In short: Fantastic race with a tremendous atmosphere. In full: I really struggle to see how this race can be knocked. From start to finish the atmosphere was fantastic and not to mention the obvious care and organisation that had gone into it. The goodie bag, t shirt and medal could not reflect a better value for my money, which is why i continue to enter the Mad Dog each year. I have not yet missed one and don't intend to. I will certainly be voting for Mad Dog yet again this year and would like to thank everyone involved for making it what it is. Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: A challenging 10k In full: I opted for the 10k, nice to have the option, however with the hill this didn't make it the easiest 10k I had achieved, but had great scenery and was a good challenge. A small group did the 10k but a friendly one. well organised, well briefed and good medals, tshirt etc.
Will definately do again, maybe the half next time Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: Fast race - but spoiled by confusion over start and especially the finish! In full: A good course; pre race admin fine. Excellent turnout of spectators at the end.
I found the start confusing. We gradually moved from a walk into a run, but I could see no clear indication of the starting line until I was a few feet from the timing mats. By this point I had already switched on Garmin prematurely and had been (unsuccessfully) asking other runners whether the race had started.
There was a greater problem at the end. I ran over what looked like timing mats in the finish funnel and stopped - only to have the crowd shouting that I hadn't yet finished. I had to start up again, which definitely spoilt the feeling of achievement. Afterwards, I was told that many other runners made the same mistake.
In short: 2016 - lessons learnt from 2015 In full: The 2015 race was ruined by dangerous black ice on a really rural 4/5 mile stretch of the race. Bad weather happens but it was wholly remiss of the organisers not to forewarn runners beforehand.
Thankfully the 2016 race weather was not as bad as forecast but in any case the organisers gritted the road where necessary to ensure a perfect surface,
The course is basically a frying pan shape with the first 4 miles forming the last 4 as well. Course is flat save for road and rail bridges in the first 2 miles (and the last 2 of course). Scenery is rural but it's January and the landscape is flat so don't expect rolling green hills. I've done race 3 times and there has been next to no breeze on all occasions adding to PB potential. Huge racecourse grandstand can be used pre and post race, which is great in the inevitably cold weather. Long sleeve running tops have been in the goody bag every time which is pretty good. Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: This is what running should be like In full: So first off this is a tough marathon, don't come looking for a PB as Mother Nature will snatch that away. Mixed terrain course with rocks, boulders, slippery mud, sticky mud, coast paths, quarries, shin deep puddles, brutal climbs and tarmac but with stunning views pretty much all of the way. Very well organised and wonderful marshals, feed stations a plenty with all the good stuff (jelly beans, jelly babies, flat coke, crisps and chocolate). Top bling, shirt and buff for finishers. Oh and weather, its a lump of rock in the English Channel and its February, you better like a head wind. Bucket list marathon for sure, one of the UK's best and maybe one of the England's toughest? Bring on next year, and hopefully they will add an Ultra to the event as well ;) Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: After a while this becomes a picturesque half marathon In full: This is a very enjoyable half marathon. Apart from the first 5km set in a local Watford estate, the overall course is extremely enjoyable. It's one of the first HM of the year, which is why I have entered this race before.
I feared that the course was going to be a muddy, wet, puddled mess, but surprisingly it was set among beautiful countryside, with some hills that weren't too bad or too long. Very much appreciated the marshals on hand who supported you along the route.
My only gripe about this race is the strong 'no headphone' rule. I fully understand if there are road crossings but this is a gentle race along blocked off country lanes, so can't see what the issue is.
Also - the media is identical to that of 2014. It would be nice to look at a change of medal design for each year (just saying) Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: Enjoyable and well-organised (mostly) In full: I'll start with my only negative comment (which someone pointed out already). The layout inside race HQ tent was poor. The mud underfoot didn't help but there has to be a better way to lay out the area to allow people to move around more freely while getting prepared especially as there was quite a bit of prep to do (pick up pack, attach number and foot strap, check in bag etc). If pack had been posted then it's less of an issue. Everything else about the race was great. Pretty scenery, cheery marshalls, pacers etc. Got lucky with the weather despite initial discouraging signs. Yes there are some hills but as previously described they don't last long and in some ways keeps your interest. Thanks Watford Harriers. Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: Soggy Joggy, and the ground was Boggy. In full: Royal Wootton Bassett Hounds put on this race, which I believe they said was in it's 3rd year. The Race HQ was in Broad Hinton village hall, plenty of space and easy number pick-up. The weather was not kind to us & in the 500m walk to the start line the heavens opened making the start line a bit subdued. The race itself started okay, and after a few km you go through a nice wooded section and take on the only real hill of the run at about 5km. It is a steep climb, but is over in a couple of minute of walking. Unfortunately, the rest of the run is basically running around the outside of soggy, muddy fields with only barbed wire fences and some bushes to look at. You can just about make out Swindon in the distance, but you are too busy to notice as you try not to fall over you own feet around the rutted small footpaths in the fields. The last mile is on tarmac roads, with a very boggy final lap of a cricket pitch to finish. Small basic medal and a cup of water to finishers seemed a little disappointing for the amount of effort it took to run the race. Post race there was plenty of cake for sale and all money raised was going towards Breast cancer. Results were posted online later that day. Not sure I'd run it again, not very inspiring XC race and there are better ones around. The marshals were excellent though and the organisation was very smooth, as you'd expect from a run organised by runners. Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: Got to love those hills In full: Great course. 3 miles around the suburbs and then into the country lanes climbing and descending steep hills. A really challenging one this. Superb marshaling with some shouts of support. Some homes blasting out tunes.
I continue to moan about all races that don't post numbers/chips. I'd rather pay the postage than have the stress of number collection, especially when there is a car park lottery like in Watford. Having said that, it was parking and collection very easy. Parkopedia recommendation helped and we arrived earlier so plenty of spaces this year. Toilets at the leisure centre and the subway going into the town centre can help anyone avoid the queues for the portaloos at the park and are a lot more pleasant!
The start is cluttered and narrow in places (and slippery this year) so make sure you are in the correct estimated finish time (which is certainly slower than PB).
It is a very good race this one. Easy to get to and a top notch challenging course. Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: An extremely muddy and 'undulating' course which provides finishers with a great sense of achievement In full: An extremely muddy and 'undulating' course which provides finishers with a great sense of achievement. I grew up in Bookham and enjoy going back to run this race and it's certainly a challenge. Really well-organised and marshalled as well. Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: Great race been back several times but something not quite there this year In full: This is a scenic quick race with a good atmosphere. But still the crumby mug and a plastic cup of water on finishing, come on Chichester time to step up.
Start this year was a shambles with those mid pack not hearing the gun. The finish not clearly marked either meaning people stopping in the wrong place. A shame as normally great race Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: Brilliant 10k - 5* In full: Very well organised event, transport included to take you from car park to run HQ and return once run completed. Fun atmosphere, brilliant t-shirt, fantastic medal and very generous goody bag. The run takes you along the coast road and loops round the back of the pleasure beach and gardens then re-joins the coast road to bring you back to the finish line. Great potential for a PB, weather dependent! Date of review: February 8, 2016
In short: Tough and low-key but great off-road fun! In full: Lovely and friendly event - well-marshalled. More muddy (and less road) than I expected, especially the mud-hill just before 10 miles. Great for strength work, especially the tough 2nd half! Food at the end was great - range of soups and roll, range of puddings with warming custard. Date of review: February 8, 2016