In short: Tough - but fun! In full: I ran the Ashridge Half 3 weeks before the Badger Half and would say that they are very similar in terms of terrain, hills, and scenery. I’m hoping that even next week’s Wycombe Half, with its one notorious hill, will feel easy compared to these two!!
Badger HQ (Denbies Wine Estate) was easy to find from the A24 and well-equipped in terms of parking. On-the-day entry was available (for £25) and smoothly handled. There were minimal queues for toilets. The route itself starts with a lap of the Estate - running on grass or earth, and I thought (hoped!) that THAT might be the tough bit of the course!! A brief respite with a mile or 2 on flat pavements, then we started to climb uphill on a wide road with faster runners visible as tiny dots way above us in the distance! Varied terrain included plenty of tree roots waiting to trip you up if you didn't keep an eye out for them. We had a bit of everything with the weather – hot sun, bit of a breeze, even a shower of rain, but the woods provided shelter and cover. Directions were clear (yellow signs and orange arrows on the ground), though the mile-markers seemed a little erratically-spaced to me; starting out by being more than a mile each time and getting closer together towards the end of the race. The marshals on the course were incredibly vocal and encouraging, and realistic rather than optimistic about the challenges that we had still to face! The undulations didn't really let up until about 11.5 (?) miles in, at which point I realised that we were basically heading for home. The last mile or so can be covered fairly quickly if you've any energy left! The finish-area crew were *all* very congratulatory to *every* runner coming through the finish funnel, which I've not come across before to that extent! They made it sound as if they were pleased that every single runner had finished their race, and they really were keen to know that everyone had enjoyed themselves.
Slices of melon, pineapple and orange were very welcome at the finish, as a change to the usual bananas or Mars bars; and a lovely "Badger" t-shirt to wear at the next race! It is easy to see why this race has the excellent reputation it has. Date of review: July 14, 2014
In short: Excellent race! In full: I'm sure they've actually cut out some of the worst hills from previous years' Bushey races! I enjoyed the course probably more than I expected to. At around half-way, when you really start to need a bit of a boost, the marshals around King George Recreation Ground were fantastic and provided the encouragement I needed for the next 5k! The goody bag was a nice cotton bag with a medal, banana, water, pen, so good value. Race results available immediately by computer so you knew your chip time and positions right away. At race HQ, number collection and bag drop were very well-organised, and again the marshals there were cheery and helpful. Full marks :-) Date of review: July 8, 2014
In short: A 140-mile round trip to get there and back... In full: ... a lovely day out and easily lived up to and exceeded expectations. Excellent facilities, brilliant HQ, very encouraging marshals ... and a nice unique memento (shot glass). Date of review: June 29, 2014
In short: A very nice race, away from traffic (but not "off-road"!) In full: As it was traffic-free and parts of the route were canalside, I was expecting a tougher cross country/multi terrain race, but actually a lot of it is on paths and proper hard tracks, hence the PB potential being relatively high. The cattle creep itself (a tunnel under the canal, used for ...cattle!) wasn't the hold-up I'd expected, either, as it comes late in the race when runners are already spread out. Race HQ was well-equipped, atmosphere and marshals were excellent, and it all seemed to run very smoothly. Results were up promptly the next day. Good stuff. Date of review: June 27, 2014
In short: Stunning views - well worth the climb! In full: Not an easy race (hills, dodgy underfoot, narrow paths, gravelly climbs) but one to take slowly (for me!) in order to enjoy the run and the views, which were amazing on this clear sunny day.
Needs more toilets before the start but which race doesn't?!
Bit of conflicting info about the possibility of runners starting in waves, but organisers very friendly and helpful in giving out info on the day.
Marshals encouraging and clear, including the lady on the loudspeaker at the finish line!
Very nice medal and t-shirt, so good value. Date of review: June 23, 2014
In short: One added direction arrow would have made my race :-) In full: Having never visited this park before I also managed to go wrong near the end of the lap (as a previous reviewer did), where there are several paths in different directions, and lost one place in doing so; but, having said that, I have to give full credit to the race organisers and supporters who turned out in rather cold and wet weather to enable a small race such as this to go ahead. A good-size park with plenty of parking, but no toilets open at the start. Excellent value though ... maybe just charge each runners £1 more and invest in another arrow sign! :-) Date of review: May 27, 2014
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