In short: Hard as Nails In full: As an experienced marathon runner, of 75 marathons (before this event), I thought that I had seen it all ..... until yesterday! I am a 3:30-3:40 road runner, 4:00-4.30 cross country marathon runner, so the thought of a 3 hour cut off at the half way mark would be no problem .....! I only made it by a few minutes!! Unless you are a sub 3:45 road runner you have no chance! The course is brutal, in fact cruel - I suppose it is part of the allure? Very little easy running & nasty out & backs with some 1400 steps. Advertised as suitable for road shoes (disagree), I wish I had worn trail ones - whilst dry under foot, it would have helped with the very steep ascents/desents. 4 sets of stepping stones over the river, with the last set at mile 26 was cruel. I measured the race at just shy of 27 miles too. The marshalls were brilliant & to be out in the sticks for hours upon end was so appreciative. The feeding stations were plentiful & frequent. Disappointing at the end that the Picnic was minimal with only water & a few sarnies left. Also to run out of medium shirts & be presented with XL was not appreciated. The mile markers were totally out of scint too.
All in all - a unique race. I see why the marathon is only ran once every two years.
Never have I finished a marathon in 6hrs+ Date of review: June 22, 2014
In short: Stiles, stiles & stiles! In full: This was the inaugural Weald Challenge. There were 3 routes to choose, Ultra 50k, Marathon & Half Marathon. It was intended for 150 runners for the half & marathon and 100 for the Ultra. Oddly, the marathon was the least popular with only 68 turning up. The race filled up before race today, with well over 100 for the other distances.
The route was very well marked, particularly necessary given that all the races went off at different times. I did the marathon & after a mile or so, it felt like I was on my own. Much of the route was in woods, so no worries about sunshine & heat. After 3 miles I thought my time could be very good for a trail marathon, however, the first of what I was later told of 90 stiles appeared! There was no reference to this on the web site (naughty), however, it was a most enjoyable route none the less. The feed stations were very well stocked & it was delightful to receive a quality mug, free coffee & cakes galore at the finish.
A most enjoyable romp between South & North Downs. Date of review: May 25, 2014
In short: A good marathon to run in February In full: My first Heartbreaker marathon, which I finished in 3:58. Ran it all until 24 miles then ran out of puff till the road. Always enjoy off-road races in preferences, though don't like loops. The 3 loops seemed to work as during the second loop the half marathoners joined us. The terrain was surprisingly good & dry - just the occasional puddle, but very windy in places as the main out & back path was on the ridge.
Didn't like the banning of headphones - there was no need for the ban. Nearly the whole route was off road. Also, the one drink station which we passed on numerous occasions, did not supply any nourishment or gels - not good for a marathon. With only a cheap medal at the end, was it value for money form£21/£23? I was too tired to grab a cup of soup afterwards.
For a low key winter marathon, you can't go wrong. With a little more bang for our buck, the numbers will increase dramatically, I'm sure. Date of review: February 23, 2014
In short: Work to do ..... In full: There will always be teething problems for a new event, however, there are a number of improvements needed if Longman is to become established.
From the beginning, there were no Marshall's or signage steering people to Falmer or the Village Hall. Not a problem for me as a local, but I met a number of people beforehand who were in a fluster. When we collected our numbers, the queues were far too long - this was the fault of those giving out the numbers, who clearly had not been in this position before. As a result the refreshments before the race were missed. The race started a few minutes late.
There was no indication on the running numbers who was running which distance. Again I spoke to a few people at the start who were not locals & didn't want to get lost. Having different coloured numbers for each distance helps alleviate this.
During the first mile we experienced a hail shower, but after that the skies cleared, the sun came out & it was a very pleasant day - weather wise.
If the visibility hadn't been good, there would have been a lot of people getting lost (more about that later). The markings were poor, not frequent enough, confusing, too small & there was alack of marshalls. At least an additional 50% were required.
To the organisers credit the route whilst muddy, did not include any stiles - but with only two feed stations & only one having food (no gels), the organisers did nothing more than the bare minimum. No energy drinks were offered either.
Near the top of the snake, a Marshall sent everyone the wrong way. What should have been an 18.5 mile route, ended in more than 21 miles for me. When I eventually came through the finishing line there was no organiser at all, just a few supporters.
On arriving in the hall afterwards, no-one was there to greet the runners. I had to go up to someone to receive my medal, carrier bag of leaflets & some nourishment. It was not obvious either that the runners were entitled to a free meal. I was given a rice dish, which was uncooked. One mouthful was enough. No sign of a massage either.
