In short: Super smooth organisation In full: My ability to make basic stupid schoolboy errors with regards to running too fast too early on a sunny hot day shouldn't detract from a very well organised marathon through lovely countryside. Now my 'home' marathon, I'm sure I'll do it again. Date of review: October 7, 2013
In short: Finally got it In full: After not enjoying it last year, I got a last minute place and found myself loving it this year. All the pointers suggested I'd have another bad experience: crappy weather, stuck in a pen near the back, same behemoth size, but instead I really got the atmosphere and the sense of a whole region coming together.
I managed to run an ok time but that's what you get for taking the place from a guy who was planning to run with a massive log. The atmosphere though was brilliant and at the end I felt really pleased to have been involved. Date of review: September 16, 2013
In short: Race like they do it in Siberia through the heart of Epping Forest In full: Really enjoyed this but oh my it was tough. Muddy, cold, hilly and covered in snow, a pretty damn gruelling race. However, also very beautiful in places, especially some forest sections where the snow hung on the trees like a real winter wonderland. If anyone has seen the episode of Band of Brothers where they are stuck in the forest during the Battle of the Bulge, well it was a bit like that! Organised by good guys with nice fellow competitors, will look to do this race again next year. Date of review: March 24, 2013
In short: Regular Xmas run that has become an annual tradition In full: I love this race, its fantastic to blow the cobwebs away on Boxing Day and is in a great location with a fantastic atmosphere. The organisation is always pretty good especially considering the date. The race can be run pretty quick but there is a good mix of club runners and fun runners with a nice smattering of fancy dress runners as well. The only downside is the ongoing issue of the course route as the weather invariably affects it one way or the other but the organisers usually deal with this so at least there is a run come what may. And its also pretty cheap, under a tenner. All in all a really fun race for Christmas and I love running it every year. Date of review: December 27, 2012
In short: In danger of getting too big for its boots In full: I ran this for the first time this year. I really enjoyed it but the lack of organisation at the start was bad and as a race there's just too many people on sometimes narrow stretches of road to make this a proper race. Enjoyed the experience but I think 10000 fewer people would make this really great. Date of review: September 21, 2012
In short: Great day but so bloody hot! In full: First things first - I smashed my PB by 20 minutes so that was brilliant. Secondly, the support from Macmillan was amazing, from round the course and in the recovery tent in the end, and the support from people around the course was special too. Finally, it was gorgeous scenery and a great excuse to visit a beautiful city.
Now the negatives... no clocks anywhere on the course was strange for a race that markets itself on it being the UKs fastest marathon. The organisation at the beginning was a bit light, there weren't a lot of stewards about telling people where to go. There wasn't anyone giving out sun cream on the route either, which would have been good given the sun.
Which leads me onto the heat, bloody hell it made it tough! Still, it was great to get round and the feeling at the end was fantastic. Date of review: May 28, 2012
In short: Tough all terrain half marathon, really friendly and nice atmosphere In full: I really enjoyed this, it was a challenging course with lots of long gradual (and not so gradual) hills but a great atmosphere and lots of support from fellow runners. This is another example of why smaller events are usually so much more rewarding than bigger, more polished races.
That said, I do have a couple of complaints. First is that although we were warned that the course wasn't fully marshalled there were some points of the course where the lack of both marshalls and signs made progress pretty dodgy - I started trotting off in completely the wrong the direction at one point and was saved by a fellow runner calling me back. The second is that it would have been useful if the marshals, although very positive and friendly, also had an idea of where they were on the race course. There were no mile markers so a bit guidance from the marshals would have been a help. Unfortunately they eiether offered no assistance or inaccurate info. It was a bit annoying, considering it was such a tough challenge. Date of review: May 6, 2012
In short: Race with real charm but for £25 would have expected seeing some more frequent mile markers In full: I enjoyed this race, and it is a charity event so I know its got great intentions, but the lack of mile markers was a bit of a pain in the arse. Also, the stewards while enthusiastic and positive and friendly were a little bit useless. On the positive side it was a race with real charm and I really got the sense that the organisers were doing it with really good intentions, and thats why I prefer these lower key events to big corporate events like Run to the Beat *shudder*. Date of review: April 1, 2012