In short: Fantastic as usual In full: Yet again, Dartford put on a great event. All staff were fantastic, supportive, encouraging and full of smiles. It was great to see the Scouts and Beavers handing out water. Thanks also to the marshals and the patient vehicle drivers being held at junctions. The course is a challenging one with several hills to test you. Thankfully it wasn't too hot this time but I was glad I took my bladder pack with me. The medal was ok -ish, but good to see that it had the date on it. Perhaps something more that just a banana at the end.
A word of warning - They were strict on headphone use this year. You were warned that they would not be permitted and I did see several officials on the route looking out for, and noting down, AND using their radio to report back to base any offending race numbers. Date of review: July 16, 2014
In short: PB for sure, challenge yourself. Friendly club In full: 2nd time for me. Last year a PB sub 45 min, just under the 46 min this time but had recovered from injury, and it was windy. Great venue, great facilities, GREAT atmosphere. The officials and marshals are top draw and very supportive. Course in generally flat but with a couple of digs to keep you on ya toes. Its all pavement / road but traffic was well controlled. There were clear K markers too. Water station half way and at the end. Inside there were goodies for sale to eat. Bag storage well organised, parking great. Thanks Larkfield. Date of review: May 11, 2014
In short: A challenge physically and being a circuit with off road, if wet, could be very tough. In full: A very respectable 1st event for Ashford and I am chuffed I did it. Despite recovering from and injury, I was most happy to come in just under 2hrs given that the course was part off-road and with a couple of testing hills.
I did love the start / finish on track, as it lended itself to a real race atmosphere, with supporters and timing clocks.
I do enjoy off road and was happy with the mix here. I imagine it would have been carnage if it had been raining.
The marshals were plentiful and happy in their role. The route was generally light in traffic. The water / refreshment stations were well stocked will all sorts of goodies.
The goodie bag was perhaps a light, but the medal was quality. Parking more than adequate, bag storage was very secure. Facilities champion. Staff top draw.
My only niggle was the bottle-neck at the narrow bridge and it being slippy. I did witness a woman falling over there and she did appear shocked but thankfully not injured. I appreciate that this route is perhaps a club runners 10k which has been made official for the events and apart from getting some sort of temporary bridge structure in place for next year (perhaps approach the local TA / cadets to provide something and help marshal), I can think of no other solution.
Overall - A quality event that I am sure will grow in popularity. Date of review: December 4, 2013
In short: My local. Great kids involvement. Good organisation. Great venue In full: I am told this was the 3rd year for this event. I wish I had done them all as I am so local (must have been working). Our group all met up at the start point in time to watch the kids set off. Great family and friends support with loads of clapping and encouragement for the kids. They get a medal too. The mayor set started us off with a countdown (about 140 runners - several clubs represented and many solo entries). Ground was soft and mixture of grass and cinder track. A convolving route through the park. Three circuits, one water station, water only. couple of short inclines which are placed to drain and hurt. Thankfully the last 300m are downhill. Atmosphere was great with good marshalling, signage and directions. Timekeepers were on the ball for finishers. Okay medal, but disappointed that the ribbon was cut, threaded trough and tied in a knot! Why wasn't a reef knot not used? Just made the medal tatty looking. I would imagine that with some work, this venue could become something better. There is loads of ground, a play park, railway, paddling pool, bumper cars, bouncy castle for the kids, toilets, cafe and parking. On that note I was told that council demanded car park fees. I understand that ordinarily there are no fees for parking! Sneaky. I will do this event again as the little club need support. Thanks to all involved. Date of review: September 9, 2013
In short: OVEN HOT - slick event, special race - hard work. In full: Someone turned the oven up on this one. 30 degrees, little wind....phewww!
Organisation was top draw with ample parking, great facilities, FANTASTIC staff and marshals, helpers, members of public with hose pipes and jelly babies. I was anxious at the distance in this heat and had every reason to be so. Dusty path caused a few issues to begin with but can't argue as the heat cooked us all. There was no way I was going to get under 2hrs. Plenty of water stations with loads of liquid (isotonic), and also orange segments. The lake is huge (actually it's about 15 miles around - funny that!) but so very beautiful to look at (actually I was very tempted to just run on into it). The general public were very patient and full of +ve comments and encouragement.
