In short: Tough but ultimately rewarding trail race In full: A real tough challenge. Hillier and harder than I thought it would be with multiple-terrain surfaces mixing it up just for good measure. Got off to a poor start with a bone-chilling 1.5ml walk to the start just above freezing with a polar bear wind blasting in off the water! Glorious scenery around Rutland on a gorgeous autumnal day. But some of the stretches of the race were always going to be lonely because you're so isolated out in the countryside. Top T-shirt and medal, the marshals and army cadets out on route were supportive and cheerful... All in all a very special race. Date of review: November 8, 2010
In short: Hot and sunny, well organised, but not a stand-out race In full: Having trained through the coldest winter for 30 years I wasn't too happy when the sun came out and it started to warm up! The atmosphere was best at the start in Stratford town centre. But it took at least three miles to unwind with thousands of half-marathon and slower runners all over the course. Marathon competitors should have been offered isotonic drinks well before 19mls. I'd already hit the wall in the heat and was struggling and saw a lot of other runners battling dehydration as it warmed up. First-aid back-up was good and friendly but the 'goodie bag' consisted of a banana and bottle of water. And we had to buy T-shirts as well as fork out Â£6 for parking as mean old Stratford Council refused to waive charges!! Thanks again to marshals, supporters and hosepipe-locals who got behind us when it got tough and helped drive us to the finish. Date of review: April 26, 2010
In short: Top race In full: Excellent all-round event. Professional organisation, very friendly marshalls, good support and first-class goodie bag. Testing course through rolling Leicestershire countryside and an ideal warm-up race for marathons such as the Shakespeare and London at the back end of April. 10 out of 10 to everyone involved. Date of review: March 22, 2010
In short: Hard as nails - but an absolute classic In full: Easily the toughest race I've ever done - twice as hard as Snowdonia last year! We chopped through teeming rain, huge winds on the top, swirling mist and low clouds. The rain made the trail treacherous with wet rock, slippery grass and thick mud at times.. We must have battled up and down more hills than the Himalayas and the 7 Sisters in the last few miles were the final hammer blow as aching calves and thighs started to give up!! But the atmosphere was brilliant, the camaraderie amazing and the lone piper inspirational. I teamed up with Emma from Sheffield and local lad Simon and together we urged each other on for mile after gruelling mile. They were brilliant and helped to make the whole day truly special. Slipping and sliding down the suicidally steep hill to the finish was arguably the highlight of my entire running career - magical and emotional. Date of review: October 25, 2009
In short: A good flat fast race In full: Ran it with my daughter, Hollie, and we both enjoyed it. Hot and sunny but a fine flat, quick course. Well organised, very friendly, easy to get to - and well signed... I've lost count of the times I've got lost en route to a race... Not this time!! Well done guys, a top, top effort..
In short: Beast of a course on a killer day! In full: Salute every single runner who ran the Snowdonia on an awesome day lashed by storms. We had to battle through gale-force winds, torrential rain, hailstones and freeing temperatures. Everyone who lined up at the start deserved a medal, never mind the finishers! The wind was so fierce on the top at about 23mls that I got blown off my feet and smashed my head off a rock. I was stunned but I staggered to me feet, dusted myself down and ran on covered in Snowdon mud. 10 out of 10 to the stewards, drinks guys and supporters who lined the streets - and even the hills - to come out, get soaked and roar us on - heroes all. The ladies at the end handing out endless cups of tea and coffee were brilliant. But the organisation could have been a whole lot better. It took me ages to reclaim my bag and no-one knew where the showers were. I asked stewards, worn-out, bedraggled runners and 1st aid people - no-one knew. So I had to make a 4hr drive home dirty and wet. Not the best end to a fantastic, unforgettable day running among some of the best, most haunting scenery anywhere in the world. Runners unite - we should all give ourselves a massive pat on the back today. And a special thank-you to Jess from Chester who helped me up the murderous climb at 21-22 and on to the finish - cheers mate!!
In short: Good sharp course, damned hot for October! In full: Good flat course, raucous local support, very hot for late October! Real scramble to get parked up before the start but a good atmosphere in the Cathedral Square before the gun went. Date of review: October 12, 2008
In short: Awesome hard as nails race - pure agony and fantastic fun! In full: This race should be called the Madsummer Munro! It's easily the toughest, most demanding race I've ever done - and I've ran four marathons. The Midsummer is awesome, 100% adrenaline-fuelled madness, from start to finish. Dr Rob must be a legend and it was amazing to sing Happy Birthday to his mum Valerie and the National Anthem before chugging off uphill to a Scottish piper decked out in full Tartan regalia. Steady rain made the descents treacherous and dangerous as runners hurtled downhill and as for the steps and steep climbs - mountain goats would have waved the white flag and turned back!! I've ran up and down hills for the last 3 months - but the final set of spiralling steps at 12mls were total torture. The atmosphere was brilliant, the camaraderie among runners amazing, the totally supportive marshals and volunteers were solid gold and Dr Rob a hero. The Midsummer is the hardest run you'll ever do but it was also fantastic fun, a turbo-charged, lung-busting challenge through beautiful countryside which will stay with you the rest of your life. This is where you find out what you're made of - and if you can look the Midsummer in the eye and beat it you'll conquer any other race in the world!
In short: Good hard course, horrible weather! In full: Great to finish the running year on a real high. This would be a fantastic race on a scenic challenging course in early spring or late autumn. Runners, marshals and spectators had to battle a Siberian rainstorm and freezing winds on a December day from hell! Traffic also got too close at times, especially on the headlong downhill stretch in the last few miles. Most drivers were OK but some just couldn't wait to get to the shops... All in all well done to everyone at Bedford Harriers for a well-organised, very enjoyable day - and bthe Xmas carols at the start were a lovely touch. Date of review: December 10, 2007
In short: A fantastic race - all true runners will love it! In full: A brilliant day. I've ran London 3 times - and that's good. But Abingdon was extra-special. Everybody from the marshals and organisers to the runners and spectators were friendly and chatty from the start. The stadium start and finish was stunning, the course is spot on and the cuppa at the end was the best I've ever tasted!! I also want to pay tribute to a fella on a bike. He kept popping up over the last few miles to roar encouragement at us and exhort us on. "You're looking great", "You're running strong" and "This is why you've put in all those training miles" he'd shout. I've no idea who he is but he deserves his own special medal because he was a massive inspiration to every man jack of us. Cheers!