In short: Better than last year In full: There were a few hiccups - for example, why not mail the chip with the race number? That would get rid of the huge queues. Why, on another hot day, weren't there any sponges? Still, at least there seemed to be enough water. The new course is much better than last year's, although the schlep up to Kemerton was a hard grind. Date of review: May 11, 2009
In short: My favourite 10k In full: Almost perfect conditions - warm but with a headwind on the return into the village. The course has been tweaked a few times over the years, but I have to say that I liked it when it stayed in the village for three long laps.
Those who say the course is short are wrong. Date of review: February 23, 2009
In short: The course, the course - it's so BORING In full: I've been running the Stroud Half for the last twenty years, and it feels like it. I suppose I should know what I'm letting myself in for, but I would respectfully request that the organisers take another look at the course. It's fine until about nine miles, and then ... it's HORRIBLE. The tedium of the endless roundabouts on the road to Stonehouse and beyond. The industrial estate (oh kill me now). Why don't they reverse the direction? At least that would get the most boring part out of the way early on? Date of review: November 3, 2008
In short: Bring back the old new course! In full: The course this year was actually the old, old course. Why did they revert to it? Probably to remove the "hill" from being run twice. Big mistake. The start was atrocious, but after 1k or so it was fine. More helpers needed at the finish for the drinks. Definitely worth turning up, though. Date of review: September 29, 2008
In short: Phew! What a scorcher! In full: Far too hot, really, to be racing, especially on such a tough course. I stopped running at all the water stations and a couple of other places as well, figuring that I would finish some way off my PB (in the end 18 minutes off!). The race was pretty well organised apart from the start, which was a shambles, and the goody bag was perfectly respectable. Date of review: July 29, 2008
In short: Superb, apart from the course! In full: I'm slightly biased because I'm a member of the organising club, but this was a very good race, superbly organised and marshalled, with a great goody bag at the end. Unfortunately, in order to qualify for one, you had to run the race, which consists of a really tough course to the top of Leckhampton Hill, along a bit, and then back down again. Do you get that I don't much care for hills? Nearly 13 minutes slower than my 10k PB made me miserable, but the cheerful and friendly atmosphere more than made up for it. I'll do it again, but with a bit more specific training next year! Date of review: July 21, 2008
In short: One of the best races ... ever! In full: I reckon in my running career I must have run close to 500 races, but this is definitely a contender for the best race I've run. The organisation was superb, the marshalls helpful and friendly, the course interesting (if a few too many twists and turns and different terrains to make it a PB course) and the goody bag just the thing! (A jute carrier with a mug, a Granola bar and a banana). Very often first time races are a shambles and a joke - this race was proof that, if you put in the work, you can come away with a stupendous event. I will definitely be back next year! Date of review: July 13, 2008
In short: A chance thrown away In full: Clearly this race has outgrown itself. I don't quite understand the reasoning behind the change of course - I thought it was to avoid the cycle path at about 11 miles, but they replaced it with a totally inappropriate off-road section (hint - it's a ROAD race, not a multi-terrain), with a very narrow start funnel to a bottleneck gate. There were not enough loos at the start. The queue for the timing chips was ridiculous - why not send them out with the number? And if that's impossible, then put the signs showing the number ranges up high so that people know where to queue. As I was towards the "sharp end" I didn't have a problem with the water, though I had to fend for myself at the first water station. But I could see that there was nowhere near enough.
There needs to be a very serious debrief about this. Tewkesbury could be a fine race, but on the basis of yesterday there won't be much repeat business, unless someone from 2:09 comes forward Date of review: May 12, 2008
In short: Tough but worth it In full: One of my least favourite words is "lap", and this has three of them. It starts and finishes at a very chi-chi pub on Minchinhampton Common near Stroud, and the laps are pretty tough, with steep ascents and grinding ascents. There's a surprising amount of support (thanks Beaudesert School!) and a free beer for the first hundred finishers. I would highly recommend this race if my legs didn't hurt so much. Date of review: May 8, 2008
In short: Almost as hard as a marathon In full: Last year I was in training for London, and so I ran from home to the start (3 miles) and back again afterwards. This year, not in training, I could scarcely hobble the half mile back to the car at the end. This is a seriously tough race, run in glorious sunshine but very slippery underfoot, up and down (mainly up) some very demanding hills. As others have said, it's well worth it though - the free beer's delicious, and the cakes were wonderful. Date of review: March 31, 2008