In short: Continues to be excellent. 42k In full: These firefighters know how to organise a good running event. Haven’t run the 54321 since 2009 but it is still excellent. Pre-race organisation at the fire station is exceptionally smooth. Start well organised. Beautiful course. There is quite a lot on the road/hard track and I was glad I hadn’t bothered with my trail shoes (although I did start to wonder on the slippery clay by Old Sarum near the start). The 42k course is pretty challenging. Fairly undulating for the first 20 miles with a big big climb around 19ish. The last 6 are downhill or flat which makes for a fast finish if your legs are still up to it. Great last 2 through the city centre passing the cathedral and the tourists (who looked a bit bewildered). Feed stations were well stocked and got better as you went around. Water, orange/lemon squash, biscuits, bananas, jelly babies and oranges. I must give special mention about the fruit cake – moist and delicious like last time! Couldn’t disagree more about another runner’s comments about other participants not being friendly – I had a few chats with different people around the course. Seemed pretty social to me. This really is a great event with a nice finish with a decent party atmosphere. Easy parking, easy leaving. I would ask for some marshalling in the city centre and on the river path where we had to cross roads – gets a bit harder when you’ve been running for 4 hours plus! Date of review: August 13, 2012
In short: Great race in a great location In full: This continues to be one of the best road half marathons I run. The course is a great undulating rural road course - it really is challenging with a couple of big long climbs but also a great downhill 1m at the end before a flat 0.5m. There are always loads of refreshment vans. The ice lolly is a must and I always look forward to it. They're quite generous at St Albans with a t-shirt, medal, lolly and bottle of lucazade sport! The guys on the PA always do a good job on the lead-up to the races and the kids event is great too. This year, there were a lot more runners and there was neither satisfactory parking or toilet facilities - needs to be looked at. My only other moan this morning would be that I and 20+ other runners seem to have been 'on course' when looking at the result but don't have a time or official place - I promise I didn't take any short cuts! Date of review: June 11, 2012
In short: Great rural road race with lots of ups and downs In full: A good little event this. Nice rural course with little traffic to contend with except on one very short stretch. It is continuously up and down so don't fly off at the start. The start has moved since the last time and so had the parking but it seemed to work ok. Refreshments laid on my the scouts but this whole affair is pretty low-key but good. Date of review: June 11, 2012
In short: Lovely scenic course, great organisation In full: As this event occurs at the same time as multiple walking and cycling events (with up to 2,000 participants), the facilities en-route are excellent. Lots of water stations and many toilets.
The first 12 miles or so from Avebury are very scenic footpaths undulating in the Wiltshire hills. The second half hits a hard track on the edge of the military Salisbury plain. Very firm under foot. It makes for quite a fast second half and expect a negative split.
Finish was also very well organised just north of Stonehenge. A great event and well worth the trip. Date of review: May 8, 2012
In short: Great seafront run. Great views. Definite PBer In full: Perfect weather, ideal course for PB with only two hills (one taking the steam out of your sails in first mile). Amazing views.
Race start was again congested but better than last year with the hill sorting out those who opt for an ambitious start place. I still wonder if they could work out the finish line better so it doesn't completely block the main pier thoroughfare.
This really is a lovely run but don't expect mass support (except by both piers). It gets quite quiet in Southbourne and if you've separated from other runners, it feels like a training run around a suburb.
I keep coming back for this one. It is excellent. Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: Really can not be faulted. Superb event. Perfect for marathon training In full: Excellent, easy parking. Doddle chip and number collection. Non-cluttered start. Flat first 3 miles to get you into pace. Plenty of water stations. A few hills on the loop to keep you working. Excellent marshals. Great medal and a chunky Kit Kat. Who could want more from a pre-marathon trainer? Excellent event. Date of review: March 19, 2012
In short: Beautiful, lovely rural road course and a few decent hills In full: This is a great little 10 miler with some challenging hills and some fantastic views. Organisation good. Plenty of water stations on this hot day (would like orange squash too). I always enjoy the finish on the track. I wonder whether a start further back down the field would break up the pack a bit more before going out of the gates onto the road? Great race. Date of review: March 12, 2012
In short: Great facilities, great course, well organised In full: This continues to be a great event. Sandy Balls caravan park with loads of showers, toilets, parking and refreshments is ideal. The New Forest is beautiful for a run and there are some decent challenging hills but nothing too killer. Weather was perfect. Organisation smooth again. Glad I wasn't doing the marathon as I think the course would have good pretty repetitive.
In short: Great organisation, great course and, this year, great weather In full: This is a great low-key coastal half well worth the trip. Starts by the Pyramid Centre on Southsea waterfront, takes you along the seafront prom, through a Marina, across a shingle/mud beach, on a footpath by a harbour and then through some parkland, across football fields and back to the seafront, via the harbour beach again, for a run to amusement park and then back to the finish along the seawall. Multi-terrain but nothing tough and pretty firm under foot (except for the beach). The course is completely flat and is definite PB material (even with the beach). Superb running weather and beat the atrocious rain and wind at last year’s event.
Marshalling was excellent and the event seemed to run like clockwork. Race HQ was indoors and warm but not really sure why they posted the numbers and not the chips – seems a bit pointless if you have to queue up anyway.
Plenty of parking along the front and toilets. Some places to get hot food afterwards. Excellent event and good value.
In short: Half marathon: Mud, hills and glorious scenery, at a price In full: A couple of years since I ran a CTS race and wow have they got popular now. I stopped running them because, despite being excellently organised events in great places, the prices just kept going up. I bit the bullet and went back regardless of the steep entry fee and what a brilliant event it was.
Race HQ was massive (it needed to be with 4 events and 100s of runners), well-equipped, some freebies, adequate parking nearby (tough hill walk after the event). Registration was busy but organised. The whole thing seemed much more polished now - two years ago it had a small event feel to it.
The half marathon went in two waves. The 'elites' all went together and then the rest did a staggered start (needed to as there were so many entrants). This worked pretty well and avoid the clutter at stiles and narrow paths.
The course was breathtaking (and very well marked). This is what makes the CTS so good. 7 miles along the beautiful coast path from Osmington to Lulworth via Durdle Door. Severe slippy clay mud for the first couple of miles but then stunning views and brutal hills. By the time I arrived in Lulworth any hope of a good time had gone - I just wanted to complete it. Fortunately the journey back further inland was much kinder. Before the 14.8 miles was complete, there were numerous stiles to cross (cramp!) and then the last mile with some steep hill climbing. So happy to finish (once I worked out where finish was).
These events are brilliantly organised in superb locations. I do think they're too pricey but it's all supply and demand and this event was rammed! Only gripe would be as already mentioned: the feed stations on CTS are poor especially given the full maz and ultra events. We can all carry our kit but it wouldn't hurt to add the bananas, crisps, squash, coke, mars bars etc like you see at other similar events.
Still the toughest and most scenic runs I've been on. Date of review: December 5, 2011