Value for money? Not really for a run on the Downs.
If I wasn't a local I wouldn't come back, however, will probably give it another try. Date of review: February 2, 2014
In short: The Best Marathon in the UK? In full: I don't make the comment on my strap line lightly, however, I think I know what I talk about. Today was my 68th marathon!
Whilst most races keep to the same tried & tested format, the Bacchus marathon in its 4th year, has grown bigger & better each year.
With a feed station every two miles, with copious amounts of food, drinks & gels at each stop, there is also the opportunity to have a shot of wine (15 drinks for the marathon runners), with a different taster at each stop & you can have as many as you want!
A quality technical vest is given at the end, with a first class medal. At the finish there is ample food, a free hog roast/veggie option too & a free drink.
The marshals are some of the most enthusiastic people I have ever met at a race & the signage & marks are spot on. Mile markers are accurate.
The course is very attractive, despite being two lapped.
Races don't get better than this. In the first year there were only 30 or so of us running the marathon, this year in the low hundreds doing either the half or full - many runners in fancy dress & everyone having a great time in a wonderful setting.
Parking is available on site, so no need to walk long distances to the start/finish.
In a year or two, like the Le Medoc marathon which sells out within no time, this event will. Races don't get better than this event. I for one have never been so enthused over a race. Date of review: September 8, 2013
In short: Super Shrewsbury hits the Marathon spot In full: Today was my 66th marathon & drove up from the South Coast yesterday to stay over night for the inaugural marathon. As road marathons go the course was very interesting, with no boring bits ie long straight roads, industrial estates, but went around the best bits of the town, parks. The 4 laps were also okay, as the half marathon runners were with us on laps 2 & 3 so the time flew away.
The 20 minute delay at the beginning was a pain, the course description was not helpful on Rinners World & the organisers web - a topography of the route would have helped. It certainly was the hilliest marathon that I have run on road.
Drinks were a plenty, however, no food or gels on route was poor, especially as two gels were given to us in the goody bag at the end. We wanted them on route!
The medal same one for half marathon & marathon runners was disappointing. Should have had a different one, or at least a different ribbon!
I enjoyed the marathon & Shrewsbury is a lovely oldy wordy town well worth a visit. Lovely place. Hope the organisers take note. This has the potential of being a very good event. Date of review: June 23, 2013
In short: Who needs the beach? In full: Surprisingly sandy course will be my over riding memory of this race, together with the plethora of brilliant marshalls, ample feed stations, excellent marked course & wonderful views. Just one nasty hill to walk up. Cruel to have all the stiles in the second half of the race. A must do marathon. Date of review: September 21, 2012
In short: Out & Back Challenge In full: I usually run Beachy Head marathon at this time of year, however, chose to run the Greensand for the first time.
It was not as hilly as I thought, however, the terrain is difficult for speed. Lots of twists, roots, stone & sand.
I am not usually a fan of out & backs, however, the course was interesting enough. Was disappointed that there was only water & jelly babies at each feed station, except the turn when there was a bottle of lucozade. This is unacceptable for a marathon, especially a hard one. Sports drinks, gels & some food eg bananas, chocolate. biscuits should have been available - especially given the price we paid.
Despite the above, the t-shirt & medal were great. Never received a hat. Breakfast was fine (though the food was of the cheap version).
There were less than 180 runners for the marathon & very few slower runners. I normally end up in the first 1/3, however, was in the last 1/3 today. Quality field.
Would I do this race again? Yes. However, this event is not quite as good as Beachy Head yet. Date of review: October 23, 2011
In short: A great Sunday run In full: Entered on line but until a couple of days before the race was not sure what time it started. Found the organisation web site difficult to understand. On race day there were no issues pre race. I didn't take the route map during the race - never occurred to me & the lady who gave me my number never recommended that I should. The route is very twisty, well signed for walkers but not for runners. Clearly the trail markings are set by walkers for walkers. Sorry but a running perspective is needed ie marshals required. The route is great & although it goes over the top of the Downs & back, it is not that too hilly & I ran the whole 25k route. The directions are difficult to understand at time, why not use different coloured signs once hitting half way rather than two arrows showing opposite directions at Goodwood when completing a loop! At the end just a cup of water & no food is poor & given the cost with no medal thrown in was poor. Why were runners charged much more than walkers? The field for the 25k was small. If the organisers want to big this event, it has to make improvements as stated above. The course route deserves it! Date of review: July 11, 2011