In short: I finally got to run this after 2 years and it was worth it! In full: I had to pull out of this race in 2006 and 2007 due to injury and was determined to finally experience this race. It has a lovely local club feel to it with a good representation from all of the main local clubs and a few that were a bit further afield. Notwithstanding this, there were plenty of unattached runners and they all seemed to be made welcome. There was a good mix of fast club runners and slower runners on the course making it a very inclusive event. Not at all elitist. The location is perfect, starting and finishing by the river Thames. As others have noted, the first half is not a particularly inspiring route, some of which involved running on the road where there was either no path or a very uneven pavement. The car drivers were mostly very patient and the marshals did a great job keeping everything running smoothly. The second half was along the towpath which is quite narrow, but pretty. Thankfully, by this time most of the runners had stretched out and (apart from a few people who insisted on running side by side) it was easy to get along. I really enjoyed this race. It is a flat-fast course. It is impeccably organised. Well marshalled and the mug was a nice change from the medal. Although I do understand that some people liked the challenge of trying to get a different medal depending on their finishing position, I am happy with something that I can use. Will definitely put this in my diary for next year. Well done E.R.R !
In short: Hard for a first time marathon but beatiful scenery In full: This was the first time that I have taken on this distance so I was not sure what to expect beyond the 20 mile point. The new forest is one of my favourite places in the country, the scenery is stunning and the presence of the new forest ponies wandering free always makes you feel like you have really escaped from the city. The organisation of the race was great,everyone involved was pleasant and helpful. The marshalls were encouraging and some of them had to deal with some very irrate drivers. There were plenty of water stations and sponges on the course although I really could have done with another nearer the end. But that may be more a reflection on my hydration strategy rather than and organisation issue. The free souvenir brochure is a nice touch. The medal is not particularly inspiring but I love it anyway! Support around the course was great. People shouting encouragement from car park, bicycles and cars was nice. The people on the water stations and sponges were all supportive. The lady handing out jelly babies by the pub at about 22 miles was a nice touch too. The whole experience of running a marathon is certainly one that I would never forget, even though those last 5-6 miles were the toughest that I have ever run. From 18 miles onwards, the course changes from gentle undulations to what seems like huge hills. The long climb at 19 seemed never ending. Just when you felt that you had overcome that, you turn a corner then continue up some more inclines. These just sap your energy completely. I was not expecting this and would certainly leave a little more fuel in the tank for the second half of the course if I were to do it again. It was a learning experience for me. For a first marathon it was a toughy, but you can't deny that it is a lovely race in a very special location. Well done to the organisers, I had a great day! Date of review: September 20, 2007
In short: A challenging race if you are more used to roads... In full: ...like me. This was my first hilly race and I was surprised at how muddy it was in places. The marshals were particularly friendly considering that they all had to stand around longer than usual (being a 2 lap race). At the end of the race their encouragement really kept me going. Gloves were an original touch as a memento. There was a nice atmosphere during the race. Well done Tadworth AC!! Date of review: January 8, 2007
In short: Nasty weather- great race In full: Great support given the conditions. Nice course route. The last section along the sea was a killer! Nice medal and t-shirt. There could be more guidance for walkers to move nearer the back of each wave as the first mile or two was spent dodging those who wanted to walk but were too far forward in the pack. I echo the comments about the lucozade pouches, these things are a nightmare! I saw a few people slip on them. A great event though and I will be back next year. Date of review: October 23, 2006
In short: A nice run with a long dull bit in each loop. In full: Well organised although the commentator was getting on my nerves! (where do they find these people?). Started on time although it was a bit crowded at first. Gun timing only, so I had to deduct the 10 seconds that it took to cross the start line off of the official time. The mug was a bit crappy, not even the year on it. So don't be surprised to see them again next year! A nice sunday morning run along the river though and well worth the effort of haulng my fat bum out of bed for. May well do again next year as it is so local for me. I Wouldn't travel far for it though. Date of review: October 9, 2006
In short: Course a bit twisty and congested in parts. Excellent organisation! In full: A very well organised event. The course is not designed for PB's really as it gets a bit tight along the towpath and you have to negotiate a pedestrian bridge. The last 1k or so is over grass and was into the wind which made it hard going. But saying all of that I recorded a much better time than I was expecting and there was a nice medal and T-shirt for your troubles.
In short: "It's a jog, not a race" In full: A good introduction to running for a lot of people I should imagine. This is primarily a fund-raising event and the empahasis is on the word "fun" in Fund-raising. The fellow introducing the race kept reminding us that it is "a jog, not a race". But people being as competitive as they are raced around and there was the beeping of many stopwatches as people crossed the line. The route took us around the office buildings and down by the wharf. One road was completely closed to traffic and others had barriers sectioning off the runners from the cars and buses. I think that some sections were too narrow and there were a few bottle-necks here and there. The route was mostly flat, with a short slope down to the wharf and back up again. Dodging the commuters trying to get to the station was tricky at times. The hardest part was the section by the wharf that took us past the bars where people were standing around drinking cold beer as we ran past. The temptation to snatch one became more intense with each lap! The event is well organised and if you remember what it is all about it has the potential to raise a lot of money. As a running event, it is fun but not for the serious runner trying to get a PB.
In short: So, simple.....it's perfect In full: Turn up and run. First-timers give their name as a one-off. The results are on the website within a few hours, along with photos of just about everyone that takes part. Lots of encouragement from the faster runners to those coming up behind. Every ability seems to be catered for. The surroundings are beautiful. It is a great way to start off your weekend. Excellent!! Date of review: May 15, 2006