In short: Brilliantly organised In full: One of the best organised races I've ever done. I got a transferred entry the day before due to being unable to get to the race I was supposed to do and Malcolm still permitted/ facilitated this. Course is flat/ undulating and was run in freezing, windy (not icy) conditions- many times were a bit down but would be PB material in decent weather. We were informed at 5.15 am via the website that the race was still on! Impressive! Loads of marshals all the way round and lots of spectators supporting despite the freezing weather, loved it even when they shouted for me under the name on my number which luckily was the same gender as me!
Only thing that let it down for me was the finish. I don't mean to say this was a big thing as it wasn't but I say it in the hope of offering ideas for improvement for next year. It's a long walk/jog back to the HQ when you are finished which is no one's fault and is fine in itself unless the weather is as bad as it was today- the space blankets were much appreciated but could have been given to us opened as freezing hands struggle, also no food/ water in the goody bag- I think chocolate was given out at the end but I missed it.
Be warned as well, there was a 2hr35 cutoff on the road closure, which I thought was a little severe- in other words if you couldn't run a marathon in under 5hrs30, you probably shouldn't do this one. This is why I gave "Beginner friendliness" a low rating rather than because of the atmosphere, which was great.
Overall I really enjoyed the day though and would definitely do it again, hopefully in better weather!! Date of review: March 24, 2013
In short: This is the 2011 race- Brilliant organisation In full: Extremely well organised and accurately measured race. They couldn't do anything about the weather- the hottest day of the year saw many PB hopes evaporate, but 2 water stations is great for a 10k and I didn't see anyone not take one! A very good cause to raise money for Sotos suffererd such as Emily-May, who graced us with her presence. Wonderfully marshalled and organised and thanks especially to the lady who helped me at the end when I was ready to puke/ collapse! Extremely generous goodies at end- banana and technical t-shirt. The prizes were amazing, I was delighted with £60 of vouchers for 3rd lady. Would definitely do it again, it would have been a flyer if not for the weather. Thanks Wesham! Date of review: June 26, 2011
In short: Well over 5 miles? In full: An extremely fast course and pretty well marshalled but the finishing section in the playing field has altered and I measured it at 5.17 miles- others with Garmins also measured it close to that. This had a massive impact on times- I lost a minute if my watch was correct and I'm afraid it often is... Date of review: April 6, 2011
In short: Would have been really fast but for the wind In full: I would do this again but given the popularity of this race there are improvements that could be made. It could do with portaloos given the size of the field, however I was lucky I didn't have an issue myself- I found a loo upstairs in the leisure centre (past the bar, for future reference). The start wasn't quite as much of a nightmare as I was expecting but I think a race of this calibre ought to be chipped as it does take a while getting over the start line. There certainly ought to be some kind of penning according to predicted time. A few people measured the race as slightly over 5 miles (I made it 5.05) however I realise GPSs can be slightly out. Other than that- friendly organisers, good atmosphere and would have been really fast had it not been for that darn wind!! Date of review: February 6, 2011
In short: 2010 race- Love it, love it, love it!!! In full: This is the fourth time I've done this event, which is probably my favourite of the year. Even though it was pouring with rain it didn't stop a good number of spectators and the fantastic support from them and the many marshals is always very much appreciated by the runners. Well covered by local press and there is an announcer who names everyone over the PA as they come by/ in. Goodies and prizes weren't quite as generous as in past years- blame the credit crunch I guess- but still, the top 3 in each age group won a shield which was nice for a lot of people to have their achievement recognised. Although this is a PB course it's not an elitey race by any means and all standards, from internationals to walkers, are made to feel welcome and part of it. Thanks and well done everyone!! Date of review: October 3, 2010
In short: Friendly and enjoyable but a few probs with marshalling In full: A charity fun run on an undulating course. Nice atmosphere and a decent amount of local support. Had a problem with registration however- I did so online, didn't get my number in the post but made contact with the organisers who said no probs, the number would be available for collection on the day. Turned up with my email confirmation but the lady at the desk said she had no record of me having paid... luckily another girl on the desk ensured I got my number!! Other issue was a couple of the marshals on the course failed to send me left in time, costing me several seconds- I can just about excuse this as I was one of the leaders but the main problem came in the final mile. The course took in the entrance to the park, where the race began. This was marked with cones and looked like it might be part of the route- but there was absolutely no-one in the vicinity to tell me either way. I carried on straight ahead simply because my GPS only read 4.25 miles- luckily it was the right decision but had I gone into the park it would have ruined my finish!! Apologies to the next marshal who got my unhappy comments about that but it's definitely something for next year. On the plus side, I was first lady and was delighted to get a medal for that, wasn't expecting much in the way of goodies as it was for a great charity. And finally best wishes to the guy who was leading the race with one other but then took ill at about 3.5 miles, I hope he's ok. Date of review: September 26, 2010
