In short: Very challenging but beautiful views.Great free sandwiches and cake at the finish which makes up for a lack of memento to take home.ached a lot for a few days after but enjoyed and will do again. Date of review: August 16, 2012
In short: One giant hill (and another tough one) and lots of lovely trails - perfect! In full: Runs like this make you realise how lucky we are to have such beautiful countryside to run through. There are some very detailed reviews below so I won't repeat everything that's been said before - other than huge thanks to everyone who was involved. What a lovely, friendly day out! And beer and food at the end too - heaven! Date of review: August 1, 2011
In short: Excellent value for money, fantastic scenery and good organisation. If it wasn’t for Hurlstone Combe, I would want to do this run every month. In full: I had taken part in the Seaview 17 in 2009 (my review is somewhere below this one) and it was one of a small number of events that went straight onto the planner for 2010. A lot of runners seem to be regulars at this event, so what is it that draws them (and now me) back again?
In no particular order, here are five highlights of the day.
1. The route. The Seaview 17 is run along approximately 20 miles of the South West Coast Path, starting at Countisbury in Devon and crossing the border into Somerset, where it finishes in Minehead. 2009 had been cloudy and dull, and this year it looked for a while as if the visibility would be just as bad, with rolling grey clouds hanging over Exmoor and the coast. They soon cleared and the route unfolded with lovely stretches of woodland, tracks, fields and paths and occasional views to the sea.
2. The hills. There are two big climbs. The first, at about 4 miles, leads up to the drinks station at County Gate and the second, at around 14 miles, is the ascent of Hurlstone Combe, which is close on 1,000 feet from sea level to summit. There may be people who run up this one, but I’m not one of them ...
3. The organisation. This is a fairly low key event - it doesn't, for example, seem to have the same reputation as the Exmoor Stagger, organised by the same club - but the organisation seems to work. From the handing out of running numbers at the mobile race HQ (Fred’s van!) to the coach transfer to the start, from the route marking to the remote-controlled camera at the finish, everything seemed to work. And as for Fred, I am still trying to work out how it was that he was present at almost every checkpoint I ran past. Are there lots of people who look just like him in Minehead?
The cost. Something else I am trying to work out is just how Minehead Running Club does all this for six pounds. I know there are lot of volunteers (more about them in a moment), but the coach hire must cost a pound or two and there is still apparently a surplus that is forwarded to the race charity. Fantastic!
The tea. Here's the more about the volunteers. Maureen and team, you did us proud again. Thank you!
And, in the interests of balance, my five grumbles.
One. I ran slower than last year.
Two. Er, I think that's about it.
I will admit to a sense of foreboding as I crossed the flat land between Porlock Weir and Bossington, with the big hill gradually looming larger and larger, and I never really got back into my stride after reaching the top. The weather was a little warmer and I was carrying a little extra weight, but these are just excuses!
In conclusion, this really is a super event. Massive thanks to the organisers and the marshals. Date of review: July 26, 2010
In short: Great day In full: Well done to all,1st time for me and had a very pleasent day,everybody friendly from runners to organisers,Well signed as well, Food & tea/coffe was the best at the end. WELL DONE TO ALL Date of review: July 26, 2010
In short: Tough but with a nice day out feeling at the finish In full: Tough race, tougher if you decide to go slightly the wrong way. Great run & fantastic if you are training for marathons or long cross country runs. Bargain price for coach to the start point & a ride range of buffet food at the end. The most cheerful group of runners sat at the end snacking away cheering people on Date of review: July 26, 2010
In short: Hard but fantastic In full: Brilliant organisation, friendly and fantastic value. This year's wind and rain made it even harder than usual. Third time so was mentally prepared for Bossington Hill but definitely didn't like that new hill (mountain?) around 5 miles !! Nice hot showers, then cheese sandwiches and mugs of tea to recover. What more can anyone ask ?!! Thanks very much Fred and Minehead RC. Date of review: July 31, 2009
In short: Hilly off-roading in a special place In full: Well organised from what I saw. Good route, but a little congested in the first 4 miles. Care needed if it is wet. Some nice support on the way - jelly babies and bananas at half way, long enough before the BIG hill. Good spread of food at the end, if you can face eating after a big run. Perhaps a slightly bigger bar area needed if it is wet, but in the dry it would have been fine. Not one to worry about times, but one to worry about your fitness for the hills :-) Date of review: July 29, 2009
In short: A very tough but ultimately satisfying challenge – with a sting in the tail In full: I have only taken part in one multi-terrain event before – the Tough Ten, which covers only half the distance of this event (well, slightly less than half, actually, but more about that later!). I am training for an Autumn Marathon and came across the Seaview 17 when looking for some local July/August events of 13 to 20 miles distance to timetable in as warm-up long runs. As there are not many suitable road events in July and August, I decided to give this one a try. So, was this a good decision?
