In short: I got a course record!!!!! In full: .....sadly not for the fastest running time, but for the slowest time that the course has been run in. But still chuffed that I got a record; and that I finished!!!
Great support from both locals and the marshals: especially the two sweepers on the bike who were very patient whilst having to continually stop and wait for me; the 2 marshals who filled up my bladder bag; the marshal who had brought along bananas as emergency food, as no food was supplied, and the police man who followed me on a scooter for the last 5 miles when all the other marshals were pulled from the race and was very encouraging even when I kept stopping to walk along the promenade - and all the people at the finish who encouraged me over the finishing line - including one of the finishers who came over to shake my hand - much appreciated.
I loved the relay teams starting 30 mins after the main race: it was great having all those encouraging comments as they went past, and then the hoots from their cars as after they had finished and were making their way back, were still encouraging me on. It all helped!!!!
Finally a big thank you to my husband, who despite finishing the marathon way before me, came back along the course, to encourage me along the last mile to the finish. Date of review: October 4, 2011
In short: Bit of a long drag.............. In full: I have mixed feelings about this race. Although I didn't think the hills were too bad - I found that they were too much of a drag.... which went on and on and on............ so I lost a bit of enthusiasm for the race.
Things that I liked:
1) toilets at the drinks stations. There might have been no water, but at least there was somewhere to go :-)
2) supporters in the villages who turned out to cheer and encourage all runners on - you were fantastic!
3) the fellow runners at the back. Hope that the guy I finished with who was seriously hobbling, is now ok - and that I didn't piss you off in encouraging you to the finishing line when you were in so much pain.
4) Plenty of car parking near to the start.
Things I didn't like:
1) the time pens at the start. As there weren't entrances at the side, it meant fellow runners were pushing their way through from the back to get to their time zones, so as I was towards the back, constantly being pushed about as people squeezed through.
2) Four water stations: first two had run out of water by the time got there.
3) Second time that I've been at a race where Dame Kelly has been handing out medals - but both times missed out coz of being a slow runner and she'd already gone. Guess I must try and get faster somehow.....
4) The hills weren't hills as such just long drags and no proper downhill sections to get teeth into - so did get bored.
5) No where obvious to get a hot drink afterwards (unless it was hidden away inside with the changing rooms?)
Would I do this race again. I don't know - maybe to get practice in doing long drags....... Date of review: September 25, 2011
In short: Interesting mileage! In full: I did the half. Overall I enjoyed the race, with fellow runners at the back all very friendly and encouraging. I was surprised however when my Garmin was displaying 8.5miles, to be told by a marshal at a drinks station that we were at the 9mile mark, which I thought a bit odd. Not much further on though, another marshal said we were over 9.5 miles. Thinking that maybe my Garmin had "lost" some mileage in the woods, I was relieved to know that I was nearer the end than I thought. Imagine how I felt when I saw a sign at a drinks station which said "3 miles to go" - and my watch said we were already well over 10 miles. It knocked my legs for six knowing that I had got further to go than I thought, and I consequently struggled for the next 2 miles.
I have to agree with the comment about the marshals below. Some were fantastic: encouraging and cheerful but some were obviously bored: heads engrossed in books not even bothering to look up as runners went past - the classic one was a guy who had taken his chair off the route to sit to the side and was fast asleep.... never seen that one before.
The finish was great - running (or trying to run in my case) along the road, with finishers going in the other direction cheering people on, and then onto the finishing line with loads of spectators cheering finishers on.
Special word of mention to Sportability who put on the archery - that was so much fun to watch, especially seeing my husband hitting the target! Date of review: September 18, 2011
In short: I love Eridge!!!! In full: I was the girl right at the back - I did this race last year and loved it. But this year I loved it even more. My focus was to enjoy the event. Recovering from a cold and a sore heel meant that there was no way I was going to get a decent time. And enjoy it I did. Having Mimi Anderson starting the race (who is such a fantastic and inspirational runner); the marshals were fantastic - so supportive and cheerful. Special mention to the sweeper for keeping me company and not seeming to mind that I was taking it easy: and also to hear the cheers such a long way from the finish definitely helped me over the line. Thanks for doing such a fantastic race!!! Date of review: September 11, 2011
In short: Fantastic supporters and marshals In full: Second time I've done this race. Last year I struggled in the heat, this year I was slower but loved it! Marshals were fantastic, very encouraging, especially the guy on the bike at the back. Lovely supporters, all very cheerful. Only slight let down was the finish: no commentator (gone to do the prize giving I think) and no one at the end giving out medals - a case of having to pick it up yourself: and there were still people finishing behind me (though the "medal" girl did reappear later) and no bananas left. As for goody bags - what goody bags??? Apart from that a great race!!!! Date of review: July 24, 2011
In short: Felt like I made 500 new friends on this course In full: I loved this course - in particular the out and back. The fellow runners and the marshals were fantastic - so encouraging and inspiring. It was great seeing them all several times around the course and recognising familiar faces as time went by.
