In short: Brilliant organisation and great goody bag, but you have to earn it In full: That hill in the 2nd k is tough, and it hits you before you're really warmed up so it's hard work. From then on there are constant minor undulations to keep you on your toes, before an even steeper downhill - I'm glad they don't run it in reverse! Ninth k through the trees was very slippery & needed a bit of care (one of the leaders came a cropper), but there is really nothing to criticise even constructively at this event - it all went very well. And the goody bag for the money is excellent - technical t-shirt, nice medal, food, drink & various assorted goodies, so thank you to the generous sponsors.
Would I do it again? Yes, but I'd do some extra hill training first! Date of review: July 17, 2011
In short: As good as ever In full: My 5th time I think running this one, and it was just as good as it ever was. My only minor gripe would be the incorrectly placed 4k marker - I'll bet the instructions said to put it on the junction, and they did, but one junction too early! Apart from that everything went really smoothly. Pity about the heat and the wind that I think was even stronger than last year, as on the right day this course definitely has potential to be a fast one. Thank you Reading Road Runners - see you next year. Date of review: May 2, 2011
In short: As good as always In full: 4th time doing the 20 for me, and another excellently organised event. The course is fine - what hills there are are easily manageable with minimal pace drop, and there's a nice downhill finish. You just have to remember to be careful not tag on to someone doing the 10 miles as opposed to the 20 and end up going too fast on the first lap and then blowing up on the second. Thank you Reading Road Runners - see you next year :) Date of review: February 20, 2011
In short: Great organisation In full: Simple race, excellently organised - top marks. Course isn't the easiest with some interesting undulations, but good times are possible if you don't mind running in the heat. Date of review: June 13, 2010
In short: As good as ever In full: Another great running of this race - the organisation was excellent, as was the goody bag, and the nice wicking shirt will be burning retinas for years to come :)
A couple of minor points - the start could do with being extended to double the length to allow people to easily slot in at the right place - this may reduce the number of slower runners right at the front which would make a big difference given the narrow path through the park. And was the drink station in a different place this year? Maybe it's just because I've got faster, but it was difficult to get to this year without a substantial slow down and stepping right off the line, and I don't remember that in previous years.
Those are just very minor points though, and did not detract from the quality of this event - well done Handy Cross Runners. Date of review: May 9, 2010
In short: A straight forward well organised race In full: Changed course, and changed for the better I think. Not flat, but the steepest bits are all downhill and the climbs are steady. Tough into the wind today towards the end, but a nice course and plenty of enthusiastic marshals. Good for the family as well with the village fair at the finish as that makes for plenty of spectators at the end. Well done to Reading Roadrunners for another well organised event. Date of review: May 3, 2010
In short: Very good for a first attempt In full: For a first running this was a very well organised race. The park & ride from Sussex Uni worked well, and Preston Park was an excellent start venue. The course itself was fine and presented no major surprises, although from 6 to 10 seemed to to be basically one long climb, which was unexpected. It wasn't steep though so it wasn't too bad. The section out into the industrial area from 18 to 23 was tough, especially as it was really warming up at that point and the high walls stopped what breeze there was, but who said marathons are easy. The sections through the town with the crowds however were excellent - thank you to all the cheering spectators. The finish was well organised, although that recorded announcement I would imagine drove the volunteers loopy by the end. Would have liked a bit more food than just a banana, but I'd brought my own so not a big deal.
A couple of things that need looking at: 1. Not enough toilets at the start - thank goodness for the bushes. 2. 11th mile marker was a quarter of a mile early. 3. Why did the last Poweraid station remove the caps completely, unlike all the others? It's very difficult to drink from a wide mouth bottle on the go, especially when you're knackered! I had a Poweraid bath! 4. You should consider an additional earlier Poweraid station. 5. No signs for the park & ride at the finish, and nothing in the runner's information book to say where the buses left from, so the early finishers didn't know where to go. Fortunately I spotted the first bus as it arrived, but not before I'd climbed the stairs to the prom and walked up and down looking for signs.
Biggest issue at the moment for me however is that my official time is over 2 minutes faster than I recorded myself. Fortunately I was comfortably inside my GFA time, but there could be people who've been sent a text saying they achieved it when actually they just missed it. I expect the times will be corrected - hope too many people aren't disappointed.
All-in-all though, an excellent effort, and a big pat on the back to the organisers. Date of review: April 18, 2010
In short: As good as ever In full: Excellent race - easy to park, easy to leave, reasonably flat course, good marshals and excellent organisation (although frying bacon before the start is just cruel!). And if they can persuade the local council to re-lay the footpath between 8 & 9 miles so it isn't single file and rather rough it would be perfect. Date of review: April 3, 2010
In short: So much better than it used to be! In full: Hadn't done this one since 2006, and it's much improved since then. Everything is well laid out and the organisation was excellent with one exception - baggage collection in the 6000 - 10000 tent was chaotic because it didn't appear the bags had been laid out in proper order, and so people were having to resort to shouting and pointing to get their bags found. I finished in 1:25 and there was already a queue 5 deep - by the time I got my bag it was at least 20 deep and increasing rapidly. Apart from that though it was a great race - a bit crowded for the first mile or so with too many people who had lined up too far forward despite the penning and signage, but you get used to that, and once the crowds spread out a little it was spot on. One minor suggestion - one of the drink stations had water immediately followed by Lucozade. A lot of people grabbed a water then immediately threw it away when they saw the Lucozade, some without even drinking from the water - put them a little further apart. And if possible water bottles with the sports cap would also be nice, but a very minor thing. The shuttle buses to the station worked perfectly, I really enjoyed watching the kids race finish in the stadium, and the stadium finish of the main race itself is almost reason enough to do this race. Well done the organisers, you did a good job :) Date of review: March 21, 2010
In short: A good race that could be great In full: Great course, enthusiastic marshals, but let down by 2 issues this year. First the bag drop - it's always a fairly safe bet that in February people are going to wait to the last minute to put bags in, especially if it's raining, and one line is just too slow. You had a big tent - take the side off completely, put clear number range labels up along the whole side and put in as many helpers as you can. Secondly the start - if ever a race was crying out for start to finish chip timing as opposed to gun to finish then this is it. You know that access to the start is very tight, and that as the start time approaches people joining from the front simply can't get any further back, but this year the time boards were almost invisible, and I didn't hear anyone encouraging people to line up in the correct position. The end result was a lot of people at the front who shouldn't have been there. Not only does this block the faster runners, but it also increases the time it takes for the runners to clear the start, thereby delaying those at the back even further. I know it costs more to get individual start to finish chip timing, especially as the start and finish are not in the same place, but this is a great race and I believe people will be happy to pay the extra for an accurate time.
See you next year :) Date of review: February 21, 2010