In short: Quick and flat course In full: One of the flatest and fastest 10K races you'll find in the area. The only hills are at the bridge over the M40 which you do on twice on this out and back course. My Garmin reported the total climb as 37m.
Being in early December the weather can be a factor, but Sunday was (for me at least) perfect.
Scenery wasn't the best, but this is a race I entered with an eye on a PB. Date of review: December 20, 2008
In short: There are worse ways to spend a Sunday (honest!) In full: No need to trek to New England to see the striking autumnal colours when the Marlow Half is on your doorstep.
A great day out with even the weather proving ideal. The 'pool' at the top of one of the hills was a leftover from the previous night's rain, and made sure that you didn't finish as dry as you started.
Marshals were brilliant and full of enthusiasm and encouragement; I'm only sorry that I was too knackered to thank them as I passed!
Realistically, a PB was never on the cards here, on a course which I hear has been voted the third hardest half in the country. I did manage to shave a couple of minutes off my previous visit from 2005 though, and was pleased enough with that.
Of the course, I could only really remember the hill at the 8 mile stage. In reality it wasn't as bad as I remembered. That's not to say it is easy; I ran the whole course, but it still took me ages to overtake the chap in front who walked up.
Organisation was excellent, and the medical emergency near the finish served to test all involved.
I'm sure I speak for all participants in thanking both the club and ambulance services for their professionalism, and also wishing the runner involved a speedy recovery. Date of review: November 3, 2008
In short: Stunning scenery, but bring a GPS and some water In full: As others have said it was a warm day and it seemed an odd decision to have only the one water station at approx the 10K point. By then I was pretty dehydrated. You could tell the runners who'd done this before - they brought their own refreshements.
No km or mile markers on the course, so it is very difficult to pace yourself if you haven't got a GPS and don't know the course.
The course itself is hilly, and the narrow paths in places make it difficult to run your own race. For that reason alone a PB will be a tough prospect. I managed one, but only by virtue of it being my first try at the distance!
The scenery was truly amazing, and well worth the trip. The panorama view you get at around (I guess) 8K was a real highlight.
Course was well marshalled and the finish was particularly slick.
All in all, despite the lack of water and markers, I'd certainly do this race again. Date of review: October 17, 2008
In short: Tough, but with great scenery In full: They changed the course this year, but it was my first time at this race so can't make any comparisons with earlier years.
I was confused about the distance though; I thought it was 5 miles, but we went past the 5m marker with no end in sight! My Garmin recorded 5.5m, so I'd agree with the previous reviewer's thought that it was about 5¼m.
Hilly course across a variety of different terrain: grass, gravel, hard mud, soft mud, muddy water, watery mud...anyway you get the idea. The hill just after 4m was also a nice surprise as I thought we had done all the uphill work by then.
It was fun all the same, with organisation very good too. High-viz paint on the major roots and other obstacles was a good idea and helped particularly early on whilst still bunched-up.
Great start/finish venue with a lot going on, including a bar (open throughout). Anyone wanting to make the course more challenging can get drunk before the race!
A tip for anyone thinking of doing this in future: the organiser's advice was to wear trail running shoes to cope with the muddy terrain. It hadn't rained in quite a few days, but that didn't stop my nice white road running shoes needing a long session with the hosepipe. Date of review: September 22, 2008
In short: As good as expected In full: Have made the effort for this one for as long as I have been back at running. All my PBs have come from the Bearbrook 10K which is another reason it's worth turning up for!
Now in my fourth year of this race, and though a couple of minutes off my PB this time, it was still my fourth fastest ever (behind the three other Bearbrook races as it happens). A bit too warm and windy for me this year, but it let me help a friend out in her quest for sub 50 mins.
The organisers usually put something a little different in the goody bag, and this year's surprise was a bumbag. I am sure it will come in as useful as the years' towels and shoebag.
Thanks to all at Bearbrook for making it a success. Date of review: August 11, 2008
In short: Masters of Organisation In full: Handy Cross Runners do themselves proud each year with their organisation of this race.
It's not the most scenic of races, but the support here is excellent with locals out to cheer you on all around the course. The marshals do a great job too, and there are frequent water stations every few miles. Even the start/finish on the Rye feels more like a summer fete than a road race.
The goody bag is argubly second-to-none, with a t-shirt which never seems to shrink in the first wash, and a medal with a high bling rating.
Though it was a new course record for me, I was way off my PB. The hill near the start just took too much time off me which I never seemed to be able to make up.
Plan on being back next year to try and bring that time down still further. Date of review: July 21, 2008
In short: Quick, but a few parts to slow you down In full: My first running of this race was a largely enjoyable experience. It's as flat as you'd find given the local geography - you noticed when you were running on a gradient, but there was nothing drastic.
Though the marshals were excellent, there was quite a bit of congestion at times (most notably at the narrow exit from the field just after the start) and having to walk at that point that did disrupt the momentum somewhat.
As others have said, I didn’t much like the gravel path towards the end. As well as being loose underfoot, it was also quite narrow, and I found it difficult to overtake.
The goody bag was a fantastic voyage of discovery. I didn’t go through it until I was in the car on the way back. The audio cassette must have been in theere as a joke: my car is 5 years old and only has a CD player! There was also a little hand fan – you hold down the button and it lights up saying “you look hot” (I ran 2 mins faster than I expected, so I was a tad warm as it happens). I can’t comment on the t-shirt being oversized yet as I haven’t tried it on. Knowing that they tend to shrink, I opted for a bigger size so if other reports are correct I will look like Rip Van Winkle when I try it on.
All-in-all a good day out, and I’ll come back again. Date of review: June 30, 2008