In short: Fantastic scenic course with some testing hills In full: I was really impressed by this event. Race HQ fine at a school. The race staff had been there all morning seeing off those 50 and 100 miler nutters. Start was a way off over the railway and then the course follows the North Downs Way - so the markers were a mix of the official footpath signage, centurion black/yellow neon arrows plus some small yellow ground flags in places. The problem was that the sharp left turn at about mile 2 had no centurion marker. I only went the right way because someone spotted the NDW arrow and called a load of guys back who had gone straight on. By mile 4-5, suddenly I was being overtaken by loads of runners (so clearly I had gone wrong or they had - I ran 26.3m in the end). At the feed station it became clear that some people had already put in an extra mile or so - glad it wasn't me.
The rest of the run takes you up and down some good hills, Tarmac, woodland path, sand tracks (horrible) and eventually up to St Martha's church, back down and then quickly back up. There was about 2,500 ft of climb so quite bumpy. Much of it was familiar from the Farnham Pilgrim last year. The out-and-back worked well for me.
The finish was pretty low key, tucked behind a petrol station. But then parts of this race were pretty quiet - being near the back and only 70-odd runners meant it was all pretty split up beyond 20 miles. Almost like a training run.
I must give mention to the feed stations - best ever for drinks, sweets, savouries - really really good. Would have preferred to see them every 4 or so miles but I guess this is focussed on the ultra's events not marathon nancies.
Parking by race HQ was simple but perhaps next time I will pay to park at Farnham station so I don't need to hobble all the way back as finish was some way from HQ.
A good event with great terrain and scenery. Beats the sh*t out of roadies. Date of review: August 15, 2011
In short: Continues to be a superb event In full: 4th year in a row I've done this one. Speaks for itself. Great challenging course. Gets mixed up year-on-year. Wet or dry it makes for excellent terrain. Great marshalling, great organisation and great fun. Lots of heavy shading as well on parts of the course which is greatly appreciated when we get a sunny one. This is definitely one of the best trail HMs around the south. Date of review: August 15, 2011
In short: Tough hills and brilliant organisation. Great race. In full: What a good race. All off-road, mostly on wide tracks within woodland. It is multiple lap but done cleverly with several different circuits. It was also the best marked race I have ever been on. The hills down and up are long, long, long - my Garmin finished with 1,500 feet ascent which isn't bad for a half marathon! The view from Holmbury Hill was pretty special. Marshalled brilliantly, good HQ, orange squash as well as water at the frequent stations. And a nice sunny day to add to it. If you want to get ahead, start near the front as there is a styal 1/4 mile in that will certainly slow things down - I had hoped for a similar queue on the return at mile 13 but, unfortunately, not.
An excellent well-organised event. Date of review: July 25, 2011
In short: 25k. Superb scenic hilly run. Poor route marking In full: Entered this online and received no further information until I enquired 3 days before race which was a bit poor. The event's website isn't the best either but did the job.
On the day, a very good race. Easy parking. Easy number and chip collection. Organised start. Beautiful scenery that beats the pants off road runs. At one point we ended up in a small village in between two hills and it was stunning.
This one definitely reminded me of the Salisbury 54321 but smaller. Multi-distance, walkers and runners (and bikes) over very beautiful public footpaths and private land. The 25k distance was perfect for my marathon training. The route marking needs to be much better. Around Goodwood I would have gone off course at least twice if a fellow runner (who must have run last year) guided me and others back on course. At one point by the racecourse where we ended back where we have been earlier, there were two identical markers pointing in opposite directions! Sure, you have a map but if the event does some marking, the map becomes fairly useless if you can't identify easily where you are on it! Nobody told me there were check-in points to be initialled. I found out because I stopped at the first water station (others didn't). This station was overrun and the one person on it really needed more help.
Aside from this, the actual run was superb. The course great. Other runners were friendly. The downhill in the last 2/3 miles was welcome and very fast.
If they get the course marking right on this (or more marshals or both), this could be an excellent event.
