In short: Exteremly well organised, marshalling around the course excellent and very supportive. In full: 2013 - I live in Dorset now but was born in Southend and took the opportunity to have a “family weekend” (visiting relatives) and, long overdue, run in the Great Bentley Half Marathon.
The parking was very well organised, and the marshalling around the course was excellent and very supportive. It was flipping cold for us runners, so for people to stand around for two and half hours or so, must have been horrendous, but you never would have thought that from the applause and encouragement that all were giving along the way. I must have had around 7 or 8 “Well done Westbourne’s” and a couple of marshalls scrutinising the vest closely, with a little “surprise” in their face, prompting a couple “Hi Westbourne – great to see you”. How about that for Essex hospitality !
This is a great event that I would thoroughly recommend. It is extremely well organised, some lovely (albeit flat) scenery, superb friendly marshalls, race results published within hours. I will definitely make the trip and do the race again.
In short: I certainly would recommend this to anyone who fancies a nice run in the forest, does not care about their time, enjoys great scenery, likes a few hills or is in training for something longer / tougher, oh and does not mind a bit of mud In full: “This race will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think the people that like Beast, Stickler, and Studland etc might like this. I certainly would recommend this to anyone who fancies a nice run in the forest, does not care about their time, enjoys great scenery, likes a few hills or is in training for something longer / tougher, oh and does not mind a bit of mud, well lots of mud actually.
Being the day after Weymouth 10, and “across the border” into Hampshire, there were not many runners I recognised – well none actually, until just at the start line I caught up with Carole Loader, Caroline Horder and Debbie Camp from Bournemouth Joggers (Did not see them after the start though- they are all a lot quicker than me !).
It’s a great scenic race totally traffic-free event through the New Forest - 15K of undulations and hills (but nothing as steep as the Stickler – I did run the whole race all but about ten yards !!!).
But there was mud, some up hills, some more mud, some downhills, some more mud and few more up hills, (you get the drift ….). At about 13K there were a couple of places of calf-knee deep water (that washed the mud off) and then more mud for the rest of the race.
Hard to compare your time really as you kind of squelch and swagger in places rather than run, but is a really good workout and unbeatable forest scenery and views, plus ingeniously organised route and race venue. One I’d do again.
We often comment that marshalls are friendly and encouraging – This race is a contender for “best race marshalling of the year award” – A feature unique to this race is where the marshalling points had lists of the entrants, and the marshals were giving out first name cheers to all the passing runners – even from a stranger a “Come on Ray” is always welcome. Marshalling this one is quite a lonely affair with just 124 runners quite strung out across the forest with marshalling points miles from anywhere, but each marshal was very lively and supportive (and some apologetic about the mud and hills !!!). I did like the positive spin they put on everything including classics such as: – “there’s a nice downhill section soon” (meaning – “there’s a flipping big hill up ahead first”; “There’s a nice section to wash your shoes coming up” (meaning – here comes the water !!!) and “nearly there, I’m the last marshal” which I heard three times, including from the one dressed up as a six-foot Bumble Bee !!!
This event is organised by Totton Running Club who used to organise the Totton 10K, the first race I even ran in. That used to be a great event with children’s races and such, raising money for the local school and charities, yet due to difficulties with local authorities, police and safety concerns is not allowed to run any more. So Totton RC ingeniously went off-road and organised a race in the forest. This is its third year, and my initial prediction that this would be a cult race like the Stickler and grow in popularity has not yet materialised, but I do think it deserves more than the 124 entries it had this year.
It is hard to fault the organisation – As a previous entrant I was sent an e-mail months ago when the date was announced (I am surprised more races do not send entry forms and notifications to runners who have entered before, especially those smaller races who wonder why their entry numbers drop if their race is not in the DRRL); once entered you get e-mail confirmations – and even updates regarding the traffic and road closures, etc.
Upon turning off of the A31, the Totton RC flags make the race HQ entrance visible from a long way away, and the quaint Race HQ of a car park, tents, gazebos, Burger van and portaloos within seconds from the race start and finish make it all very relaxing and easy.
Goody bag was a bit different, with a “Running Belt” (for you to carry gels, I Pads, phones, drinks, etc) and an “Arm Strap” thingy (to carry even more stuff if you feel so inclined). Also contained a nut bar (any kind of food after a race is always welcomed), complete with a health warning that it contained nuts.
Congratulations to Totton Running Club – a great event. This race really does deserve more recognition and more entries”
In short: Tough and hilly, but scenic and well-organised from the Bill In full: It is hilly, and not really a PB course at all, but you get great views instead. Great views of Chesil Beach, and the run down to the Portland Bill lighthouse gives you views of the sea and lighthouses, Running back up from the bill has views of the Dorset Jurrasic coast.
One of the best, well organised races around. July can of course be hot, but I think I counted about 8 water stations and 3 sponge stations.
Plenty of friendly and enthusiastic marshalls, and very welcoming and supportive residents of Portland.
Very useful quality embroidered towel as the race souvenir.
Congrats and thanks to all the organisation team, and people of Portland. In all, a highly recommeded race. Date of review: July 5, 2009
In short: Great amosphere, ideal for all standards In full: A nice low-key race getting increasing popular each year (and deservedly so). Organisation keeps improving, the km markers were displayed this year which was welcomed (although I am still not convinced about their accuracy, and think the overall distance is a bit short, so flatters your time). Race has a great mix of club, non-club / "ordinary" runners. Course has a few small inclines to test you but overall is pleasant. Great way to spend an evening. Date of review: June 20, 2008
In short: Well-organised; friendly marshals, good PB potential In full: This race has a lot going for it. Good leisure centre facilities (refreshments, bar, changing, etc); course is pretty flat; marshals are friendly and enthusiastic. Race souvenir always different (this year a specil key ring with £1 coin size locker/trolley token). Only "complaint" would be the lack of visibility of distance markers. Date of review: September 23, 2007
In short: Lovely course, pleasant atmosphere In full: Once again a very pleasant evening race. The turnout is quite mixed, so ideal for beginners / slower runners, etc... I am sure the distance is "flattering", as I always seem to get an excellent time for 8K at this one. I agree it would be helpful to have distance markers. Organisation has "moved up a notch" from last year with the water station and results - result service excellent with posting on web by following morning. Five of our club did this race and all enjoyed it - we are planning to include on our "club championship" schedule for enxt year. Date of review: June 22, 2007