In short: Fast and flat. A bit dull? In full: The Good Bits: - fast and flat. a definite for a PB i'd say - well organised in terms of entries, number being sent in the post, very good info pack to download, regular email updates, bag drop was seemless - some really vocal support en route- with people handing out sweets and drinks. thanks to all the local residents for that- much appreciated - easy to get to with the metrolink - nice medal and a really top tech tee
Not so good bits: - really didn't like the course. the first few miles with the loopbacks were stupid and quite frustrating, difficult to get going in a regular rhythm. Also, because much of the course was two-way, it all got a bit crammed and, again, difficult to find a rhythm. was much less noticeable in the second half as people started to get a bit more strung out.
- water stations. the people manning them were great, but the first few were really difficult to actually get a drink at. I didn't see the signs (too low down possibly?) and a lot of people were stopping dead and trying to make their way to the sides for drinks...again, improved as the course became less crammed in the second half. - the Iconiq water pouches? Not a fan. either got a dribble of water or a face full. also tasted really strange and chemically. Would have REALLY appreciated a lucozade/powerade or similar at 16-20 mile mark- rather than more chemical toilet water! - Cliff shot bloks...now i love these, train with them all the time. But after 26 miles of them i felt ill. thought we were getting bloks and gels? only saw bloks... - mile markers...again, didn't see many in the first half- perhaps think about positioning?
i've said 'maybe' to a return. its very local for me...but don't think i would recommend that people travel far- unless you want a PB- it has definite potential for that... Date of review: April 6, 2014
In short: Well organised, highly recommended In full: Would definitely recommend this race- was a little frightened as seemed to be a LOT of very serious club runners and the booklet was advising a 2.30 hour cut off time and no earphones etc...but was actually very friendly, seemed to be a real mix of runners taking part- including lots with earphones, so don't let that put you off- roads were closed, so no real safety concerns. organisation was excellent, the booklet was very informative, plenty of parking at the start (we parked at the pub for £5 and then got that money off food/drinks after the race). there were markers for people to choose where to start depending on finishing time- as usual lots of people who paid no heed to this so the first mile was a bit bottle necked for me, a little difficult to get going (i was in the 1.50 zone)...but after that the crowds thinned out a lot. course was very picturesque, lots of vocal support in the villages that the rave went through- some lovely people handing out jelly babies and really cheering people on, which was nice. marshals all very encouraging and friendly, and water stations well manned and in frequent places on the course. only real criticism here is that the middle two stations had cups instead of bottles- so i ended up wearing my water rather than drinking it! course was mildly undulating, but nothing to be scared of- and plenty of downhill/long flat sections to really attack. goody bag had a really top quality medal and really nice tech tee and a mars bar which went down a treat. there were also people handing out water, powerade and space blankets which was appreciated. All in all, really enjoyed the day, will be back in the future no doubt. many thanks to organisers and volunteers :) Date of review: March 23, 2014
In short: Yes it is quite hilly...but definitely worth it! In full: This was my first ever 20 mile race- in preparation for Manchester Marathon, which will be my second marathon. I was a bit worried that it would be elitist and full of whippet-types- but was very pleasantly surprised. Yes there did seem to be a lot of club runners and fast fast people, but there were also lots of 'normal' runners too! Organisation was like clockwork throughout the whole day, cannot fault anything about it- very friendly marshals all the way round providing lots of encouragement. Ample water stations on what was a very hot day for early March, which were also giving out sweets, gels and chocolates and, importantly, sponges!
