Preferably South East / open to ideas
The only Spring HM I've got first-hand experience with is Milton Keynes, which I'd say is fast but not the fastest. (Prone to wind, some tight tricky paths taking in underpasses, etc...) I know a little bit about various other options - Wokingham, Reading, Bath, but does anyone want to suggest what they think is a flat, fast course? Preferably with a reasonable size field and a bit of competition at the pointy(ish) end. Not too fussed about the quality of the goodie bag.
Phil, I've done MK (2008 version), Wokingham and Reading. Also did Silverstone a fair few times too.
For my money, I'd rate them as follows...
Silverstone, nice and flat, hard to run the racing line as very wide track, and always very windy. Quality at the front is surprisingly low for a 5-8,000 field. I'd have been 9th if i ran a pb last year! Whereas you'd have been 3rd!!
Reading, epic field, 2nd biggest in country, very fast at the front, internationals etc...you'd be looking top 50. Couple of hills, amazing finish in the stadium, interesting trek through the town, massive overwhelming crowd support in places, deolate last 2miles up to the stadium!
Wokingham, 3/4 motorway bridges, otherwise very flat and straight. Only 2,500 field, but attracts a quality front pack. Phil Wicks won the last 2, in about 1hr04 or so. 1hr 12 would be outside the top 10.
I did Wokingham and Reading back to back, 5 weeks apart last year. In fairness I'd put masses of work into Wokingham, and then spent a week injured off work, let alone running after, and then to be honest found Reading a bit after the lord mayor's show. However, I'm sure Wokingham should come out quicker, on equal effort.
On wind, I'd say Silverstone is impossible to race without high wind, Wokingham tends to get 1 stretch over the last 3 miles, and Reading is similar, over the last 2miles before the stadium.
Reading is clearly the most impressive of the venues to finish at! Hugely expensive though.
ps apologies, you were probably wanting extra details about races you don't know.. but i;m kinda bored, so just went typing mad
StevieG - cheers, all good info. Did have Wokingham in mind, it does clash with a XC race but might do it anyway. Quite like the sound of Reading though.
Reading is one of those epic must do once races. Everything about it is class, from the parking arrangements, to the designated colour coding zones for entry pen, to the announcing the top runners over the Mic at the start.
And that feeling when you enter the stadium is immense.
It sells out incredibly early thoughfor a race with 16,000 places...you're probably looking at a decide by end of the year/Jan at latest job.
There's always places floating about, and they'll even change details if you're early enough...but why take that chance..
I've done Wokingham, Reading and Fleet. Unfortunately at the pace i go i can't call any of them fast , but got my best time at Fleet. I would recommend any of them.
I'm the same as Lady Wot Jogs... I've done Wokingham, Reading and Fleet and can recommend Wokingham or Fleet for a fast time.
Wokingham appeared to really have the cream of the crop taking part and it is still my PB time 3 years later. Fleet is really great and a lovely run and support along the route. Issue for me with Fleet was the handing out of cups rather than bottles but that would be only complaint.
I hated Reading... I still don't know why. It could be for the reasons Karlsp mentions.
LWJ, Emmy - I'd forgotten about Fleet, thanks for that.
The white horse half near oxford is usually 2 weeks before vlm. It doubles as the oxfordshire champs so has some good competition. As flat as you will find anywhere and very fast.
done Silverstone the past 2 years and have to say there was no real wind to speak of, though I do agree about it being difficult to run a racing line. And yeah the field quality is surprising; the womens winner was barely sub 1:27!
Some people moan about the 'hills' but they are having a laugh; you run over a bridge at one point but it's mostly pancake flat. It's also a fairly original setting to race in being on a racetrack, though that may not interest you!
The organisers of VLM are in charge, so organisation is fairly bulletproof.
not to mention its only 15 quid
Also in the same area is "Race Your Pace" HM held at Dorney Lake. Another pancake flat course, but it is a 4 lapper so you will be lapping the tail end of the field which may slow you up. This years had a pretty harsh wind head on for one straight. Think this was the same weekend as Wokingham this year, held on a Saturday.
Really poor parking arrangements delayed race start. Not good when your freezing your nuts off. Pacers provided for 6/7/8/9/10 .... min miling - but from Stevie G's comments you won't be interested in that as you are a gfaster pace. Very sparse support (if that is your thing). Winning time was 67:30
Reading was a different class. This years start was a bit disorganised if you got the the pens a bit late, but otherwise was great.
Phil...there's no danger of you not starting near the front at Reading, as long as you enter in time, and under your own details...yellow zone is sub 1hr 20 if i remember, and that's the front zone. I started there about 6 or 7 rows off the elites! Was a good experience!!
Just plug yourself in for some pretty overwhelming support near the Uni, and from some very loud band near the Oracle.
DHale, doing Silverstone without any wind means you either ran the whole way behind some massive galoot, or you had amazing luck that was missing for me in 04,05,06 and 08
Just a note on the White Horse half..it sells out incredibly quick, only 500 places, and is in early April, so probably way too close for your VLM attempt.
Also, it's all relative, but for you Phil, you'd be 3rd on last year's results...so not the competition you're after perhaps...
I did note a few people got disqualified from the race too...for the below reason..love it
<span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: xx-small;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: xx-small;">
All disqualified owing to the use of headphones during the race.
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