In short: Wonderful low key event. Very charming. In full: I loved this. Warm, friendly, fun atmosphere. Well organised for the scale of the event. I felt that the organisers were in control, and were confident and happy with what they were doing.
You meet up on the grass area between the river and the sports centre. Free and ample parking on a Sunday - though the spaces are small in the indoor car park, so take care. There are toilets in the sports centre, though not sure how official the arrangements are, as I overheard one of the organisers say to someone to ask the receptionist nicely if they could use them.
There's a short and friendly pep talk before everyone is walked over to the station, where extra railway staff have been brought in for everyone's safety, and there's a station announcement to welcome the runners. Nice touches like that make you feel warm and safe.
Pretty train journey, which can be easily missed if chatting to some other runners. There's a real warm, social outing feel to the train ride. And everyone feels pally and happy.
Greeted at Wateringbury by a mayor. Another nice touch. And we are walked to the start by the river, where a press photographer takes a photo of the bunch of us waving. Even though this is a very low key event, with only about a 100 runners, the organisers have clearly put a deal of thought into this, and that makes the event so special. I want all local runs to be like this. Many of them are. But, sadly, there are some professional race organisers moving in now, who take the joy and pleasure out of running events, by doing it for the money. Events like this renew my interest in running.
The course is more fun than serious running. It's an unconventional distance which might detract some serious club runners, and the course is very narrow in places, which means that even with a small pack of runners, there was a little bit of walking and sometimes waiting at bottlenecks. If you want a fast run - get to the front and stay there.
There was one stretch where nettles grow both sides of the very narrow path. Leggings are advised. Either that, or squirm and tiptoe like a pansy past the stinging leaves. Three muddy streams across the track made this feel like one of those mud challenges - though the streams could either be jumped with a confident leap, or negotiated by careful selection of the correct fallen tree branches!
The scenery is delightful - swans and boats bobbing on the Medway, and some picture postcard views of bridges along the way.
Nice atmosphere at the finish, with supporters on the footbridge which acts as the finish line (I didn't notice, and kept on running until I reached the goodie bag table!) The goodie bag was the usual marketing samples nonsense - but there was an apple and a bottle of water. The medal was pointless as it was a generic charity medal which doesn't mention the race or the year, but some people do like medals - especially if they don't do many races.
Overall, a charming event. I'll be keen to do this again, and have already got several friends who want to do it with me next year. Date of review: June 10, 2013
In short: Really enjoyed this and as it's a random length (5.3 miles) felt no pressure on PBs In full: Great reace.. kind of trail as off road and even some mud!!! Small race but sometimes that's just what you need. Just over a hundred runner's.. Date of review: June 10, 2013
In short: Delightful race, beautiful scenery, friendly atmosphere, a must! In full: Felt very welcoming and friendly. The train journey gave an insight into the route itself and added to the excitement of the race. The route was predominately flat following the river, but altered between fields and paths, with great scenery along the way. Managed to get a PB so really chuffed. Shame the medal didn't have the name of the run or date on, but will definitely be back to run this race again! Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: Very enjoyable race and unique with the train ride to the start. Very flat but with several gates and narrow paths which slow you down. Great cause and very friendly and warm organisers/marshalls. Would definitely do it again. Date of review: June 9, 2013