In short: Fab atmosphere, very friendly staff, hard course, well run event (medal too) In full: Did not know what to expect so was chuffed to find a field full of entertainment (bouncy castle / music / food / ice cream van) and warm up "baby"!! you had to be there! Very funny pre race warm up. Loads of kids events too. The staff were full of support and encouragement. It was a hot morning, and I'd just come off a 10 hour night shift so I was feeling a bit jaded. Even so, the SES Runners made their appearance (4 of us). The course was a good mix of fields and woods and a little road work, with some tough hills - if you go down 'em, you is gunna have to go up 'em). Bit of a bottleneck at the gate to get out of the field, and due to the narrow nature of the footpaths, passing was a problem. The styles and gates made for some interesting footwork.
Found that I was getting embarrassed when crossing the roads as there appeared to be some long vehicle queues and I did shout out my thanks to drivers but inevitably there were some grumpy souls. The marshals did well and were full of support and encouragement. High Elms proved leg sapping but the water stations were placed well. This course doesn't lend itself to PB potential but sure makes you work for your medal.
I appreciate that for a £10, getting a medal and your number sent to your address is good value, but perhaps some fruit at the end (from a local greengrocer (free advertising) could be a good idea)). All in all an event I would do again. I would not do a night shift before, I would bring the family - get the kids doing their races, do mine and then have a picnic after.
Thanks to all the Orpington Runners and helpers. Date of review: July 4, 2011
In short: Well organised, friendly, PB potential, happy organisers. In full: In my quest for MORE medals than my friends, I did the trick of keeping my intentions quiet and applying on the day. My 12 yr old son, inspired by an 8 yr old at the Harvel 5, said he wanted to do one - so we picked this one (we brought his mate too). Staff were happy if I stayed with them. Late entry no problem. Weather cool, wet. Planning was very good (despite the old guy doing the start failing to work the megaphone). Route was very pleasant - round the park, through the woods (twice). Not too challenging for me. Marshals were very encouraging (especially the female marshall in the woods towards my son - I think it must have been because of his blonde curly locks that caught her eye!!). I stayed at the boys pace and gave them tips all the way. They didn't stop and came in at a bril time of 44 minutes - one of the boys getting a spot prize too. Bedraggled but chuffed with their medals, I think my son might have caught the running bug! Thanks to the organisers and marshals and spectators on what would have been a wet cold morning for them. Date of review: June 14, 2011
In short: Well organised - Great crowd - NICE medal - My must do 10k In full: 2nd year for me - got a PB, so well happy. The weather was just perfect. Have to say, the site lends itself to great organising - parking, toilets, stalls, warm up, space for all at the start, road closures, chip removal, medal and goodie bag pick up and exit from site. Smooth operation. The route itself is all road with some leg draining hills and it makes you work. The crowds were so supportive and the music / drinks stations were very welcome. Even the coppers on road duty were full of cheer. I will agree that 4 - 5k seemed everso long and I missed the 9k marker altogether. Despite this I had enough in the tank to come in just over 46mins. The T-shirt and medal were good quality. Goodie bag seemed to have more flyers and less goodies than last year but I'm not too bothered as it's such a great event. I will be back next year. Date of review: June 5, 2011
In short: Such a great, friendly and well organised event. DO IT! In full: Heard about this event last year and decided to do it this year so as to get a "sneeky" medal to wind up my fellow SES runners. Oh how happy was I. This event ticked all the boxes. It was planned like a village fete, and I felt as if I belonged. There was everything for all the family - pub, cakes, stalls, entertainment - it was if the weather was booked specially too. Late entry wasn't a problem. Mens toilets were hillarious (target practice!) Route was a good mixture of road and trail through woods. Not too challenging but the heat added its own stress. What blew me away was that I caught up - yep "caught up" with an 8 yr old boy at the 2 mile mark who was trotting along as if this truly was a walk in the park. He said that he normally did 10 mile events so this one was "easy"! OMG - that kid is gunna be a star. However, having made sure I was ahead of him (for my prides' sake at least), I was well chuffed with the medal. The support was fantastic. Water + jelly babys too. I used this event also to as Bluewater 10k prep. I would say that this event was the best "village" race I have ever been to. Next year I will make a whole day of it - family, picnic, beer - the lot.. Date of review: June 5, 2011
In short: Grabs you by the goolies and throws you around..Great fun - challenge. In full: 2nd year for me. Brutal last year (hot - baked course) - warm and dusty this year. Tough course but made all the harder by the twice round the motocross race track. Hideous and wicked sharp inclines - leg sapping dusty track. Under the hour 10k earns you well deserved respect from the crowd. Love it - doing it every year - wish they'd give us a medal, but the T-shirt and goodie bag were gracefully received..Organisers great, marshals were full of support. Thanks guys. Date of review: May 15, 2011
