In short: Flat course, a little muddy. But really spoiled by having to wait at the end for FORTY minutes for the bags, in the freezing wind. In full: I disagree with other posts which say "the baggage shambles wasn't the fault of the organisers". Yes, the organisers had sub-contracted this to an outside company (fine), but really: it took over 2 hours to travel a distance which took the bus about 35 minutes in the morning. Surely it's the responsibility of the organiser to check that the baggage movers had (a) maps (b) competence and/or (c) a GPS. Yes, this sounds like a rant, but there are serious questions to be asked about a situation where 200-ish people are forced to wait without car keys, money for food, no coats/jumpers etc, in a windy, cold park. In addition, there were no regular announcements telling people what was happening with the van (I heard one only saying the van was "5 minutes away", but it didn't arrive for 30 more minutes), and no attempt to (say) give us a cup of tea from the cafe while we waited, to warm us up. If there were no medical incidents as a result, then it's purely by luck. Must try better, as for me it spoiled an otherwise friendly atmosphere. Date of review: November 8, 2009
In short: Something like 1400 people funnelled into small roads for the first 3-4 miles means it's difficult to find your rhythm - but a long slightly downhill section for the final 4 miles means good times are possible Date of review: October 11, 2009
In short: Organisation needs more thought but the course itself was flat and fast In full: The positives: * nice small bunch of runners * flat, fast course, with some beautiful scenery (particularly the wetland areas) * excellent direction, marshalling and drinks stations * good atmosphere at the finish
The negatives: * huge queues inside the clubhouse at registration. And then we all had to queue for a second time for bag tags. Solution: post everything out in advance (race number, bag tag, timing chip, the lot). There is no reason people should be registering on the day at all. If the timing chips aren't returned because people don't race, charge £20 (or whatever) for them * Exhausted runners were queuing in the (cold cold) breeze at the end of the race, to collect their bags. Solution: The bags need to be stacked inside the truck in race number order - would speed up finding massively. Or (if a nice day) simply put all the bags in the carpark for people to identify their own. * Start delayed by (about?) 25 minutes. Solution: Don't. Just because the baggage truck hadn't turned up was no reason to delay the start. Solution: Organisers, just tell us where to dump our bags, and let us start - you load the bags after we've all left! * Inadequate toilet facilities at the start. Solution: get some porta-loos.
The summary: * With a bit more thought about how the start and finish was managed, this will be a better race next year. I am concerned that double the number of entrants will overrun the clubhouse at the start, but with all forms, registration, etc done through the post, there will be no reason to use the clubhouse at all. * Well done on the first running of this race, organisers, put some more thought into next year and this will be a great event. Date of review: November 10, 2007
In short: Don't aim for a PB, and enjoy the scenery and bread pudding In full: Lots of people have commented about the bread pudding. It was fabulous, and a novel and brilliant way of adding a special touch to this excellent run. It was a shame, initially, to arrive at the first checkpoint and have to queue for 5 minutes to have my card punched. Kinda breaks the stride, but after the second check, I had realised that this was the norm, and relaxed into it and the drinks/pudding. Apart from the first and last 15 minutes running through the suburbs of Stevenage, the scenery on this run is terrific. Rolling countryside, fields, forest, undulating, beautiful. I like the fact that you have a small-but-non-zero chance of getting lost - and I did for 3 minutes - but since the majority of people don't read the notes themselves, you have a fair chance of getting others lost with you :-) Thanks to the organisers - this is a great race. (Actually, I guess I have one _minor_ niggle: I want a FINISH LINE! To arrive back at the Scout hut after running for 4+ hours and not know where the event actually finishes (inside, it appears).... well... would it be too hard to have somebody clocking your time at the finish?) Date of review: August 11, 2007