In short: Mudastic Mortimer Mountains In full: Excellent race.
Rainy and windy today but that just adds to the enjoyment. The title gives the game away, lots of hills, and spectacular forest trails. The climbs were very steep and long in places and unless your at the front it bottlenecks but gives you time to enjoy the view and boy what a view!!! The downs were equally as steep!!! I struggled with the downs today due to injury but they were suicidal in places with mud and gradient. Saw one poor chap literally somersault down the pipes, thankfully he bounced back up!
Bargain price of £5, can't fault it. If you love trails and the great outdoors give this a go!!! Date of review: December 11, 2011
In short: Great Debut for the Bath Hilly Half!!! In full: Lets be fair the clue is in the title with this one, and as we drove to the start at Bath Racecourse up some super steep hills you knew exactly what you had signed up for!!!
Great organisation, yes there was a marshaling error, yes I was one of those that ran the extra bit, did it cost me time and places? Yes, do I care no!!!! Trail running isn't about times and places (unless your likely to finish 1st!) its about that big smiley face feeling you get running up and down ludicrous hills, slipping about in the mud and getting blown around on the ridges!!! Plus it was the first run of this race so you expect some teething problems! And it made my second lap a lot shorter, big thumbs up!!!!
I would recommend this to anyone, although its not to be underestimated you need some serious training under your belt!! If its been wet the week before, trail shoes are an absolute must, it was very muddy and very slippy in places and the terrain, especially the rutted farm track, was pretty challenging.
Fantastic marshals the whole way round, well done to the Jester man who had the worst spot to marshal at, but he was still very enthusiastic despite being there for hours.
Great tech T-shirt at the end, with your name on it, unique chunky medal, and brilliant facilities with HOT showers. Well worth the 2hr trek from Birmingham. All in all 11/10, great job Trionium, please run it again next year (when I am not, hopefully, recovering from injury!!) Date of review: November 27, 2011
In short: The Most Fun you can have on a Misty November Morning!!! In full: I had read the reviews, watched the videos on you-tube and thought I knew what to expect. But this surpassed all expectations! Great trails, had been very dry in the weeks before so not as much mud as expected but still the clay at the 2 mile point was slip-tastic!! Hills weren't too bad, often had to walk due to the traffic in front but all were perfectly run-able if you had done the training, but hey we don't run these races for the times, we run them for that big smiley feeling that only running through stagnant water in the middle of November can give!!!
Great organisation, great facilities, nice T shirt (even if it is cotton), personally I would prefer a medal but thats because I like to collect them.
First time, definitely won't be the last, give this a go it will not disappoint!!!! Date of review: November 20, 2011
In short: Cardiff 2011: A Big Step Backwards from previous years In full: This is my 4th run at Cardiff, and after last years 'short' fiasco they really needed to get it right. Unfortunately they didn't!!! The distance may have been correct (not sure I don't wear a GPS!) and the baggage drop much better than the 2009 chaos but still some major disappointments. If Cardiff want to make this an amazing must-do race you need to decide what your aiming for, are you aiming for a truly excellent race for runners or a huge mass participation event like the GNR? I hope they go for the former because bigger doesn't always mean better!!!
Don't want to be super critical because I will always be back for this but if the organisers take onboard all of the points raised by RW raters they could vastly improve:
START: Always a queue for the toilets but today was ridiculous, either there were not enough or the alternative toilets were not found by the majority, meaning multiple queues of up to 50 for a couple of potaloos. Make your starting pens and final toilets a Runner only area. It was hard enough getting into the pens, this was made tenfold worse by battling spectators. Allow access to the start pens at the back of each zone without having to clamber over the railings. Close the pens with 2 mins to go before the start, I tried to get into the Yellow Zone at 8.45 and only made it as far as Sub 2.15. Also the top of Lloyd George Avenue with its straight, nearly a mile of road, to get people started would have been a much better starting point than the twisty start to get us onto the city link.
