In short: Not outstanding - but I liked it In full: I agree with all the comments here - but nevertheless enjoyed it. Sunshine, seaside, good crowds made up for some of the shortcomings. Of which there were: 1) Silly queues to get into the expo. I would probably still have travelled to arrive on Saturday, but could quite happily have done without an hour or more simply standing there to collect my number. I see why you would like the Expo to create some extra income, but posting out the numbers would just make life so much easier... 2) Toilet queues at the start? I don't think I have ever seen them that long before. I am sure grass and bushes will grow extra green over the next few weeks, due to lots of extra biological plant feed... 3) The mud bath at the start - what on earth was that about? OK, it all fell off shortly after the start - but this was a dry day! Needs some kind of covering. 4) The course - yes, the first half is hilly-ish, but actually not too bad, and at least interesting and scenic. The second half - flatter, but not that scenic. Certainly could have done with more sea views (bearing in mind this could also mean a strong headwind on not so gloriously sunny days. 5) I liked the Beach Village. But getting out gingerly stepping over the shingle beach was a challenge with marathon weary legs. 6) Kit bags - yes, please, back to bigger ones next year...
Atmosphere - lovely. Yes, there were quiet spots, but I quite liked that. 26.2 miles of cheering can get a bit tiring. Having some quiet bits, and then more cheery crowds for me was a good mix. I also did not mind the papercups. I thought there were sufficient water stations to allow one to just have a few sips each time. It certainly worked for me. More water at the finish would be highly appreciated. The little bottle was not enough - and the kit bag did not offer sufficient space to bring your own. I quite liked the out and back bits - to marvel at the front runners, and also seeing those still behind, and cheering each other on. overall: I enjoyed the race. Yes, a few things which could make it even better, but overall, an enjoyable weekend at the seaside was had, and I would certainly consider coming back for more.
In short: Flat, friendly, great organisation In full: Enjoyable race. Not mega-scenic, but as "scenic" usually involves hills, no complaints... I like open spaces, so did not mind the airfield. Apart from the headwind. Which was, however, partly made up for by a nice long stretch of tailwind. Organisation was great, showers definitely a bonus, and the atmosphere overall very friendly. Will happily do again. Date of review: December 9, 2012
In short: I just love it In full: My third time doing this race. I just love it. Small, nice scenery, very relaxed and wonderfully friendly atmosphere. Not a particularly easy course - definite undulations in there, but these are mainly in the first half of the race, ignoring the hill at the finish. And always a slightly unusual but brilliant memento - I will definitely use the beanie which was in there this year. And the cake and tea - much appreciated. Highly recommended! Date of review: October 29, 2012
In short: Lots of scenery - and lots of hills... In full: Loved it - although I do not want to see another hill for the foreseeable future! One of these "little gems" of a race.Very small field with only 150 runners, which makes the atmosphere wonderfully personal. I don't think I was ever greeted by name at a checkpoint / drink station before. And everything extremely well organised: route well marked, pretty much impossible to get lost, despite a few little interesting tracks thrown in there. Good supply stations - water, squash, jelly babies, biscuits and always a word of encouragement. Many more marshals than originally stated, which all were wonderfully supportive. The course - well, what can I say.... I suppose by definition "scenic" and "great views" implies hilly. And hills there were - not a lot of "flat" in sight anywhere. Undulating pretty much all the time, and then two killers (mile 15-16 and, short but brutal, after mile 22). Still, the stunning views afterwards made up for it. Great reception at the finish, nice goodie bag and memento, very good post race supplies and a very welcome massage. Together with my day on the beach yesterday - a brilliant summer holiday weekend! Date of review: August 21, 2011
