In short: My heart rate monitor was begging for mercy – as was I! In full: Where to start? So much was good – the exemplary organisation, the national anthem, goodies, jelly babies, the picnic (food that it, the marathon is just mental) and of course the wonderful marshals. I couldn’t work out how they all knew me before realising my name was on my number (duh!) – very friendly idea!
I spent much of the first half in a cat-and-mouse with the (then) first lady. Every group of spectators seemed to be at pains to congratulate her (I kept wondering if Michelle Obama was behind me) so it was with some satisfaction that I managed to pass her on the long fall to Juniper Bottom and announce her imminent arrival before the drinks station there!
I did this race a few years back after similar weather immediately beforehand –wasn’t the torrential rain all morning great? (That time I had been sweeping water away from my front door just before the race and arrived with 5 mins to spare with soggy feet). Dr Rob has such great powers of organisation that I am quite surprised the clouds were not at his beck and call! I was very nervous about slipping on the down hills, but I actually fell going UP the steps – twice! My descent to the half way drinks station was near suicidal although it did allow me to lose the first lady. I had planned to capitalise on this by charging down White Hill but was thwarted by a strong headwind – no rest for the wicked!
Continuing the weather theme – the stepping-stones were fun – I certainly felt my feet going downstream! I felt very smug I had used some Compeed stick; otherwise the early foot sousing would not have been at all welcome. I wondered how high the water had to be before we would have been sent back the way we came – not much I would think.
My goal in this race had been to beat all the ladies and in this I failed, but only by two. The cramping in my calves going up the steps for the last time was ghastly and I think they both passed me on this final ascent. At this stage my heart rate monitor must have thought it was strapped to a younger man as I struggled to find new jelly baby-inspired reserves. I hobbled down the final slope, just managing to keep a chap following me at bay.
Everything you hear about this race is true (I simply do not understand how anyone could do it twice), all other halves and indeed the vast majority of races simply pale by comparison. You just have to keep coming back. Date of review: June 19, 2011
In short: A good one In full: Did the 10 miler, lots of up on the way out but a really quick return! Was the first run I have done with 'dibbers' for the wey-stations, certainly added to the interest. Must have done something right - I took a full 6 minutes off my most recent training run on the same route! Hats off to those that were relying on the maps without the (free) recce, I would have been lost in no time. Date of review: May 18, 2011
In short: I promise I'll train harder next year! In full: Dr Rob continues to work his peculiar brand of magic on the running community. Wonderful, hard race through glorious scenery and I, like several runners I saw, was battling cramp from the last steps ascent onward and had to stop and stretch - twice! I foolishly thought I might catch the chap in front of me going down to the finish line and nearly went end over apex as a result! I absolutely intend to knock at least ten minutes off my time next year - roll on 2010. Love the hat(!). (Incidentally, does any one have the inside story on the carrot? I though that was a Knacker Cracker thing...) Date of review: June 21, 2009
In short: Over too soon! In full: Dr Rob et al must again be congratulated for another classic in the making. Although not as tough as the Munro (what is?) it was a schizophrenic affair needing good discipline – which I obviously lacked! You might have thought that, as it was mostly downhill for the second half, once you hit the tower it was easy. We who know Dr Rob’s fetish for things vertical should not be fooled and the final climb to the Temple was murder! I have always thought that I was “vertically challenged” because I’m short, but this gave new meaning to the term! The rain the day before was a pity - thanks to the detailed route on the website I had done most of the course beforehand and this was amongst the muddiest I have seen it, which meant much weaving between puddled ruts.
Minor gripe – the memento is identical to the Munro ’07 one bar the (scratched) plate on the front – I hope we see something new later this year. Lovely T-shirt, although a smaller size (for us little folk, if not the ladies) would have been good.
Overall though a winner. The 80 or so that didn’t turn up should be kicking themselves, and I hope they, like me, will be there next year. Date of review: March 10, 2008
In short: Good, challenging race, beautiful views In full: I did the Midsummer Munro in 20 mins more three weeks ago so this - by definition - was easier but the hills, if not as steep, were relentless. I don't recall any flat sections at all - you were either climbing or descending. Minor quibble - a lot of the so-called mile markers said things like 'Up to mile 8' so it was not clear exactly where the actual markers were - this made it difficult to judge one's pace without a Garmin or some such. That aside, great venue, some really stagering views, and I will certainly be back both next year and in-between for picnics! Date of review: July 15, 2007
In short: Middling sort of run In full: Well marshalled, but could have done without the cars - the 'keep to the left' instruction semed to be ignored by many and I was often left on my own by obeying this instruction... which meant many confused drivers. Chap at the start (rather crowded for the number of runners) wasn't the most charismatic chap but overall everything was functional, if lacking a certain 'je ne sais quoi'. Date of review: July 12, 2007
In short: Stepping machines don't work! In full: Let's get the excuses over with - 15 mins more than last year mostly caused by plantar fasciitis meaning I had to retreat to the gym for five weeks before the race. That's part of it; the other minor problem was the house (ironically a house with no steps) coming within a whisker of flooding an hour before the race. Got to box hill at 3.55, not entirely as composed as I would have liked, and with lovely damp feet.
That all done, the race was superb as ever, Dr Rob & Co. controlling everything like clockwork except the rain - and the consequentially submerged stepping stones on the second pass. I have no doubt I will be back for more self-induced torture, punctuated by the Knacker Cracker in six month's time. I am almost looking forward to trying the Picnic in 2009, such is my obsession with this irresistable and punishing series of runs. Date of review: June 25, 2007
In short: Knacker cracker - did what it said on the tin! In full: Fab race, well organised, my compliments again to Dr Rob and the team. Loved the medal, (huge) cunningly designed with a long ribbon to hang around your - well, let's just say below the waist! Still don't know what the carrot is for - is there a night section?! Very very muddy this year, and the staggered start meant the step section toward the end was both slippery and a little crowded. A race that is friendly and tough in equal measure - looking forward to the Munro. Date of review: January 1, 2007
In short: Hard - but I wouldn't have missed it In full: I felt like I had achieved all my goals for the year in one hit - giving to charity, training hard beforehand (and beating all the girlies!) I was glad to have left something in the tank for the 275 (I didn't count them on the day) steps, only to be super-cooled coming down that last hill! It's a shame there are not more events like it - I'll definitely be there for the Munro - equipped with more grippy trainers... Heartfelt thanks to Dr Rob and the team for the run-through on the 18 Dec and on the day. Date of review: January 5, 2006