In full: A poorly marked course - let me rephrase that: an unmarked course and the route had not been checked since the previous year to ensure the directions were consistent. You are expected to get around by reading from 4 sides of A4 written in a form of short-hand that means you have to stop and read every time you come to a fork in the path. As a consequence, most people who have not run it before take wrong turns and add considerably to their running distance and the constant stopping to read ruins any rhythm. It does not take much to tie some tape to a branch to indicate a route, but that seems beyond the organisers. Nothing more than a glorified club-run for its members who know the route but open to anyone who wants to join in.
On the positive, the event base and its facilities is great and there's a good barbie afterwards! Date of review: October 14, 2013
In short: Annoying... In full: A good opportunity to get some mileage in (I did the 50K ultra). I was warned in advance but the lack of markings on the course became irritating at the end. The route description was adequate however having to stop every 2 minutes to read the instructions took the enjoyment out of it for me. How hard would it be to put some tape down the night before, at least at the tricky bits or chalk on the floor. Those not familiar with the course were at a major disadvantage. Also having flapjack with nuts in as the only stodge food at the checkpoints was pretty dumb. Date of review: July 22, 2013
In short: Mud glorious mud..... And bread pudding In full: Well after all the rain it was bound to be muddy and indeed it was. I won't repeat what has already been said by others regarding following the directions that are given to you. It is after all a marathon challenge but I found there was a good atmosphere between runners and walkers with everyone being helpful. I didn't get too lost over the 26.5 miles that I ran.
The mud was energy sapping and I like everyone else was caked in mud but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend. The route is very scenic and took me to places in the countryside I would never normally go. Thankfully the sun was out. Thanks to the organisers and the bread pudding and drinks at the checkpoints. Well done FVS and maybe see you next year... If my body can handle Date of review: July 18, 2012
In short: Great fun, though do expect to bring your left and right brain to the race In full: I was lost for an hour, though I really have myself to blame. As it's my very first marathon, I really hoped I would've chosen something easier. At least something that I could really test my speed and enjoy the endurance bit. NOT the frustration of not knowing where to go... I really hope there will be markers along the way.
But if I were ever lost during a marathon, I hope it would be this one, because the scenery was just amazing! The "extra miles" were probably worth it in that sense. Also, the organizers and other participants were extremely kind and nice. It's not exactly an intense atmosphere, most people were there to just have a good Sunday out in the fields. Mostly walk/run.
Word of advice, find someone who runs at the same speed as you do, seems to belong to their running club, and just follow him/her. Date of review: July 17, 2012
In short: hard work but worth it In full: cracking scenery and challenging in places, the first 18 miles sailed by for me, probably due to navigating. i think my brain went a bit mushy after that and I had to really pay attention to the directions.
Overall, a highly recommended race and one that you should definitely look to try out Date of review: July 16, 2012
In short: Loved it - the marshals, organisers and event was excellent. Really fun and encouraging. In full: This was my third ultra (in as many months) and my first on my own. The instructions were really clear - there were a couple of times I needed to double check but that was more about me not know how far various metre lengths were!
From the volunteers on the registration desk to the ones manning the checkpoint - they were all fun and encouraging and all had a smile (I think they were as grateful for the weather as we were!)
It wasn't a ride in the park for me - but surely that's the point of a challenge! and the 5 blisters on my toes from my wet shoes rubbing certainly made the last few miles interesting.
But none of that takes away from the organisation and volunteers which made this event a great day out! Date of review: July 15, 2012
In short: A real treat In full: I thoroughly enjoyed my day. I did the Ultra distance and along the way got chatting to a couple of runners who regalled a novice ultra runner with some great stories. The miles slipped by. The organisation was brilliant, the course fairly easy to follow and just the right amount of testing terrain. All the feeding stations were well stocked and staffed by terrific people who endured all sorts of weather. Thanks to all the people who made my day so enjoyable.
In short: 26 miles of glorious mainly off road countryside. A pleasure In full: I love these trail runs: The orienteering with just a few instructions on A4 & a map; Team spirit, as runners work together to fathom the route; and glorious countryside, across fields, through woods, hardly a road in sight.
Turns an endurane run into a pleasure.
I would definitely do this again Date of review: July 23, 2011
In short: High hopes but it ultimately failed to deliver In full: Having run in the Stevenage half marathon last year I had been very impressed with all aspects of the experience and professional organisation, as such, I had high hopes that this would be equally as good. Unfortunately the reality did not live up to my expectations. The 5 pages of 'detailed' instructions handed out before the race were ambiguous and open to interpretation to say the least. Parts of the course required you to run along narrow country lanes with cars whizzing past at the national speed limit, this appeared to be an unnecessary risk. The largely countryside course itself was scenic and challenging which was great, however, it could have been so much improved if there were simple course markers set up to point you in the right direction and negate the possibility of running 'bonus miles'!!! This course is new and does have the potential to be much better, I just hope that for next year this race is more about running rather than deciphering overly complicated and misleading course directions. Date of review: July 19, 2011