In short: GR-R-REAT ! In full: A thoroughly great race although warmer than last year's event, but with relief stations well spread out and not cramped with runners grabbing a cup. I really enjoy this event despite it being multiple laps. There were improved revamped facilities in the club house - new warm showers (fantastic!)- although the changing area for men - cordoned off by a curtain of sorts - were still a little cramped; but there's too many in this race to expect anything else on this point. Several friendly and soothing canines at the finish and I'll definitely be back next year; a pre-marathon 20 miler under the cloak of an event is so much more manageable and enjoyable. Date of review: March 11, 2012
In short: Very good event. In full: A good, mostly traffic free event for real men and for real women, an easy walk down from Dorking station. Not exactly flat, and consequently challenging, there might have been better signage from race HQ to the start, but the run itself was quite pretty although without a rutting fox in sight. Date of review: June 8, 2011
In short: Great easy to get to event. In full: I thoroughly enjoyed myself despite the tough up and down, overwhelmingly rural course. Despite starting off from a farm there weren't any Manc smells, and the few spectators out were really encouraging. Much was made beforehand about straying off route, but the trail was easy to follow - just look out for the person in front, but it was well marked as well. The weather, very hot on the day - a relief considering some of the rutted and knobbly tractor lanes close to the end. Good staggering of relief stations, and tasty flapjacks at the finish. Great mug handed out to all, better than the medals I seem to be buiding up. Useful and a great memento. Date of review: May 2, 2011
In short: Run rabbit, run rabbit. Run ! Run ! Run ! In full: My first 20 mile race and I'm still surprised at how much fun it was running multiple laps. The weather was just right and cool, plus it was great preparation for my spring marathon. Keeping count of the laps required was straightforward, although some of the fantastic marshals out around the course had been doing so anyway: Final lap, Yo !. Also the lady near the petrol station was great encouragement. I was really pleased to have taken along some Torq gels since I definitely needed a few of those on the final two laps, since only water, dilute squash and jelly babies were being stretched out. Bring some energy and you'll be fine. Date of review: March 15, 2011
In short: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. In full: I thoroughly enjoyed myself despite the twisting sand underfoot and the relentless pounding of rocky descents scraping at my inov-8s. Possibly for the first time ever I just couldn't stop marvelling over the crisp and tidy views radiating out from the higher contours of the course, which obviously weren't made for spectators - except along the finishing bend - but which were filled with the camaraderie of people who could be "bovered". The event absolutely made my day, marshals included, as my lungs were cleansed by clean air diluted of all nicotine highs emanating from an unpleasant and selfish northern trollop wallowing in London. I chose trail shoes for the day and only regretted my decision along a few straits and crossings paved with tarmac, as my lugs had a sticky love-in with urbanity. Though the peaks did grip to isolated muddy dub dubs and gave my ankles and feet reasonable protection uphill and uphill. Great food provision and chip results (which could be printed out receipt-style) at the end, which made up for the slightly pointless goody bag filled in with flyers. And the three mile walk back to the rail station, without pavement but with endless double-bends and blind humps, didn't bother me once I had dodged some lorries and old ladies out looking for the Spotted Cow. A beautiful event, it also had some pretty-looking ducks near the drop to a very large pond. Date of review: September 21, 2010
In full: Thoroughly enjoyed the event ! The weather was far more pleasant than last year's heatwave, in addition to the roomy and shaded course. Light breeze too. It wasn't difficult to get to from my region of north London, and unlike a few days ago in Big Wood & Little Wood I wasn't jumped at by a large boisterous mutt not on a leash. It seems dog owners are more responsible in Victoria Park. Nice goody bag, help yourself to bananas and pretend to not being greedy, but what I'd really like to see next year is a sound system blaring out some house music.
