In short: Needs some improvements in the map dept. In full: Brilliant race only let down in my mind by the poor map. Once you get onto the Grand Union Canal its all pretty straight for 20 or so miles until you get to Little Venice but up until this point its very easy to go wrong. Lots of others were making similar mistakes too so I know it wasn't just me. A road book with a description may be better, a bit like the LDWA ones. The scenery through the bucks countryside was fantastic and muddy but I loved it as I train on this sort of stuff all the time. The scenery along the canal becomes a bit more industrial and less impressive but very hard on the feet as I had trail shoes on so felt every stone and bump. And did anybody else see that bush nicely decorated with used condoms, a real artistic talent there.
The checkpoints were great and the people manning them were in good humor as it was a very cold day to be standing around especially by the canal. It would also be nice to have a warm tent with heaters at the end as after such a long time next to the canal once stopped it felt very cold to be standing around by the canal edge. Would have been even more important if it had been raining or sleeting as it had been earlier that morning.
Its a race I would definitely do again as I think it will improve as the years go on and its also one of the best ultras you'll find so close to the back of the Xmas indulgences. Well done Go Beyond and Guy for making this happen. Date of review: January 13, 2013
In short: Great course, great cake, great fun - bad map! In full: I returned for another go at this, hoping to skim some time off with a determination not to get lost this year. However the map is not great and the temptation to follow the crowd overcame me and once again I got lost following the wrong trail. 3 miles off course! Still, the camaraderie got us through and we got back on course. This would definately be worth recceing, its of note that a lot of the front runners live in the locality and know the trails. The weather was great this year so roadies were fine, the canal path crucified those who went for sturdy trail shoes. Some people changed into roadshoes at the canal (CP3) - this is probably the best solution. Great event, better photographs this year, quick results too. Still no tea or coffee at the finish (other than a cafe where we had to pay) - a poor offering of water and jelly babies. However a nice medal and no goodybag filled with fliers. A great beginning to the Ultra year. Date of review: January 17, 2012
In short: Muddy, friendly, great cake but serious potential for getting very lost! In full: I really enjoyed this ultra event, and the cost was not too bad as a good portion goes to charity. The orienteering aspect kept your mind off the distance for the first half, however there was serious room for getting very lost - i think that a few signs here and there around the danger points wouldve been useful, particularly as it can become so spread out I found myself running on my own quite often. It was a beautiful part of the country, we had a dry day but recent torrential rain had resulted in very poor terrain and even an entirely flooded road we had to splash through. I brought roadies and coped, but trail shoes wouldve bought me more time. However when we reached the long stretch along the canal my roadies were much appreciated. The canal was the hardest part, very little orienteering and the distance left to run could appear quite daunting with long, straight stretches of canal as far as you can see! I am grateful to have had my ipod to whip out at that point. The checkpoints were great, fabulous cake, SIS drink, water and jelly babies. Pity about the finish, the generator had broken so there was no tea or coffee. And as it was dark there were no finishing pictures either. I only got one photograph throughout the race. Still, it was nice that the organiser was there to give you your medal and technical top. And a handy pub made for great recovery! Date of review: February 2, 2011
In short: fantastic organisation In full: great stuff from Go Beyond and they can have my money next year as it is all about charity. Unlike some rip-off merchants who profess to organise ultras, the team at GB are ace. support and logistics were spot on. Food and organisation at CPs was magnificent. Met some good good people too. Small point....laminate those maps better fellas, it was mush after 10 mins in the snow and rain. See you in Jan Date of review: September 17, 2010
In short: Extremely expensive In full: An event where they take your money and you run ! Felt like it I was conned out of £45. Could have just as easily just done a self supported run on this route and saved the £45 ! Date of review: January 31, 2009
In short: Great race. In full: An excellent ultra for the enthusiast or as training for bigger things. Starting in pretty and undulating countryside before hitting the hassle free navigation and flat of the towpath. Except for a public utilities forced detour onto some roads the route was almost traffic free. This in itself made it special. I will be enjoying it again next year. Date of review: January 19, 2009