In short: One tough old course! In full: Congratulations to everyone who made this year's even possible. Unfortunately, the elements were against the organisers so lots of diversions were put in place. This was my first ultra and I have to say, I enjoyed it! There was plenty of mud, the occasional hill, some more mud and lots of water! I suspect this is in part due to the main path being flooded and the route being diverted. There were a couple of areas I came across where I wasn't sure where I was going so a few more correx signs would have helped to keep me on the right track, but I made it from A to B before dark so I was more than happy! All runners were extremely friendly and very welcoming. The helpers and marshalls all made for a good race. If you don't mind getting your feet wet or a little dirty I would recommend this to anyone, although I shall probably look for something a bit warmer myself next time around!! :-) Date of review: February 6, 2014
In short: This Ultra had everything, bar the kitchen sink! In full: This Ultra wasn't just a run, it had everything you could want and more, for a day out in the Oxfordshire countryside. There were re-routes, flooded towpaths, knee deep water sections and lots and lots of mud. Still, Go Beyond did a great job in even getting the race on this year and it appears we were lucky, as the Thames has risen since Saturday, closing off Sonning Bridge again. Will definitely be back next year, but don't move to later in the year. Keep it to the same time in the year, because it keeps us on our toes. Roll on 2015!! Date of review: February 4, 2014
In short: made the best of a bad situation - enjoyable, if you can say that about an ultra! In full: I've done this one twice on the original Thames Path route - which is fantastic, scenic, everything it says on the tin. Sadly it was not to be again this year but full credit to the organisers for still putting it on and managing the diversions on the fly. The bits on the road were a bit grim, the bits off-road a bit slushy and the bits on the actual TP a bit under water, but I'd still rather have done it, than have it cancelled and waste all those hard winter miles of training. Maybe mid-winter is the wrong time of year and mid-summer would be more glorious but doing it winter does add another dimension to the challenge. Overall, a good day out. (7:41:12) Date of review: February 3, 2014
In short: The weather gods don't like this race but they run it anyway. In full: For the second year running, the Thames Path was largely flooded so last minute diversions sent a lot of it onto the road. Some of the new route was along wonderful bridlepaths (I particularly enjoyed the part at the end through High Wood), one last minute diversion (decided on mid-race) took us through a light industrial estate in Reading. Never mind! The diversions also meant that the total distance was something of a guesstimate until the very end. But well done to the organisers for putting the race on despite the flooding. Far better than it being cancelled. And it was good to practice the navigation skills. Still well worth doing. Date of review: February 3, 2014
In short: Organsers made the best of the bad conditions. In full: Firstly congratulations for putting on an event where there was so many significant challenges to overcome.
However the changed route was so different to what I had signed up for I almost wish it was cancelled or postponed. The lack of clarity on route and diversions of diversions meant it was chaotic at times.
Much of the running was on pavement or road (plenty of which did not have pavements). This was pretty uninspiring and at time dangerous.
I am sure this race has the potential to be fantastic and organiser did a great job with what they had but I cant help but think that running a race along a river might be better off done in summer rather than the depths of winter. I for one would love to actually run the intended route. Date of review: February 3, 2014
In short: Credit to Go Beyond for not cancelling the event. In full: Very well done to all at Go Beyond for not cancelling the event. In the end there seemed to be lots of running on roads and often very busy ones. The parts where we had to wade through freezing cold water were a challenge! Date of review: February 2, 2014
In short: The Round Ripon Ultra 35 is CHALLENGING WITH A CAPITAL "C"! In full: This will test you to the limit! I did the Cardiff marathon ultra (50 miler) in may of this year which was so much more doable than this undulating terrained marathon (35 miler). I completed it it 8 hours 53 mins!!!!
I really struggled with the hills and had to use my inhailer on a couple of occasions!!!! So I would advise anyone that is considering this ultra to work on your hill runs.
Also you need to be a good navigator!!!!! I was very fortunate! I was with a runner who was a fantastic map reader. We got lost on one occasions (and so did many others might I add) so be warned! The checkpoints were excellent and provided you with bottled water and isotonic drinks (a life saver) loads of GO bars, jelly babies etc etc.
Overall, it was a great experience especially when I saw the finishing line line! So beginners be warned - this is a very challenging ultra!!!!!!!!
Literally a week from doing this run I plan to do the spires and steeple challenge (26.2) marathon which should be a lot more easier. Date of review: October 10, 2013
In short: Great way to spend a day In full: Well done to the organisers for the organising and the rerouting that made the race possible. Tough on the knees due to lots of roads and some flooded fields and tracks. Great atmosphere in places. Some good scenery but running through Reading was grim. Loved the race though! Date of review: February 4, 2013
In short: Great first ultra experience!!! In full: Despite having trained for months I was nervous about plunging into the ultra running world. Worried I wouldn't finish.... Worried I would come last.... And then worried that I would get lost after the route was changed the day before because large parts of the original route were impassable. It would have been the easy option for Go Beyond to cancel the run, but I am so glad they didn't and the race was superbly organised from start to finish. I did get a bit lost in the latter stage but I wasn't alone and it was easily rectified with the help of a local dog walker!! I did this race as I had read about the camaraderie at ultras and I wasn't disappointed, every single person was great from other runners to the marshals at the checkpoints. I will definately be back next year!!! Date of review: February 4, 2013