In short: Brilliantly organised. Hardcore hills. Muddy fun. In full: Despite all the recent rain, the course was much easier under foot than in 2009. However, that hill was still there! This is an awesome trail race. Brilliantly organised and great value. A real small-club-run feel and some great cakes and bacon rolls at the end. I would recommend this one again and again.
Expect lots of mud and lots of hills. Date of review: January 17, 2011
In short: Muddy, filthy fun In full: Brilliant XC run with lots of mud. First 3 miles is pretty tame then you hit sand trenches full of muddy water. Then lots of mud thereafter. The final mile or so is deep mud but much easier than last year's (when everyone was having to pull each other out of the waist/chest bog!). 9 odd miles is plenty on this one. Great goody bag, t-shirt and parking is excellent. Date of review: November 24, 2010
In short: Excellent bumpy course, always like the ease of parking at start In full: Phew I've read a few complaints about this one which is a pity because the fire station guys regularly throw great events. Those who didn't get a goody bag shouldn't worry - its was the usual assortment of nothing (I really wouldn't bother with these full stop, any race). I agree on the water stops - I would have expected at least one more but it wasn't the end of the world. The guy at the start really needed a PA/megafone as nobody could hear it and I would definitely have the start on the road like the 10m to avoid the congestion.
All-in-all a nice small event half marathon at a good value price.
So that aside, this is a cracker of a race. Lovely country course with plenty of testing hills but a really fast final 3/4m. Traffic for me was no issue and I didn't think more marshalls were really needed. Gun to chip is fine for me on a small race like this and I have my own watch anyway. Date of review: October 18, 2010
In short: Marvellous course and well-organised event. Maybe the best marathon I've run In full: So it had tipped it down for a couple of days so we knew what to expect - mud and lots of it. We were quite lucky that after 2 hours or so the rain eased off. The course is tough with lots of hills - which gets tougher from mile 16 hill until the end. Some tarmac sections but not much. Very good marshalling and enough water stations with squash, bananas and jelly babies (I'm greedy so would have liked to see crackers and/or biscuits for my salt/sugar fix). I thoroughly enjoyed this run and even managed to speed up in the last 3 miles - it was quite a novelty overttaking people!
No stress getting or leaving the event - just a good run. Definitely one to go back to in 2011. Date of review: October 4, 2010
In short: A very scenic...but brutal...marathon In full: What a brilliantly organised event! Good parking, decent facilities at start, registration easy and racing chips included. There were so many marshals on the route that you just couldn't go the wrong way and they were very supportive. Feeding stations with plenty of choice (water, orange, blackcurrant - biscuits and crackers for salt). An enthusiastic crowd egging you on at the end of a tough race.
But the course, that was tough. First 10 seemed a bit lumpy with a few hills but miles 5-10 mostly downhill; then there was the massive St Martha’s hill (550ft climb) and lots of sand to make it tougher (the sand on tracks continued for much of the race). When you reached the top there were absolutely magnificent views across the North Downs. The second half seemed much lumpier (including a cheeky climb up to St Catherine’s ruins) with the sand on many tracks making thing tougher plus a lot of styles to climb with aching muscles.
A really demanding but well organised race in a beautiful area.
In short: Consistently good year after year In full: A really good MT race with some killer hills not least the never-ending haul not far from the end. Very supportive marshals (expecially that lady at mile 8!). Well organised rural event in the national park. Much better weather this year with dust replacing the mud! Date of review: August 16, 2010
In short: Hilly course with some lovely views - worth the trip In full: You get what you pay for - and when you pay £8/£10 don't expect goody bags, super medals and t-shirts or traffic-free roads. This is a club race and IMHO a pretty good one. Low-key can be good The course is pretty hilly for the first 10 but then has a fast and kind last 3 miles. I heard about some of the leaders going off the wrong way and I can guess exactly where - there was a left turn followed by an almost immediate right turn. I was on my own and wondered which was to go but then saw the sign but it wasn't obvious - a marshal was needed there.
I would like a ribbon added to the medal with a year on it though. And like normal, I'd like orange squash added at the water stations.
The ferry over and 1930s tube train journey is always fun with the kids and makes the event a little different. Date of review: August 16, 2010
In short: Excellent race. Just gets better. In full: This is my favourite road half marathon. Starts in a large picturesque park with good facilities then moves off into rural country roads. There are some serious hills on this run which stops you ever getting into a comfortable pace. I thought this year it might be cooler but the sun came out just before the race on a 22 degree day. Plenty of water stations (and I mean a lot). Would have liked orange squash as well. Parking issues seem to be resolved now that we've found the office parking near the supermarket. Medal, T-shirt, drink and ice lolly collection much much better than last year. The kids loved the fun run and the play area/bouncey castles. We will be back again and again. Date of review: June 14, 2010
In short: Very well organised impressive half marathon In full: I give this overall top marks for many reasons:
- excellent race venue with good facilities - very supportive marshals all the way around controlling traffic where needed - multiple water stations - good size participation (not too big for course) - challenging lumpy course due to the ups and downs of subways plus the "long hill". - superfast final mile - excellent t-shirt and goody bag
Basically there aint that much nice to look at in Bracknell (except the short reservoir and river segments) unless you like pedestrianised housing estates and roundabouts but this race is a little gem. Good chance of a PB and brilliantly organised. Had forgotten how good it is.
NB: they do need to add time indication signs at start and I would move the start line so people come out of the race venue at the back of it (rather than at the front). Both factors led to the start line-up being very mixed up in ability. Date of review: May 11, 2010
In short: Well organised, low-key, excellent event (20m Downloand Challenge) In full: I highly recommend this event. Parking easy. Race number collection easy. No big queues for toilets. All runners (20m and 40m) set off together into beautiful countryside and footpaths. The preceding rainfall made the course quite muddy in places but it could have been a lot, lot worse. Weather was kind during the race. A few really good points to mention:
- fellow participants were really friendly and chatty. - the water/feed stations were excellent. Jaffa cakes, biscuits, jelly babies, ritz crackers, water, squash, fizzy drinks, hot drinks. Just what was needed. - friendly and supportive marshals
Like the rest of the event, the finish was very low key but I was happy with my cup of squash, creme egg and t-shirt. I had to miss the grub as I had to rush off afterwards.
A very well organised event for those who enjoy a nice run through great countryside. Date of review: April 6, 2010