The first point to make is that this is not a 17-mile race. 17 miles is apparently the distance from start to finish as the crow flies. In fact, it is billed as a 20-mile event, as the Coast Path twists and turns its way inexorably along the Bristol Channel coastline. This is clearly described on the Minehead Running Club website, so no problems there.
The entry process was straightforward – simply print out and complete an entry form and send it off with the princely sum of £6 (that’s six English pounds – what a bargain!). The race number came through pretty quickly. No race instructions by post, but these were on the website. So far, so good.
Now, this was my first run from A to B (rather than from A to A), so how would the logistics and travel work? In all my other events, I have - apparently - just gone round in circles. Oh – except for the London Marathon, of course! Well, I am pleased to say that the organisation was every bit as smooth as the London Marathon. The race HQ and race finish are in Minehead and this is where we all arrived and parked. We then embarked upon luxury coaches (videos, trolley service, bacon baps – oh dear, you must have been on the *other* coach!) to take us on a scenic tour of Exmoor (well, it would have been scenic if it had not been for the grey cloud and horizontal rain obscuring views landward and seaward). The coaches hauled themselves slowly up the infamous Porlock Hill, which, at a 1 in 4 gradient, must be one of the steepest “A” roads in the UK, and we realised just how hilly this part of the country is! Again, we were prepared for this, as the Minehead RC website has a really super little contour graph of the route, so there were no excuses for being unaware of what was to come!
We disembarked at Countisbury and huddled for shelter behind the coaches – until they drove away! We then sought sanctuary in the little Saxon church until it was time for the off. Away we went! Much of the first three or four miles was on narrow footpaths with little room for overtaking, so early conversation was punctured with cries of “coming through on your right” and variations thereon. Recommendation: if you know you’re going to set off quickly, get to the front of the group at the start, otherwise you will be frustrated. Similarly, slower runners, you’ll just annoy everyone if you are first to arrive at the single file sections!
The first real shocker was a steep climb at about four miles in, leading up to “County Gate”. In my part of the field, it became apparent that it was just as quick to walk up this as it would have been to run and we all strode up in silence, probably thinking ahead with some trepidation to the known big hill, which we wouldn’t meet for nearly another ten miles, after Bossington. First water stop was at the top. My first “thank you” is to the cheerful teams manning all the water stations and points where there were tricky direction changes on the route. The jelly babies and bananas were a welcome touch too.
On we went, mostly on lovely woodland paths, farm tracks and over fields. I don’t remember much tarmac or concrete at all and the scenery was great. All in all, a really nice route. After Bossington (where one of the drinks team was kind enough to let me have a bottle of Lucozade – ssssh!), the big hill was upon us. This was Hurlstone Combe, with a climb of near 1,000 feet from sea level to summit. Agony! Again, the only way up was at a walking pace and even this didn’t stop my calf muscles from cramping horribly as the ground evened out at the top. The good news was that there were now only six miles to go and there was next to no ascent left on the course. I would highlight a lovely section on a woodland track descending gently across the contours on the seaward side of the hill on the approach to Minehead. And so into Minehead. The Garmin says only a mile left – fantastic, I’ll be home in less than ten minutes. No, I won’t – here’s the sting in the tail. The course was re-routed to circumnavigate a building site and had been extended to (by my reckoning, at least) 20.95 miles. Aaagh! The last mile was horribly slow. I am pleased to report that it was livened up by the sight of the three runners ahead of me all having to stop at a level crossing barrier to let the West Somerset Railway train go by! Bet that doesn’t happen often!
And so to the finish. And to the most amazing spread of lunch/tea – sandwiches, savouries, cake, more cake and more cake. Huge thanks to the families and friends of Minehead RC who must have spent hours preparing all this – it was most welcome.
Criticisms – I can’t really think of any. This is a tough event, but it is an experience not to be missed. I reckon it’s probably as tough as running a full marathon on road.
In conclusion, a great experience, competently organised, with an excellent atmosphere, and great value for money. What more could you want?