In short: organisation has declined but route is lovely In full: I wouldn't touch a 10K at Blenheim due to the notorious inaccuracy of the course length and markers, queues to get in and annoying zigzags and loops to make the distance, however the 7K has always been good. It's a nice loop, very scenic, with a couple of challenging hills and raises a bit of money for the local youth club.
It's true, there were queues for the loos, however there are more than the three portaloos, there are several more in the butterfly park, the maze area and I think the café. They're all spotless and well equipped. I went twice, and waited about 5 to 10 minutes each time. That compares favourably with lots of other events. The main trouble with queuing was the biting wind; it was very cold.
The course was not as well marshalled as in previous years. They were asking for six more volunteers over the PA system, clearly they were short staffed. There was no support in the first 5K. The narrow uneven path by the lake is always a bottleneck; I saw a woman who'd fallen heavily, was bleeding and in pain, being helped by another runner. There didn't appear to be anyone else to come to her aid. The 2K marker was clearly in the wrong place and I had to wait for an apologetic woman to pour me a cup of water at 4K. There was a table full of cups, but there was no water in them.
Still, the run after the water station, downhill through the woods, is one of the nicest going and once I got to 5K the support picked up and the marshalls were plentiful.
When I got to the end, like another runner, I found a queue to get over the finish and a bottleneck formed by the medal distributors and chip clippers. The gun and chip time is the same as they don't have a starting mat, so you really do need to get over the one at the end! Someone was making the effort to seek out runners and hand them water, which was nice. A banana would have been appreciated too.
I will undoubtedly do this run again, but I really think the finish and marshalling needs to be reconsidered for next year.
In short: Lovely scenic area but couple of areas need improving In full: Running round Blenheim Palace was always going to give a lovely background & I loved the novelty of 7k rather than the usual 5k or 10k. Plenty of free parking at race HQ.
When I arrived the warm up was well under way & the whole HQ area had a friendly atmosphere to it. One of my gribes was though that there was oly 3 portaloos! No way enough to serve the mass of people. I believe that there might have been some more toilets in a building nearby but I heard that the queues were just as bad.
The race is chip timed but there was no mat at the start line. I'm guessing everyone's chip starts at th same time & then the finishing time is recorded? If that is the case then the chips are pointless & the money should be saved or used elsewhere.
Once we got going the route was very nice. Some inclines but nothing that was a killer. There were a lot of kids running so it seemed a good family event.
My biggest issue was with the finish. About a metre over the finish line there was a wall of runners & while I was there it got worse. I wouldn't be surprised if people weren't able to cross the finish line! The finishing funnel was just too narrow & there were two ladies noting down everyone's race number, regardless of what order people crossed the line! That was one hold up & then the chip removal also seemed to add to the backlog.
Overall though I think this would make a great event for the family & the grounds were truly lovely. Very friendly atmosphere all round.
In short: Nice race, beautiful scenery and challenging in places. In full: Pre race excellently organised and very friendly. Not many toilets so get there early. Superbe parking and easy to get numbers and chip. Didn't see the KM markers apparently they were there but small. Finish area chaotic and queuing past the finish line so hard to get to the chip carpet. Needed to be a longer funnel and more people giving out medals/cutting chips off. More marshalls needed around the funnel to keep people moving so those behind could finish. But having said all that these were not major problems and didn't stop me from enjoying the race. Date of review: April 28, 2013
In short: Top race! In full: Beautiful scenery, no, stunning actually. The scenery is so good it makes up for the hills. I've done this race twice now, and I'll be back again next year. Good mix of club runners and fun runners. Has that friendly "charity race" feel to it. Great kids race too.
One point I must mention though - I couldn't believe just how quickly the organisers got the race times up on the board after the race. They were printed out and pinned up outside the marquee by the time I was half way through my post race beaker of water!! - even before the race had finished! Outstanding. Date of review: July 2, 2012
In short: Great Location, friendly run In full: Great location, nice run with some hills to make it challenging. Good run for all abilities and if you want to take your time and enjoy the scenery you can and still get cheered in. Well organised event, well marshalled etc Date of review: June 7, 2012
In short: Beautiful scenery, with a tough hilly circuit. Overall a worthwhile race In full: Me and my husband are running a race a month this year and so far this is one of the best. Well organised, lots of marshalls, times up quickly, water station at 5km, a medal and little goodie bag at the end. Good stuff. Date of review: May 13, 2012