In short: Has it been raining?! In full: This has always been a great little event. Hills, tracks, fields, stone, styals, electric fences, scenery, cakes all make the 21 miles very varied and challenging. This year, the preceding rain (which didn't fall at all during the race) and wind made for some testing areas. Flooded fields, deep slippery mud for some 'ice skating', stone paths turned into rivers with mystery depth puddle. All great fun. I wonder how some of the runners coped who at the start brought the narrow track to a standstill as they attempted to dodge some little muddy area! Had expected this one to get cancelled but happily it wasn't. Very good event. Date of review: February 13, 2014
In short: Continues to be brilliantly organised and a fantastic tough course! In full: Try this one if you love big steep hills, mud, more mud, steeper hills and cake! The fun was further added to this year with the road we started on actually being more like a river. Always good to have ice cold feet from the first mile! This is a great event in a great location. Date of review: January 13, 2014
In short: Does what it says on the tin. Great fun In full: Well organised event based on a farm. Parked just fine. Decent race HQ and registration. Briefing excellent. The course is a mix of country road and trails. The first couple of miles on the road were treacherous in places due to the frost leaving us skating at times. It was a pleasure to hit the mud by the Roman ruins. It was quite heaving going in places with a few hills to test muscles but nothing too tough. Friendly atmosphere. Perfect way to shake off some of the Xmas excess. Mince pies and mulled wine at end nice touch. Decent medal with personal race time plate being posted afterwards is good too. Date of review: January 3, 2014
In short: Breathtaking views, destroying hills In full: I knew this would be a killer when I saw it started at the Lulworth Cove car park and headed straight up the hill path to Durdle Door; that was always a toughie to walk up. Turns out that was was one of the mildest hills. This may be the most extreme hill run I have done (comparable to CTS Exmoor anyway). The hills are huge, steep and potentially slippery - we were lucky it stayed clear and dry most of the time. Some coastal path stone steps to hurt the knees and a styal right near the end to bring on the cramp. Many of the hills you can't run up or down. Many go on for ever. In true Endurance Life style, the half marathon was a painful 16m but this was well advertised.
But the views! Stunning coastal views: Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Tyneham village on the ranges, views of Weymouth and Portland.
Endurance Life have got this well worked out now. Great event, well organised but comes at a price. Date of review: January 3, 2014
In short: Excellent course and organisation. Some tough hills. In full: The sun was out at last! Big bonus for this excellent event. Praise for the race HQ, parking, organisation, marshals and the excellent testing and varied course. Open fields, woods, steep hills, gradual hills, track, tarmac, dirt. Over 2000 feet of climb on the 20m lap. I found it all pretty hard work this time around - so tough, I quit after lap 1! Can't fault any aspect of this one. Great value considering the t-shirt inclusion as well. Date of review: April 8, 2013
In short: Brilliant 20 miler. Excellent in all ways In full: Parking, simple. Number and chip collection, doddle. Zero congestion in 3 miles due to width of runway. Varied 10 mile circuit x2. Second lap always good as you know the course well. A few decent hills to test. This is a very fast course. Excellent marathon training. All good. Nothing to moan about. Good value, well organise, great course. Fantastic 20miler. Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Consistently good. At last actually a half marathon, not 14m! In full: This one is always well worth the trip. Sandy Balls caravan park is a great HQ. Plenty of parking. Showers and toilets in abundance. Plenty of indoor space to stay warm pre-race. Restaurants and take away for afterwards. Even free use of swimming pool. The organisers do this all very well. I see some complaints about where the start was. The race briefing was very clear to follow the marshals down to the start line. However, inside it was very difficult to hear the briefing (PA system next time). I also missed the start as thought the briefing would be outside (has been sometimes in the past) but probably my fault for not reading pre-race docs properly. Aside from that, this was excellent as ever. The course is fantastic with a few hills to test but the tracks make it decent under foot whatever the weather. With the marathon and 10k running the same T-shape out-and-back there were plenty of people to smile at and cheer on. Fast last mile home. Very friendly. Good marshaling. Unsure how anyone could get lost on this one - marshals at every turning point plus decent signage. Once again another success - always good when there is a bar next to the finish line! Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Great tough course. Excellent organisation at a price. In full: The CTS has been excellent for many years. Expertly organised (now very polished). I hadn't run South Devon and it was worth the new experience. Fewer runners than some other CTS which made the start easy and not too congested. The coast path was hard muddy rocky work as you would expect. Great views. A tough steep hill inland where the course diverted due to a recent landslide. I had been planning the marathon but downgraded. Damn grateful I did as 14m was enough (marathon was 29m). Tough muddy running but lots of fun. My only gripe is the cost of these events (but nobody is forcing me). Also, I had two runners new to CTS with me - both were surprised about "dibbing in" race timers. Seemed antiquated back in 2008 - now seem medieval. I will be back for more of these as they're some of the toughest coastal trail runs around. (PS DO NOT MISS THE FISH RESTAURANT (AKA SHACK) ON THE FRONT AT BEESANDS AFTER THE RACE. EXCELLENT FISH AND CHIPS BUT EVEN BETTER FRESH FISH. Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Superb, excellent like normal - but not rain at all!!! In full: The second time I have run this and I think it is great. What made it superb this year was the weather. Zero rain and clear sunny skies at times. Unheard of. It also made it much faster on the downhill stretches.
In terms if the course, you have 3 big hills to worry about. The rest is downhill or bumping along the flat. Big Hill 1 is fine as it's right near the start and the huge downhill stretch after it makes for some seriously fast running. Hill 2 just after the halfway point - 2 miles of solid climb takes the puff out of you. Hill 3 at 22 is the monster but the views at the top were magnificent. The steep downhill fast finish leads to cramp and a lot of hobbling. It was even faster this year with no mud and no risk of aquaplaning! Couldn't recommend this more.
Don't be too scared of it. I held back two years ago and didn't need to. This year I took 38 mins off my time. Date of review: October 31, 2012
In short: Year 2 and it got better In full: So after last year's unseasonal heatwave which made this race pretty tough we got the usual cool damp and foggy for 2012 event. Organisation great. Chip collection fine (although I never see point in posting number if you still need to collect chip). Giving out t-shirts before race can also be a pain if you don't want to bag-drop. Loads of toilets.
This race is an unusual road half marathon. Firstly it is almost entirely run on small rural single track roads through Hampshire farmland. Secondly, it is pretty hilly. In fact, most of the first 4 miles is on an incline. The first big hill really is quite a touch climb but is followed with loads of downhill. A few more smaller climbs but it is deceptive and the last 3 miles downhill make this a pretty fast course, definitely some PB potential here.
Support from the marshals was excellent as was the turnout in the small villages around the course. Little disappointing that the crowds in the Memorial Park for the finish were much thinner than at the inaugural event. I would also still prefer that strange sharp turn onto the (long) wet grass finish straight to get changed.
Water stations were much better located this year and more frequent.
For some reason the race number was huge and also made of a very odd thick paper. As such I folded it down to wear for comfort. Just when I got over the line, I really didn't appreciate some old guy telling me that if I did the same next year, I would be disqualified. There is a time and a place and I don't need that immediately after 90+ minutes running and before I even get my medal.
One other point, I did feel sorry for the Kenyans at the start line. They were late and were trying to climb over the fence at The Lamb in Hackwood Road to get to the front. This big bloke came around shouting at them (bar staff or landlord I guess) as he didn't want a damaged fence. He then got pretty nasty and I thought he was going to attack a chap that was with them. Not very nice at all and many runners commented on how they'd avoid that pub!
This is a really good event for Basingstoke and the course is excellent. Hope is stays now. Date of review: October 8, 2012