In short: Run is not for the faint hearted but is immensely rewarding. In full: This became my first marathon, after the Shakespeare was rained off, and it was *hard*.
The course was extremely muddy and wet, but utterly gorgeous. The non-mass start format worked brilliantly in my opinion but it was a bit disconcerting to be running alone a lot of the time, and I did manage to get lost in the first 5 miles...
Ran and chatted with some fantastic people, got cake (thankyou!) and joined in the campaign against building on the green belt.
I was absolutely ruined by the end, but I'll be back again next year. Date of review: June 25, 2012
In short: Not your standard road race but if you fancy something different this might be one to go for. In full: As mentioned in previous posts this is a mixed walk/run. I found it very enjoyable, first half had a few tough hills but your were rewarded with some beautiful views. Second half was flat but pleasant through fields and villages. Regular water stations and friendly marshals kept you going. Not one to go chasing times in but a challenging and rewarding run. Date of review: June 20, 2011
In short: 1st half scenic and interesting, second half flat and boring In full: Would recommend people to do the first half as a relatively challenging half marathon.
If you want to do a full marathon turn around and re run what you have just done as the second half through field after field after field is probably the most boring and uninspiring run I have ever done - nothing but hedges, gates and stiles!! Definitely not "one of the most scenice marathons" in the UK!!
In short: A highlight on the marathon calendar In full: Took this easy as it was day 2 of a marathon double with Boddington Marathon (nr. Gloucester).
Glorious weather, breath-taking scenery, killer hills (on first 2 loops), and readung instructions (backed up by a good number of flourescent arrows (which gave that reassurance).
Ran with three others that also doubled with Boddington, and it does help to work as a team on these 'challenge' events. Either to debate when there's uncertainty on the route, to chat to, and to share the great scenery with. A very enjoyable day out with no time pressures.
The marathon was broken down by 4 circular looks with good instructions, a map for each, and 2 drink stations and 1 checkpoint. The people manning the drinks stations and the checkpoints were friendly and welcoming without exception. There was even an additional unofficial drinks station manned by a protest group again housebuilding on green belt land - I got 3 drinks and a biscuit for signing their petition!
Loved today, but as the route was a little short (25.4 miles), decided to add a loop around the racecourse grounds to make up the distance (much to the confusion of the finish marshal who thought I missed the turn!
A long tiring day, but a very satisfying one. Date of review: June 20, 2010
In short: Tough course made up for by breathtaking scenery In full: I knew this race was going to be difficult, but it was made more so by the added challenge of having to follow directions. The first half had some killer hills and the rest of it was dotted with fields with waist high soybeans, stiles, kissing gates and plenty of tussocks.
Nevertheless, despite it being a demanding course, the scenery was truly magnificent and the people were some of the best I have run with. Everyone was incredibly friendly - none of us were going for a PB so we settled in, enjoyed the race, got lost together and had a wonderful day. I set off just after 7am and was pleased as it took me almost 6 hours to finish (with a 1.5mile detour while I got lost - does that mean I have run an ultra marathon?)
The walkers were considerate and friendly, the drink stops were abundant and the weather was magnificent. Don't do this race to try and break records, do it to have a wonderful morning out. Date of review: June 20, 2010
In short: Excellent scenery, some steep hills, good atmosphere In full: I ran/walked this course with some friends and found the day very enjoyable. As indicated in the review below you can expect lots of slower moving traffic as the event is mainly geared for walkers. Everyone we met on route was very pleasant and we had a good few chats on the way round. Most of the walkers are only too happy to let you through if it is a particularly narrow section and you are walking/running quicker than them.
My only problem was the finish where we ended up in the car boot sale which is also run from the race course on a Sunday morning. We managed to weave our way through stalls to get to the finish, but it would have been nice to have a well marked route at this point. Date of review: June 16, 2009
In short: Leave your watch at home & enjoy the scenery In full: The spectacular views and glorious weather made for a very enjoyable event. The route was well marked, and lots of water was available en route. Pity about the t-shirt, but the certificate was nice.
My main gripes? Runners dropping gel packaging on the route when there were water stops (with rubbish bags) every 2-3 miles and some rather rude runners pushing their way through groups of walkers and other runners without any manners. I particularly enjoyed the idiot who shoved past me, then ground to a halt to talk to his mate with colourful language on his mobile!
The event is supposed to be enjoyed at a more relaxed pace. If you want to break records, start at 7am so that you don't have to spoil the event for others, or better still, enter a race! Date of review: June 16, 2009