I will be back for the 42k next year. Date of review: July 13, 2011
In short: Awesome as ever. Sets the benchmark In full: Not much to add from previous years' comments. This run is excellently organised, nice course with a few bumps and a very fast last 3m. Great local event. All-in-all a brilliant event from start to finish. Only minor grip: the hedges and trees really needed a trim on the business park road this time to avoid running on the road. Will be back again next year and the year after. Top marks! Date of review: May 18, 2011
In short: Brilliantly organised, excellent support all the way In full: Well, I waited 5 years for this place and listened to everyone tell me it was the best marathon etc. After running it, I can say that this is a truly brilliant mass race. The organisation at the start was silky smooth and throughout the 26.2m. And the support, well that is staggering. Everywhere people are shouting for you. The only places not covered with spectators were the underpasses. The finish is very, very well organised. Running a fast one is tough if you are not high up in the pens - this is London and most roads are narrow which makes for a slow start. The finish turn at Birdcage Walk/The Mall also got pretty cluttered. The only downside was I ran a cr@p one - but can't blame anyone else for that. Will be applying in the ballot year-after-year. Date of review: April 19, 2011
In short: Superb sunny Bournemouth Beach run In full: Such a fast, flat race. You have two inclines but apart from that it is flat as a pancake. Definitely a PBer. Weather was perfect. Sunshine but not too hot. Not big wind which can be a killer on a seafront run. The scenery is fantastic; I saw another review described it as monotonous - this course would be if it wasn't for the amazing views.
Race start was the usual congestion; it should probably start further down the prom from the pier. The expected time markers made not sense (the quickest being 1:40) so the start was a free-for-all but that was quickly solved on the Durley Chine hill! That hill takes the puff out of you massively but once you get back on the beach at Alum Chine, you can easily settle into a fast pace. Support around the pier was excellent.
A saw a comment about the 1k race getting in the way to the race start. You could, of course, walk through the entrance to the winter gardens to get around it - but there were no signs saying this. Similiarly I don't recall seeing a sign pointing towards the left for the t-shirts and bags after the finish so anyone turning right would have missed them.
This really is a great race in a very picturesque location, especially when the weather is so good. Date of review: April 4, 2011
In short: It's the big finish that makes this one good In full: No doubt about it, take away the superb finish in the Madejski Stadium and this is a fairly average half marathon with too many runners. Support is great in many parts but it lacks on the A33 when you most need it from mile 11 to Green Park. Marshaling is good, as are drink stations (with energy drinks as well as bottled water) but the issues remain the same: too many runners for the roads at the start of the race, too many runners starting in the wrong places and holding up the pack, and another late start; Reading HM always struggles to go on time.
The organisers still need to find that extra mile so runners don't need to do the demoralising out and back at green park at mile 12. BUT the run into the stadium to finish is truly a great end to a race. The support is loud and the atmosphere fantastic. This really is the main reason to run this congested mass participation run. Date of review: April 4, 2011
In short: Consistantly good. Excellent marshalling In full: Second time I've run this and its been improved by relocating the start so you run the race track circuit at the start rather than the previous soul-destroying finish. I don't like multi-lap events usually but moving into the second 10 mile lap seemed fine (even with the 10 mile racers finishing next to you). The course is great for marathon training. A few undulations to work all leg muscles and some nice scenery. Excellent giveaways at end, choc bars, drinks etc. Date of review: April 4, 2011
In short: Top event, great scenery, great multi-terrain - shocking weather! In full: This is a very well organised event. Nice seafront course, along a prom, in and out of a marina, across a harbour beach (muddy by name...), common land, roads, playing fields and back on the prom. Very varied.
Nice and flat so should be a PB special BUT the weather was a shocker. Non-stop rain was one thing but the wind, especially in the last 4 along the seafront, was a shocker! Running against a wind brick wall all added to the challenge.
Marshalling excellent (especially in the dreadful rain) but did wonder why the road crossing by Milton Common was missing someone.
Would definitely come back. In fact, I'm going to try the marathon in the December. Date of review: February 14, 2011