In short: Leaving aside the weather - an alright event In full: Came today with the anticipation on doing a hard trail marathon and my expectations were more than met. Does it always rain in the South Downs? I know I can’t blame the organizers for the heavens but would be nice to do a race on the South Downs where the heavens aren’t tipping out the laundry! That aside, trail shoes seemed the order of the day and grip was found all the way around.
The start was a bit congested with very little overtaking spaces during the first 2 miles – didn’t like the bunched up feeling and given the slippery conditions, I’m wary about others around me slipping over and taking me out! Given the use of chipped timing, maybe a self-determined staggered A & B start might be advantageous going forward.
No idea what the point of the timing signs were – the 7 that I saw that is. Apart from the last three ( 3 miles to go, 2 miles to go etc) they didn’t correspond with my garmin very well. The halfway marker was at 14.9 which seemed an odd place to place it and didn’t do much to lift spirits! Seemed obvious the route to take with appropriate signing in place so no probs there.
Marshalling was ok, and it was good to see plenty of non-choc items available at the stations along with some encouraging smiles. It would have been nice to have a cup of tea at the end but the cake was nice at least. One negative point was the crossing across a busy A-road at 7m which was not good with just one marshal. But on the way back at 15 miles was atrocious with no one at all! Runners are a mad bunch and really need protecting from themselves at times if only to get them to stop competing with fast cars!
All in all, it was an ok day but I can’t help thinking why this was so highly rated given some of the other events I’ve attended during the years. Just a few tweaks needed, I suppose. One to tick off the list but unlikely to draw me back again. Date of review: May 8, 2012
In short: Ughh tough made tougher with the weather! In full: So many things went wrong for me on this race (wearing the wrong shoes was not a good start) and yet not one of them were down to the organisers. I’m sure the views are great on a clear day, but with loads of low cloud and rain, visibility was not good. Weather was awful and by the end, it was running through the “streams” flowing down the paths that were doing me in. BTW the route was well marked and didn’t get lost once (I like the little signs saying not this way!). Kudos for the volunteers who braved the conditions – it kept our spirits going.
My only criticisms are: At the waterpoints, it was either chocolate, chocolate or… chocolate biscuits. Some fruit or other alternatives would have been appreciated. After all, not everyone can eat chocolate! And whilst someone commented about the medal/mugs, I don’t mind but prefer it if they do have the date on it. Certificates do nothing for me, we give them to kids for fun runs.
Loved the hot full breakfast at the end, very efficient and welcoming with plenty of rolls, tea and coffee to hand. The kids helping were great, though saying “sorry for the wait”, when it was 2 mins was just farrrr to courteous for me :) They did a great job.
Not sure if I will do again – 830 start was a tad early on top of the long drive down.
In short: Very good startup race - well done to the organisers :) In full: This is a new race to the calendar and with this organisation I can see it being a firm favourite. Fantastic to see the roads to the entire course was closed to traffic so runners could run the course safely. There were plenty of marshals around but with the safety mechanisms already in place they became part of the cheering crowds :) The closed roads did make it very difficult for spectators to go from the start to points around the course but the local villagers came out at points and provided a welcome cheer at various points.
Was aware this was going to be an undulating course but nothing to be unexpected in this area. Wasnt too bad, with the hill at 11 probably the most challenging. The route alteration in the last mile and half gave a welcome downhill. Overall a chance to admire the scenery was possible and I enjoyed the course.
The run in was very well supported (obviously given the above) and gave a great feeling to finish. It was nice to see Dame Kelly Holmes starting the race. What was unexpected was her giving the medal personally at the end and a shake of the hand.
My only comment to the organisers: Start loading the carparks from the bottom upwards not the other way round, it cuts down on the carpark jams. But its a very minor suggestion.
Well done to all - loved the day and really hope to keep it in my race calendar :D Date of review: September 25, 2011
In short: Returned after 2yr - it doesnt get any easier but happy to have done it again In full: This is not an easy race! Still can do 20m quicker than this one. But thats not the point. The organisation is very good and for a distance of 30K you never feel that you are going to get lost. There are marshals everywhere and the drinks stations had plenty of water gels sponges and even jelly babies available. There is just a feel good atmosphere along the route and that helps you get thru some of the harder parts. I enjoy chatting with some of the runners on the route too.
The hills are tough, downhill are worse than the ups! But there are some lovely runs on this course (though the poppies were not out as much this year, there was a great field full of daisies).
I wish they didnt have that kick round at the very end but found somewhere to add the extra in the course. However, you do receive a decent medal, nice t-shirt (bright tech this year - will be good for the night runs) fabulous cakes and a family swim ticket at the leisure centre (kids like the tidal and the tubes).
I'll give it another year so I can motivate myself to enter again - well that and let my legs recover :)
PS from a PB perspective, you are bound to get one, given there are so few 30K races on the calendar :) Date of review: June 19, 2011
In short: Firstly, this was not a race but a challenge. In full: Was looking forward to this "race" for several weeks as a new race experience. However on the startline we were told it wasn't a race but a challenge?! Flew in the face of the website description which refers to a race & the race full etc and effectively turned this into a training run for me.
