In short: The kind of course even Wile Coyote would set a PB! In full: Wonderful organisation, from the huge car park, through the copious facilities to the abundance of water-stations and wet-sponges.
The organisation here is up with the "big name" half-marathons such a Reading, Fleet, etc.
The fenland countryside is flat, but I would not say it's boring. There is more than enough here to keep you occupied for a couple of hours!
This is a perfect place to come for a PB-chasher - long flat stretches and almost no runner congestion.
In short: Friendly, quick and a great start to the weekend In full: A nice little 4-km course around the cycle paths of Bluewater. Although the shopping centre is visible, this route really takes you around the perimeter, with views of geese, swans, herons and more. It's a great little course.
The organisers are very friendly, and certainly extraordinarily encouraging. It's a shame that Adidas have pulled their sponsorship of the weekly event, and I hope this doesn't affect its future.
A real friendly bunch of runners here, no matter what your pace, and very welcoming of new people. The route is traffic-free and at that time clear of cyclists or pedestrians!
Results are all published on their website within days of the event.
Thoroughly recommended as a weekly yard-stick, or just turn up to enjoy a quick 4k burn!
One word of caution - make sure you don't arrive in need of the loo, as the shopping centre is thoroughly closed at 07:30am!!!
In short: Unusually, both laps felt more downhill than up! In full: Over 600 runners gathered in the historic town of Midhurst for this 10k. Some nice race-friendly weather (overcast and cool for August) helped to make this a quick race.
Starting from the town centre, we all headed along the A272 towards Petersfield, a quick steep uphill climb, then downhill all the way back to the start. Repeat once, and finish back in the town.
Despite starting and finishing at the same place (almost!), this race felt more downhill than up to me. The uphill bits are quickly dispensed with, and the majority of the lap is then a real speed-fest. The last 2km was a real blast - makes you feel like a real runner, approaching the crowds at breakneck speed!
Very well organised for so many people in quite a small town. Lots of (free) car-parking, a nice race HQ and some terrific souvenir t-shirts (for sale).
The Midhurst Milers and all their supporters should be rightfully proud of this one. It's a real gem, and I will be back again next year to enjoy all those downhill bits!
In short: This race series has a big reputation and yet still exceeds expectatitonns In full: My first Yateley 10k race was race 3 this year, and I enjoyed it so much I'll be back for the whole series next year. Need I say any more?
OK, I will... chip-timing allowed for a very-relaxed start-line (no bumping and griding to stand at the front), the t-shirts, mugs, bottles, medals and photos were all top-quality. The expedience of the results was incredible - available within just a couple of hours!
A good informal commentary before the start, and at the finish helped to keep the warm spirit going.
I really enjoyed the course which is not in the least hilly. It is constantly undulating, but in a a good way - I find teh mild variation in effort slightly easier than the constant fever of an entirely flat course. There was a few yards of watery bog near the start/finish line, but I hear the organisers are trying to fix that for 2008.
Two drink stations, and a sponge-station on a 10k? How cool is that?! I wish we could have had little bottles of water instead of those cups which are almost empty by the time you've grabbed them, but that didn't matter too much tonight on a fairly cool evening.
Loads of parking, easy to get to, super-friendly and efficient. I'm also chuffed with knocking 46 seconds off my PB tonight!
How could I not be back for the whole shebang next year?!
In short: Wonderful, friendly run on a summer evening In full: Organised by the BBC Running Club, but open to all, the race was 2.5 laps around the paths of Regent's Park.
The organising team worked hard to develop a good, accurate, route and their work paid off. Apart from a few long-hanging branches, the course was fast and flowed well. There were not too many dogs or ducks to steer around either!!
Despite being a humid evening, I was within a gnat's eyelash of a PB, so this course is no slouch. It has the best final-sprint of any course I have run.
What I'll remember most will be the friendliness and enthusiasm of the BBC Running Club guys. The organisers, and all the marshalls could not have been more welcoming. There were quite a few first-timers tonight, and hopefully their experience will keep them running.
Well done to the BBC - 10 out of 10! Date of review: July 20, 2007
In short: A midweek treat - flat, fast, friendly and fun. In full: Based around Raphael Park in Gidea Park, this midweek gathering was super.
The race was a perfect grass-roots event. On a nice sunny evening there was good humour among the runners, an enthusiastic organising team and a huge crew of marshalls and drink-station helpers.
