In short: Great First Ultra... In full: I decided to tackle this event as my first Ultra after reading the reviews on here- would definitely echo all of the comments which recommend this as a good one to start with. I did find it a lot harder than I'd thought it would be(9 miles more than a marathon is suprisingly difficult)- but I think this might reflect my own preparation. I'd only done 2 road marathons (Chester and Manchester) before this and so found the off road element of this more tiring on the legs. I have done a couple of trail half marathons, but in retropect it might have been a good idea to do a full trail marathon. Having said that, this was more fields, roads and bridlepaths than proper off-road stuff (you'd be fine in 'normal' trainers). It was definitely 'undulating' and this also took its toll on the legs in the later stages (i now know why all of the advice you read about ultras is to walk up the big hills!)It was absolutely boiling hot as well, which contributed to a slower time than I'd initially planned on.
The organisation was absolutely superb. There were 5 checkpoints en route- well stocked with delicious fruitcake, GU gels, jelly babies, water, elecrolytes and (at CP3) sausages, pork pies and pasties. I carried food supplies in my bag- but didn't use any of them- there was plenty to take from the CPs- you do need to carry a water bottle or bladder pack with you though as you aren't allowed to take the bottles from the CPs- you need to fill up your own bottle/pack. I had a 2 lite camelback which i was so glad of- it was so hot that I drank LOADS! Navigation- i was lucky as i was in a group with someone who was very good at navigating. I don't think it was especially difficult, but basic map skills would be useful to avoid doing any unnecessary miles. Goodies on offer were a nice tech tee (although a generic 'go beyond ultra' one- would have been nice to have a specific event commemorative one) and a chunky medal. All in all, thoroughly recommend it, was tough but enjoyable- there was a nice atmosphere all the way around from the other participants. Date of review: June 2, 2014
In short: Great course, really well organised. Great introduction for ultra marathons but quite hilly. In full: Really enjoyed it, my first ultra on the back of 2 marathons in the last 2 months. Quite hilly and quite a bit off road, navigation was fine and check points superb. Overall a great event Date of review: June 1, 2014
In short: Just what i imagined an ultra race would be In full: My first race over 19 miles but the time flew by, the course was relatively easy to follow- i only had to jump over one stream to stay on track! The other runners and Marshals were friendly and helpful and checkpoint food was perfect.Roll on the next race... Date of review: June 24, 2013
In short: Stunning scenery, very well-organised, nice atmosphere In full: I would thoroughly recommend this race. The organisation was very good - everything ran very smoothly from registration to the race results appearing online, there were a good number of very well-stocked drinks stations (including fantastic cake) manned by friendly marshals and the scenery is as good as you will find anywhere in the country. Navigation is tricky but definitely worth the effort! Date of review: June 6, 2013
In short: The ideal 'intro ultra' In full: Did this as a first ultra and was very impressed with the set up. The course is a tough one, with conditions underfoot being challenging on some of the trail sections. However there was a nice mixture of on and off road to break it up. Checkpoint organisation was spot on, with all the marshalls being very encouraging and helping out with refills etc which was very welcome given the heat. Value for money seemed excellent considering the medal, running vest and all-you-can-eat GU gels, cake and jelly babies at checkpoints. Anyway, after beating my stretch target of 6 hours, will give it another crack next year to try and get around in under 5:30:00 Date of review: June 4, 2013
In short: Lovely race in glorious countryside In full: Brillantly organised, great atmosphere amongst runners and supporters, and such a relief to finally roll down that hill at the end, get back on the road, and charge through the gates of the impressive Lamport Hall to collect the medal! Really enjoyed it! Date of review: June 3, 2013
In short: Fantastic scenery and organisation In full: Any ultra is rarely going to be anything other than at least a little daunting but the structure of the NU35 was very welcoming, reassuring, and inclusive.
I had taken time the night before the race to study the map in detail, so I wasn't worried about being able to navigate if I had to. However, I was lucky that I was always in sight of someone ahead who (I assumed!!) knew where they were going. Only a couple of times did a group of us cluster at a crossroads or footpath and put our heads together to decide on the right route.
There was a good mix of terrain, though the hot weather had made some of the fields quite uncomfortable to run on.
What looked from the course profile like the biggest and scariest hill came near the start (well, about 10k in!), but thankfully was not as steep as it appeared to be and it was perfectly possible to run up it if you chose to. Later on, though, even the slightest hill (and there were a few!) was a welcome reason to walk, whilst keeping an eye on the watch to make sure that average mile splits didn't slow down too much. The climb up most of the hills was rewarded by fantastic views of the Northamptonshire countryside - a great way to see it.
The only thing that could have improved this race would have been a finishing clock... after running for nearly 7 hours I was looking forward to seeing the time as I crossed the line! Instead I felt a bit bad about asking the lass who was timekeeping, though she was very obliging.
IMHO this is definitely a good race for any rookie or seasoned ultra-runner! Date of review: May 29, 2012
In short: A tough day out but pretty enough to take your mind off your feet - hot and hilly! In full: This was my first ultra and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well organised with great scenery and atmosphere and a fine start/finish location at Lamport Hall. Enough water stations for me to stay hydrated despite the non-stop heat. Fruit would have been nice at the checkpoints but I managed to carry sufficient gels. I was glad of my Garmin track for navigation as I'd have struggled with just the map with a line on. Date of review: May 29, 2012