In short: Wet but didn't spoil it In full: It always helps if you have a good run, but I've done this race for 5 out of the last 6 years and quite a few times before that and they've been a mixed bag. The Chipstead Flower Festival, now in its 102nd year, is a blast from the past and helps lift this from an average race to something special. The course is undulating but perfectly runnable even for beginners and there's a great cameraderie plus of course it's on a Saturday which is good for those with other Sunday commitments. Highly recommended. Date of review: July 17, 2011
In short: Ticks the boxes In full: The 9am start is a little early for ultra-fast running, but the course is good consisting of a mix of roads and paved towpath. There are no hills of any description and a few twists but only one hairpin that would slow runners down significantly. It's also well marshalled. Despite all this a lot of people were disappointed with times. The only thing I would change is the finish - the final dog-leg is cruel. Date of review: June 20, 2011
In short: Great value - great race - well done Striders! In full: For just £4, you get a well marshalled and scenic race, a t-shirt, free tea and cake plus showers and changing. For the lucky few there was also the usual range of age and team prizes. So why only 100 runners? The only answer is that it's not called the Hell and Switchback 5 or something I suppose or that people like paying £40 for a race. Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: Midsommer Murders with a race thrown in In full: The Elmore is one of those races that you take cynics along to and they come back year after year. It takes place as part of the Chipstead Flower Festival - dog shows, prize vegetables (the vicar always wins most of the prizes) and cream teas included. It would be a shame if there wasn't the odd murder to spice things up as this is truly middle class England at it's finest albeit a stones throw from South London and the M25. The race itself starts and finishes in the show-ground and you're definitely an integral part of the event. The course covers largely traffic-free country lanes with some rolling hills in the middle. As it's an odd distance, you'll almost certainly set a PB the first time around but it's not a slow course by any means. It takes place on a Saturday so plenty of time to recover before the long Sunday run; or like one of our club members you could have run the Bromley ParkRun at 9am, the Elmore at 2pm and the Surrey Slog the following day! Date of review: July 24, 2010
In short: Harvel number 6 and a PW, but am I bovered? In full: I was shocked to find that this was my 6th Harvel ranging from a 12th placed 29:17 in 2003 to 40:54 in 2010 after a bout of flu a few weeks ago. The course hasn't changed and although the field has doubled in size, it's still fine. The start is a little narrow for the first half a mile, but chip timing introduced this year has resolved any disadvantage that might have caused. About the only issue was that the promised (and previously provided) jelly babies failed to appear at the finish. Other than that - well done the hashers - see you next year? Date of review: June 6, 2010
In short: Mad, Mad, Mad but strangely addictive - great atmosphere In full: Nothing qute like this. National Anthem at the start, singing happy birthday to the organiser's Mum and a Bagpiper on top of a Surrey hill playing in the rain! No amount of training will prepare you for the last sadistic 350ft drop down to the stepping stones and back at 12 miles. Why did 100 people pay £25 to enter then not show on the day? They missed a treat! Date of review: June 22, 2008
In short: Completely shambolic but has a certain charm In full: On turning up at the entry desk, they scribbled my name on a sheet of A4, gave me back my entry form and took the £10, which was a bit of a worry as the form had all the contact details on in the event of an accident! After being told to line up, we were then made to stretch but many of the positions shown were inappropriate. The race itself is okay (although it runs alongside busy roads at times) and does various complex loops of the Rye although you do have to dodge other people out for a run, dogs and passing pedestrians on the narrow pavements.
The race actually isn't 10km (but people tell me that's nothing new for this event)- it was around 500m short and many slower runners simply ignored the last lap and "beat" faster runners. The finish was right by a car park, but there was no marshal to deal with the traffic. Around 20 minutes after the race, those still there were told to line up to get their t-shirts and medals but it is clear that many had already gone as it wasn't advertised that this was going to happen. To be honest, the t-shirt and medal are pretty cheap and nasty and not worth the wait. My (female) partner was 3rd woman and received a trophy titled 3rd Male!
So overall, it's overpriced, poorly organised, inaccurately measured and the marshals did nothing to stop people from cheating at the finish. However, the people are nice, the participants were good humoured and if were £5 then I'd recommend it as a good workout. Just don't claim it as a PB!