In short: Decent fast race. In full: This is the second year I have run the Shinfield 10k and I have to say on the whole I wasn't disappointed.
I'll start with the positives. The route is very good, and they do well to avoid the major roads and take in some of the countryside in the area. Chip timing is a major plus for me and it's nice there is a fate as well for the non-runners and children to enjoy. This really adds to the day and makes for a family day out. There are loads of marshals about cheering you on, as well as locals stood outside their front doors. Having constant support is a big plus.
The minor issues I have with the race are these. This event is getting so big now, it's clearly outgrown the space they use for the start. There is barely enough room for the runners at the start/finish and although they have done a decent job of not allowing spectators into the back where the toilets and bag drop off area is, once the race has finished it’s very short of space. I think a new start/finish point will be required.
Not having the race numbers and chips posted out in advance was also a disappointment. This meant we all had to arrive well in advance and then 760 runners are stood around with nothing to do for well over 30-50 minutes. Had this been raining, it would have made for a miserable start to the race. I’d like to see these numbers and chips posted out in advance.
The final point is about not wearing headphones. Unlike some events Shinfield clearly tell you well in advance that you can’t use headphones (unlike Swallowfield 10k last year when they told you at the start line). That said I cannot see any reason why we can’t use them. The first part is on a closed road, then through fields and a quiet housing estate and then quite country lanes, back through a field and that earlier housing esate. I saw one car over take me, and with plenty of marshals about to wave you through, I can’t see why headphones are banned. I use my iPod to tell me my pacing information per mile, so having to look at this device is more distracting that listening to it. Even if I could use one headphone that wouldn’t be so bad. I run on open roads on other races without issue, and this just smacks to me of someone with a little bit of power letting it go to their head, or H&S gone mad.
Despite these minor issues, it’s still a great race and I will be taking part again next year. Hopefully it will continue to grow and improve over time. Date of review: May 6, 2014
In short: Dangerous when it's muddy In full: Don't get me wrong I enjoy a challenge and I like to push myself when running. But in all honesty this race should have been canceled.
Due to all the recent heavy rain large parts of this route where nearly impassable due to the thick mud. Within the 1st k, you enter the forest on a narrow path and everyone has to take avoiding action of the mud and each other. This nearly lead to several people coming together and I'm amazed there weren't any accidents.
Later on there was a long grass section which was so soaked with water every time you put your foot down it slipped away from underneath you. Very dangerous with a high risk of injury. Shortly after that there was another steep hill covered in thick mud which a marshal warned us about. Basically everyone walked up that through the tress either side. No danger of doing much running.
If your going to organise a race in a forest don't arrange one at the start of the year. Wait until July or August to due the risk of it being wet and muddy.
In short: Could be so much better In full: This was a decent enough event, and with a bit more thought could have been so much better. The route is well marked and marshalled. The setting is very nice and having closed road is always a nice bonus. I do think that they should straight line the finish a little bit more instead of having to make two turns off the road. But I'm nit picking now.
The problems I found were with the parking. There is a large open field between the start and finish line, so it's ideally positioned. That said there was no urgency by those in charge to get cars in and parked. The queue was back onto the main road and you could tell people were getting annoyed and frustrated, as they just wanted to get in, parked and start warming up. My second complaint was regarding the "no music" rule. We were all told on the start line that we could not listen to music on the route or face being disqualified. There was no mention of this on their website or in the booklet they sent out once you had signed up. It's a bit late in the day to be telling 400 people this. There were loads of annoyed people running the route with headphones wrapped around their wrists, and there was no need for this either. With closed roads there was zero traffic, and besides you are running on country lanes not main roads.
Fix the parking and let us listen to music and this could be a really great event. Date of review: September 24, 2013
In short: Poor organisation In full: I was really looking forward to this race. In pleasant surroundings, away from traffic and a nice flat course. Sounds like an ideal 10k run for after work. And all those things are true, however the race was ruined for a group of runners who were held up getting to the event because of the heavy traffic in the village of Pangbourne. This meant there was a group of 10-15 runners rushing to get to the start line.
People needing the toilet who had to wait in line behind non runners. And to rub salt into the wound they started the race knowing full well there were people still waiting to get to the start line. For the sake of waiting 1 more minute everyone could have been in place. This meant those of us starting at the back had to muscle are way past hundreds of slower runners at the start which as it turns out is the narrowest section of the course. What a complete joke. We had a similar thing at the Tadley 10k earlier in the month and the starter was decent enough to hang on for 30 seconds.
Will I do this race again. No, and I won't be recommending it either. Date of review: August 1, 2013
In short: A good first 10k run In full: This was my first timed 10k run. Well organised and a nice atmosphere. The course gets you to run past the start where loads of people are there to cheer you on which can really give you a much needed boost. Will be doing this one again for sure. Date of review: January 13, 2013
In short: One too many long hills In full: Seemed strange to start in the road, when there is a sports field next to the road. Also the end was in the middle of a road, and it seemed too cluttered when your trying to finish a race, the last thing you want is a medal given to you and your timing chip taken from you. The route is based in the countryside, but there are two nasty long hills one of which is right at the end. Date of review: January 13, 2013