In short: Hugely enjoyable. In full: My first time-and what a great race.
The organisation and marshalling were excellent-great encouragement and direction all the way round.
It was every bit as tough as I'd been told to expect.Where the sand was still wet,it's actually a good surface to run on.However,the sections on dry sand and broken rock are absolutely leg-sapping.
The atmosphere was great too-very friendly and real "camaraderie".It's very much tougher than a typical half-marathon and "PB potential" is meaningless in a race such as this one.
Above all,I found it one of the most enjoyable races I've ever run-genuinely different,stunning scenery and a real challenge.Personally,I also think Saturday morning is the perfect time for a race-I have the rest of the weekend to recover and can enjoy a "few drinks" tonight without having work tomorrow. Date of review: October 10, 2009
In short: Low key,testing 10K-well woth doing In full: I ran in the 10K,although there is also a 5K option.
The course is rural and undulating,which makes it a very enjoyable challenge.
Well organised,with a nice atmosphere before and after the race.A good choice for families because,as well as a 5K and 10K,there were also children's races after the main races had finished.
Love the medal ! genuinely different and one to keep.
One suggestion:the start was crowded,not helped by some inexperienced runners starting far too near the front.I saw at least one faller and the organisers should consider doing what other,similar races have done and starting with a lap of the field (to thin out the runners) before exiting into the lane.
Overall,very enjoyable and worth a visit. Date of review: September 13, 2009
In short: Hugely enjoyable and distinctive. In full: An absolutely excellent race.The course is very tough,but the distance makes it manageable.
Amazingly good value,great organisation and a varied,off-road,challenging course.The hill at halfway must be the toughest in Kent-and some of the downhills are exhilerating.
2 points to consider for further improvement:could do with a 2nd water station around 1/3 of the way round and maybe some recognition for 2nd,3rd M and F finishers,first V40 and V50 men and women etc ? Needs only be "token",as the race is incredible value for £7 as it is.
Definitely,a "must do" race and there's nothing else like it in Kent. Date of review: August 30, 2009
In short: Nice course In full: Pluses : great course.Uphill and into the wind for the first 5K,flat and fast for the return.Overall,it's a varied,challenging course in a nice,seafront setting.Other pluses-efficient chip timing,plenty of nearby parking.
Minuses:pricey for a 10K on quiet roads,with only a very basic medal as a memento.Needs more toilet facilities.Race venue is small and would get seriously cramped on a wet day.
In short: Good,solid half marathon In full: Scores top marks for organisation and an excellent venue in the athletics stadium.
Since I last ran it,the big hill at mile 9 has changed.From memory,it's not as steep,but the new detour section means you're running uphill for longer.
The course is "all right" : the roads around Dartford are always busy (proximity of Bluewater must be a factor)but the police and marshalls did an excellent job of keeping us away from the traffic.
Personally,I don't believe it needs chip-timing.The technology doesn't always work (e.g.Canterbury half this year) and it's your official time that counts (you can always get your unofficial time from your stopwatch). Date of review: July 21, 2009
In short: Very tough,but stunning surroundings and top-class organisation. In full: I think this is Kent's toughest half,as the 2nd hill especially is a real challenge.However,the course was stunning on a warm Spring day and the organisation was excellent.There were lots of special touches such as water bottles at each station and the facilities etc at the finish.
Great crowd support through the villages as well and plenty of toilets etc,even though numbers seemed well up on previous years. Date of review: May 24, 2009
In short: Flat,fast and alongside the sea In full: One of the quickest courses around,although I think the first 5K is definitely quicker than the return,probably because it's downhill overall whereas the return is "just" flat.
A first for me today:2 different tee-shirts!-so top marks for generosity.
It's always good to race alongside the sea-clean air and great views over the bay.
All in all,it's a race I always come back to every year and it always scores highly on atmosphere,race venue,organisation etc etc. Date of review: May 4, 2009
In short: Perfect day for a seaside race In full: From a personal perspective-it was a race to forget.For only the 2nd time in 15 years of racing,I was late for the start and waited until the last runners finished their 2nd lap before starting my race.
However,it was really enjoyable.Pretty much perfect conditions for a race along the seafront,on a flat course that is definitely one for targeting a PB (unless,like me,you're late!).
I like out-and-back courses too and there was a lot of support all the way.
It could do with a sponge-station at around halfway and maybe a 3rd water station,but otherwise it ticked all the boxes and I'll make sure I'm early next year. Date of review: April 10, 2009
In short: Becoming a "premier league" race In full: I first ran this in 1996.Back then,it was a fairly standard local club race.However,it has steadily grown to the point where it is now one of the big pre-London halfs in the South.
The organisation was top-class this year.Very well organised road closures,enough water and sponge stations (even on an unexpectedly hot day),excellent MC,plenty of toilets-the queues before the race were long,but moved quickly enough.
Although it has a reputation for being flat,I've never been entirely convinced ! It's certainly not hilly,but much of the 2nd half is up a slight,but still noticeable incline and times are never quite as fast as you expect them to be.
Overall,it's got everything you would want in a half-marathon and the numbers running continue to grow every year.The only constraint has already been mentioned:there is only really 1 road into Paddock Wood-and that is partially closed beforehand for the fun run.Paddock Wood itself isn't Reading or Tunbridge Wells for example,so a 2000 limit is probably as much as it can handle. Date of review: April 5, 2009