In short: Back for more! In full: This is a great race series over the summer, showcasing the Avon Gorge and the Suspension Bridge. It's well organised and friendly. The only downside is that the Towpath gets muddy in any winter, and the spring deluges have not helped its state, so currently not in a fast state. However, when dry the Towpath is pretty flat and there's only a short grass section at the start/finish which will cost a few seconds at most. Results are produced very quickly and it's a lovely friendly race. I'm only sorry to see it's not sold out this year, because it deserves to be! Date of review: June 19, 2012
In short: A most enjoyable local event on an interesting course - very well organised. In full: I had heard of the Towpath 10k but never realised that it was pretty much on my doorstep. I investigated the Great Western Runners ("GWR") website and found out that there was a limited number of places available on the day, so I quickly completed an entry form and dropped it in to the organiser's address with less than 24 hours to spare. This did the trick and, when I turned up at the Race HQ. my running number was ready and waiting. A quick and efficient turnaround! GWR clearly have a well-oiled administrative process for this series of races, including offering runners the ability enter a single race or the whole series. In addition, the website made the entry process very straightforward and there was good information on deadlines etc.
The start is in Greville Smyth Park, just round the corner from Bristol City football ground, and on a warm Summer's evening, this was an ideal opportunity to meet other runners and compare notes on recent and forthcoming runs. I caught up with lots of fellow runners from Westbury Harriers and I must say "Hi" to Suzie from Chepstow! All of a sudden, the peaceful evening was rudely interrupted as we were summoned to the start line. Oh well, better do some running, I suppose. Top marks to GWR for the way they organise this event. The entry fee is only £6, but they have invested in a big inflatable start gantry, a proper digital clock and hundreds of yards of fencing to mark the part of the course that goes through the park.
The run is on mixed terrain, but this is a pretty flat course and is the scene of more than one PB time. The start and finish are on grass, there is a small amount of pavement and the majority is on a pathway which is well compacted gravel/earth and which is absolutely secure in dry weather. Although the path is called the towpath, it actually runs along the bank of the River Avon and I would be surprised if it had ever been used for towing vessels. A nice route which includes running under the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The route simply goes out to a 5k marker (and marshal) and doubles back on itself. This means that, from about 4k onwards, runners have to keep left as the faster/slower runners are steaming along in opposite directions on the same narrow path. There is plenty of room for two runners to pass, but it means that you have to adopt a surge technique when overtaking. Although this straight out and back is quite unusual, it certainly helped me get through that 6k to 8k region that can sometimes be tough and was an unexpected opportunity to greet fellow runners!
There were clear kilometre markers, which was good, although the 3k/7k marker had been moved about 400m closer to the 2/8k marker than it should have been, presumably by a mischievous passer-by. Good marshalling presence throughout – thanks to all – and a drinks station near the 2k/8k mark.
I make no apologies for going on at some length about an event which must be very much of local significance only, but this type of run often seems to be overlooked by reviewers and I hope that it is helpful to future readers to have an up-to-date review logged. I enjoyed this a lot and will definitely be back later on in the series. These runs have been taking place for some years now and GWR have created a deservedly popular series which attracts a lot of local interest.
In short: Great organisation and a friendly atmosphere In full: Friday night was my first Towpath, and I'm glad I entered the whole series. The marshals were all extremely supportive, everything seemed very slick, and I managed a PB despite the heat. Lovely!
Could have done with another water station around the mid-point, but apart from that it was great. Date of review: May 10, 2008
In short: Enjoyable run but could be a bit more support for the backmarkers In full: A bit of a shame that some of the marshals seem to give the impression they would prefer that the slowest runners stay at home. Having run this race a few times now I can get in inside what appears to be the slowest 'respectable' time, but it would be nice to see more support for the last few runers. There are most definitely some very encouraging marshals, but some seem a bit snooty to me. Date of review: May 14, 2005
In short: Tried & tested formula In full: This race is just perfect. Relaxed, but right atmosphere. Simple to do race. Great organisation. I couldn't recommend any changes to this race... well apart from the lack of volume from the megaphone. Date of review: May 14, 2005