In short: Definitely not a turkey of a race ! Could be "bovered" ! In full: I'm still glowing after I got up early for this event rather than plod read a red-top in front of the idiot box like a large mass. And not thumbing a child's games console either we were rewarded by some sumptuous vistas. That's honest and legitimate ! Passing wasn't exactly straightforward but there were instances when this was feasible - uniquely along the more canopied stretches which were some of the most lush, ie. not prissy and trapped like some wilting annual in a clay pot. Although spongiforms weren't provided to wipe away filth there was ample H2O, mainly held in cups but at the final station provided in recyclable plastic bottles. I managed to track lazy Betty Bovine (and friends) together with noxious fumes and cowpats, but escaped towards the royal-blue finishing arch and into fresh clean air. Although we all must have seen several domestic pets (specifically canines) these were all pretty much well-behaved. Thankfully I didn't identify another snouty-nosed blonde bitch chasing after her own tail; that would have had me in stitches and spoiled my race forever.
In full: I thoroughly enjoyed the day having set off from pen no.2, despite being jostled and blocked by several people around me for several miles from the start. I was aiming for a 3:30 finish and was in the same corral as the pacer from Runnersworld UK - and despite missing my projected time by nine minutes - was slightly irritated when we all came to an abrupt halt shortly after the hooter. I can't imagine what was going on up ahead, but was more irritated by people clearly not intending to average out on eight minute miles. I achieved a personal best from a previous four hour plus mark, and believe runners should still have discretion in their targeted time, but everyone should be more realistic - maybe all first-time non-elite marathoners should be at the back regardless. The water, fuel, and gel provision was exceptional and I can't fault it; plus runners here seemed to be disposing of their bottles to the side of the carriageway, unlike places more reliant on plastic cups - which tend to break apart under running shoes. The support I have to say was incredible, and only in a few places was back to back. It gave me an incentive to keep moving in the later stages, but combined with the sound systems was slightly disorientating.
In short: Would I do this again ? Not maybe, a definite wholehearted " Yes ! " In full: Really easy and convenient to get to the number collection was a breeze. The day was fair the breeze was still, an American won the wife carrying dash to haul away a keg. Before the main event preceded by the de facto English national anthem, not quite raucous though not muted. Surprisingly it didn't irritate me as much as I had planned. Damn motorbikes a walker cursed as we fit runners passed several of both up for six, down the reverse back to the finish - same as the start - along rutted paths, trail shoes are the must. Muddy swills we skirted around their edges unless too wide, then we just leapt. Brave New World, shins and calves douched in glorious mud, we fell back down to the finish. Surrounded by forest, greeted by Veggie sausages, beans and toast, extra for omnivores the canteen was there, though it took a few of us some working out to stand square to it over there, signage in this regard could have been enhanced. Rewarded by a drop-dead gorgeous medal, a mystical paperweight and a tech shirt, this was a hot race, just like that cute bird behind the till at Waterstones. Date of review: March 8, 2010
In short: A surprisingly soothing country race, I got to practise several new Zen techniques from Larry Shapiro. In full: Fantastic and easy to get to from London with a 10:30 pop of the gun, the race HQ (plus baggage store)was fairly spacious and efficient in receiving and returning holdalls, gmn bags etc., although as is the case everywhere there were queues for the toilets - especially the Gents on the upper floor of the Collosseum, which stretched back down to the front doors on the ground floor. Lots of space to mingle, dodge and get confused in, unlike the eight foot wide paths along most of the course which despite this were only a problem at the start and a little thereafter. Great water provision to reward manageable hills - although the gradient of some of these were demonic, forcing most to trundle up - and easily visible mile markers (usually on the left); for the first time ever I pulled up my own watch to check on the splits all the way round. Really nice course with road closures, and only one tiny lane where a black SUV had to crawl along hemmed in by the throng of runners; February's woodland was denuded and reminded me of scenes from The Road, without the presence of any crazed Hate-Mongers preaching their own brand of religion. Already looking forward to the Leith Hill Half next month, and London the month after. Date of review: February 8, 2010