ROUTE: Awful this year very dull and boring, Cardiff's charm in the past has been the varying scenery, city centre, parklands and waterfront. Good job getting rid of the Hayes section from last year, rubbish using the link rds to make up flat, wide stretches. Also Cardiff's trademark has always been that it is flat as a pancake, whilst its certainly not hilly with the current route the use of the slip rds makes for some draggy climbs especially up the Cogan Spur. Better option would be to employ the waved start tactic and reinstate the miles in Bute Park, even if you only use the stretch on the rd up past sophia gardens and out onto western avenue. Lucozade a welcome addition this year, much better than powerade, but by my reckoning it looked as if it was going to run out before all the runners had come through. A water station at 12.5 miles is too late, would have been better if the 10 mile station had moved to 9 miles and the 12.5 to 11 miles, logistically that wouldn't have worked today but no point just plonking them in as and where there is enough space.
FINISH: Medal not as nice as the one I have from 2008, bit run of the mill in its design. Don't bother with a cotton T-shirt, its got to be technical or not at all. I personally loved the chunky gym towel we got in 2008.
I will be back next year but I hope Cardiff can get back a bit more of its happy-lovely running vibe it had a few years back, saw a lot of pushing and shoving today and one poor lady who took a really heavy tumble, who I hope was OK. All in all it was OK, run worse, but I personally want Cardiff to grow into a great, runners run and not just a mass participation event, please keep working at it Cardiff Organisers!!! Date of review: October 16, 2011
In short: Horribly Hot!!! In full: Always hard to give a race a fair review when the weather is as hot as it was today!!
Great Race Tshirt for the price
Good course, not what you would expect from stereotypical image of Coventry nice rural roads and parks, however definitely not flat! No real killer hills but generally going up or down a bit the whole way.
Good Marshals and traffic control (well done to the council for fully coming on board with it)
Excellent local support
Just under 2000 ran today and the organisation coped OK with this number however, if the numbers grow then the organisation needs a rethink.
Not enough toilets by a mile, meant that we were late getting to the start so were squeezing through the spectators to get into the starting pen, need better access for the runners.
Delaying the start due to an issue on the course is acceptable, it happens, but its frustrating when your stood crowded into the starting pens waiting to move for 10-15mins, it would have been better to call everyone in when the course was clear.
Locals did an excellent job with hoses and giving the runners additional water cups on the course, the race organisation should have put on a couple of additional stations given the heat, even if it was just water in cups. A lot of the course was in the direct sunshine and extra stations would have been a big help.
The crowd need cordoning off from the course, I heard the race director repeatedly telling people to get off the road so that the runners could have a clear sprint to the finish.
Baggage reclaim worked today because of the low numbers but the bags were plonked down in a totally random order so took a while to retrieve your bag, fine no queue, but if you had 15,000 runners this again would soon become issue, and is very easy to solve!
Having said all of that its definitely worth running and if they take on board these points then it could grow and grow into a Midlands-Must-Do Race!!! Date of review: October 2, 2011
In short: Great Race but very tough hills!!! In full: Not sure what led to the entire field going 0.5 mile in the wrong direction, think a key sign or marshal was not in the right place, over a half marathon this is not too much of an issue, for the marathoners on this course it would have been a killer. There were a few other spots (like the top of the steps) where a marshal rather than a sign would have been better, had to rely on a lady having a picnic to point me in the right direction!
Having said that despite recovering from a cold and not really being able to run at my usual pace I really enjoyed it. The scenery was great, the trails were firm underfoot (road shoes are fine) and the climbs are as you would expect from any trail run, quadbusting!!!
You expect a few hiccups at a first time event, if these can be ironed out this could be a classic and I would definitely recommend it.
