In short: Excellent race for beginners and experienced multisporters alike! In full: This was my second chilly duathlon and I love the format of this event. A starting lap of the perimeter of Castle Combe race circuit and then a few laps on the bike on the race circuit itself. Great to be on traffic free roads. The course itself can get windy and the twists mean it's not that quick, but this doesn't matter a jot. Results are out quickly. I managed to win the ladies event despite having a nasty fall on the run (100% my fault) and got a reasonable prize (Saucony tri bag). I know some of the other prizewinners would have appreciated a better prize (e.g. vouchers instead of gels) but this was only a minor point for an otherwise brilliant day! Date of review: December 14, 2010
In short: Gets better every year In full: The third time I've run this, and the organisation gets better by the year. For me it was my first 10k after injury and I was running at a controlled race, but this meant I could take more notice of just how good the marshaling and organisation was.
Despite the ice, the organisers sensibly delayed the start for 30 minutes to let the ice melt - and magicked up some rock salt to throw on the problem areas. The result was a course that was virtually ice free.
It's pretty flat and pretty fast. For scenery hunters, the lap of the aerodrome may be a little tedious, but I like this bit as it lets you see pretty much every runner in the race!
Well done Alchester RC and Bicester AC - one of the best organised races I've done! The bacon butties looked lovely, but avoided them this year on account of going to the (excellent) Red Cow in Chesterton for a post-race Sunday roast. Date of review: December 12, 2010
In short: Great "local" race - a few tweaks and it'd be perfect In full: I really enjoyed this race. Lovely atmosphere, well marshaled and kind and enthusiastic organisers. The race is also run by the village (not a running club) and I think they do a great job.
The course isn't the quickest: a few tight turns and there was some really quite nasty mud in miles 2-3 (which I was forced to mince around as I didn't want to dirty my shoes too much ;-)).
Whilst hilly, the hills weren't as severe as I was expecting (the worst one is within half a mile of the start).
I also think they should have had more medals made. I donated mine to an old chap who finished quite late on as they'd run out. I was more than happy to do this as I didn't need another medal, but I know a lot of the late finishers were a bit upset not to get them. Date of review: August 3, 2009
In short: Potential to be a good race, but marred by marshaling issues In full: I was one of the runners who ended up (obliviously) going the wrong way today. No marshals at a key point, and none of the spectators knew which way to go.
This really shouldn't happen in such a big race, particularly when marshaling was so good elsewhere on the course. They just didn't seem ready for the 10k runners.
Feel a little cheated, and feel sorry for both those who ran the correct course and those who didn't.
I was first female by quite a long way and had been throughout. I normally run 37 minutes for 10k and my time isn't too far out, despite the hills. My Garmin measured my route as just over six miles (but the "detour" involved running through roadworks). Date of review: July 19, 2009
In short: "Must do" race of the year In full: I race 1-2 a week, every week for the whole year and Shakespeare is definitely one the major highlights of the year.
Organisation is like clockwork, great marshaling, brilliant support from the crowds, pretty course (if you like that sort of thing) and has the "big race" feel to it without the stress of huge crowds.
We parked 100m from the start line and were able to meander to the start with about 15 minutes to go.
Here's a list of the "pros" (as I see them): - Excellent marshaling - Good support from locals - Scenic course - Good prizes - The fact that the marathon is run at the same time means that there are a lot of people to run with (my partner and I were also able to run together as he was pacing me to 1:20 in the half with the plan of running 2:40 in the full). - Good day out for the family in such a historic town (the finish of the race has a real fete feel to it) - Chip timing - Nearly enough toilets (still had to wait 15 minutes though!) - Water in BOTTLES and lucozade at drinks stations (rare) - Plenty of parking close to the startline
Negatives (and they're so few and far between!): - Undulating course means not the best for personal bests (although I managed to PB as my old PB was quite soft) - A bit of a free for all at the start (although I did manage to get to the front in the end) Date of review: April 27, 2009
In short: And I thought Stockley Park was flat.... In full: A lovely course - challenging with some sharp climbs and muddy/sandy terrain - but not enough to cause you to overly alter your stride. Unless your PB is worth a kicking, then don't expect to PB here. Really well organised, friendly race and hope to be back again. Only slight quarm was misplaced km markers (particularly 1 and 9). Date of review: April 13, 2009
In short: Best organised race I've ever done?? In full: The organisation of this race makes up for any pain from the hills. Difficult first half and lovely second half - if you've never negative splitted before, then this is a surefire place to do so. First 5k in 19:55, second 5k in 17:49(!)
Organisation meticulous - superb marshaling, supportive crowds, well signed, estimated finishing time markers at the start reduced overcrowding.
Kids fun run was also great, and the free entry to the park and discount for fans was well worth the trip.
Very generous prize for first female for which I am very grateful.
Brilliant race. Thank you to the organisers! Date of review: March 22, 2009
In short: Worst organised race I've ever done In full: Dorney has the potential to offer a very quick 10k, but this race was let down by some very elementary errors:
- The 10k was, in fact, 10.5km. - Hairpins and poor marshaling meant runners had to "pick their side" running and resulted in some near head-on collisions. - The results were a joke! People were asked to read numbers out at the finish. Now they are online, I am listed as fifth lady when I was second (I am 100% sure I was second). - People's times are up to 2 minutes out. - Very expensive. Appreciate this is a charity event, but it had a very corporate feel. No vouchers or cash prizes. Only prizes for first place in 5k. - 5 toilets(!) for thousands of people - Huge queues at the start to collect numbers Date of review: March 21, 2009
In short: Not the quickest course... In full: ...but the PB potential is there if you have a softish 10 mile time on paper.
- Excellent marshaling - Good mix of runners to make it a good, competitive race at the front, but very welcoming to newer runners - Flat course - Ample refreshments (two water stations which were well-manned and water and High 5 - or similar - available at the end). - Medal to all finishers - Ample parking (we arrived ~50mins before the start and parked right next to the school) - Generous prizes - Nice refreshments at the end.
- Very tight start. I was elbowed and pushed as people jostled for position when the siren went. - No clear indication about where the start was for first-timers. - 75% of the course is on hardpack trail/old footpaths and was very rutted. - Lots of tight turns and hairpins. - Chip timing was only at the finish - so if you started at the back, then you still only got a time from gun-to-finish. - Not enough loos! Ended up queuing for *ages* 30 mins before the start. I suspect many had to abandon the queue altogether!
A good race though overall and I'll definitely be back. St. Albans did all they could to make it a good day out. Date of review: January 18, 2009
In short: It's become an annual tradition... In full: ...eat lots on Christmas day, turn up at the startline 2kgs heavier than normal and run as hard as you can until you feel ill...!
Enjoyed this race again this year. Course isn't the quickest as it's got more than its fair share of undulations and twists. People do go off incredibly fast (the nature of a race that attracts a lot of junior runners) and you do have to keep your wits about you at the start, but the race is excellent. Incredibly high standard at the front (first 16 under 17 minutes and first 25 under 18 minutes) but plenty of runners running >30 minutes making it very accessible to all.
No goody bag, but good prizes (thank you for vouchers instead of wine!) and numerous spot prizes. When a race is this cheap you're only too pleased not to get a momento.
Ambiguous finish line may be an issue for those who haven't run it before, and we always measure this course long every year (between 3.16 and 3.19 miles - which equates to ~20 secs over 5k).
Fab race though, and we'll be back again next year :o) Date of review: December 26, 2008