Direction spot on (simple really - keep the lake to your right). I was BLOWN away with the goods available for free at the end - SO MUCH CAKE and tasty beer (thank you cake makers). There was a band there to trump trump you in, and a very good piper too. As normal, all runners were positively family like in friendliness.
Wadhurst Runners - hold you heads up high - such a fantastic event.
Oh by the way - I must have drunk 2 ltrs and sweated as much into the lake it was THAT hot. Shame I had to go to work for 10 hours after and not have a BBQ with my mates. Booooo Date of review: July 7, 2013
In short: PB certainty here if you push out. Great event - has made my year 'cos I got a sub 45 In full: A PB course this. I had a naff nights sleep but was defiant - I wasn't going to let sleep deprivation snatch from me what I have been desperate for these last few years - a sub 45 10K. Got to the great venue for chip pickup. Ample facilities and plenty of parking. We had a good squad out and all of us knew that the course lended itself to PB making (being flat).
Weather was perfect - cool breeze and sun. I set off fast (I thought too fast as half way I was puffed), but surprised myself when I came in with a split time of 22.43. My fellow team runners caught up and helped me push out to bring in a faster 2nd split to come in at 44.18 (cracked my goal of a sub 45).
The organization was slick, with a well signed route and plenty of encouraging marshals. Loads of general supporters dotted the route too and given that it was twice round the circuit, plenty of cheering from families kept the pressure on to dig deep and push on. One water station on the route - well placed, also one at the end.
I would have perhaps liked a banana and squash drink to compliment a great looking medal. A big thank you to organizers, marshals, ambulance staff, cub scouts and supporters. Also thanks to the venue as well.
We will be back to try and shave off more time. Date of review: May 12, 2013
In short: A tough course, 1 pure long nasty hill saps you, great views, good value In full: Five of our group got to this event. We registered on the day and found it great value for money. Reasonable facilities at the HQ but parking is an issue. Good to have chip timing. There is a short walk to the start (hope the householders weren't too upset with near 200 runners right outside their house. Started right on time. This route is all on road but goes mainly on less used country roads soon enough. Marshals were a few individuals in high viz and mainly a club member on a cycle leap-frogging ahead to point us in the right direction. He was encouraging enough. There is a turn off at the 1st water station (3.5 mile I think) where those doing the shorter distance leave the main group. This is where the main long nasty hill is and you have to dig deep. There is the reward of some beautifull views. Have to say that the car drivers were very patient and everybody I passed (walkers / riders) were very pleasant. There are some welcome downhills where you can get your breath back, before the inevitable up hills again. Owing to the few numbers running the longer distance spacing was such that it felt very much a solo event - thus it demands focus. The 2nd water station is well placed. I have to say (as this was my 1st attempt), not knowing the route, precise distance or location of the finish line, put me in a maximum effort mindset. It's a strange finish location all the same! And its a fair walk back to where the cars are parked. If it had been raining I would have been non too pleased having to walk back soaked. It was a shame also that there were inadequate numbers of medals for finishers, and to add insult to injury, the medals weren't all the same (some clearly had previous event detail thereon, simply with a sticker for this year stuck over it). The whole thing felt as though it was a club members 'personal' run route, but perhaps in time, with more planning, a better start / finish location, it will grow into a great event. On a more positive note, I have praise for the volunteers, marshals and helpers. Chip timing is a must at events, so well done there. A special thank you to the lady that helped one of our runners who sustained an injury. This lady gave our mate a lift to the finish. Also, a marshal loaned her bike so that we could back-track to find our friend. Our mate could quite easily have been left in the field but she wasn't. Thanks. Despite looking VERY hard I didn't find any special envelope prizes :-( They must have been well hidden or all found by those ahead OR STILL THERE! ;-) Date of review: December 30, 2012
