In short: Breathtaking views, destroying hills In full: I knew this would be a killer when I saw it started at the Lulworth Cove car park and headed straight up the hill path to Durdle Door; that was always a toughie to walk up. Turns out that was was one of the mildest hills. This may be the most extreme hill run I have done (comparable to CTS Exmoor anyway). The hills are huge, steep and potentially slippery - we were lucky it stayed clear and dry most of the time. Some coastal path stone steps to hurt the knees and a styal right near the end to bring on the cramp. Many of the hills you can't run up or down. Many go on for ever. In true Endurance Life style, the half marathon was a painful 16m but this was well advertised.
But the views! Stunning coastal views: Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Tyneham village on the ranges, views of Weymouth and Portland.
Endurance Life have got this well worked out now. Great event, well organised but comes at a price. Date of review: January 3, 2014
In short: Excellent course and organisation. Some tough hills. In full: The sun was out at last! Big bonus for this excellent event. Praise for the race HQ, parking, organisation, marshals and the excellent testing and varied course. Open fields, woods, steep hills, gradual hills, track, tarmac, dirt. Over 2000 feet of climb on the 20m lap. I found it all pretty hard work this time around - so tough, I quit after lap 1! Can't fault any aspect of this one. Great value considering the t-shirt inclusion as well. Date of review: April 8, 2013
In short: Brilliant 20 miler. Excellent in all ways In full: Parking, simple. Number and chip collection, doddle. Zero congestion in 3 miles due to width of runway. Varied 10 mile circuit x2. Second lap always good as you know the course well. A few decent hills to test. This is a very fast course. Excellent marathon training. All good. Nothing to moan about. Good value, well organise, great course. Fantastic 20miler. Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Consistently good. At last actually a half marathon, not 14m! In full: This one is always well worth the trip. Sandy Balls caravan park is a great HQ. Plenty of parking. Showers and toilets in abundance. Plenty of indoor space to stay warm pre-race. Restaurants and take away for afterwards. Even free use of swimming pool. The organisers do this all very well. I see some complaints about where the start was. The race briefing was very clear to follow the marshals down to the start line. However, inside it was very difficult to hear the briefing (PA system next time). I also missed the start as thought the briefing would be outside (has been sometimes in the past) but probably my fault for not reading pre-race docs properly. Aside from that, this was excellent as ever. The course is fantastic with a few hills to test but the tracks make it decent under foot whatever the weather. With the marathon and 10k running the same T-shape out-and-back there were plenty of people to smile at and cheer on. Fast last mile home. Very friendly. Good marshaling. Unsure how anyone could get lost on this one - marshals at every turning point plus decent signage. Once again another success - always good when there is a bar next to the finish line! Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Great tough course. Excellent organisation at a price. In full: The CTS has been excellent for many years. Expertly organised (now very polished). I hadn't run South Devon and it was worth the new experience. Fewer runners than some other CTS which made the start easy and not too congested. The coast path was hard muddy rocky work as you would expect. Great views. A tough steep hill inland where the course diverted due to a recent landslide. I had been planning the marathon but downgraded. Damn grateful I did as 14m was enough (marathon was 29m). Tough muddy running but lots of fun. My only gripe is the cost of these events (but nobody is forcing me). Also, I had two runners new to CTS with me - both were surprised about "dibbing in" race timers. Seemed antiquated back in 2008 - now seem medieval. I will be back for more of these as they're some of the toughest coastal trail runs around. (PS DO NOT MISS THE FISH RESTAURANT (AKA SHACK) ON THE FRONT AT BEESANDS AFTER THE RACE. EXCELLENT FISH AND CHIPS BUT EVEN BETTER FRESH FISH. Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Superb, excellent like normal - but not rain at all!!! In full: The second time I have run this and I think it is great. What made it superb this year was the weather. Zero rain and clear sunny skies at times. Unheard of. It also made it much faster on the downhill stretches.
In terms if the course, you have 3 big hills to worry about. The rest is downhill or bumping along the flat. Big Hill 1 is fine as it's right near the start and the huge downhill stretch after it makes for some seriously fast running. Hill 2 just after the halfway point - 2 miles of solid climb takes the puff out of you. Hill 3 at 22 is the monster but the views at the top were magnificent. The steep downhill fast finish leads to cramp and a lot of hobbling. It was even faster this year with no mud and no risk of aquaplaning! Couldn't recommend this more.