This may have been only a 2.5-mile lap (run twice), but there were enough bends and changes of scenery (park, tennis courts, lake) to keep it interesting. The only piece I didn't like was the 100-metres of unsurfaced road along Gidea Close, but otherwise this was a great course.
For just a couple of quid, you'd be mad not to be here next summer!
In short: They said this race would be "tough". They weren't joking! In full: More ups and downs than the latest ride at Alton Towers, but still fast.
The route took in plenty of narrow country lanes, with a lot of tree cover - useful today with the hot afternoon sun. The drink station was well-staffed with lots of supplies, and some friendly people cooling the runners with water spray too (thank you!).
Aside from the near-guarantee of a PB(!), what makes this race so special is the village-fete atmosphere. It's wonderful to be involved in such a traditional "English" event, with cream teas, Punch & Judy show, cakes from the WI, etc.
Huge kudos to the South London Harriers, and the organisers of the Chipstead Flower Show. Today was about so much more than just a flat-out race. It was a fun day out, and thoroughly appreciated.
In short: You'd be bananas not to enjoy it! In full: This is a fun-run, and with that in mind, it could hardly be better.
The start, with Gavin Esler and his eloquent daughter introducing the charity runner, really set the scene for the run. It was kinda cool to see the bananas head-off, and then it was our chance to try and catch them.
A bright sunny day, in the immaculate confines of Regent's Park, this was the perfect home for a fun day out and to support the wonderful work of Leukemia Research.
Huge kudos should go to all the water stations, the free bananas (real ones!) and milk-shakes. These were richly appreciated.
Only two minor issues for me: 1. The medal - rather cheap for such a mass-participation event. I'd be happy to pay an extra 50p to enter, if that meant a nice medal. 2. The pace of the bananas wasn't well distributed. Everybody beat banana 10, while only the winner beat banana 1. It would be better (as others have said) if all the bananas headed off 5 minutes before the mass-start, all with a target pace to acheive.
To treat it as a "serious" race was to miss the point. There are a lot of bends, and on a sunny Sunday morning the park was packed with dogs (off their leads!), push-chairs, kids (off their leads!!!), etc. The km markers were somewhat inaccurately placed, and I am not sure the course distance was officially certified.
However, none of this affects the great time had by all. We all got chip-timing and individual photos up on the web within 24 hours of the race. All good fun! Date of review: July 9, 2007
In short: Pure speed in a perfect location. It doesn't get much better than this! In full: This could be the most perfect 10k race, for lots of reasons: 1. Ultra-flat course. No more than a 2-3 metre incline on the entire course, 2. Really classy medal and a nice printed goodie bag, 3. Entirely held off the public road, on some of the smoothest tarmac you'll find anywhere, 4. Slick organisation, with copious pre-race info and results posted within hours of the finish, 5. Chip timing, 6. Plenty of car-parking close to the race, with absolutely no delays getting in or out.
We were lucky this year to have no wind and a nice cooling rainfall, which made it a great day for speed.
I really enjoyed the view of the amazing lake, and the facilities on hand. Trust me, it does not get boring. If you've time to get bored with this view, you're not running fast eniugh! :-)
Ten-out-of-ten to the organisers. If they had their 2008 entry form available today, I would have already completed it.
Thank you to all the Datchet Dashers and their friends for meking their event so good. Date of review: June 30, 2007
In short: Very flat but rather narrow. Good PB potential In full: This is a quite a good course for a PB as there's absolutely no ascent/descent at all.
The race starts with 2.5 laps of an athletics track, with only a few lanes available for each lap, making it a bit narrow and lots of elbow-bashing. After that we exited around a hairpin, through a gate which was again narrow. Most of the course is run on a seafront promenade which is open and quick. It is exposed to the elements, and that meant a headwind for half of the race.
A few bendy bits around the Hilsea Lido, then back to the running track and repeat again, finishing back at the track on the third visit.
Surprisingly, given its city-centre location, the ease of parking, bar and cafe facilities on-hand, etc, there were not many spectators.
There didn't seem to be the "buzz" here which you usually get at the village-races, where all the residents come out to support. It is by no means a bad race, just a little lacking in character.
Having said that, if you're looking for a good solid, flat 10k, then this is a superb choice.
I really like these mid-week evening races too, it's great to race in the week. Date of review: June 7, 2007