In short: The mate I drove down with has done this one for the last fifteen years. I think that says a lotâ€¦ In full: This was my third time at the Easy Runner Tough Ten and certainly won't be my last.
Indeed, the friend I drove down with told me on the way he had found his medal from this event in 1995, and thinks he must have done it every year since. Given that it's a good hour's drive from Swindon, that says a lot about the race.
What is so special about it? Well, it is what it says on the tin. A good, tough ten mile run, with a mixture of roads and off-road terrain that probably makes a harder run than some off-road events where you seem to spend the entire time sliding around in the mud.
The views out across the bay are quite glorious and I love the smell of the sea air. Despite a chilly start, the sun came out at the end, which was really just the icing on the cake.
Another coaster to add to my collection, and it has to be said the organisation is quite exceptional. I like that you can transfer your race number to a friend if you can't run, it is after all just a small piece of administration.
An excellent day out and made even nicer for me by seeing a young lady I'd met at a race last year on the start line. It's nice to be reminded of the real reasons I run.
See you again next year. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I also made it fifteen years on the trot. Date of review: February 19, 2010
In short: Probably the most enjoyable off-road race I've done so far. In full: This was my second time at Slaughterford and I've little doubt this will be a regular event on my race calendar.
Out of all the off-road races I have done so far I would rate this as quite possibly the toughest I've done, but probably the most enjoyable as well.
Why? Well, for a start it offers excellent value for money with a good quality t-shirt at the end. Probably the most enjoyable aspect is the friendly and encouraging marshals all the way round the course, and the feeling of camaraderie between runners.
Different conditions this year, less muddy and harder underfoot which should have made it easier, but it was also very icy so due care was called for. I saw a lady who had had a nasty fall at about 2 miles, I hope she is all right and there is no permanent damage?
The only comment I could make about the organisation is that the directions to the race start could have been made clearer, ideally in the race information pack that was sent out. Finding the race car park could be confusing for people less familiar with the area.
Well done Chippenham Harriers, see you at the half marathon in September. Date of review: February 2, 2010
In short: As I have said before, the best scenery I've seen in a race In full: As per previous reviews, one of my favourite half marathons, probably second only to the Hogweed Hilly Half. The latter pips it for being held in the spring when the weather is kinder.
My fifth time at Downton and I never seem to have a good run here, this year being no exception. A very disappointing time but more than made up for it by the glorious scenery, replete with wild cattle and New Forest Ponies.
Organisation like clockwork as always, but a tad disappointed not to get a t-shirt this year?
A friendly bunch of runners, and an even friendlier group of marshals. Top marks to the organisers for always putting a nice young lady at mile 10 to cheer us up!
One slight quibble is that the last mile needs some thought, having to run along roads that are not traffic-free is far from ideal especially if you are looking for a fast finish.
Looking forward to my sixth appearance at Downton in 2010. Date of review: December 1, 2009
In short: Not an easy race in that weather In full: First of all I echo the sentiment that this race would be better held in the spring, or perhaps in September when the weather is kinder as despite some deceptive inclines there is definite PB potential here.
Very well organised as I would expect from Grass Roots events but there needs to be some cut off point for accepting on the day entries. I'm not sure I get these people who turn up 15 minutes before the start expecting to still be able to register.
Nice touches were the raffle at the start and the announcement that there was a gentleman of 81 competing in the race - an inspiration to the rest of us.
Thanks as always to the organisers and the marshals for putting on a brave face despite the conditions. Date of review: November 24, 2009
In short: Not quite as muddy as I was hoping for, but a very enjoyable event In full: My first time at this event and certainly not my last!
Not as muddy or hilly as I was expecting or hoping(I like my off-road races to be a challenge!) but still quite a demanding course.
Well organised and lots of friendly and encouraging marshals which made the event even more enjoyable.
Good value, and a nice t-shirt but I was surprised they advertised the t-shirts as being generous in their size - I asked for a medium expecting it to be more like a large but it was a bit too tight. Fortunately there was someone willing to swap, even if he may have felt awkward spotting the fat man in a too tight t-shirt! Date of review: November 16, 2009
In short: Shame about my performance, but the event is top notch In full: This was the scene of my personal best time last year but no such glories this year. Too much time spent enjoying the cricket must have caught up with me...
That aside, this proved again a superb event, I really can't think of any areas where it could be improved. Fast flat course in pretty Wiltshire countryside, friendly marshalls and spectators, clear instructions and directions, good range of abilities and having it at the sports centre makes it a nice day out for family and friends.
Fantastic value at £15 which is a big plus in these straitened times and for that we got a nice goodie bag with sweets and a drink, plus an excellent technical t-shirt. (If you entered one of the larger events you'd probably have to pay £15 for the t-shirt alone).
Well done Chippenham Harriers, see you again next year I hope. Date of review: September 14, 2009
In full: Fairly enjoyable run through some pleasant countryside and villages. Gently undulating course with some PB potential. Good mix of abilities and a friendly atmosphere. Liked the glass of cider at the end but could have done with a bigger glass! Excellent value at £6, not sure I would travel all the way from Swindon by myself to do this one again but in a group I definitely would. Date of review: July 14, 2009
In short: Can't say anything I didn't say last year... In full: I've just looked back at my comments from last year and think I said it all then.
Virtually a carbon copy, except my time was down a few seconds (probably due to a stitch in the last two miles) and I liked the fact that we got the same t-shirt but a different colour.
Only slight gripe was a lack of toilets but I'd rather the entry fee was kept down than the organisers having to hire portaloos.
Thanks to everyone who came out to support, it made the evening even more pleasant, and especially the enthusiastic marshall who gave me so much encouragement at mile 7!
The only reason I've marked it down for beginner-friendliness is that when I checked the results there were only a handful of runners coming in over 2:30 so slower runners might be intimidated by the slightly 'clubby' feel of the event.
In short: Start was a disaster, but still a very enjoyable run In full: To be fair to the organisers, the route had to be re-designed due to a motorway bridge no longer being in existence, meaning the start line had to be moved forward.
Unfortunately this meant the start was very crowded and congested, and judging by my offical time vs my watch time meant it took about a minute to cross the line (although I couldn't make out precisely where this was)! It also meant I was unable to get any speed or momentum in the first kilometre, which should have been faster as it was downhill.
These problems notwithstanding, a very enjoyable midweek run and I agree with one of my club members that the new course is an improvement with more twists and turns.
Full credit to the organisers as well for providing a useful and interesting memento in the form of a kit bag, which makes a change from yet another t-shirt or medal! Date of review: June 11, 2009
In short: Easy to see why this sold out so far in advance In full: It's easy to see why this race is so popular. With some of the big city half marathons charging an entry fee in excess of £30 it's no surprise more people are preferring an event that only costs £8 in such straitened times.
Very flat course, disappointed I was a few seconds outside my PB but enjoyed the run which is the most important thing. Very well marshalled and supported for a small local event.
Liked the design on the mug more than the last two years and the option of buying a race t-shirt is excellent, I nearly bought two as they were of a very high quality and again a steal at just a fiver.
Thanks WHH for an excellent event, see you again next year. Date of review: April 7, 2009