In short: Splish Splash Splosh - Great fun. Well marshalled. Good value In full: LOADS of people - many more than I thought would turn out for a local event BUT once I'd done the race I could see why so many people signed up - It's fun, with happy helpful marshals, slick organisation, chip timing, quality free items and a great teasing route to boot. The number of entries in fancy dress, and the quality / standard of fancy dress was impressive. I have to admit - I was the mankini man; and I hope, as has happened in other events, that my quirky effort brought a cheer to the event. Overall, this is a great event for all levels of runners. You get a great welcome and you feel part of a great tradition. Long may it continue. Date of review: December 9, 2012
In short: Fantastic atmosphere, slick organisation, great marshal support, Fun crowd. In full: A chilly morning, thankfully no rain. Massive crowd to encourage the runners. Loads of fancy dress. Loved the warm up before the race (this is becomming the norm for events - and I like it). Runners were penned in and the start was a bit slow (owing to numbers but I wasn't too bathered as i was considering this to be a fun event (had to really as I was in the mankini - how could i take ANYTHING seriously?) The marshals were great, good sinage and massive encouragement. The supporters were fun too, clapping and bell ringing. The course is challenging what with the two hills up towards the observatory (done twice). We were a team of 4 (SES Runners) and we tried to keep together. The water station was placed well (I skipped the water as I knew it would be well cold and could present a stomach cramp issue). I was encouraged on with lots of support and loads of wolf whistles and came in a respectable 50 mins. The medal, drink and sweets were good, perhaps something hot might have been better. I got a special prize of a trophy and a T-shirt from the HP sauce people. Loved the free bacon sarnie! In conclusion - a well organised, well attended, well marshaled event. The route was challenging and the party like atmospher will make this an event to remember. Thanks Date of review: November 25, 2012
In short: Hardest HR ever - Just what it should be - sorts the though from those that think they are. In full: Done all three locations now in mankini (south twice) and in all honesty this one was THE BEST. I like events that provide a challenge. I like events that create a divide between those that just want fun with a little stress, and those that want a REAL test of their metal. This was one of those runs. I completely understand the fine ballance the organisers must strike to get the numbers signed up for cost value, and then the dilemma of scaring people away. This year, Up North got it right. We were blessed with terrible weather the night BEFORE the event which set the terrain conditions on the day. It would have been quite a different thing if the weather on the day had been as it was in the afternoon! The distance was perfect (not too short to make it easy, and not too long given the effort needed to get through). I appreciate the concerns of others regarding the water hazards but as tough as they were, they certainly tested those who entered them. The first one (up to the hip in mud) - bit of a wait as the majority wanted to take a safer path. I plunged right in and then had to haul myself on the belly to get out. The second one (200m of various depths of pitch water). Much longer wait here due to single file. Fair comment regarding health and safety. I felt confident however, that everyone in the water would have helped anyone in distress (as some did). Having a boat out there might have been proved too risky (tipped over - used excessivley as a simple get out) - let alone having someone IN the water to help out. This, I think, was a calculated risk, and relied on US, THE RUNNERS, to self police / manage. The final water of significance - The bog of doom was quality. I felt like a gladiator being cheered on by the baying crowd. The mud was hip depth, tough to get out of and just what was needed to put a final coat of muck over you. Can you imagine the number of "wardrobe malfunctions" I had in my mankini? What the hell! It's all in the name of fun. I loved the hills - they took thought and effort and teamwork to climb. All I heard was the moans of people looking up behind me. Can't think what the problem was!! LOL. The whole route kept me guessing, afforded great views and plenty of mixed terrain. The organisation was slick and smooth. The marshals were very good, the spectators were the best yet. Great goddie bag, quality tech T-shirt. The medal and goodie bag presentation was fast and helped prevent further cold related issues. The hose down was a good though but WOW was it cold! A MASIVE thank you to the uniform staff that helped, the medical staff, the marshals, the organisers, the road users who were patient and the other users of the forest. Suggestions - 1) Perhaps, for all events - a free handout or signage to spectators showing the locations of the "hazard" for ease of finding. 2) Later start for the second wave, as they were soon on us and were held up - difficult I know but I felt for the lead runners. 3) Free hot drink at the end for runners. Conclusion = KEEP IT THIS TOUGH.