Don't be too scared of it. I held back two years ago and didn't need to. This year I took 38 mins off my time. Date of review: October 31, 2012
In short: Year 2 and it got better In full: So after last year's unseasonal heatwave which made this race pretty tough we got the usual cool damp and foggy for 2012 event. Organisation great. Chip collection fine (although I never see point in posting number if you still need to collect chip). Giving out t-shirts before race can also be a pain if you don't want to bag-drop. Loads of toilets.
This race is an unusual road half marathon. Firstly it is almost entirely run on small rural single track roads through Hampshire farmland. Secondly, it is pretty hilly. In fact, most of the first 4 miles is on an incline. The first big hill really is quite a touch climb but is followed with loads of downhill. A few more smaller climbs but it is deceptive and the last 3 miles downhill make this a pretty fast course, definitely some PB potential here.
Support from the marshals was excellent as was the turnout in the small villages around the course. Little disappointing that the crowds in the Memorial Park for the finish were much thinner than at the inaugural event. I would also still prefer that strange sharp turn onto the (long) wet grass finish straight to get changed.
Water stations were much better located this year and more frequent.
For some reason the race number was huge and also made of a very odd thick paper. As such I folded it down to wear for comfort. Just when I got over the line, I really didn't appreciate some old guy telling me that if I did the same next year, I would be disqualified. There is a time and a place and I don't need that immediately after 90+ minutes running and before I even get my medal.
One other point, I did feel sorry for the Kenyans at the start line. They were late and were trying to climb over the fence at The Lamb in Hackwood Road to get to the front. This big bloke came around shouting at them (bar staff or landlord I guess) as he didn't want a damaged fence. He then got pretty nasty and I thought he was going to attack a chap that was with them. Not very nice at all and many runners commented on how they'd avoid that pub!
This is a really good event for Basingstoke and the course is excellent. Hope is stays now. Date of review: October 8, 2012
In short: Splendid race, even in the relentless pouring rain In full: We can all moan about the rain but nobody can control that. Besides at 11 degrees C it was excellent for running - much easier that in the sunshine. Once you're wet, you're wet. Big turnout besides. Anyway, this race continues to be a favourite. Pretty low-key but excellent marshalling. Loads of water stations. Very scenic. A few sections of track runs plus the undulations keep your legs working. I ran chatting with someone for 18 or so miles so it all went quite quickly. Has some good support in places (even in the pouring rain) and the marshals really were cheery and supportive despite being totally sodden.
An excellent event. Great fun Date of review: September 24, 2012
In short: Terrific off-roader with wonderful coastal views In full: I haven't run the Beast for 4 years but it remains truly excellent. Lots of different terrain: tarmac start, open fields, stony woodland paths and coastal footpaths. Some decent hills inland but when you get to the coastal path it really hits. St Aldhelm's Head is where we joined it. Straight down some very steep, very slippery stone and earth steps and then back up. Heavy step climbing. Then you get to go to another valley/chine before climbing an even higher one. It really takes it out of you. The final few miles involve a mostly-downhill trip back to Corfe with the castle in view, then a nice hill up near the end.
The rain and wind made it tougher this year and much more treacherous under foot.
One negative comment was regarding the women at the finish line taking down finisher details. She was incredibly rude to numerous spectators telling them to be quiet or move away from her so she could hear. At one point she shouted at one group to "shut up". A bit out of character for this race.
Aside from that, this event is excellent in a great location with spectacular scenery. The organisation continues to be excellent. This is one to try for sure. Date of review: September 3, 2012
In short: 2012 Half - Brutal hills, brutal!!! In full: It's been a few years since I ran this one and the new course is much, much, much tougher. It still includes many of the old hills but also a lot more. This really was tough road-running from the start right until the end. Aside from the one mile on the flat by the sea before climbing into St Helen's, this is a constant up and down course. The last two hills coming into Ryde are hard work.
The start was very low-key, perhaps too much with cars driving through the start line until 2 mins before kick-off. No announcements, no sign of anyone - just a hooter and off you go straight up a 1.5m incline!
I do like these IoW runs but I always think it is a bit of a shame so much time is spent running on roads in the middle of the island - busy roads at this time of the year too. Water stations are bare minimum - water. Orange squash would have been great.
Will be back to seek revenge. Date of review: August 20, 2012