In short: Deal 2003 revisited In full: In many years of racing,I have only once encountered more daunting conditions than miles 5 to 10 today (the infamous 2003 Deal 5).I knew I was in trouble on the way out,when I found myself being comfortably outpaced by discarded water cups being blown along at sub-6 minute mile pace.
At times,it was hard to keep going forwards and a PB was impossible in that wind.
However,as always,there were lots of positives-very supportive marshalls who did a great job (and standing around in those conditions would not have been pleasant),excellent polo shirt,warm and welcoming race HQ,friendly atmosphere etc.
If possible,there should be more toilets before the start but otherwise,it's a great race that will hopefully still be there 25 years from now (I hope I am !).
After 2 consecutive years with a ferocious headwind on the return 5 miles,the odds are in our favour for a calm,still December morn next year when the course will be a real pleasure. Date of review: December 2, 2007
In short: Rapidly becoming one of the best Autumn halfs around In full: This has the potential to be the biggest Autumn half in Kent.Considering it's only in its 2nd year,yesterday's field was impressive.
It's potentially very quick,as the course (the first 12 miles anyway)is pancake flat and made for even-pacing.However,the hill at 12 miles is seriously draining and the nature of the route means it will always be at the mercy of the weather.
The organisation was great-loads of marshalls and spectators and the "goody bag"lived up to its name-which certainly isn't always the case.
It's a great course for everyone from elites (potential for a seriously fast time)to beginners (lots of crowd support,big field of all abilities).
The size of the available area at the Lees also means it could accommodate an even bigger field-but,like others have said,it will need to scale up toilet provision,directions from car parks etc.
To grow even bigger Date of review: October 1, 2007
In short: Nice,solid 10K,for a very good cause In full: This race is primarily about raising funds for a worthwhile local charity,so we shouldn't be too "picky".
The course is made up of very quick flat or downhill sections,mixed with 2 or 3 tough hills,so a PB is unlikely.
It scores high on value,as the tee-shirt is well above average and the proximity of the finish to the car park and the "finish area" is great-lots of support for all the runners,right to the last finisher.
I also liked the fact that the childrens' fun run took place before the 10K,which meant they had lots of support and encouraged family participation.
In short: Much better than its previous reputation suggests. In full: I had serious misgivings about entering,but whatever its failings in the past,it is now an excellent race.
There was a great atmosphere and all those involved in the organisation/marshalling etc deserve the highest praise for the effort they put in to make it a great race for all the runners.
The organisation was fine,despite an enforced last-minute change of course due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak.
All of the route is scenic and most of it is flat and very quick,although a leg-sapping section on sandy footpaths probably made a PB very difficult to achieve.
I will definitely be back next year and can highly recommend it.Don't be put off by previous year's reviews,today's half marathon was a really good race and much,much better than I'd expected. Date of review: August 19, 2007
In short: I'm sure I'd rate it higher if it hadn't been so slippery ! In full: Hard for me to be objective as from a personal point of view,I had a shocker !
My problem was that ,apart from the blessed relief between miles 10 and 13 (the road section) I spent most of the race desperately trying not to fall over and was unable to get into any kind of consistent pace.
That had everything to do with the unseasonably heavy rainfall recently and a major misjudgement by choosing to run in Asics DS Trainers,when it seemed only Walshes would have kept me upright(if I had any).
Of course,that is entirely my fault and I shall definitely be back as in any other conditions,that course would be a "cracker".
The marshalls did a great job in difficult circumstances and those at the water stations were really efficient and encouraging-sincere thanks to you all.
The selection of cakes at the finish was amazing-I now see why they get so many mentions !
Above all,Wadhurst Runners have come up with something really different and I look forward to next year (when it will probably be 90 degrees and I'll still be complaining ! ). Date of review: July 1, 2007
In short: For my money,the best race on the calendar. In full: Like many others,I find the NDR simply unmissable.Every year,I look forward to it and every year,I forget just how tough it is !
The last 10K is totally unforgiving unless you've paced the first 20K properly (like I didn't do this year),but it's worth every single ache and painful step.
Scenery-outstanding.Fantastic views and beautiful rural surroundings.In fact,it was better than ever this year,perhaps due to it being a couple of weeks earlier than usual.
PB Potential-if it weren't for the fact that it's the only 30K I've ever done,it would be non-existent !This is a very,very tough course and the cumulative effect of all the hills makes the final stretch in Shorne Country Park and the uphill road section that follows as hard as anything I've ever encountered.
Atmosphere-outstanding.There's a real sense that all the runners are in it together and there's always a great atmosphere at the finish afterwards.
Organisation-again,outstanding.The marshalling and marking of the course are the best you'll ever experience and the children at the water stations do a really great job.
Value-ditto ! a top quality tee-shirt,plenty of fruit,water and delicious cakes plus free swim,BBQ etc.
Beginner-friendliness-very friendly and supportive to runners of all standards,but this race is very tough and not really suited to beginners unless they've put in the necessary training.
Overall-still the best race in the calendar.If I could only do one race a year,this would be it. Date of review: June 10, 2007