There are lots of positives and negatives. I have no idea if the organisers used the services of a local running club to assist but it didn't see it to me. And I was surprised that the police didnt seem to know it was occuring either. The staggered start became obvious when we saw we were crossing roads around the main London to Brighton road. However, it should have been geared up towards slowest/walkers first, fastest last. That would have enabled more interaction between runners along the route. Its not that difficult to set up.
Not nearly enough marshals available. Anywhere involving a major road crossing would have one in daylight events, so for nighttime seems essential. There were plenty of places where there were none. Also any barriers that traverse the course need to be lit better, even if they have the dayglow sticks on them. Headtorches are just not that powerful in lighting ahead. The run up the path in the unlit park was a novel experience - I would be apprehensive to do in the twilight during training but pitch black? I know part of the charm of the event is a night race but I for one kept thinking this should have had a couple of marshals there at strategic points in case of problems, whether by unfortunate means or foul. Didn't see any food around so assumed they meant local cafes.
Apparently a course correction was needed to avoid some packed roads but did that add .4mile? Don't know, but PBs are not going to happen here if you are running regular events, with some long sapping climbs in places. And the finish being an upright banner was not a clear finishline.
On the plus side, the runners were encouraging all along the route. Marshals, where available, were helpful and encouraging. The drunken revellers were bemused but cheery which brought on smiles. The event was cheap for the distance with plenty of water along with headtorch/glowstick at the beginning and tshirt/medal at the end.
This may seem an overly critical review of a first time charity event but the takeaways are pretty clear to either define it one way or another and some of the safety aspects too. I think it's probably going to stay as a challenge but more marshalling is needed if it is to ensure no nasty accidents happen in the future and hold a special place in the Brighton calendar. Date of review: November 1, 2010
In short: Enjoyed the race day :) In full: Was slightly concerned with the hills on this one, but experienced runners are not going to do this for PBs. This out and back course was trickier in the first half than the second I felt. Once I worked out the initial downhill wasnt going to be encountered going back, it made it easier to finish. Also finding someone to run with for the second half kept the focus on.
Negative bits... few toilets. And I'm thinking they might want to have a word with the local constabulary to help out. Couple of impatient drivers were putting some runners off their stride at crossing points.
However, there are lots of plus points on this one. Its friendly both participants and marshals. Good organised parking. The organisers seem proud of their event which is good because that means they care. The views are good; the route is a bit traily which makes it interesting. Energy gels on route for those who wanted them. Goody bag ok, esp if you like beer. No medal but technical t-shirt with great design. Fantastic to see a massage section on donations - I tend to pay the same either way, but its appreciated to see so many of them give up their sundays to help out.
I can see myself doing this again as a challenge rather than a race. Date of review: September 6, 2010
In short: Nice end to the season In full: I might seem somewhat bias here but I can assure all that I have no connections with these guys :)
This was an "undulating" course with a challenging hill at two miles, repeated at seven, but there was a degree of satisfaction in reaching the top each time. Not every race has to be a PB - I enjoyed the scenery on this one. Marshalling was great and encouraging, though there was little chance of getting lost on the way. Water stations were well positioned.
Huge medals were on offer, very different to the usual ones. Not sure to the logic about the goody bags being distributed before the race. It might have been seen as innovative but it proved to be a bit of a nuisance stowing them before hand. I hope that it will be altered for next year.
Overall, very well organised and the hosts were hospitable. Looking forward to next year's race already. Date of review: November 30, 2009
In short: A nice way to end the racing season In full: I was looking forward to this race and it didn’t let me down. The morning was chilly, but that’s how I like them to start with. It was unfortunate that it had rained for several days before as this made the path a little slippy, especially in the last third, but that adds to the challenge. Plenty of places to pass, no problem with the water stops or even the “threatened” angling competition (I think the fish had frightened them away). The marshalling was fantastic, no chance of getting lost and I though the nice lady by the first bridge after the start who gave us a smile on the way through set the tone nicely (thx Di). The mile markers were pretty spot on, which is always appreciated.
Bananas, water and a medal at the end were all in order. However, special mention for the massage tent with Thames Valley U which was extremely welcoming and very professional. A donation was asked for, no problem there. Best post-race massage I’d had in a very long time.
On the organizer's side, I can see that some people felt a bit aggrieved with the baggage/transport situation. I'm sure the organizers will do their upmost to ensure that doesn’t happen again (and maybe a few rolls of bin bags on emergency standby just in case). I was more concerned about the toilet queues - longest I'd seen in quite a while (I was directed to a local café but he made it clear he didn’t want runners in there). A bit more work needed there I think.
I’ll definitely be there next year, if only to try the course in reverse, downhill!!
In short: Always a pleasure doing this one In full: These guys are always friendly and make you feel welcome. Well marshalled as well.
Third time of doing this one, and those hills are becoming more doable each time. The roadwork-free course helped as well. Also,we were fortunate this year that a thunderstorm a few hours before freshened the air which in turn made for a better race. Knocking three mins off last year's result and a min off my PB just capped the day for me. Date of review: June 7, 2009