile to go I was told by one guy the finish line was “just around the corner!”, well that and a bit more!!!
Seemed fine at the water/feed stations. 3 stations per lap, with plenty of water. One of them also had snacks – Clif Shot blocks, jelly babies, jelly beans, Clif bars and Macvities Chedders. They always asked how we were feeling and if we were warm enough.
Received a medal, cups of water and jelly babies at the end. The goody bag was basic but you got quite a nice tee-shirt, also a Clif bar (always good to get food) and a £5 Sweatshop voucher which was a nice bonus.
The site was a camping ground, which was very difficult to find. Not really any public transport so car is really the only feasibly way to get there. But there was onsite parking (although muddy) and showers, and a pub! One guy did seem a bit stressed out trying to sort the car park out though! Considering it was meant to be a festival, there wasn’t a lot at the runner’s village – the registration desk, a small Sweatshop tent, cafe marquee and massage. As it was so cold many people sat in their cars with the heater on. I would have gone to the pub afterwards – bet it was lovely after the cold run – but I had a 2 hour drive ahead of me. Chatted to the half marathon runners who were just about to start, had a lot of fun warning them about the mud and hills! Mentioned they might want to wear trail shoes if they had them!
Overall a tough but good weekend, glad I did it! Might do this one again but it was a long drive for me (100 miles so very early start!) and difficult to get to so probably would only do it if I was in the area. Date of review: March 11, 2013
In short: Vey enjoyable despite the conditions In full: I'm just glad that I didn't read last year's reviews before signing up to this as it proved a very enjoyable event, the organisers clearly learned from last year's comments. It was certainly a hard 20-miler and the muddy conditions between 3-6 and 13-16 miles weren't much fun at all but the organisation was excellent (all of the usual from parking [excellent work from the cadets] to toilets to registration etc). The marshalls were excellent, very cheerful despite the freezing conditions,and the water stops were well equipped with water and other provisions at one stop. The campsite was a good start/ finish venue, though it would clearly place a limit on numbers for the event. Also want to add for the apprciation for the compere/ briefer/ announcer - very clear and funny without being irritating. One thing for the future is that this is very "off road" in places so trail shoes are really a huge benefit and I don't think that the event website makes that as clear as it should. Date of review: March 11, 2013
In short: Friendly marshals great organisation and lovely scenery In full: Despite the cold and windy conditions, this was a lovely race in what is a lovely part of the country. Judging by last years reviews they had a lot to improve on and I think they did. Everyone was really friendly as well. The goody bag was rubbish but there was a tshirt and medal so that's ok. Date of review: March 11, 2013
In short: Well done Team at Naked Strength, far superior to 2012 In full: A challenging, hilly, cold and windy course. Marshalls upbeat and very supportive, nice touches on the 3/6th snack station (the poor marshal contending with wild ponies).
Good well ordered car parking, hot & clean showers.
The highlight of the day, the Compere Nickie. Added a real sparkle and level of fun/energy.
Really well done, thank you for being so responsive to last years feedback. This race should grow and grow now. Date of review: March 10, 2013
In short: So thirsty, so thirsty oh I remember the water station is 1/2 mile before the finish line In full: My GPS said this is 20.8 miles - but is has been known to be wrong. Goodie bag was just a promotional pack for other advertisers - no goodies. Did I mention I was very very thirsty? Water station 1 mile in and 1/2 mile at the end. That is a long way on a hot morning. I must say the other runners were fantastically friendly. Never met such a nice group of people on a run. 3 miles of running along a motorway was not what I was expecting and unfortunately my earphones blew up so I couldn't drown out the sound of the traffic. However my head was down most of the time thinking about how tempting the puddles were to drink. Most of the scenery was lovely though. Date of review: March 13, 2012
In short: Very very poor organisation...... In full: The water station issue has already been mentioned, this was very poor, how hard can it be to get enough cups / water for your confirmed runners? The worst was the half marathon distance - it ended up as 14.7 miles!!! Goody bag consisted of a pen and a banana, no medal, no t-shirt....We had to walk about 0.5 miles to a new start as the old one wasnt working, so chip timing is irrelevant. All in all a complete waste of money, no chance of me running this "event" again Date of review: March 12, 2012
In short: Well what can I say In full: I accept that every new race will have teething problems and am easily pleased but what on earth was this race. In no particular oder of importance: even if the organisers may say that the loos were campsite responsibility, how hard can it be to provide 50 extra rolls of toilet paper to cater for the increased footfall - lots of other races do that. Highly strung and extremely unrelaxed bib desk lady- don't mean to pick on individuals but first impressions count. Jelly babies at the start are nice but why not have at least a few out on the course - I know they said no food but that would have been appreciated I think. For a course that's advertised as picturesque etc. to run alongside the motorway for a few miles, disappointing - so much potential Marshals clearly non-runners, while some of them tried their best, most just sat there playing with their phones barely looking up - and it wasn't for lack of runners greeting them! As the race organiser chose not to put mile markers out (surely no big deal to organise, even with several different races going on!)and the marshals had not the faintest idea when asked, there wasn't really a way of knowing exact mileage. Biggest issue was the lack of water - how can you run out of water / cups. Incredible. Either make it a self -supported race or supply water - no in-betweens. Ran into massive crowds (finishers from other race) / cars after the first lap - a few marshals helping runners out by warning / crowd controlling would have been appreciated. Ran 20 meters past the turnoff to the finish, though not recognisable as such (yellow sign but no "finish") this was entirely my own fault - my responsibility to know the course. But: turned round and got screamed at (I'm not exaggerating) by a marshall "WHY DO YOU ALL HAVE YOUR NUMBERS OBSCURED?! Hadn't said anything / looked at him accusingly for not shepheding me towards the finish / in fact didn't look at him at all - completely uncalled for. My race number was neatly folded up and well recognisable on my shorts. What a joke of a race. Date of review: March 12, 2012