In short: 2010 was "The Hardest Ever" 'cos of the weather, 2011 was shorter and easier. In full: After last year, I suppose there wasn't the "surprise or shock factor", and as the weather was pleasant this time, there wasn't so much of a challenge. My Garmin measured it shorter too and the bog of doom was somewhat shallower. Bottlenecks were inevitable. Aside of this I will certainly rate the organisation and atmosphere as FANTASTIC. The marshals / cadets were full of support and the supporters were full of cheer.
I decided to do it in a lime green mankini, to up my own personal challenge - it got plenty of reaction (and a few slaps! You know who you are). All I could hear behind me was "Oh God - I gota get past him".
Parking was very good, however, getting away was slow. If we were to do it again, we'd bring a BBQ and do a cook up in the carpark whilst everybody else waits to leave. Perhaps we'll do Hell In The Middle for a change.
The best thing was a quality medal and T-shirt at the end. Happy with the goodie bag as well. Thanks to everyone involved. I am still applying the chafing cream! Date of review: November 28, 2011
In short: LOVE IT - one of my favs. Great marshals In full: I love his race. It's in my dairy every year. Challenging. Fun. Support. Organisation. All top draw. Weather held off and the terrain was just right, gave the legs a work out. Got a PB on this run. THANK YOU all who organised it. The SES will be back again. Such a nice gong too. Date of review: October 9, 2011
In short: Good ol' trek thru the woods, hills hurt a bit, better if we got a medal. In full: 2nd time for me doing this event. I just finished a night shift and I was knackered to start with but the weather was warm and sunny and the atmosphere lifted me up. Ran with two mates from the SES Runners. Better start this year, got off to a fast one. The woods are wonderful to run thru, with helpful cheery marshals indicating the way. This area was my boyhood playground so fond memories flooded back. The hills slowed me down a tadd but I didn't walk. Just couldn't keep up with Connor who had it on the hills, but I kept him in sight all the way round. The water station was well placed, spectators full of support and encouragement (thanks). The 2nd time round is something you dread, knowing that hill is there. The finish straight feels longer than it actually is and is a gradual incline that makes a sprint finish hurt. I came in just under 50 mins and I was happy with that. Better time than last year. Organisation was very good, so well done. I know it's a pain but I'd be happy to pay a couple of quid more to get a medal. Bacon sarnies back at Mikes and then home to bed before nights again. Date of review: September 25, 2011
In short: Ups and Downs (Get it? DOWNS!) Such a lovely course. In full: After 3 weeks off (holiday) I was dreading my first proper run - and this was it. Great start venue, adequate facilities, welcoming. Weather was just right. Great value for money as it was only £10 on the day. Cannon start, once round the pitch then off into the woods. The decent off the Downs in the first mile is just a glimpse of what the accent would be at the half way mark. Headlong down hill, loose flint, ruts, hedges, flailing arms (fun). BEAUTIFUL views whilst on the Pilgrims Way. Nasty, nasty accent (had to walk that). Cool, shady woods, plenty enough muddy puddles. Bit of green lane work as well (rutted by 4x4 activity). Marshals were great, giving directions, support and warnings. Well sign posted and yellow marked hazards. Water station was perfectly located too. Tannoy announcements when people approached and crossed the lines. Great goodie bag with water, fruit, chocolate and voucher. Medal is different so a good one for the collection. Before and after massage available. WELL DONE VIGO. This will be an event I will visit again and again. Thanks Date of review: August 29, 2011
In short: Grrr! Makes you work hard. You will know if you've trained for this one. In full: All time favourite for me - must be the 7th time I've done it. Much better medal now (used to be horse brass). The route is nasty in places (I forgot about the Gills Road hill), and the dreaded "Gore Hill" is a real tester of the legs. Weather was quite warm which brings the pains on. Have to say that the organisation was very good, marshals were top draw. Support from local residents was nice. I got my 2nd best time (1hr47) and still didn't get a goodie bag, so I was a tad disappointed. Have to say that the bloke doing the commentating at the end left a little to be desired - certainly didn't get the crowds motivated for finishers. All in all, I love this event as it's my local 1/2 and it's a brute which keeps me on my toes (pun). There is no getting away with being unfit 'cos it'll show. Thanks Dartford. Date of review: July 27, 2011
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