In short: Fast and flat but not that interesting In full: This review is for the SPARKS half marathon not the 10K that has got mixed in below.
Dorney Lake is as flat as a pancake and four out and back laps of half of it (other half closed for construction work) were not as tedious as expected but the novelty had worn off after the first two. A decent pb course for many but not me. I prefer variety of incline and surface and found the monotony of pace and hard tarmac tough on the joints and muscles. Although good to be able to see the frontrunners throughout. Well organized I thought, although usual issue of not enough loos. Nice to get a copy of RW included too. Nice medal, and venue easy to get to for non-drivers (Taplow station, 10 mins by bicycle). I probably wouldn't do this one again but if you want a flat-out blast at your pb this could be for you. Date of review: March 14, 2010
In short: A tough course and well-organized race In full: This one has plenty of gradients and a course that in foul weather like today is quite exposed. A bit of a challenge. As always, well-organized with a decent medal. A friendly village-green race which I've done loads of times in the past will continue to do in the future. Date of review: February 28, 2010
In short: A bit of a mudfest at the venue, weather didn't help In full: Heavy rain and sodden ground at the start venue meant people huddled in the tents till the last minute. The ground was a quagmire, and some walkways would have been nice. Huge queues for the baggage tent, again possibly due to the weather making people delay. Start also was shambolic - I couldn't hear the PA or the hooter and had trouble figuring out where to start my watch. But once we got going it was fine. This is usually one of the better-organized events so hopefully this year was a blip. Well worth turning out for, a fairly flat course with good surfaces, and a nice medal and cup of tea at the finish. Date of review: February 21, 2010
In short: You can't go wrong with a 2:09 event In full: 2:09 do several events, and this one is typical. Smoothly organized, varied course through woods, along pavements and then along a towpath, a good no-nonsense no-frills race. I'll be back next year. Date of review: January 24, 2010
In short: Mmmmm ... pumpkin soup In full: Great organization, great atmosphere, lots of goodies and a great concept. And hot pumpkin soup afterwards - mmmmmmm!
Not convinced about the course being off-road though. Uneven surfaces caught me out a few times and the headlight illumination wasn't enough to see properly where I was putting my feet (even though I know the area well).
Definitely an event not to take seriously but as a social with a short jog included. Good atmospheric fun!
In short: Great event with a brutal course In full: They did say it was challenging ...
Excellent race with a great atmosphere. No particular niggles from me about the organization. Big thank you to the marshalls (they said 150 of them!) who were out in horizontal rain and worse on the more exposed parts of the course. To put on something like this is a huge logistical undertaking and as far as I was concerned it all went swimmingly. Unlike some others, the people with me got into the EP for free and were able to watch the finish. Stonking medal plus a pasty and a beer at the line, and T-shirt - makes this event superb value. I enjoyed the first half of the course more, because it was mostly off-road; once we joined the half mara course for the second half I found it tough going on the roads.
But all in all a fine event, all the more so for being the first. I'll be back! Date of review: October 12, 2009
In short: Pleasant enough In full: I too was nearly caught out by the start, and had to run to be on time. No clock at the finish either. But otherwise a nice enough if unremarkable race - turn up, run and get a medal. I appreciated the tea and cake stall, and the start venue was fine. Couldn't find any loos so used a bush (which is why I nearly missed the start). Would possibly do it again. Date of review: October 4, 2009
In short: A nice little low-key low-tech run In full: Fantastic venue and course - three laps of Churchill's stately pile in rolling Oxfordshire countryside. No fancy chip stuff or anything, just turn up and run ... I liked it. Date of review: September 19, 2009
In short: Tough start but fast finish In full: First km is hard with a large hill but thereafter it's gentle ups and downs and you get to go down the hill at the end. The result is a faster course than one might think. A nice village green type of event with tea and cake stalls, burger and beer bar. Smooth organization and all in a good day out. Worth doing. And the 10:30 start makes it accessible to those of us who take the train. Date of review: September 13, 2009
In short: I did the 30K trail option and enjoyed myself In full: I didn't get lost like others did but there was one place where I think I went wrong and added a couple of miles. Have to say though that signage was a bit lacking in a couple of places. But I don't really mind because the fantastic scenery and atmosphere made for an enjoyable day out. Good start venue, supervised baggage stow, enough loos (that's a first at an event), plenty of water and jelly babies. Not an event for racing, more for trundling across some gorgeous rolling countryside and taking in the views. Date of review: August 9, 2009