In short: flat, down, up, flat, down, flat, up, down, up, finish! In full: This is the ideal way to finish a Christmas week of "tapering" and get set for the new year. The scenery of Cliveden is exquisite, the descents exhilarating and the climbs exhausting. My favourite view is from the towpath on the longer second lap, where you can see the house in the distance and think you're nearly there. But then you get sent up to the top of the hill and back down again before the final lung-bursting climb up to the finish.
Partly thanks to the good weather and the setting, the event was well supported and a perfect family day out. It's mostly club runners - not surprising given the time of year and the toughness of the event! Well organized, quick results etc - another great event from Burnham Joggers. Date of review: January 1, 2008
In short: Don't know what the fuss is about - my least favourite race of the year In full: Thought I'd try this race as I used to live round here and it's been very well reviewed in the past.
The good: Marshalling, excellent goody-bag with quality shirt, prompt results service, clock at halfway, chip timing, accurate mile markers.
The bad: Poor start/finish area, especially for spectators and families. Burnt out wreck in the car park, dogsh*t on the pavements. 2-way traffic competing with the runners is dangerous - I was literally pushed off the road at one point by a moving car.
Traffic aside, the course is good - some gentle undulations to keep it interesting and provide some nice views. The Abbotsley junction (runners pass here twice) looks a much better spectator's location than the start/finish.
In short, good things for the hardcore clubber this event seems to be aimed at, but they wouldn't tempt me to make the trip again. Sorry! Date of review: November 19, 2007
In short: legs still hurting 2 days later In full: There was a really good atmosphere about this race - I suppose anyone willing to get up for a 9:30am half on the 4th Nov will be in good spirits. Nice little touches like the starting rocket and encouraging marshals. At the start someone asked me in all seriousness "is this one reasonably flat then?" errr...
Well, now I know the answer. Yes, the 7th mile is reasonably flat. But you probably won't enjoy it as those lovely green hills on your left are between you and the finish at Marlow! Basically it's up and down all the way - way harder than I was expecting and I found the first half downhills a bit demoralising as they were generally too short and steep to make up the time lost on the climbs. The second half seemed to swap things around though with the infamous steep uphills at mile 8 and 10 but then a usefully gentle mile and a half descent into Marlow. Great way to finish! A very satisfying race unless you're looking for a PB or a pain-free Monday. Date of review: November 6, 2007
In short: PB heaven In full: A must for PB hunters everywhere. Flattest UK course I've seen outside of a stadium, no sharp corners or bottlenecks, closed roads throughout and very supportive crowds all along the route.
Atmosphere at the start was great, goody bag was remarkable, and it all just felt so friendly. The scenery isn't that inspiring, but that's not what this race is about. It's about pure speed for the athletes and about engaging the local community. I hope this event continues to grow up to its 7000 capacity, and I can't see any reason why it shouldn't. It's a local race to be proud of.
In short: Hill after hill after hill - love it In full: Did the half this year - full next year (maybe).
My overall experience was very positive - very scenic and varied route, good camaraderie, flawless course and distance markings, cheerful marshals and water stations, lovely mud and a real sense of achievement going point to point rather than round in a circle.
I think most of the problems with this race could be resolved by starting the half and full at the same time. Do the marathoners really enjoy having to plough through 600 halfers on narrow paths? Would ease the t-shirt/medal queues too.
Overall though I appreciate that for the organisers, point to point races are a logistical nightmare! Did pretty well considering. Would definitely do this one again. Date of review: October 2, 2007
In short: The name says it all! In full: I did this to make a change from the usual road-running events and to motivate me to do a bit of proper cross-training. A 20k cycle might not sound very far but with the rutted tracks and hills getting round in less than 1 hour is pretty good going! And I can tell you it's a long hour on a hybrid with no suspension! The runs were slightly short of 5k but were a ideal course - jumping off the end of the field at the start 10 abreast, some decent hills and views, proper cross-country stuff. Exact distances are irrelevant anyway as this is a unique course - forget about the clock and have some fun.
This was my first duathlon experience and I really enjoyed it. The organisation was impeccable and both courses were well marshalled even in the chaos of transition. Really friendly and incredibly good value compared to other multi-disciplinary events - I think this one will continue to grow. Right, I'm off to the bike shop... Date of review: September 17, 2007
In short: Beautiful rolling woodland half In full: It really is a beautiful course, with enough hills to make it interesting but nothing too strenuous. I don't mind the 2 laps as the beeches stand a second viewing and it's nice to know what's coming up towards the end!
Also great to see provisional results at the course and up on the website so promptly. Date of review: August 19, 2007
In short: Classic negative split race In full: Luckily the comments on the RW forum prepared me for an awful 6k time - but the downhill gave me a 10s PB by the end! Would be even quicker without the slog around the rugby pitches - but I understand the safety reasons for moving the start.
Very nice cakes in the pavilion - worth coming back for! Towel is a nice memento too.
Superb to see top 100 results posted at 11am. Well done Bearbrook. Date of review: August 12, 2007
In short: Pretty course but dodgy measurements In full: Have to agree with earlier comments about the long last 1.1 miles. Checked the watch at 12 miles, ran in at 7min/mile pace and finished 9 minutes later - with a sprint finish! Still, it's the same for everyone and doesn't necessarily mean it's long overall.
Also agree that a couple of extra marshals along the canal would be good. Spent a mile or so with no-one visible ahead and did not feel confident I was on-course.
Very scenic course though, with just a couple of dull miles before the canal.
Goody bag a bit disappointing but medal was nice. Date of review: July 22, 2007
In short: Fast and well organised In full: Enjoyable race, weather helped make it faster than I expected. Pretty market town for the first few k but the Phoenix trail part was, well, like a disused railway line. Good running surface though. Bit of a scrum at the start but that's all part of the fun! Nice goody bag and T-shirt, very good value. Back next year. Date of review: June 25, 2007