In short: A very long run through beautiful woods and along the Thames riverside. Much better than the big and overcrowded city runs. But difficult as well-very hilly. Date of review: September 21, 2012
In short: Hard course, lovely marshals, great fun In full: This was a totally different sort of race for me - 27 (and a bit!) miles, no closed roads, lots of trails and paths, lots of hills, steps, rises and finding your way through the woods, a small field of less than a hundred and absolutely no hope of a PB. It was brilliant, and I loved it.
The course was very well marked, and you get a detailed written guide but there are a couple of confusing points as I find it hard to think at my best while running. I'd created a course for my Garmin so I could follow a breadcrumb trail, which made it a lot easier, and I'd advise that for any other newbies.
The marshalling was superb, really friendly and helpful and lots of drinks, jelly babies and encouragement every 5 miles or so.
The course is hard, no lie. I found there were some steepish hills/steps where it felt quicker to walk than run, and couple of sharp downhills where i was checking my pace. and it's 27 miles. But you get rewarded by some lovely varied views around London, from thamesside to Shooter's hill and Oxleas Wood. Even running through Thamesmead was pretty interesting. Course lives up to it's name for greenery too - lots of horses, woods, meadows, parks.
Finally, it's an absolute bargain. For £15 you get a decently marked course, good medal a memnto ( a mug this year) lots of encourgement, water, squash, snacks) a start with showers and a bar, and lovely people cheering you on.
In short: great scenery, tough course, fellow runners and organisers very friendly...but badly marked out course In full: course goes around a very scenic part of london. there was one ugly enough patch along the thames but the rest was real nice. definitely not PB material, theres a lot of hills and great potential for getting lost. atmosphere was great, all the organisers were very friendly and so were all the runners. well stocked aid stations and plenty of drinks at the end. this was my first race and just realising how much of a bargain it was and how friendly everyone was but the course was not well marked out at all and at around mile 21 when i hit a wall and was lost in a forest I was having serious doubts about entering any more races. The start was marked out great but this is where you need it least cause everyone is running together and the people at the front probably know the way and also the start was straight through a wood with no chance of taking a wrong turn so spray paint on the ground every 20 yards or so was unnecessary. I guess they started running out of spray paint then cause I didnt see it too many more times. In the end this actually worked out better for me. I had two pages of maps and a few pages of notes so straight away decided i wasnt going to try reading them as I'm running down a hill at full speed. being my first run at this distance i didnt want to push myself too much but for fear of getting lost i made myself stick with the group around me no matter how fast they were going. turns out that group was just outside the top 5 for the whole race so they were setting a pretty fast pace. I still managed to get lost twice and take at least 3 wrong turns. most of the time there was a guy going round on a mountain bike who knew the way and pointed us in the right direction, cheers. the first time i got lost i was with 6 others and we came to a bit of a crossroads. one girl was saying she gets lost here every year but thinks she knows the way now so went left with two others. the other 3 went right. i stood there thinking about who to follow then went with the second group then changed my mind and ran after the first group but they took a turn into the woods and i lost them. then i took a turn and ran in the total wrong direction for a minute then asked a dog walker if he saw any runners coming this way. he didnt. i took out my map, looked at it and thought "what use is this to me?" then turned into the trees so not even on a trail and when i came out the other end i was in front of the second group and they were telling me to take the next turn. that was mile 21 and i stuck to them til mile 26 and thought i cant go wrong from here. turned out i could, i got to a t-junction a mile from the finish and there was no markers anywhere. i went right for a minute then got to a bus stop and looked at the map and realised i was going the wrong way but i knew the way from then. did 27.4 miles altogether. it sounds bad with everyone getting lost but for the most part it was a very enjoyable race and I'll most likely be back again Date of review: January 24, 2012
In short: Not as frightening as I had heard , good fun In full: More like a long training run than a race , fortunately I new most of the route , and only got lost once , it is a really scenic adventure type of race , I took a chance and ran without a map or instructions and relied on others in the parts I was not sure of .I will spread the word to friends for next year . Date of review: September 20, 2011
In short: Beautiful, unusual, varied course - ancient woodland to suburban roads. Really friendly, with experienced and intrepid runners. Nice stops with squash and jelly babies. Well signposted though navigation keeps you on your toes. Very enjoyable Date of review: September 20, 2011
In short: Great comradery. Tough but scenic. Expect to get lost In full: This little marathon has the potential to be great. I have not come across comradery like this for a long time, it was so refreshing. It made the day for me which I will remember for a long time to come. Be in no doubt it is a tough 27 mile course so do not expect a PB. But. And here come the but....you may have to run 30 miles or even more. You may well get lost. With only 100 or so so runners with times from 3hr 30m to 7 hours you may find yourself alone with no person in sight either in front or behind front or back. The sign posting for me was very disapointing (I got lost 3 times). Talking to other competitors I got away quite lightly!? Reading through the comments from last year I was expecting far more orange arrows giving direction - I read that there would be an orange arrow every 50 feet. This didn't happen and many people in this race were frustrated by this. In some weird way this is an orienteering exercise, they give you a map and off you go. Good Luck and Goodbye... see you at the finish. I might be wrong but runners do not want this kinda stuff they want to start and know where they are going to every step of the way.... when to turn right or left or straight ahead. I think with a little more thought and in my opinion orange arrows every 25 feet (cos I am lazy) Everybody would get around the course easily and safely without the need to constantly refer to the map. Their times would be better and their enjoyment enhanced. IT is a new Marathon and is evolving year on year. For the Organisers take note of our suggestions and you will have the Best little Marathon South of the River Thames. Good Luck Date of review: September 19, 2011
In short: Ultra clubby, indecisive: organised race or DIY style? Hang on to the GC vets! In full: Considering some info is sent in advance the rather long coded instructions are given out on the day. I FAIL to see the harm of sending them in advance, it would still be challenging on the day. We were in a group with 2 vets of the race and we still got lost!! Whilst some spray paint was welcome, there was a lack of it in some of the woods, especially at junctions in those woods. I am ever thankful to to the lovely 2 NEJ who herded us and 2 others into a pack of six to run together form mile 11. They were invaluable and we would have been in trouble without them. I only spotted two of us running for charity and the bulk of the race is entered by clubs. That said, I didn't feel unwelcome. It was a tough choice for my marathon so the ''undulations'' and multi terrain broke me in roughly. My hub, a vet of 100+ marathons, says the course is verging on orienteering and if it is aimed at any group then that is that or an elevated club race. We were lucky we knew the area and had two vets. He says the terrain has steep gradients and would challenging to anyone. The scenery was great - woods to bleak Erith thames path (with unpleasant smells). Checkpoints were fab with water, squash, biscuits and mars bars. Less confident runners take a taxi number and £10! Am I critical? No. Suits compass and map readers and GPS: course isn't marked out and no mile markers. If you are a beginner, like me, take support or latch into a group with New Eltham Joggers. Strenuous but pretty tour of the the gorgeous, for it is, south east london. I've got VLM next year and am now confident for that as a result and it's a real achievement doing this. My hub will do it next year for a competitive challenge. Date of review: September 19, 2011
In short: industrial and woodland loveliness In full: In short, an LDWA-style event. very friendly. Got lost and did 31 miles but that was my fault. should have brought my reading glasses. will be back next year! Date of review: September 18, 2011