In short: Fairy hard, very scenic ultra; primarily on tarmac In full: Starting inside Carlisle Castle at 7am on a dull, wet day; it really wasn't clear what we had let ourselves in for. 69 miles is going to be a long day at any speed, but eventually the weather cleared and as we gained height the scenery improved. The race attracts a fair proportion of less experienced runners and the generous cut-off times and overnight support allow for this. However, more frequent support stations would be beneficial, especially on a hot day - there were only 4 "pit-stops" with food and sufficient water to refill bottles, an extra 6 "checkpoints" only had sweets and very limited water. The organiser's marketing indicates that is is a multi-terrain event, however it is primarily tarmac (road, cycle-path and pavement) with a few stretches of farm track, a couple of fields and wooded paths. This caught out several competitors who had worn thin, grippy trail shoes. Cushioning should be chosen over grip. It's a friendly event, a lot of novices and a keen support team help to provide much-needed camaraderie. Running into Newcastle on Saturday night just as the party is getting going is an up-lifting way to finish and contrasted with the wild countryside earlier. In summary: well organised (but needed more support stops), glorious scenery and atmosphere, surface is primarily tarmac, very expensive (but justified if you are going to be out all night). Date of review: July 1, 2015
In short: 69 miles is always going to be tough, but thoroughly enjoyed In full: Great organisation overall. Some v supportive marshals.Stayed in dorms at the castle start for night before-was petrified about this (there as lone woman runner!), but ended up being a perfect plan and was great to meet ppl b4 race. Scenery on hills etc was lovely, and nice to see the wall, but was more of a road/tarmac-based run than I'd hoped for. My longest run to date, so am always going to think fondly of it. This year's alternative Finish Village was great when you got there, but the hanging around waiting for the minibus when you've run 69 miles and need the loo and think you may throw up was hard. Date of review: June 24, 2015
In short: Well organised road Ultra In full: This year, only the one-day option was available, and this was superbly organised. Route was well signed, Marshalls helpful and enthusiastic and the pit shops well stocked. The big hill past Vindolanda was gone this year, and the really should be thought of a road ultra, with the majority on tarmac or unmetalled road. As mentioned by others, coming into Newcastle on Saturday night is special, as is the final crossing of the millennium bridge Date of review: June 24, 2015
In short: Great for beginners but a total rip off in price In full: At over £200 pounds thd 2 day option was not cheap . On the plus side it was well signposted with the odd encouraging Marshall . On the downside thd pit stops were poor with nothing more than flapjack , haribo and peanuts on day one until 32 miles and same on day 2 until 31 miles . Last year apparently cakes and sandwiches etc on offer much earlier . Would have been ok but the organisers led us to Believe we would be supplied at pit stops so myself and most other runners were totally under equipped and this led to the collapse of a fellow runner . Every runner I met was angry about the lack of provisions . Shame on you rat race , cost cutting too far !!! Date of review: June 23, 2014
In short: An epic adventure - breathtaking views, brilliant organisation and terrific marshals! In full: I cannot praise highly enough the organisation, planning and marshaling of this event. Yes it costs a lot to enter but for me the entry fee was worth every penny. The quality of the information available, both on the website and sent out to you was brilliant and answered every question I had. The registration at Carlisle Castle was spot on and really got you in the mood for the challenge ahead. I would imagine this race would be very tough in the rain but we had a beautiful summer's day which whilst being a little too hot did at least mean that you could make the most of the incredible views on offer. After the stop at Vindolanda (which was fantastic) you tackle the toughest climb on the course (at the 35 mile point) but what you are rewarded with at the top is incredible. The final torch-lit run into Gateshead was something I will always remember, with the clubbers of the city really getting behind you and cheering you along the last few miles along the waterfront. The finish on the Millenium Bridge is as epic as the race itself and the quality of the care from staff and the facilities at the military base where second to none. Thank you Rat Race for a brilliant event and I'm sure I will be back next year!!! Date of review: June 23, 2014
In short: Very special race..Carlisle Castle, the Wall and then vibrant Newcastle..fantastic! In full: Amazing fun...lots of long flattish road sections mixed with gently undulating trail. A smattering of hills to keep it interesting ,,,and in myview, would be a great intro to ultra racing. The hot food at Vindolanda (overnight stop) was fantastic!Organisers were really encouraging to those towards the back and we had a really fab time overall. Even through the rain we were still smiling. Thanks guys! :) Date of review: August 7, 2013
In short: Clearly 69 miles isn't for everyone, but this has to be as beginner- friendly as Ultras get. In full: Having done nothing longer than a half marathon before, I thought I was being crazy to enter. My brother must therefore be utterly mental to agree to join me, since he wasn't a runner at all! Long story short, it was painful and tortuous, but it was also the most amazing thing I've ever done. The feeling of crossing that finish line has to be the best legal high you can get. You can see how much I loved it by looking at the photos: I was number 24. Not that it was all smooth. My brother and I signed up as a pair to get the discount. We didn't realise that it meant we would only get one timing chip between us and had to stay together for accurate results. I wouldn't bother doing that again. Also some of the pre-race info turned out to be wrong; basic things like the distances to the stage finish (it turned out the older online info was better) which was a little disconcerting. In the end we just ignored the leaflet we'd been given. I was also disappointed that the evening meal for the challengers was at extra cost. Massive plus side: the race was perfectly marked from start to end, the aid stops were well stocked with food and friendly comments, the finish was dramatic and exciting and there was a decent free meal on crossing the finish line. One other thing I have to emphasise:the support from crew and the public was exemplary. Nothing but support and kindness (and useful info!) all the way through. So to summarise, I will absolutely do this again, and now that I know the minor issues to avoid it will be an even better experience next time.
In short: Disappointing in parts, decent in others... In full: Some lovely scenery on the wall and along the river. Route was hard at points and very roady but you needed trail trainers for some segements.
Marshalling was poor in some places with them not aware of distances. Not enough signage at the end, which was hard for an expert finishing without support. Food at pitstops was very samey. Great camaraderie with other runners.
Staff at end and facilities were excellent. Date of review: June 30, 2013
In short: Outstanding from start to finish, well organised at check points and pit stops very friendly atmosphere and a very challenging race a definite do it again foe Me! Date of review: June 25, 2013