In short: The most bizarre race of my life (so far) In full: Loved it - once I got my head round to it. Not sure you can really call it a "run", as there will be some walking breaks due to steep uphills, slippery downhills or stepping aside for overtaking horses. It is hard going, but it is also pretty unique - in particular when you see the horses coming down the hill the first time round, and then meeting one every now and again. There are a few "mean" bits, especially the river crossing at the finish - although, to be honest, by that time you will have stopped caring whether you are wet or muddy or whatever else. Spectators are few, due to the terrain, but the ones that there are, and all the route marshals, were fantastic. And lovely sarnie buffet and tea at the finish. It is a great race - and just about bizarre enough to have a rather addictive element to it... Date of review: June 13, 2011
In short: Great scenery, great weather - good start into May In full: Loved it. Great organisation - you park in Stonehenge and buses take the runners to the start in Avebury. We had a nice extra-tour, as our driver went the wrong way - but we still made it in time. First half of the run very scenic - with the ups and downs that come with great views. Mainly running on grass. Path shared with walkers, which was nice, as many of them cheered the runners on. Dogwalkers out as well - with all the pooches very well behaved. And it was no major problem to tell the doggie water from the runners'/walkers' water at the drinking stations... Second half perhaps not quite so scenic, and much less "traily" than I had imagined - it was mostly a good path, with not too many hills (thankfully). Lovely reception at the finish, with the voucher for food (pizza, cake, fruit and tea/coffee) much appreciated. And it was great to have some bales of straw to sit on and have a chat with other participants. Also the free entry into STonehenge was much appreciated. A great event - I will be back! Date of review: May 1, 2011
In short: Some get married - others run in circles... In full: A track marathon on the day of the Royal Wedding - certainly something special to mark the occasion. My first run of that kind. 105.5 laps of a running track - not exactly a huge amount of variety, but definitely an experience. I enjoyed the atmosphere, extremely friendly and easy-going. Great organisation - and a big thank you to the lap counters, for whom it must have been quite a challenge to keep an eye on the runners and sitting out on a chilly morning. Very handy: having a drinks station every 400 metres, even with personal supplies. Great T-shirt and goodie bag afterwards, and overall it was just one of these events which leave the "warm, glowing feeling". I would have to get my mind round doint the 105 laps again, which was a bit of a mental challenge. Other than that - would definitely do it again. Date of review: April 30, 2011
In short: Fast but dull course. Good organisation, friendly marshalls. In full: The course: very flat and fast, first 3 miles along the rivers are lovely, but the next 5 miles along the main roads rather awful. With a rather congested first lap - it would be a good idea to separate the 8- and 16 milers a bit more. Water in bottles would have been good. And scooping water out of plastic basins at the end - errrmmm... The mug was nice, but otherwise everything had a rather commercial feel about it: entry fee, paying for bag storage (Hello?!?! Never seen that ANYWHERE before!). What was good: the "event hotel" had laid on an early breakfast (nothing special, but perfectly adequate) and a complimentary late check-out, so I could walk back to my room for a shower and snooze. I had never been to Kingston before, so it was nice to see the place, and make a weekend of it, but the run itself was rather average. Date of review: March 27, 2011
In short: Lovely race with some great extras In full: Was expecting it to be a lot hillier - so pleasantly surprised at what I thought was a reasonably fast course. The scenery was lovely - even though with the 11 am start it promptly started to rain at 10.57... But the best were all these nice extra touches: carved pumpkins as km markers. Being cheered on by Halloween ghosts. The travel mug as a finisher Prize. Sooo much better as a medal - especially because it could promptly be filled with hot chocolate and marshmallows. And the cakes at the end - gorgeous, even more so because the proceeds went to charity. Really a race that left the famous "warm glowing feeling" at the end. Very much planning to be back! Date of review: October 31, 2010
In short: Scenic, hilly, great atmosphere In full: A great run. Very scenic around Blenheim Palace. Challenging hills - but in the first half of the 4 mile loop, and the long descent in the second half of the loop was WONDERFUL. Well organised, and wonderful Marshalls. And yes, the guy at the bridge does deserve a special mention. Fab comments - and he really did make me speed up to the end on the last lap... Definitely not a PB-course - where else would you run 12 miles and 198 yards? So - a lovely challenging run, time didn't matter, atmosphere was great - will definitely be back! Date of review: September 18, 2010