In short: Views and challenging little hills - cheeky In full: Saw the medal that they gave out for previous races and thought "I want one of them there preeetty medals". Came off nights, one hour rest and was picked up by my mates for the 8:30 start. Weather was GREAT. Parking good, short walk to start. Had a lovely "village" atmosphere. Chip timing so no worries about trying to get over the line. Fast start on the road. Surprised a few car drivers with hundreds of brightly clad runners passing them! Fantastic marshals and directions were clear. Nice touch was white spray painting protruding tree roots and the bigger rocks. Saw many people I knew (took the mick out of the copper doing traffic duty !)Cheeky little hills, beautiful views - smell of the river - ahhh! That "testing" hill that don't end where you think it would at 6k was a pulse lifter. Good fast finish with the downhill. Lots of support. Larger water station at the end with some fruit would have tipped the top of an already great event. AND THE MEDAL ! So preeetty! Thanks Swanley - Did it in 47.22 - got to bet eventually at 11:45. SLEEP. Date of review: April 10, 2011
In short: Signed up last minute and LOVED IT.....back for another gong next year. In full: Can't fault this at all. Parking was ample, venue had all the facilities you could ask for. Registration on the day was fast. Baggage very well organised, route is tough (basically its along the Dartford Half route). The GONG is lovely and the long sleeve shirt quality. Plenty of water on route, drinks and fruit at the end. So worth the money. The marshals were the best I have encountered. They were so full of enthusiasm and encouragement that it really lifted your spirits. Members of public out of their houses clapping, the cops out stopping traffic. It all felt like a family event. Thanks to the organisers. As Arnie says, "I'll be back". Date of review: April 3, 2011
In short: Mind blowing. Hard as nails. Could break you - but what an achievement. In full: People - prepare to be swept off your feet. Where I have put "elitey" I don't mean to say that it was not welcomming, in fact quite the opposite - the organiser, marshals and other competators were the best I have ever met. What I was saying was that this run is HARD CORE and not for the beginner. I trained hard for this event and chose to do it 'cos I wanted that feeling which is beyond marathon. I wanted to be part of an elite club. The route was a punnishing muddy farm track route which drains your strength. The supplies were top rate, the marshals were supreme (considering they were in the wet and cold for over 6 hours). The checkin staff were full of support. I can't promote this event enough. This is a mind-over-matter run. I hurt in places that I never knew I had, but I am glowing with pride at earning a fantastic medal and certificate. My wife and family have told me NOT to do another...mmm..we'll see eh? Date of review: February 21, 2011
In short: Our club name is S.E.S runners, the 1st S is for Sidcup, so we had to do it. GREAT In full: Facilities were great, parking bril. Okay - 3 laps did get a bit tedious, but I was almost done in (going for a PB) so I wasn't too bothered that I'd seen all there was to see again. Glad the weather held off. There is the issue of the course being short but if it was approved, perhaps all the Garmins were "pinging" off the same satellites, which may have measured short (long shot I know) BUT I am happy to put down a PB of 1.16. Max respect to all the marshals who were full of support and encouragement. That made me feel good. I was a bit miffed that there wasn't a more adequate drinks station at the end with fruit and / or a goodie bag. All I got was 1/3 cup of water! I wonder if the route could be put through the park by the church so as to break up the pavement pounding. Overall, the Sidcup.Erect**n.Section (SES runners) all did PB's and had a slap up fry-up afterwards. Date of review: February 13, 2011
In short: Bit of a poor show. Route distance wasn't accurante. Lame medal. No real goodies. In full: OKAY! This was our first joint outing for the New Year. Venue parking good. Registration organised okay. T-shirts handed out before the race! Pins supplied (good). I appreciate that the route was changed last minute, and this, I think, was the reason that the distance was 1/4 mile short. Start was a bit poor. Could have done with a load speaker. Atmosphere was dull. I'm not a fan of doing circuits, so the 4 laps of the park was mind-numbing, what with loads of kids on bikes, loose dogs, and random other visitors getting in the way. I was all made up as I was getting to the finish, as I was on for a good PB (the course is made for PB's), but was somewhat deflated when my Garmin told me we were short on distance.(Projeced time would have still been a PB). The medal was a bit lame (no date) and my two other mates got a generic medal with no venue on it! Goddies was the T-shirt, and a piece of fruit, Oh and the pins! I don't think I'll be doing this one again. Still I got a PB! Thanks to the organisers, marshals, medics and that very keen fan by the railings at the bottom of the park who cheered EVERYONE on. Date of review: January 16, 2011