One issue that I do have with running trails, and only relates to a very small minority of runners, is the selfish and careless attitude regarding water bottles/cups. I appreciate people may not want to carry a bottle/cup that is fine, but when you discard it please aim for the bin or the path as close to the bin as you can get so the marshals can easily clear the litter up. I saw a couple of idiots today chucking bottles right into the forest, our cities are polluted and littered enough, don't ruin our beautiful Great British Countryside or the reputation of the race by this thoughtless behaviour (rant over!) Date of review: September 4, 2011
In short: Marvellous-Mountainous-Muddy-Mayhem; Race the Train is an absolute Must-Do! In full: Have wanted to run this race for the last three years and finally got the chance this year and it did not disappoint! The weather was perfect, I love running in the rain and wind, so all the extra mud and sliding precariously down grassy 'slopes' just added to the fun. Excellent marshalling and water stations far better than some high profile city half marathons and the crowd support was impressive given the conditions. For those considering running this next year, don't for one second think about wearing anything other than trail shoes if its wet. I hate wearing my trail shoes and they did feel like lead on the last mile (still managed a sprint finish from somewhere though!) but they saved me from losing them in a bog or spraining an ankle on the sheep tracks (which is probably a 50/50 possibility). Didn't quite beat the first train (about 7 mins behind) did beat the second, I would definitely say if you think you can beat it then start as high up the field as you can, I hung back and this probably cost me a few minutes, once your off the roads and on the fields overtaking is not that easy and is almost impossible after the turn around at 7 miles. That said once your out on the course the train goes out the window, soak up the spectacular scenery, especially the waterfalls halfway on the second leg; awesome. In summary its one of those races that leaves you with a grin plastered on your face the whole way round. Will be back next year, and will definitely be trying to beat that train!! Date of review: August 22, 2011
In short: Super Quick 10km Course In full: Almost flat course, with a few minimal ups and downs midway, on very quiet country lanes. Great marshalls and great course. I smashed my 10km on this course by nearly 2 mins, going sub 43 for the first time. If your local (ish) defo worth turning up for the bargain price of £6. Big Thumbs Up All Round! Date of review: July 21, 2011
In short: Horrendous Hills in the Spectacular Wyre Forest In full: Recenetly got into trail running after a few years running roads and trying to recapture my XC youth events, so thought I would give this a go. A lot of runs claim to be 'testing' 'hilly' or 'challenging' the Wyre Forest Half is not to be underestimated, its all of the above. I personally like the uphill climbs, its the downhills that my legs struggled with. With the exception of a nice flat couple of miles around mile 9 and 10, the rest was predominantly uphill or downhill on a real mix of surfaces. I personally would have enjoyed it more if the rain had been lashing down rather than the sun beating down, but thats just personal preference! Marshalls and organisation was fantastic, medal was top quality for the price and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has enough training under their belt, real star-quality race! Date of review: July 18, 2011
In short: Tough Terrain, Terrible Weather but Terrific Event In full: On possibly the most miserable day of 2011 we took on 'The Clench 8'. After a short briefing about a 'hill within the first mile' and to take care with the very slippy terrain we were off. The first 2 or 3 miles passed relatively quickly despite the neverending rain and with no sign of the hill, but as we passed up a steep wooded bank decided that this must have been 'the hill'. However, on clearing the trees we were faced with an almost vertical climb of around 400metres. Normally I'll run up anything but even I had to admit defeat and walk. On a sunny day I am sure the views at the top of the ridge were spectacular, today we were lucky to not get knocked off the top of the ridge by the wind. Hats off to the Marshall at this point, sodden yet still smiling and encouraging every runner through. I thought the worse was over as we passed through some fantastic wooded trails and across some fields until we reached the end of the ridge and had to come back down. Again had to resort to very a slow jog to make it down in once piece, road shoes definitely not recommended for this!!! The rest of the run was relatively flat and quick, a mix of wooded trails, open fields of sheep and canal towpaths. With 200metres to go and a sprint finish in mind we were faced with the last 'test' a short but steep set of twopath steps, just to fully finish the legs off!!! This race is certainly not for the faint-hearted, it would be tough on a normal day, on a particularly wet and windy day some of the descents were a little bit hairy but I would definitely return and do this again, especially as the race was a charity event to raise money for a local community charity supporting a project in the Ghambia, so more than worth the entry fee which was good value anyway. Finally, an enormous thanks to the marshalls, every single one despite being completely drenched and windswept did a fantastic job of both marshalling and encourgaing every single runner. Excellent job guys and I really hope you make this an annual event! Date of review: June 12, 2011