In short: Not the best weather this year In full: Not very often I rate events but here go’s I shall try and sit on the fence looking at everything when I write this: The weather was not on the side of the event. We had heavy rain and flooded paths. Something the organisers put on facebook the day prior to the race, so the warnings were there. Yes we had torrential rain and towards the end the puddles where getting deeper. But. So many runners where wearing shorts and tee shirts or knowing the conditions failing to make allowances for the relevant conditions. Let us remind ourselves that this is a trail event and as such will not have the same facility’s as big marathons, you are not going to get hoards of supporters and on the finish line there will only ever be a smattering of hardy friends and family braving the weather. The course itself is lovely, it is well marked with plenty of signage and not possible to go wrong. There were mile markers every 3 miles (sufficient for a trail event). It was well marshalled with numerous army cadets all in good spirits and very helpful, they had set up two marshalled road crossings at the entrance to the peninsula with numerous marshals and stop/go boards to stop traffic and let the runners cross without being impeded and on the last section of main road before you got to the finish, where there was no path the road had been cordoned off with cones giving runners a safe lane to run in. I found that there were more water stops than in a normal trail marathon and from memory at least two had gels being offered to all runners. Another thing worth remembering is that this is a nature reserve, You cannot just plonk a load of portaloo’s by the start in such an area. And you can’t give water in bottles as the less socially responsible runners amongst us just hold onto them and then chuck them miles from the water stops making cleaning up a nightmare…has anyone running a race ever considered those who have to walk the course behind them picking up the water bottles, gel and food wrappers etc? The Instructions where clear and I do wonder sometimes if people actually read them, the walk to the start was clearly made out, yes it’s a walk and inconvenient in todays consumer society but you could always use it to warm up? There were extra portaloos at the main start car park and the main toilets had a large internal floor area which allowed people to get changed out of the rain and wind. Within 50 metres of the finish line are 2 café’s offering hot food and drink, the main indoor toilet block allowing safe changing (It wasn’t the ritz but it was good enough). The Goody bag is always a personal thing. I have to admit I’m not that bothered, after all the medals are usually cheap bits of tin that you chuck in the bottom of a drawer later anyway. I appreciate that some will want more and some will be happy. So. There are those who would want space blankets and a celebrity announcer at the finish line and those who like me appreciate the location and it’s inherent beauty which was dampened by the weather, but there are those who very clearly did not heed the weather warnings and perhaps not read the instructions sent out by the race organisers. As for me…I really enjoyed it, I had my waterproof jacket on having checked the weather, I got to the start in time having read the instructions, I used the toilets at the main start to have a wee before the race, I was able to enjoy the route without worry, I was comfortable and I finished with a PB. I finished the race, walked to my car and got my warm clothes, changed in the large toilet block and warmed up before a drive home.
In short: Lovely low key event, Superb Organisation, Great Marshalls and competitors alike In full: Did this event in 2009 and it became one of my all time favorites for it's low key relaxed atmosphere. charming scenery and superb organisation. I'm Glad to say that it has managed to improve. Had a lovely day, it's a great run, the marshals where abundant and friendly and to add coach transport to the start, a technical tee shirt, medal and certificate make is superb value. Loved it! Date of review: October 15, 2012
In short: Well Done Fat Feet In full: Details sent before the race where excellent which showed exactly where the water stops where, what the course profile was and what surface to expect amongst other info. Superbly organised in a non pushy relaxed an informal way. what a refreshing change from those boring corporate everything fits all events. this is unique and has a real atmosphere...one for REAL runners. Date of review: August 18, 2011
In short: Great Race In full: This race ended up as the Highlight of my year last year and this year it got better. The location is superb it has it all, a castle (flood lit at night) lake, meadows and parkland, despite being laps I was never bored. The atmosphere is just wonderfull and everyone was so friendly and supportive to each other and then there is the organisation and Marshalls, they somehow manage to combine a low key, non pushy and relaxed atmosphere with people who truely want you to suceed and at the same time it all runs like clockwork with not a single hitch. Well Done, This is one Race that you leave feeling you have achieved something and been part of something very very special. Date of review: August 16, 2011
In short: Wonderful Scenery, Lovely People, Superb Organisation. In full: A lovely Low Key and very relaxed event. Organisers and fellow runners where all very friendly and helpful. The course was lovely and when you add it all together it was an amazing experiance. Well Done. Date of review: July 26, 2010