In short: Enjoyed the day and I hope the course wasn't short.. In full: I too measured this at 12.82 miles and others measured it similarly, however I will be querying with the organisers just in case the Garmin signals were out. Really hope the latter was the case as I did this needing a sub 1.30 for London next year. I got 1.27 but... Course was completely flat and if it hadn't been windy would have been really fast. Weren't that many marshals (parking at the start seemed a bit chaotic) and at 10 miles I was a little unsure of which direction to go. Was grateful for the few people who watched giving support. The sandstorm on the prom at miles 7-8 was a real problem- it virtually blinded!! Whilst of course not the organisers' fault it would be great to perhaps see marshals at the sandiest places holding up windbreaks/ golf brollies to protect runners from the worst of it, or is that asking too much? No goody bag and they had run out of medium tshirts by the time I came in as 4th lady and 30th overall. I guess there were a lot of skinny men ahead of me!! Plus if you want a shower afterwards, and you will if you get caked in sand, the only ones we could find were co-ed and shared with the pool. Although the showers themselves were in cubicles be prepared to parade around in a towel in front of the opposite sex. I did enjoy the day but for what we paid it didn't feel great value for money. Date of review: August 29, 2010
In short: Yes it's tough, but it's brilliant! In full: Everything they say about "that hill" is true and you've got to do it twice, but after that it's pretty much downhill (except for the very end!) Well organised and free t-shirts, generous prizes too (I was delighted to get something for being fourth lady, which I wasn't expecting). Marshals fab, plying us with encouragement and water. Could have done with shower facilities at the end, to be fair the otherwise fine Village Hall HQ wouldn't be able to provide these, but if the school next door (which kindly allowed us to park) did them, it would be great to use them another time. Would do this one again in the future. Date of review: July 18, 2010
In short: Great fun, but forget about a PB on the new course In full: Entered because I was looking for a fast 10k course and I'd read many reviews on here saying this was a PB race. However, they had to change the route this year as apparently they couldn't get permission to cover all the old route. Despite the strong winds, the first half on the prom was pretty quick, however the second half goes into a park which whilst very scenic and relatively relaxing, involves a considerable section of steps and wooded trail. If it had been raining this part could have been quite treacherous as people wouldn't have been wearing trail shoes for what is predominantly a "road" race. There are also quite a few hairpin bends where you have to slow right down then turn back on yourself. The finale is a bit of an uphill on grass. Times did suffer as a result of the course but if you just want to get round, go for it. On the plus side, it was very enjoyable, with encouraging marshals and generally well run (the toilets blocked and the showers were cold, but that isn't the organisers' fault). Overall well done Penny Lane but I hope you get the permission you need for next year to be a fast route again!! Date of review: July 4, 2010
In short: Great start to the year In full: Did this as a warmup for London in April and it was well worth it. Really well organised and loads of support from the public and marshals. The guy handing out jelly babies at 11 miles was a star, he might have missed me as I "whizzed past" but he gave the next guy two and he shared with me, bless him!! The course is flat from about 2-7 miles but otherwise is largely undulating, no really long hills though so you can have a bit of a recovery! Was pleased with my time, 5 mins off my best but then I did give birth 7 months ago! There is a lot more parking at the clubhouse than you might think but to be fair they couldn't accommodate everyone if everyone brought a car so if you do drive, make sure there are at least 3 or 4 of you in one vehicle. A couple of minor points- could have done with more signage for the portaloos at the back, didnt know they were there and queued for about 15 mins for 2 loos in the clubhouse, also if they had given out binbags at the end we might not have got so cold as the finish isn't that near the car park. But overall, fantastic organisation, lots of food, drink and running goodies available, great atmosphere and very enjoyable day. Well done Helsby!! Date of review: January 19, 2010