In short: Poor organisation did not spoil the race for me In full: I imagine (hope) that the organisers of this year's Canterbury 10 are taking a long hard look at their race planning following this year's race. lets not forget this is a 'Gold' race and part of the Kent Grand Prix so expectations are rightly higher for this type of race. In years of running this is probably the most poorly organised race I have taken part in with long queues, inadequate signage and a general lack of information all around. I was given the wrong number and consequently my results did not show up at the end. To date the organisers have still not responded to my enquiries but fortunately the chip timing company sorted it out within 24 hours so all good. I concede that the race HQ was at a new and untested location and the design of the building didnt help with single door entrances making crowding in and out of the various rooms a big problem. I was lucky enough to start near the front so didn't suffer from the crowding at the start that other runners mentioned although the close proximity of traffic at the start was a definite safety risk. The course itself was terrific winding through country lanes and farms and presented a challenge with some nice little hills thrown in to break up the pace. I don't agree that marshalls were sullen and am always prepared to give credit for people who give up their time to stand in the rain etc saying the same thing over and over again to all the runners going by! The lack of water stops didn't particularly bother me as I was prepared, but it was a mild day and this could be a problem for inexperienced runners who would be out on the course for longer. The medal was nice, not fussed about goody bags so a drink and an energy bar at the end was fine by me.
So, the big question is, would I do it again? Despite all the above yes, I would. It is a fun and interesting course and despite the poor organisation all the volunteer staff were friendly, helpful and did what they could in the face of some pretty poor organisation and planning. If, god forbid, the organisers take no notice of all the negative feedback and run the event the same way, I would strongly advise runners to turn up at least an hour early, possibly longer to beat the horrendous queuing and make sure you are pre-hydrated with an empty bladder before you arrive! Date of review: January 27, 2016
In short: Muddy Hell!! Silly fun but needing some basic improvements In full: My first 'adventure' race. Ok, firstly the good.
A classic cross country circuit with all the ingredients that we muddy runners love in a beautiful location.
Marshalls/squaddies were helpful and encouraging with a good sense of humour!
Obstacles were great fun, especially the river crossings! (Note to self. Don't jump in the river behind tow 6 foot blokes when you're only 5'8. I nearly sunk without trace!)
Reasonable goody bag at the end with a nice t-shirt.
Now the not-so-good.
Long queues for bag drop and toilets. A good thing we got there early!
The pre race warm up was a bit OTT, being more like a full aerobics session than a dynamic warm up.
Lots of choke points at the obstacles meaning queues formed. Not sure if much can be done about this but it was a bit irritating standing around in the cold waiting to cross a river and watching the time ticking away!
No mile markers.
Only one water stop just over halfway. A bit mean given the intensive nature of the challenge.
It would have been nice to have had the professional photographers at the river crossings where most of the fun stuff took place.
I didn't see the promised burger vans, although there was a snack tent. All in all there was very little at the finish area to keep you there.
Given that we were (happily) covered in mud,perhaps more hoses or washing facilities would be a good idea at the end?
Oh and finally, don't do this race hoping for a PB! Date of review: October 8, 2011
In short: Up down up down up down up down up down CAKE! In full: If I thought last year was a humbling experience this year's munro was a wipeout, tacking some 8 minutes onto last years seriously unimpressive time! The combination of treacherous, slippery downhills and agonising uphill scrambles left my legs feeling like chopped raw beef and my heart rate spinning off into high orbit. Hamburger Hill is my new affectionate name for this insane race! But guess what, the morning after, aching quads and glutes aside, the bad memories and 'definitely, absolutely never again' emotions are fading and I am left with pleasant memories of unexpected warm sunshine, stunning scenery, smiling and encouraging marshalls, belting along wide woodland paths and grassy meadows to the strain of the redoubtable piper, snatched humerous conversations, the complete nutter who, eschewing the stepping stones, plunged into the river up to his waist and forged across (the rest of just got soaking wet feet!) and the best post race pressie ever, a mug that changes colour to show the MM logo when you add hot water! Impressed the kids more than the medal, that did! Thanks to Dr Rob, all his helpers and the excellent marshalls. Bugger, I think I'm going to have to do it just one more time...... Date of review: June 19, 2011
In short: Hill - tastic ! In full: This is without a doubt the hardest race I've ever done and totally justifies it's claim to be the hardest half. 8 gruelling ascents and descents but in the most beautiful scenery and varied terrain. This is the ultimate x country run! The atmosphere was warm and welcoming like the weather, and there was a real sense of the organisers giving their all. Lots of nice touches such as Jaffa cakes at water stations and 'encouraging' signs along the way. Finally at the end a nice spread with sandwiches, cakes and a very nice goody bag. I couldn't eat a thing as I felt physically sick, yet euphoric at the same time to have finished this race. Train hard if you want to do this race, but no matter what you do, it's still going to hurt! Date of review: June 21, 2010
In short: Billed as a fun run but DEFINITELY not fun run terrain In full: My second year of doing this race. This time parking was in a field near the castle rather than in the castle grounds itself. Not a problem except bit of a nightmare getting out at the end as temp traffic lights at the top of the access road made progress slow. Anyway, ignoring the fun run silliness at the beginning, the course was an excellent x country course with lots of variety and plenty of tough terrain. However I would say very hazardous for the inexperienced runners especially the big field with an adverse camber, long grass hiding tractor ruts divots and rabbit holes, etc. All grist to the mill for this trail runner but I bet there were more than a few twisted ankles and face plants come the end! My only injury an invisible encounter with some invisible stinging insect which left me with a wopping great red swollen thingy on my inner thigh - obviously I wasn't running fast enough!It was a beautiful day and I very much enjoyed running the course. Will definitely be returning next year. Oh, no official timing except for a big digital clock at the finish post. However the timer obviously started with the official race start, and it took me a couple of minutes to get over the start line, so make sure you carry your own timer if you want to log it. As far as I know they don't publish any results on-line. My summary a good quality x country circuit on a beautiful day but novice and road runners watch your step! Date of review: September 28, 2009
In short: Hlly, muddy, crowded, foggy, fun! In full: Got there at 0820. Loads of time to warm up and wee multiple times! Was quite impressed with the 'buzz'. Not sure about some aspects of the warm up. Star jumps and side steps? Bit hi-energy methinks. Course was varied and tricky in places with a fairly steep hill at about 2-3k, some narrow lanes and tracks together with the amount of competitors making passing difficult at the start. Still after about 4-5k the field opened up and made for a rattling good run, so long as you like mud, jumping on and off grass verges, getting whipped in the face by branches and slithering on grass. I do and it was great! Thanks to the guy with the saxophone with his smooth jazz tones at about 8k, made me forget about my pain for a few seconds. Then right at the end, last 500 metres, a right little bugger of a short steep hill before a grassy sprint to the finish line, lots of cheering peeps, a free tracker bar, bottle of water and 10p medal, and welcoming hugs from the wife and kids! My second race and I loved it to bits. The day I ever get jaded and stop enjoying it this much is the day I give up! Oh, a tip for the que-rs. Try and find a way round where you approach the castle from the other direction. Much quicker! Date of review: October 13, 2008