In short: Not the easiest, but one of the friendliest! In full: A challenging course with a mix of surfaces under foot, a few ups and downs to keep you guessing, and a few twists and turns (oh, and it was bloomin' hot!). BUT! Some of the most encouraging marshals around, a lovely flat tarmac-ed km or so at the end to sharpen up your sprint finish, a brilliant atmosphere at the finish line, with plenty of spectators, and entertaining commentary including mention of many individual runners as they crossed under the gantry. Plenty of parking, great facilities, no-fuss number collection, something for the whole family (including a kids' race), and it all ran as smoothly as ever. Thumbs up! Date of review: May 19, 2014
In short: Very nice friendly event for the lasses In full: Easy to find; plenty of parking; loos inside the venue; efficient number collection; couldn't go wrong on the course as it was around a lake and led by a bike; friendly and encouraging marshals at the finish (also the half-way point for the 10k); and a chunky medal at the end. First race in a series of four so plenty of chances to give it a(nother) go! Date of review: May 9, 2014
In short: OMG, was this hilly or what!! In full: Slightly different route from the one I did a couple of years ago. Were the hills tougher or had I just blocked them from my memory?! That said, there was certainly great support from people out on the course and also spectators lining the way to the finish line within the park. Signs were clear, easy baggage storage and reclaim, and plenty of room in the lovely Cassiobury Park for warming up/stretching etc. Results were up by the end of the day. Date of review: May 6, 2014
In short: 1st class organisation; & a pretty run on a sunny evening In full: No frills, no fuss, just collect your number, run up a 2.5-mile long hill, down the other side (...with a couple more ups and downs on the way ...!), go home smug! Look up your results when they appear promptly the next day. Well done Chiltern Harriers. Date of review: May 6, 2014
In short: Tough but fun! In full: No PBs on this course, but a brilliant training run with a challenge around every corner, and a fantastic downhill sprint to the finish.
There was plenty of parking, clear signage, registration was fast and efficient, no queues for the toilets, hot drinks and food available ...and the organisers even arranged for the sun to come out just before the start of the race!
The earlier suggestion that the race should have been cancelled is completely disproportionate. 99.99% of entrants seemed to have finished it quite happily, and the overall feeling in the finish area seemed to have been triumph at having conquered the mud and hills! Only 1 runner seems to have found it a little bit too difficult for his liking ;-> Solution? Stick to road races if you don't like this sort of route!
Gets full marks from me :-) Date of review: April 28, 2014
In short: Excellent as always In full: The wind seemed a little stronger than I've experienced in previous years during this race, and for some reason I noticed the odd few "slopes" (they're not hills by any stretch of the imagination ...but they're there!) that there are on an otherwise flat course ...but the marshals were first class, the organisation faultless, the mugs a perfect memento, the t-shirts a very reasonably-priced souvenir - full marks. Date of review: April 7, 2014
In short: A distance for everyone on Mother's Day! In full: Good points:
Flat course, if a little gravelly; loads of parking right at the start, with parking charges highlighted in relation to race entry fees; well-signposted (both the venue and the course); plenty to keep spectators amused at the visitors' centre; a choice of distances (5k, 10k, HM); a VERY pretty route around the lakes and, for the HM, along a disused railway line and over the river several times; clearly-marked finish line (which could be seen from a little way off, making the sprint for the line quite tough!); attentive marshals at the 2 minor road-crossings; a good atmosphere from the crowd at the finish area.
No-so good points:
They seemed a bit overwhelmed at the number-collection, and it wasn't entirely clear which queue was for which distance, but simple signage would sort this out for next year. The outdoor loos were a bit manky and one was missing a lock!! (But there were better ones indoors!) HM route was less than 13.1 miles according to my Garmin. Big queue for refreshments after the race ...but this is hardly the fault of the organisers! It just meant that we went elsewhere for our Mother's Day get-together!
I'd read mixed reviews of other races held at this venue, so went there with an open mind, and overall came away with a positive impression. Date of review: April 1, 2014
In short: "Is no fire, is only drill"! (It's not the start of the race, just the starting gun...!) In full: I'm surprised by the negative comments about this race as I was impressed with the set-up, pre-race info on the website, on-the-day organisation, and the location ... I'd read the race blurb beforehand so knew pretty much what to expect, and, apart from the "missing" starting/timing pens (and the false start, which, for all but those at the very front, was amusing/confusing rather than anything else!), I think I found everything else to be as described, so no nasty surprises. I actually really like the medal too - on a purple ribbon with pink writing! And the goody bag was decent, especially the bluff/buff (?!) - neither the best nor the worst I've had. The course was very pretty, though there were some tight turns and challenging little hills; but again I wasn't disappointed with this as no-one had promised a flat, straight, tarmac road race in the first place! The mile-markers that I saw came in accordance with the beeps on my Garmin, so no complaints there. Yes there were queues for the loos beforehand ...as there are at most races! Baggage drop/collection seemed flawless. The chap on the PA system at the start seemed to have been involved in the race on a very personal level and sounded pleased to see such a good turn-out. Good catering facilities for runners and supporters, right at race HQ. Marshals on the course were friendly and encouraging ...and the pre-race info had made it clear that they cannot actually stop traffic for runners. Chip time and position were available instantly by tapping your number into a computer. Plenty of water and bananas (both chunks and whole!) available at the end. Shame about the pavilion not being open but perhaps this wouldn't have been the case in more severe weather. A good effort for the first year of this race! Date of review: December 16, 2013
In short: If *only* it were *only* 13.1m... In full: ...then it'd be perfect! All the ingredients are there - flat course, room for spectators, the venue feels like something from a 1970s Burt Reynolds movie!, unique medal, a distance for everyone, helpful organisers & marshals, loads of on-site parking, plenty of loos - the only thing left is that the distance has to be right! I've no complaints about this year's - I'd read comments from previous years' events so wasn't surprised to find myself running further than I might have liked! - but it does seem to be a common theme, and the organisers do appear to be interested in what participants have to say, so my guess is that this race will only improve :-) If so, their marathon in the spring will be a damn good PB target! Date of review: December 3, 2013
In short: Consistently good :-) In full: Friendly, efficient, flat, track finish, nice prize (drawstring bag), good value, fruit available afterwards, good facilities, great marshals (including some Gamesmakers proudly displaying their kit - always nice to see), amusing chap doing the prize-giving! Keep up the good work! Date of review: December 2, 2013