In short: This race sets the standards that club organised events should aim to mimic. In full: It's an RW forum party, a F*tch frolic, a PB hunter's autumn target and altogether a great day out. Usually I'm with the skinnies at the pointy end, trying to shave seconds off the pb. This year I was over an hour later, but it's a real party atmosphere back there.
Eleven out of ten. Date of review: December 4, 2009
In short: As flat as a country hedgehog In full: Do you want a 10 mile PB? They've done their bit with the course, all you have to do is deliver your part. This event is rightly popular with athletes of all abilities from the Olympian to the more gentle finisher.
It's all on country lanes, starting and finishing at the Power Station. It's the first time I've ever appreciated getting closer to a Nuclear Installation. There were countdown marker boards near to the end as well, a nice touch. Date of review: September 13, 2008
In short: 3 laps of glorious countryside, and some very nice prizes In full: Undulating or rolling, nobody said it was flat. Virtually traffic free. Water and Hi5 and own drinks at the right places. 3 loops meant that you were aware of what was coming and could mentally prepare. Agreed, the distance marking was poor: surely it should have been miles for the marathon, and Km for the 50k? Also agreed, the out & back dogleg on the marathon finish was just cruel. Cruel. However, this was a first time event and they have found a special place in the marathon nutters calendar. It even fits in nicely with FLM plans. I'll be back. Date of review: January 29, 2008
In short: 3 laps of glorious countryside, and some very nice prizes In full: Undulating or rolling, nobody said it was flat. Virtually traffic free. Water and Hi5 and own drinks at the right places. 3 loops meant that you were aware of what was coming and could mentally prepare. Agreed, the distance marking was poor: surely it should have been miles for the marathon, and Km for the 50k? Also agreed, the out & back dogleg on the marathon finish was just cruel. Cruel. However, this was a first time event and they have found a special place in the marathon nutters calendar. It even fits in nicely with FLM plans. I'll be back. Date of review: January 28, 2008
In short: That was the hardest marathon I've ever "run" In full: Even the bits billed as flat were rolling. The first long haul was OK, the next one was a real toughie. After that the undulations and downhills were challenging. The one that got me was at mile 12(+25), short, sharp and sapping. And then they all seemed to magnify on the second time around. The course beat me mentally. However, the organisation was professional, the marshalling was top notch, the Policing was 100%, and the start/finish was very special. The countryside scenery "up top" was stunningly glorious, and I think that the organisers managed to mix a 10k HM and full M extremely well. If you're after a time trial, forget it. If you want a tactical race, look no further. Someone has to win it, and a forumite did. Date of review: October 22, 2007
In short: This race shows the town's true colours: Historic, rural, and modern In full: Was it chocolate box scenery? Mostly. I think that the section in the business park seemed to be a stark contrast to the stunning beauty of the Abbey, the rural villages, the very rural farm areas, and the Tudor townscape.
Was it a PB course? That depends. Being a few short weeks after FLM lots of people are still recovering, and the flatness of the route is less than I remember from last year. But it's not hilly: I was only 30 seconds off the pace.
Atmosphere: With 1000 runners there was a good buzz. It could take twice that with a few tweaks. I noticed that it seemed to be very popular with the local runners, and less so with the seriously clubby types. It would suit both ends of the spectrum.
This was a transition year, so bear with the organisers. The new people merely staffed the operation this year, using the pre-existing arrangements. Expect any minor grumbles to have been addressed in 12 months time. But that's the whole point, there were very few grumblings and far more positive comments. Of course I can make improvement suggestions to the organisers, but there were some nice touches this year: the monstrously large mile markers, championchips, the mini water bottles, and a previous London Marathon winner manning the car park... Date of review: May 16, 2007
In short: Ask me to design the perfect race, and I'll give you Abingdon. In full: Brilliant for spectators. Marshalls were more frequent than lamp posts. Water and feed stations at exactly the right frequency. Bring-a-bottle facility was most welcome. As flat a course as could be wished for. Enough hedges to provide shelter, even in the open countryside. A stadium finish in front of hundreds of Forumites (it sounded like it anyway). A nice cup of tea. Free showers.
The only negative I can think of is that it's 26.2 miles of running. Date of review: October 22, 2006
In short: A nice run out into the country, and just the right size In full: 700 people, this sort of race is the bedrock of amateur athletics. Enough to be able to get fully organised (which they were). Enough so that you were never totally alone. Good marshalls, plenty of them, and frequent water. Championchip timing. A bit too rolling to be pb potential for the regulars, but all the regulars were there, despite there being 2 other local HMs today. I enjoyed myself in the sunshine. Had I been for a solo run it wouldn't have had the sparkle (or the water). Date of review: May 7, 2006
In short: This is a party weekend with a series of races and fun runs thrown in. In full: Absolutely fandabidozy. It's a pb, because there's only one race that's 14.5 miles X/c against a train. Did you? Didn't you? That's all that matters. The public have heard of the FLM. This is the race that runners talk about. This is run as a charity event, but the pricing is very competitive. You want to spend your money. eg beer £2 a pint. LZS £1 bottle. The countryside is just stunning. One missed footfall and you join it. The route goes virtually alongside the track for most of the country section. The organisers are clever too. The trains are timed so that approximately 10% will beat the train. Will you be one of...............us. This is proper cross country. Nothing invented here. The route is direct, and logical. A bit of mud, a bit of wet, a few climbs, some narrow tracks. A lot of sheep fields. You just know that you NEED to do this race at least once. Date of review: August 26, 2005