In short: Ridiculously tough race - expect to walk large sections of it. Especially the steps, and the climb back up from Cheddar to the top of the gorge (200m ascent in a mile). But worth it. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Incredibly tough course, but well worth turning up for! In full: Wow - the weather and the scenery really made this a joyful course. A stunning location with many eager people made this a thoroughly good race.
Beware though... it was a very, very tough course. Much more of a fell run than a trail course. The hardest part was at 11 miles when a 200ft climb was needed in 0.2 miles. Very, very muddy made for some tricky (even dangerous) conditions in certain areas and even with trail shoes on you will still slip. Styles, gates and other obstacles while climbing uphill made for a very tricky but challenging and rewarding course.
I understand some quicker runners went the wrong way... but it was tricky to see how this was possible even without marshalls. There were arrows and ribbons throughout the whole course and experienced runners should have easily realised this.
I think I would be interested in doing the marathon next year - now that would be a real, real challenge!! Date of review: September 6, 2013
In short: Tough, hilly, scenic. Potential to get very lost. In full: Was a very nice area to be running round and plenty of hills, stiles and steps for a bit of extra challenge. Could have done with better sign posting and marshalling, don't be too fast a runner or you'll get to the checkpoints before they are ready for you and then you end up getting sent the wrong way and being dq'ed. :( Date of review: August 19, 2013
In short: Marathon- top notch, tough but not to be missed! In full: Stunning scenery, hills, climbs and descents. Excellent marshals and checkpoints, well marked with arrows and tape, very friendly and superb medal, mug and coaster. Killer steps but they only added to the challenge- one not to be missed if you like off road, rocky, muddy , steep but beautiful races! Date of review: August 19, 2013
In short: Not for the faint of heart... In full: This was a truly an epic race. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of running across fields, jumping over stiles, slipping around in mud, dodging bushes and climbing steep, steep hills. And the stairs of death at mile 11 are seriously tough. The feed stations were excellent; lots of drinks and assortment of foods. I did get lost but that was more me not paying attention to the markers than anything though. The marshalls were brilliant in their encouragement and direction. They really helped push you. Date of review: August 19, 2013
In short: I'm so exhausted from doing this I can barely type this review! In full: What a wonderful race! Excellent organisation, clear signposting of entire route, well-stocked and regular feed stations and lovely friendly marshals. It is a very challenging course- hills to test lungs and legs to the limits. Don't even mention "those steps"... but the scenery is stunning and well worth it. The medal is a lovely quality memento and there was even a nice slate coaster in the goody bag too. Will be back for more next year :) Date of review: August 18, 2013
In short: Stunning scenery, hard climbs. Well worth it. In full: It was wet for the weeks preceding, the event was almost called off. On the day it was dry but going downhill at full speed impossible due to slippery mud and wet rocks. As my first half I thoroughly enjoyed it and there was a good atmosphere. Hard to find the registration/check-in point. The refreshments at the end were good and a decent goody bag. All in all 8/10. Date of review: September 14, 2012
In short: Race set in stunning scenery but let down by poor organisation In full: This race has the potential to be something special. It takes place in the world famous Cheddar Gorge and provides a demanding course - but it was let down by poor organisation. The registration is difficult to find due obscure sign posting and the reg itself is perched on the side of a steep hill, accessible only by rough tracks. The start is another 10 minute climb up a rocky path - spectators with pushchairs and wheelchair users forget it. The start of the half marathon was almost 15 minutes late, with runners in other distances waiting longer for their starts. The sign posting out on the course was confusing. I ran an extra two and a half miles up a valley - followed by four others - because the half marathon sign was flapping around in the wind. At other points the race route signs for outward and return parts of the course weren't distinguishable. I encountered other runners who were equally baffled. The problem was compounded by a lack of marshals. At the finish runners had to help themselves to goody bags. For £25 (on the day) I expected a lot more. The organisers have a lot to learn before next year. I hope they take the criticism onboard. Date of review: September 10, 2012
In short: Challenging course, wonderful location. Slightly random organisation. In full: This had potential to be an absolutely wonderful race in an incredible location. As a new event this year there are bound to have been a few niggles to resolve though...
The course was tough, with plenty of variety in the scenery (which offered very few glimpses of Cheddar Gorge itself), but I felt it didn't make the most of the potential of the area. Three switchback sections - including one so narrow that runners almost collided when passing, and another near the end that was unmarshalled and appeared to be there purely to make up the distance - were demoralising. Many of the wooded sections were very poorly signed and I spoke to several runners who had gone off course and could find no marshalls to set them back on track.
Feed stations were frequent and exemplary in the variety of snacks on offer - a welcome sight on a baking hot strength-sapping day!
Lastly, the start and finish areas were both a bit random. The uphill walk from registration to start, followed by race briefings, was leisurely and untroubled by punctuality! The Half started nearly 15 minutes late. The finish area back at the registration station was also a little haphazard. The finish line was not clearly marked and the handing out of t-shirts and goody bags was also a little disorganized. Despite having ordered and paid for my t-shirt in advance, there were none left in my size. The food though, was again excellent!
All in all a great race for those who like scenic but tough multiterrain courses, but a few teething troubles still to resolve.