The drinks stations were great - so much choice - the bananas were ace!!! And I definitely appreciated the portaloos (even though I ended up adding 0.13 miles on to the route as I ended up using the ones at the turnround point both times so had to run further down the hill to get to them).
Surprised by the number of supporters (particularly in Battle) who were very vocal and cheerful in their support - and also at the race HQ. Again appreciated.
A big thank you to everyone.
Lizzie (nick named Smiley by some fellow runners, as I couldn't stop smiling all the way round) Date of review: April 3, 2011
In short: Finish was more like an obstacle course than a finish of a race In full: I'm not sure how I feel about this race. On the positive side supporters were great - very encouraging and so many of them. Also an impressive number of St Johns Ambulance crew - who were needed looking at the number of people who collapsed on route. I have never seen so many suffering before in any other event. It was quite a shock.
Start was disorganised. Couldn't hear what the organisers were saying on the loud speakers, although I now know from my husband that they were announcing a delayed start. It would have been good if the message had reached those at the back. Timing zones only appeared about 10mins before the start, after the majority of the runners had already congregated at the start. And the spacing between times was too large for them to have really served any purpose.
What I didn't like was the finish. Having been on quiet roads, it was a shock to come out on to the main road, which was packed with pedestrians, cars, push chairs - hardly any space to run along, even runners walking back to the station failed to give us slower finishers much space (though their cheering on was much appreciated). No obvious marshalls to advise where best to run. There was only one marshall at the crossing, so causing confusion over whether it was ok to cross or not and drivers failing to stop.
I thought it would calm down when we got into the industrial estate. But no, there was more chaos: people walking/standing in the running route, cars driving out on the route in front of runners - basically an accident waiting to happen. It was chaos! Made worse by a large group of club runners congregating on the final corner and spilling out into the road leaving those still running having to weave through them, bikes and cars with little effort from marshals to keep the road clear.
It was particularly saddening knowing that it was fellow runners showing little consideration for those still finishing. Date of review: March 28, 2011
In short: Well organised with great marshalls In full: Did the Autumn Tempest but this time decided to try the Spitfire. Found it easier this time round, though was pleased to get to the finish line as it is the first time I've run 20 miles. Marshalls were great - very encouraging - ample water stations and loads of gels......... only suggestion for improvement would be to have all the portaloos in a row together so that don't have two separate queues. Worked a treat at Tunbridge Wells where the long queues soon went down.
Nicky and Alan are great event organisers - well done!!!! Will definitely do this again. Date of review: March 13, 2011
In short: Finished with a big smile on my face..... In full: ... so much so that the commentator at the finish commented on it saying it was the "best smile they had had all day" - which made my day as well.
Loved everything about this race: the numerous toilets at the start (top marks); the fantastic marshals (and so many of them as well); the numerous drinks stations (just perfect); the gel station; the supporters who were so supportive all the way round; celebrities (Dame Kelly and Liz Yelling) and last but not least the people who had finished and were walking back along the road who were so encouraging on the last mile....
I missed out on getting a medal from Dame Kelly but hopefully next year hey ;-); also as Kev says if Liz Yelling doesn't want her prize of the newton trainers, am happy to add them to my growing collection.....
In short: Enjoyable In full: This is the second time that I've done Sidcup and is one that I enjoy. I like having the laps as it means you know what is coming up and the second lap is quite entertaining as the other runners come whizzing by with words of encouragement.
The marshals are great - happy and cheerful and very encouraging - whether you are a fast or slow runner.
Good to see that they kept the water station out for the duration of the race, as last year it disappeared after the first lap. Date of review: February 13, 2011