In short: An all family, all experience level event. Something for everyone. In full: A group visit from SE London to a mate who lives in the village of Hook. He boasted about the friendliness of this event, it's PB potential and A MEDAL. We had to come. Glad we did. The event had ample parking for those who drove (we walked from mates place). Enough facilities for changing, toilet, bag storage and pre-race warm up. There was a great loud speaker, a warm up routine with fancy dress and good staggered starts for the separate events. The course was very well marked out with coned off areas and brilliant marshals. Traffic was patient and I made a point to thank drivers, marshals and helpers alike (as I think ALL RUNNERS SHOULD). Plenty of water stations too. The course was generally flat (one or two rises which needed only digging into), through some nice countryside. Once off the more busy road sections, we were blessed with views of beautiful expensive houses, quaint pubs and some lovely wooded areas. This course is certainly a PB potential. Indeed, of the 4 of us adults that ran the 10 mile - 2 of us got PBs (I myself stuck with and encouraged (bullied) our hosting mate in order to get him his PB). The weather threatened rain but it held off and it was cool enough not to cause concen. Our families took part in the 2.5 fun / race and were chuffed to get a quality medal (as did us lads). The fete held in the school grounds kept everyone entertained and fed till the end of the event. The male announcer at the end kept the crouds gee'd up for the later arrivals, encouraging claps and cheers. If I were to have any critisism it would be perhaps having a results list of all finnishers as well as having them split into genders - but I'm being fussy.
In conclusion - Best encouraging, smiling, clapping, directing marshals, of all ages, I have had the pleasure to meet. If I were not to have stuck with my mate I would CERTAINLY have obtained a cracking PB (sure to have been sub 1.12). I suspect that I will be back next year to get my PB. Date of review: May 21, 2012
In short: Weather made this a challenge, didn't like the "two way" section. Great organisation In full: Took a trip down from Kent with two work mates. I wanted another medal and a challenge. The weather was quite bad before and gave the ground a good soaking. Slick organisation, chip timing and fantastic marshals. I prefer the cross country aspect, this was 50/50 road and estate with woods. The woods were muddy as hell but fun. Was most upset when I saw Mike, partially sighted, trip over a kerb. Me and my mate ran with him for a further two miles but he had faster pace despite 30% sight ! so slowly went ahead. I found the "two way" paths frustrating as there was a distinct clash potential. On occasions I had to avoid by entering the bushes. The marshals were full of support and direction. Spectators were good too. I struggled as I had taken a sugar tab before the run and crashed during. I was chuffed with the medal, not so with the goodie bag. Nice selection of grub afterwards. Date of review: May 9, 2012
In short: Kent countryside in glorious technicolour - the course grabs ya by the arse and eyes In full: Such a great event. Love the early start (especially as I had just come off nights (again)). Great parking facilities. Short walk to event. Good venue for registration, chip collection, storage and warm up. Thanks to the school for this. Seemed to me there were loads more runners this year, and testiment to the good organisation and fantastic scenic route. Great marshals, patient car drivers. The course is mainly road work but there is a glorious off road section and a great fast finish. Good directions and fantastic support on the route. Shame about medal quality but the "local picture" touch is unique. I got a PB for the course BUT it's not a course for an overall PB. The hills are challenging and "bite ya". I do love this local event and will do it year on year. Thanks Swanley. Date of review: April 15, 2012
In short: Local event for me - GREAT support and challenging course (last hill - pheww!) In full: 2nd time for me and a PB of 1.18. Car park very good, facilities excelent, late entry smooth, baggage very good, welcome VERY NICE. Course very well marked out with fantastic marshals full of support and encouragement. Pleanty of water stations. The route includes some of the Dartford Half and I was aware of the hills to come. Although there with my team, SES runners, I went off ahead. Kept a great pace. Due to lack of planning my Ipod was too quiet and I couldn't find the tracks I wanted! Didn't stop on any hills. Great finish line with lots of clappers. LOVE the medal, the mug will come to work with me. Good to have fruit at the end but perhaps a flavoured drink as well as water. I was impressed with the uniform cadets as well - full of support. Thanks to everyone involved, I will be back next year. Date of review: March 25, 2012
In short: Such a pleasant event. They want you there. Great course, will test beginners In full: Facilities great (bit chocka for parking) but on day registration was smooth. Little walk to start point - warms you up. Chip timing was good. Grounds of Knole Park are lush and there is plenty to see from the high ground. All the deer had scarpered! Twice round the course and the hill at start bites you on the 2nd leg but once thats over it's a great smooth downhill to the end. Fast finish as well. One water point just on the 2nd leg. Good encouragement, plenty of supporters (nice weather brough them out). ONLY grumble would be the bottle neck for those that came in around the hour plus mark as they had to bunch up over the chip timing mat and then get down to single file for medal collection. Medal is good because it has the event date on it. Same walk back to the car was good for warm down. Will do it again I am sure. Thanks go to rotary club, marshals and supporters. Date of review: March 11, 2012
