In short: They save the best till last! In full: This is the second time I have done the Great West Run and I'll happily do it again. It's a friendly atmosphere and a good route in general. The only problem (for me) is the long upward incline in the final two miles. Boy does that hurt. The worst part as it's an out and back is running downhill knowing what's to come. Two minor issues. Firstly, opening and drinking from the little plastic water sachets is an ordeal in itself. The difficulties I had with them significantly reduced my fluid intake during the race. Secondly, I started (and finished!) to the back of the field but at the start I felt a little left out. Couldn't hear any of the announcements or see what was going on. The 2013 start arrangements were more inclusive. These points notwithstanding, it's a great event and I'll be there in 2015. Date of review: October 25, 2014
In short: Another great race, thankfully this year with decent weather In full: Thanks to Tring Running Club for another great race. Very easy event to get to (parking at race HQ), some great scenery & a nice testing trail route. Nice bacon sandich afterwards in clubhouse. My 6th or 7th time round for me and I still haven't learnt that the race HQ postcode leads to the wrong road, might be worth a reminder in your joining instructions. See you next year Date of review: October 25, 2014
In short: Deceptively hilly but a good race overall. In full: I was looking for my first sub-1:45 after having gained a 1:46:40 at the other Exeter half-marathon back in February. However, didn't realise quite how hilly this race would be (ended up with a 1:46:12). All going well until about 8 miles when a combination of the brutal hill past the uni and the heat started to derail me. Final 5-6K of the race is an undulating out and back which adds to the PB-sapping effect. A good mix of town and country running in general though and definitely one worth considering if you're not fussed about PBs. Oh, take your own hydration though. The water pouches provided along the way are frustrating to use at best, down-right impossible at worst! Date of review: October 25, 2014
In short: First time - lived up to all expectations In full: This was the first time I had run this race, but I had heard very good reports about it and I have to say it lived up to all expectations. I love local club organised races such as this one. A brilliantly organised event, with a fabulous atmosphere, music, stalls, great crowds, super marshals, excellent medals, samosas at the end and even a dancing pink gorilla! What more could you ask for? Well good weather I suppose, but we were lucky this year and got that too, after last year’s miserably wet version.
For those who do not know the course, it is an interesting mix of road/path and proper off road trail/cross country. The first 3km or so is on road/path, fast and mainly downhill, so a good fast start is possible. However, the next 5km is on tricky undulating woodland trail, hilly and quite wet in parts. In particular, there is one toughish incline where sign-posts are helpfully left to encourage runners with little slogans (‘you can do it’, ‘don’t give up’, etc). Once through the woods (where there were lots of supporters, a band and SpongeBob SquarePants, the last 2km was back on road, for hopefully a fast(ish). Choice of shoe was important. I went for studs which was the right choice I think.
One other thing worth mentioning is that you can buy photos at a very reasonable price and contribute to charity at the same time (http://www.snappyraces.co.uk/search.php?mode=race&raceid=28). This I think is a great idea and a much better way of selling race photos than hawking the rights to commercial companies to sell at high prices for profit and I hope it catches on.
In short: Challenging course but great atmosphere. In full: This was my first trail event. We were warned at the briefing that the circular course measured more than 10km. The course was generally well marked but occasionally wasn't clear. We were all given a course map which proved handy. A combination of very muddy, slippery tracks & getting lost meant that my Garmin clocked up a mighty 15.6km. The scenery wasn't amazing - it was largely rolling (muddy) fields as advertised but made a change from Hackney. Having said that, my overall experience was really positive. The organisers & volunteers were a delight! A very small field but everyone was very friendly. You get a print out of your chip time at the end along with technical shirt & medal. Great post-race food available including delicious home made cake. I've already signed up for race 2 of the series, if I recover well I'll definitely do all 4. Date of review: October 24, 2014
In short: Flat run + for charity + nice folk but be careful for hazards! In full: There's lots to love about this run - the organisation was great (very quick email responses), good atmosphere, really flat quick course (only a mild rise & dip at turnaround) and it's for an excellent charity. However, the promenade was clearly open to the public which caused two problems I saw: 1) a runner got his legs tangled in a dog-lead & 2) the unfortunate pinch-point became a nightmare for an elderly couple caught between runners coming from both directions. There was an altercation & some physical remonstration.
My advice is to absolutely support this race, but treat it as a friendly group run on a Sunday morning as you will be one user among the other members of the public along the promenade. Date of review: October 24, 2014
In short: Not one for the feint hearted In full: very nice well run event supportive marshalls one of the hardest 10ks ive done but still got a seasons best time with a mile and a half down to the finish Date of review: October 24, 2014
In short: Brilliant community atmosphere and a smooth race In full: The whole morning was brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The race was well marshalled and the road crossings all seemed fine. The water at the end and the grub in the goody bags was much appreciated.
A couple of minor points. The school loos couldn't really handle the volume nor were they signposted as well as perhaps they might have been. The race was an early sellout but it wasn't obvious on the front page of the website, which led to people turning up and moaning. Nothing to detract from the day though and I would certainly do it again. Date of review: October 23, 2014
In short: Great race - excellent marshalls, good pb potential, good support In full: Running through the suburbs of Peterborough is never going to compete with the worlds best for scenery but for a well organised, well marshalled race with great pb potential this race is brilliant. The locals sit outside their houses and cheer you on, and there are enough runners to always have people around, without so many that it is impossible to run. Only minor criticisms - the start was a bit disorganised this year, toilet queues were horrendous, they didnt give us free parking (as in previous years), the car parks filled up very quickly, so despite having paid in advance I couldnt get in and the road surface at mile 7ish was horrible. Date of review: October 23, 2014
In short: Very good organisation, fab scenery, nice goodies, challenging course In full: I did this event previously when it was just 9 miles. On each occasion the event proved to be challenging in places, yet very rewarding. This was complimented by the very friendly marshalls/helpers, the very good organisation, the facilities before & after the event (special mention for the very fine port-a-loos) and the very reasonable entry fees.
I highly recommend this event to anyone, regardless of ability as it caters for all. And, being entirely off-road, no vehicles to impede your flow and enjoyment through the lovely scenery. Mark it in your calendars!
Only one minor issue, as a helpful suggestion: perhaps the announcer(s) at the beginning of the race can be issued with a PA system of some sort and a step-ladder so that the announcements (some of which are very important) can be heard by the majority rather then just a few people on the start line.
Thanks to all involved for a wonderful event. I hope to returnn. Date of review: October 23, 2014
In short: Ok first attempt and room for improvement In full: The route when published was always going to be teh big thing on this race - you woudl either love the twisty turns fitting 26.2 into a relatively small area with minimal road closures or you would hate it. This was accelerated by last minute route changes caused by the weather.
The organisation leading up to the event was adequate and on the morning the "race village" had a good buzz. The warm up/DJ etc did over run leading to a 15 minute late start - not teh worst late start in the world but if it had been wet it would have been much worst - but in the relatively warm conditions just about acceptable but better to iron out problems.
A course that was largely run on footpaths, a few small road sections and a mile or so of grass. Two loops meant that you got to see people quite often (which I like) although the out and back loops in the park were quite tough especially the second time.
Marshals were great as were aid stations. Certainly got that right.
Late changes to route meant a small 3 mile third lap. Unfortunately you ran right past the finish with 3 laps to go and some accidentally or deliberately would have ended up with a short race - certainly soemthing to look at in year 2.
Nice medal, T shirt and a goody bag. All in all a good first attempt, good value and with some tweaks could be an interesting flat (ish) off road marathon for the future. Date of review: October 22, 2014