In short: Fantastic atmosphere, slick organisation, great marshal support, Fun crowd. In full: A chilly morning, thankfully no rain. Massive crowd to encourage the runners. Loads of fancy dress. Loved the warm up before the race (this is becomming the norm for events - and I like it). Runners were penned in and the start was a bit slow (owing to numbers but I wasn't too bathered as i was considering this to be a fun event (had to really as I was in the mankini - how could i take ANYTHING seriously?) The marshals were great, good sinage and massive encouragement. The supporters were fun too, clapping and bell ringing. The course is challenging what with the two hills up towards the observatory (done twice). We were a team of 4 (SES Runners) and we tried to keep together. The water station was placed well (I skipped the water as I knew it would be well cold and could present a stomach cramp issue). I was encouraged on with lots of support and loads of wolf whistles and came in a respectable 50 mins. The medal, drink and sweets were good, perhaps something hot might have been better. I got a special prize of a trophy and a T-shirt from the HP sauce people. Loved the free bacon sarnie! In conclusion - a well organised, well attended, well marshaled event. The route was challenging and the party like atmospher will make this an event to remember. Thanks Date of review: November 25, 2012
In short: Hardest HR ever - Just what it should be - sorts the though from those that think they are. In full: Done all three locations now in mankini (south twice) and in all honesty this one was THE BEST. I like events that provide a challenge. I like events that create a divide between those that just want fun with a little stress, and those that want a REAL test of their metal. This was one of those runs. I completely understand the fine ballance the organisers must strike to get the numbers signed up for cost value, and then the dilemma of scaring people away. This year, Up North got it right. We were blessed with terrible weather the night BEFORE the event which set the terrain conditions on the day. It would have been quite a different thing if the weather on the day had been as it was in the afternoon! The distance was perfect (not too short to make it easy, and not too long given the effort needed to get through). I appreciate the concerns of others regarding the water hazards but as tough as they were, they certainly tested those who entered them. The first one (up to the hip in mud) - bit of a wait as the majority wanted to take a safer path. I plunged right in and then had to haul myself on the belly to get out. The second one (200m of various depths of pitch water). Much longer wait here due to single file. Fair comment regarding health and safety. I felt confident however, that everyone in the water would have helped anyone in distress (as some did). Having a boat out there might have been proved too risky (tipped over - used excessivley as a simple get out) - let alone having someone IN the water to help out. This, I think, was a calculated risk, and relied on US, THE RUNNERS, to self police / manage. The final water of significance - The bog of doom was quality. I felt like a gladiator being cheered on by the baying crowd. The mud was hip depth, tough to get out of and just what was needed to put a final coat of muck over you. Can you imagine the number of "wardrobe malfunctions" I had in my mankini? What the hell! It's all in the name of fun. I loved the hills - they took thought and effort and teamwork to climb. All I heard was the moans of people looking up behind me. Can't think what the problem was!! LOL. The whole route kept me guessing, afforded great views and plenty of mixed terrain. The organisation was slick and smooth. The marshals were very good, the spectators were the best yet. Great goddie bag, quality tech T-shirt. The medal and goodie bag presentation was fast and helped prevent further cold related issues. The hose down was a good though but WOW was it cold! A MASIVE thank you to the uniform staff that helped, the medical staff, the marshals, the organisers, the road users who were patient and the other users of the forest. Suggestions - 1) Perhaps, for all events - a free handout or signage to spectators showing the locations of the "hazard" for ease of finding. 2) Later start for the second wave, as they were soon on us and were held up - difficult I know but I felt for the lead runners. 3) Free hot drink at the end for runners. Conclusion = KEEP IT THIS TOUGH.
In short: Slaps you in the face and makes you groan Course demands respect. Weather made this interesting In full: Owing to the recent horrendous weather, we were told that the course had been changed. I had heard that this was rated as a very hard course already, and was told at the venue that the circuit was very muddy and wet. Splendid! It was in fact 4 times round a wooded country estate with some "interesting" sharp hills, churned up muddy tracks and dirty puddles. Because of the late route change, the distance moved up to 7.14 miles. This required close watch watching to get a 10k time half way through the last circuit. Chip timing is always a good thing. The organisation was slick - (so was the route!). Marshals at points keeping us on the right track and encouraging with claps and smiles. Water station placed well. Atmosphere was chirpy and I would love to come back and "gun it" for a better time, in better conditions. Its fair to say that the organisers had put a lot of work into this. They are begging for more entries. With more people I suspect they could get a quality goddie bag set up. If it really took off, the setting lends itself for a fantastic venue for stalls, vendors and family entertainment. We were rewarded with a resonable medal, banana and drink but there was also the warm feeling of pride having completed a tough course. 1hr03m for me - happy with that seeing as I was helping my mate round. I know I can do better. Well dome Chilham and thank you. Date of review: October 21, 2012
In short: One of the best in the South East In full: O.M.G - I had such a wicked hangover - NEVER again will I break a promise not to drink when I have an event the next day! That aside, the PWR put on one of the best events in the South East. It was such a happy atmosphere I had to hold back the sickness I was feeling for fear of upsetting people! Seriously, the organisers and the marshals are TOP DRAW. The weather had been wet before and made for great challenging conditions on the day. The route is a good mix of woods and roads, all junctions and turns had supporters and marshals on. Warm up at first gave my stomach some extra concerns as I am sure my brain had lied about the fact that the body was gunna have to run. I zoned out at the half way mark (LOVE the digital time display here)and set my mind to getting a reasonable time. The 2 man brass band add that extra bit of fun to the event. Came in under 50, and was amazed I didn't barff...("serves you right" I hear you say). fair enough. I love this event and there's a quality medal and goodie bag at the end. Thank you PWR. Date of review: October 18, 2012
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