In short: One of the toughest hill workouts you'll get in Kent. In full: Phew! I completed my night shift and dashed down from Gravesend to get to the venue. Start time was incorrect online. Certainly a specialist event - mate of mine (Mike) dropped a trouser load when he saw the search and rescue units and the hills. 4 of us entered the 8.6 miler. The route is BRILL and in better weather it would have been stunning beyond words. Paths were slippy and the steps did the legs no favours. Weather was drizzle, wind was fresh. The hills really tested the quads and I took two days to recover enough to do a "recovery" run. The ONLY issue I would have - and I am only bringing this up because it effected Mike (not me) was that at the crucial distance peal off points (8.6 - 14 - 20) there was a lack of communication. Mike found himself commited to the 14 mile event when he wasn't told where to peal off for the 8.6. In our worry for him, after we completed our distances, me and 2 other mates back tracked and encountered two other runners who had fallen foul of the same issue, discovered the error, and turned back to rejoin the 8.6 route. As it was, Mike (God bless him) continued on the 14 and eventually completed his greatest ever distance of 15.6. My suggestion would be to have arrows made out of the highviz colours and attribute a different colour to each distance. This would enable runners to self navigate if they miss an instruction. I was happy with the free BHF Benny hat and medal. The venue facilities were perfectly adequate. Could have had faster tea / food making (but this was an added luxuary anyhow. The marshals were great (good idea taking runners numbers down cos this helped us track where Mike was! and prevented corner cutting). Thanks go to S+R who helped locate Mike. The organisers were everso friendly and welcomming. The S.E.S runners aim to be back next year to do the greater distances - Dave says he has to do the 20 because Mike has gone further than him now! Boy - did I need my sleep after getting back home SO VERY LATE owing to Mikes error. Date of review: March 9, 2012
In short: 2nd time for me - recovery run after HellRunner. Good marshals. In full: True to form the organisers said this would be a free entry for those last year who discovered that the distance was short. This time there was no such problem and the distance was bang on. I would say that the marshals were great - full of support and cheer - seeing as it was such a cold morning. The S.E.S Runners were out in force today and our latest member came in with a PB, doing nearly twice the distance he'd ever run in one go! The route is nothing to write home about (perhaps a route through the park could be considered in future??). Good value for money (I made a donation), good facilities and certainly a course that in future I'd like to push out and get a PB on (if I'm not recovering from another event). S.E.S Runners do their home town race, and all of us came over the line. Thanks. Date of review: February 14, 2012
In short: Not as tough as I thought it would be. Fun all the same In full: Having done Down South twice, and getting a medal for the last one (2011), I decided that I'd do all three. I was the 2nd mankini man and was running with a group of friends. Twas cold. I knew there would be some hills and found them okay, needing special powers of balance to go down the slopes. The bog of doom was shorter and shallower that down south BUT WOW was it colder. I managed to get a duck though. The marshals were TOP DRAW, full of support. It was sad to see so many people injured but how good was the medical help and first aid? I was most impressed. The only little nag I have was the medal, T-shirt and goodie bag collection. Waiting in that zig-zag line was SO VERY VERY COLD. It would have been better if we could have gone in a line, through the tent and collected as we went. I was led to believe that there was a special prize for dressing in a mankini and for getting a duck but I didn't see anything indicating such - perhaps I missed it. Thanks to the organisers. I will be doing Up North so as to get all 3 medals. Date of review: February 14, 2012
In short: 2010 was "The Hardest Ever" 'cos of the weather, 2011 was shorter and easier. In full: After last year, I suppose there wasn't the "surprise or shock factor", and as the weather was pleasant this time, there wasn't so much of a challenge. My Garmin measured it shorter too and the bog of doom was somewhat shallower. Bottlenecks were inevitable. Aside of this I will certainly rate the organisation and atmosphere as FANTASTIC. The marshals / cadets were full of support and the supporters were full of cheer.
I decided to do it in a lime green mankini, to up my own personal challenge - it got plenty of reaction (and a few slaps! You know who you are). All I could hear behind me was "Oh God - I gota get past him".
Parking was very good, however, getting away was slow. If we were to do it again, we'd bring a BBQ and do a cook up in the carpark whilst everybody else waits to leave. Perhaps we'll do Hell In The Middle for a change.
The best thing was a quality medal and T-shirt at the end. Happy with the goodie bag as well. Thanks to everyone involved. I am still applying the chafing cream! Date of review: November 28, 2011
In short: LOVE IT - one of my favs. Great marshals In full: I love his race. It's in my dairy every year. Challenging. Fun. Support. Organisation. All top draw. Weather held off and the terrain was just right, gave the legs a work out. Got a PB on this run. THANK YOU all who organised it. The SES will be back again. Such a nice gong too. Date of review: October 9, 2011