In short: Demanding, character building challenge In full: First time at the Sleepwalker and the first night race I've ever competed in. The sense of it being an adventure race with checkpoint and military style organisation added to the atmosphere, which I found inclusive and informative. Pre race briefing described the route [and last minute change to use the Beacons Way rather than Taff Trail for the second climb] and advised of terrain and weather conditions to expect [although they're always going to be changeable].
Enough red/white tape on entrances to trails and key points although you do have to keep a lookout as they're easy to miss if you're not concentrating. Not too much to spoil the adventure category and the 'pick your own trail on the way back but stay east of the reservoir' added to that IMHO.
Weather could have been a lot worse; didn't feel that windy on top and it was a fairly mild evening. Trail conditions were extremely testing in most parts, the second climb up the fireroad and short(ish) road sections being the only exceptions.
A really good cross country trail race with the added difficulty of night and limited visibility.
I certainly hope to be back next year! Date of review: November 27, 2011
In short: Fantastic cross country race with superb scenery and views In full: Did this race first in 2009 and loved it but couldn't make 2010 as it clashed with Clarendon Marathon. Back this year and it didn't disappoint. Faultless organisation, excellent signage and marshalling. Only very small sections of tarmac during road crossings so definitely one for those who like cross country. Lots of sand, starting and ending on the beach although the toughest section of deep, soft, sandy bridleway comes between 8 and 9.5km. Superb scenery, helped even more but a beautiful sunny day, not reminiscent of mid-October! Will be back next year. Date of review: October 17, 2011
In short: Over 900ft of ascent but it never feels that bad after the 2 mile downhill to the finish In full: Local race for me, so one I've done for the past couple of years. Horrendous rain this year but still enjoyed it. Scenic drive is a lovely place to run. Superb organisation. Well done Islwyn! Date of review: July 7, 2011
In short: Tough, tough and, erm, tough. In full: The usual serving of tough hills, technically challenging descents and warm weather from the 'Orra. Excellent marshalling and a great race from Chepstow Harriers... keep it going guys, it's one not to miss as far as I am concerned.
Heat this year made the four or so miles along the Wye really tough... was glad to get back in the forestry for, er, another hill. While I'm on it, why does the final hill barely register on the profile, it always feels the worst of the lot :)
Lost a contact lens on the way down Lemmings Leap this year, lack of depth perception and confused vision made it a little dodgy from then on.
Still had a brilliant time though :) Date of review: April 19, 2011
In short: The 'Dozen doesn't disappoint... hard hills, muddy and very well marshalled In full: Enjoyed this one so much in 2010 I had to come back this year... and will again next year fitness notwithstanding.
Harder conditions this year, far muddier than 2010 and the weather wasn't crisp and sunny but at least the rain abated for the race :)
Marshals did an excellent job, wish more people would give them an cheery hello on the way round; I tried to where my breath would let me.
Had a nice race with a young lady who pushed me all the way from about mile 6 onwards... she was quicker than me on the flat but I had the edge on the hills. Not much in it though. Friendly competitive spirit is quite often missing, but not here and maybe that's why I prefer cross country races.
Shame there was no T-Shirt this year, I think they can be worn with pride after such a tough race! Wouldn't have minded if the entry fee was upped to cover it, it's a bargain at a tenner!
Well done and keep up the good work in Dursley. Date of review: February 18, 2011
In short: Brilliant! Superbly enjoyable race as usual In full: Shame it was postponed due to the unpredictable weather which made the Xmas fancy dress and the Pogues 'fairytale in new york' a bit surreal in January :)
Great race and one I wouldn't miss. Thanks Brackla keep up the good work!!! Date of review: January 23, 2011
In short: Local race that is pure PB territory. In full: Always look to enter as it's so local for me...
Route change this year - for the better IMO - the run through Penarth Marina and right across the barrage is much better than the previous out and back. Shame they couldn't get the minor distance problem sorted! What they definitely need to do though is be a bit more imaginative with the final mile or so to avoid the awful up and down the same street section that they also had last year. Aaaaargh! Soul destroying!!!
Cost is a bit pricey too. I'm not one for mementos per-se, but the promise of a commemorative towel was stretching the bounds of reality. Flannel, yes. Towel, er, no.
Despite the hiccups and cost though, I'll most definitely be back next year. Date of review: October 19, 2010
In short: Off road extravaganza In full: This was my first marathon; it seemed a sensible choice given how much I enjoyed the half marathon in 2009. And it didn't let me down. "Superb", "Excellent". Superlatives can't do it justice.
Weather was a bit different this year, very muddy, slippery and wet. I hope the trails recover from the sodden footfalls of the participants quickly!
Great marshalling, signage and organisation.
I'll be back next year whatever the weather :) Date of review: October 6, 2010
In short: Wonderful weather, challenging climb and hell for leather descent In full: Brilliant fell race; this year the weather was warm and sunny. Despite recent rains the underfoot conditions were pretty much perfect, as was the organisation and excellent marshalling. One tough climb over the first 3.7 miles or so but a fantastic descent to the end! Date of review: August 30, 2010
In short: Awesome fell run using one of the steepest routes up Mynydd Machen. In full: My local mountain - I live on the other side in the Sirhowy Valley - and one I run and ride on very frequently, but that doesn't stop me relishing this run. The climb up is steep but not treacherous with a couple of stiles... once you crest what you think is a hard climb wait for the last third of a mile :)
Once past the trig point it's all downhill through the pine forestry, affectionately known as the 'Shag Pile Run' due to the liberal coating of pine needles on the forest floor. Dodgy in the wet and difficult to put the brakes on without suitable off road shoes - I was all over the place in 2009 and lost loads of time and places on the descent :( Back in 2010 with some Inov 8 fell shoes so hoping for a better run down :)
A top run, well organised with a local friendly atmosphere and definitely - definitely - worth doing. You won't regret it. Date of review: July 24, 2010