In short: Definitely the most challenging trail run I have ever done. In full: The first half was the most challenging with regular short and sometimes steep ascents (need to watch your footing for tree roots) and descents. As a recreational runner who runs only about 5 miles per week, I found it becoming tiring and so walked many of the later ascents, and I noticed others doing the same. There were occasional muddy patches in sheltered dips but most were avoidable around the outside (there had been only light rain in the week before the event). The scenery was ok with some nice views of the forest, especially from higher up. The second half of the course was overall less hard with a greater variety of topographical challenges which even included a 50 metre or so length of sandy section at around the 8k mark. The marshals were very supportive and friendly and seemed like they would be happy to wait all day for me to finish. The course was well marked out (the organisers must have got through lots of rolls of plastic tape) and creative, with lots of changes in direction. If I was unsure of where to go I would look around and there was usually some directional tape hanging from a nearby tree. Thanks also to the marshal on arrival at the event identifying the road in and warning of potholes on route to the car park. I like the chequered flag pattern facing the finish on the back of the Finch Coasters flag. Last year there was criticism about no memento at the end but to their credit this year Finch Coasters awarded a nice and very shiny yellow medal complimented with a yellow ribbon to each finisher. I definitely feel that I deserved a souvenir of my efforts. I’m not sure how popular the donuts were but they were there, with tea, as promised. I would enter again but as a fair weather runner who doesn’t like mud, I would probably watch the weather beforehand and decide on the day. I would expect the challenge of the course to be much greater following heavy rain. The next day I discovered aches in places that I didn’t know I’d used but recovered after a few days. As a suggestion, this event could be promoted more because it certainly deserves a greater field of runners. I recommend it, even to less hardy runners like me! Well done, Finch Coasters & Co!
In short: Challenging, but well organised and friendly atmosphere In full: I would echo other people's sentiments that this race is set up for a much bigger field. It is every bit as good as other trail runs in the area - possibly better. I am a relative newcomer to trail running and although I found the course challenging, it wass not impossible. A big thank you to everyone at finch Coasters - they really do deserve more support for this race. Date of review: September 13, 2010
In short: Really enjoyable race despite the tough short hills In full: Thank you to organisers and marshalls. Very friendly race and deserves to have far more runners. I will certainly do again Date of review: September 12, 2010
In short: Good challenging race, in beautiful wooded area. Very well organised In full: A shame more people don't enter this race. It's set up for a much bigger field. Runners get spread very soon after the start, so more would help pacing and provide encouragament. The race was well marshalled with a very friendly atmosphere from all competing and organising. Plenty of doughnuts at the end were well received. Date of review: September 12, 2010
In short: Now I understand why it used to be called the Tough Ten.... In full: ...those hills were a killer!! May not have been difficult for more seasoned trail runners but as a beginner I struggled!!
The forest scenery was nice (if you could breathe well enough to enjoy it) and it was good to run off-road for once. There were quite a few puddles/muddy bits to dodge round at the beginning but after a while I decided it was easier to just plough straight through. The sandy bit just past 8km was tough going!
Water station at 5km much needed on a very hot day. Race well marshalled and signed - even though there was no one in sight in front of me to follow, I didn't get lost :) (marshalls were very encouraging too).
Water, tea and doughnuts to go with the medal at the end were very welcome. Also good to have on-site parking so no long trek back to the car.
Race did seem full of club runners but I didn't feel unwelcome. Would probably do it again next year but practice some hill running first so I might actually be able to enjoy it!!
In short: A Splendid Run in the Woods In full: I preferred this over the 10k at Alice Holt as I thought it would be friendlier and a bit more close-knit, and I was right. The event was easy to get to with plenty of parking, and glorious sunshine to accompany the start line. There was even time to wait for a late runner to pin his number on and some heckling! :)
The course was well marshalled, with bits of red/white ticker tied to branches just when you thought you'd lose your way, and although the field was spread-out I was never worried at any point I'd gone off piste.
Lots of different terrain around the course. Sand, aggregate, shale, grass and gnarly rooted woodland floor, some parts flat, others undulating viciously so over the first 4k.
The courses only water station was a welcome site as it was getting quite hot around the 5k mark.
Overall I found the race extremely friendly, with a nice little medal and tea and doughnuts at the end. No birthday PB for me, but a good sense of achievement, and would definitely consider doing this and other Finch Coasters events again. Date of review: September 12, 2010
In short: Challenging off road run, friendly. In full: A challenging off road run, good mix of terrain & surfaces. Some of those hills sting, nice spirit of cameraderie. More folk should try this one. Well done Finchcoasters. Any chance of a momento next year? Date of review: September 26, 2009