In short: So where were you Nessie? In full: Travelled up from the South Coast to Inverness to run this marathon, & was not disappointed. The pasta party the day before was well organised & the food plentiful. On the morning of the event, the coaches took us to the start like clockwork. A bit of a wait at the start & fortunately the weather was fine, however, it is exposed & I wonder what plans the organisers would make if conditions were poor, to protect the runners from the elements.
As for the race itself, I was prepared for the downhill start, however, was not prepared for all the inclines. There are quite a few short sharp hills which were unexpected. The actual hill at mile 18 was not as hard as I thought. However, I am an experienced marathon runner. This was my 79th marathon - it was also the most difficult road one that I have done, so PBs are not going to happen here, unless you have only run a few marathon. Water stations, gels & sustenance were plenty & the t-shirt, medal & goody bag at the end great. I couldn't eat the meal given at the end, just can't eat after a marathon. It was appreciated & all included within the price.
As for Nessie. No sign of her, though one of her little helpers gave me a great Nessie medal at the end. Date of review: September 29, 2014
In short: The only way is up ....... after 7 miles! In full: A great trail race, with two water stops, wonderful Sussex Downs, views to die for; 3 different races; downhill finish; clif bar at the end with a medal; great marshals & well sign posted. Will be back. Date of review: September 14, 2014
In short: Good Old Sussex By T he Sea! In full: Hats off to the organisers for taking on board the criticism of the Winter Longman event. Plenty of emails sent before the event giving updates, a car park organised, loos at the beginning & an easy registration process. The course was undulating, South Downs Way has been well trodden by me over the years (am a local). Two miles out and two miles back to Devils Dyke then some loops & up to Saddlescombe then back. Very misty in parts (all part of the fun), interspersed with warm sunny bits - typical autumn weather.
My only criticism was a lack of signs at some key places. With only 30 of us running the 10m it wasn't long before you were on your own & at one point I took a wrong turn, ended up at Royal Oak pub Fulking, rather than down the Dyke valley. Fortunately, as a local I knew which way to go & ended up running a mile on the road till Saddlescombe. My mileage by hook or crook ended up at 9.87m. Would recommend spray painting on the grass, as the organisers seem restricted to the number of marshalls they can muster.
The goodie bag at the end was great, technical shirt, medal, hot chocolate at the finish, clif bar & clif chews at the start too.
This could be the start of great things for Longman. Date of review: September 7, 2014
In short: Has potential In full: Am happy to start this years review. Ran the marathon distance & it was my first time running this event. On the plus side the course was flat, mainly shaded & has potential as a PB.
The downsides - the half marathon runners & marotheners started together, but it was confusing who was running each event, as the colour bibs seemed interchangeable. Also a number of runners seemed to have set off earlier so it was unclear whom was in front of you. The water stations were inadequate. Only 5 for a marathon in August! And most of them only with cups of water. If it would have been a hot day there would have been pandemonium. The decision to run past the finish line at 24 miles was cruel. Why not do those first two miles first? At the end to be handed only a medal for £27 was not enough for the fee. The water at the end wasn't close to the finish line either. Apparently there was a bowl of crisps, but by the time if finished they were gone. Date of review: August 23, 2014
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