The course is definitely undulating, although there are plenty of nice downhill sections to make up for the uphills! The worst bit was the last three miles as there were a few sneaky inclines that I had forgotten about on the way out. No headphones are allowed which had worried me, but it was fine in the end- there was lots of support in the various villages we went through and there was a good friendly atmosphere amongst the runners, which sometimes I think you lose when everyone has headphones on. The roads aren't all closed so I can totally understand why there are no headphones, it would be a safety issue. At the end there was water, goody bag with banana and chocolate in it and the all important Cheese Cob (which I couldn't eat as I'm gluten free :( ). The famous Ashby hoody is also very nice. There were free massages laid on to with a wait time of about 5 minutes- definitely worth it Would thoroughly recommend this race- will definitely be back for more! Date of review: March 11, 2014
In short: Great Fun, lived up to its name! In full: Thoroughly enjoyed this race which we entered as a pair for a bit of a laugh- we did the 11 mile route (which actually came up at about 10.3 on my garmin, quite a nice suprise near the end!)... the scenery was lovely, quite a few inclines (especially at the start) and absolutely tonnes of mud, so great fun. The directions and map were very easy to follow, marshals and water stations at very regular intervals (with some lovely custard cream biscuits- just what the doctor ordered at around the 7 mile mark!)- we carried a camelback but didn't really need it. Atmosphere was extremely relaxed, there were a few club runners and the leaders seem to have posted good times but there were also some slower runners and even walkers- so all abilities catered for. afterwards there was (included in the entry fee) a lovely pie and peas and homemade cakes on offer in the village hall, as well as a hospipe for washing off legs and trainers. Goody bag was excellent- a nice medal, wooly hat, pair of gloves, clean socks (thank you so much for these!), water and a chocolate bar- it had only said 'memento' on the entry form- so the goody bag was a very nice suprise. organisation ran like clockwork, extremely friendly- will definitely be back :) Date of review: February 20, 2014
In short: A definite on my running calendar, can't recommend enough In full: I ran this race last year and thoroughly enjoyed it so was looking forwards to it today. It did not disappoint. The weather was pretty bad- ridiculous headwind for the first 3/4k which might have put paid to a few PBs- but it is a fast course nontheless as very flat and plenty of space once you get out of the start. Organisation- from the pre race emails, courtesy car park buses, goody bags, baggage drop- was all excellent. No complaints at all. The technical Tshirt is great quality, as is the medal. I even got an extra tech tshirt (last year's) in my goody bag which was a nice suprise! will definitely be back. Date of review: February 9, 2014
In short: Nice first time race...great wagon wheels! In full: I ran this in 2012 as my first ever 10k and returned in 2013- so that should say something. Very friendly, despite a lot of club runners and a quick pace at the front, and well organised. I preferred the route in 2012, didn't really enjoy the little loop at the beginning this time, but it is a nice flat race along the seafront- after a stirring two minute's silence in aid of Remembrance Day. You get a nice medal at the end as well as water, banana and the all important Wagon Wheel. Date of review: January 5, 2014
In short: Muddy but very pretty, I'll be back! In full: Really enjoyed this race- travelled about 70 miles to run on the recommendation of a work colleague and was not disappointed. The route was definitely 'undulating' (even had a sneaky walk up the hill just before the three mile point- carrying extra mince pies and Christmas Pud was definitely a factor) but nothing horrendous and there was plenty of mud, which is always fun. Scenery was stunning and the weather was very kind. Organisation was excellent, marshalls super friendly and encouraging. There seemed to be a lot of club runners but I would say that it was ordinary runner/beginner friendly too. No headphones allowed though so practice without if you are a beginner- plenty to look at to keep you occupied though! Goody bag was excellent. the race cost £13 to enter ( i think) and we got a proper sports bag (the over the shoulder types) which had a protein bar (worth £2), a pair of 'Hilly' gloves and a £5 Sweatshop voucher in, as well as the usual leaflets etc. will be back next year! Date of review: January 5, 2014
In short: Well organised, very scenic...a little 'undulating'! In full: Did this as my first marathon- thoroughly enjoyed it- very well organised- the marshalls and people giving out water were extremely friendly and very encouraging. as the course is quite rural there were sections with no support- but then all the people in the local villages were out in force (big thumbs up to the lady with the jelly babies and the man with the hosepipe especially!) the course was a bit undulating- so definitely train for some hills- i live in lancashire so i wasn't totally unprepared, but i think some were! would highly recommend. great goody bag and lovely long sleeved tech tshirt thanks! Date of review: October 8, 2013
In short: Hopeless organisation! In full: I'd expected this to be quite slickly organised as the organiser was Sports Tours International- I figure that local running clubs generally do a good job- so surely a company could manage it?! They didn't- there was no real signage anywhere at the start so it wasn't clear where to go. There was a twenty minute delay to start (not great as it was freezing!) and the water station on course was manned by one poor lady - so there was a pile up here! At the finish it toon about twenty mins to get through to get medal (average), a bottle of water and a rucksack (hideous). The course was nice enough at the start and end but the middle bit was boring industrial estate and a few frustrating switchbacks put in to add distance. Very flat though- definite PB course I'd say. There was virtually no support on route- just at start and finish. I got a half price early entry but I'd have been annoyed if I'd paid full price. Won't be back! Date of review: September 9, 2013
In short: Friendly and suitable for first-timers In full: Really enjoyed this as my first HM- was undulating as described but nothing too hideous! Organisation was pretty good and stewarding was excellent; personally didn't have any trouble getting out of the carpark! scenery was lovely but would have liked to have run through/round the castle a bit more as the route didn't really have much to do with the castle apart from starting just outside of it. Goody bag was a bit disappointing, but it was a charity run so understandable. I will be back next year! Date of review: March 17, 2013