In short: "That hill", twice! In full: Well, it's all they said it would be! The highlight (?) is an extremely tough hill climb, which felt as if it went on for about half a mile, with no let-up in the gradient until the top, and which needed to be negotiated twice.
A great event which is very much multi-terrain. This is the first time I have run it, and with recent dry weather, the woodland paths were pretty straightforward and didn't offer the muddy challenges reported in some previous years. The first mile was on firm sand, which a U-turn after about half a mile, so it was great to see the whole field strung out along the beach. After that, roughly equal amounts of road and woodland paths. Not a course for a PB, but that's not really what this event is about!
In spite of a fresh onshore wind, the day was sunny and the air acceptably warm. With the event timed at the end of half term, lots of support around the course and particularly in the area of the finish.
The organisation was impeccable - clear and comprehensive pre-race instructions, good race HQ, start and finish in exactly the same location, loads of car parking on the spot and a really good PA system with a commentator who kept the chat going without descending into banality - top marks! There must have been a huge team of marshalls too, with all the twists and turns in the route, and they did a great job.
Definitely a scenic run, with the route out past Knightstone and round the point to Birnbeck being particularly enjoyable (except for thos steps) and a gently undulating run along the toll road towards Kewstoke. And then *that* hill! Aaagh! Date of review: February 22, 2009
In short: Bags of PB potential here, even on a windy day In full: This was only my second 10k, but the prospects of a PB weren't looking good on Saturday with high winds gusting across the South West. By the time of the start, though, the wind was down to moderate and, thank goodness, it was dry and even a little bit sunny. The pre-race instructions/directions were easy to follow. Race HQ was passable, but nothing special, so it's no great loss that the route (and presumably the HQ?) may change for 2010.
Timing chips were great - a velcro ankle-band is so much less fiddly than tyvek strips. Top marks here, also for the excellent software used. I particularly liked the terminal set up at the finish which allowed you to put in your race number and see your official time immediately. (A bit like the stock-checker computer at Argos, but much more rewarding to use!)
The course itself was as flat as expected - two laps of a loop in the flat bit of the already flat Exe valley just below the Quay, which a short run into the loop and out again to start and finish. Excellent km markers - all very clear - and a great team of cheerful marshalls (probably pleased at the lack of rain too!). The proximity to central Exeter seemeed to draw out a reasonable crowd too, which was nice.
A friendly race, well-organised and I would certainly do it again. Top marks too for the memento, a towel with embroidered race inscription instead of a medal or statuette!
Oh, and yes, I got that PB. Date of review: January 18, 2009
In short: Positive experience for my first ever ten-miler. In full: The cold before the start was definitely not friendly, but everything else about this event was! It was a shame about the half-hour delay at the start, but there was a big warm sports hall to hunker down in, so this wasn't really too much of a problem!
There have been comments about the respective locations of start, finish and race HQ in the past and, as long as you are aware of the relative distances in advance, this is not really a problem. The jog to the start was fine for a short warmer-upper and the jog back from the finish was almost too long, but more than compensated for by excellent hot showers.
The race itself was great! My first 10-miler. The course was pretty level - just a couple of short gentle inclines, but nothing too taxing - and the marshalling was excellent. No problems at all keeping the pace going. I managed to average seven-minute miles, which was very pleasing!
What could be improved? Well, there were no timing chips, so I am still waiting for an official time, but the field was small enough for there to be minimal difference between gun time and personal time. Some improvement in the queueing system for hot drinks after the event would be worth considering. Other than that, a great event and one I'll plan to do again! Date of review: January 4, 2009
In short: Shame about the organisation at the end. In full: Enjoyable enough race, but the organidsation at the end left something to be desired. The shepherding after the finish was so poor that I missed the goody bag completely. Only a small matter, and the contents probably were not up to much anyway (!), but it's all part of the occasion. Completed in just over two hours. Date of review: December 5, 2008
In short: First ever 10k - PB in the bag! Most enjoyable. In full: Heavy rain drumming on the roof of the car an hour before the start did not bode well for my first ever 10k. By 11.00am, the rain had stopped, the sun was threatening to break through and the wind was not going to let up. Excellent race on a novel and interesting track (the Castle Combe motor racing circuit). The km markers were really helpful, the group of supporters on each lap encouraging and the chap with the loudhailer (Will?) kept everyone aware of what was going on, which was great. As for the race, I was delighted to cross the finishing line in 44mins 36 seconds. Top marks all round!! Date of review: November 23, 2008
In short: PB! In full: Excellent race! Fortunately I was in the first wave start and, although I set off a little too fast, was able to keep going at around eight-minute miles. Finished in 1 hour 42 minutes. Delighted! Date of review: November 22, 2008
In short: Closing in on that PB! In full: This was my second consecutive FLM, thanks to the good offices of HELP THE HOSPICES, who again entrusted me with one of their Gold Bond places. After my 2007 experience, I felt that I had an outside chance of finishing in less than four hours - and getting near to the time I ran in 1989, my only previous London Marathon. Fortunately, I encountered a Runner's World pacemaker about three miles from the start. He was carrying a "nine-minute miles" flag and the race plan became clear to me at that very moment - stick to him like glue. I am pleased to say that it worked - and I acknowledge that without him it would have been really difficult to break four hours! Fantastic race and I finished in 3 hours 53 minutes. A perfect day! Date of review: November 22, 2008
In short: Appalling organisation, but I salvaged something from the day by achieving a PB. In full: Negatives: 1. Delayed start - appalling. 2. Mud - unavoidable. 3. Finishing funnel - chaotic. 4. Baggage retrieval line - unacceptably long and slow. Positive: PB! Date of review: March 27, 2008