In short: Response to Less-Than-Speedy In full: I feel compelled to respond to the previous review of the Ultra race 100 written by Less-Than-Speedy. I must state, right from the outset, that I have not run this race. I have, however run over 100 races of varying lengths and have experience of taking part in over 20 races of between 26 and 60 miles. I have marshalled on this race, and unlike Less-Than-Speedy, I have taken the trouble to do my homework and drive the whole course in separate stages to familiarise myself with the "signage" - not only are the yellow and black stickers prominent, plentiful and almost always very obvious, the same can be said for the Ultra Race stickers which are ubiquitous and incredibly thoughtfully positioned to be unambiguous and helpful to the runners taking part.
I find it staggering, that there are people in this world who can complain that a route of 100 miles is not, by it's nature, bound to encroach on a busy A road at SOME point! Yes, there is a long stretch on the A44, and yes, it can be busy, but to complain that it doesn't have a pavement when in reality 85 to 90% of the course is on B roads, unclassified roads and tracks seems nitpicking and bizarre.
Any runner who finds relief in pulling out before a night section and boasts of this as though it is something to be proud of, seems to me to be missing an integral part of what makes the Ultra 100 so revered to those of us who take the race seriously enough to train hard enough to cope with the demands of such a race. Bad luck on finding a lorry belching fumes on a road. I mean, how inconsiderate of Mr. Coleman, to not write to the highways agency demanding a ban on all motor vehicles in excess of 7.5t from using any of the roads on the Ultra 100 route!
Just for the record, your assumption that the "winner" was upset due to being disqualified is unfounded and untrue. If you had taken the trouble to read the excellent blog of this competitor's account of his experience during this race, he explains unambiguously why he fully understood that Mr. Coleman followed the rule of thumb any respected race director would take under such circumstances.
Everyone has the right to their opinion, but having personally seen how well signed this one is, and having taken part in many of the superb Ultra races that the Ultra Race team put on throughout the year, I think your criticisms are unjust and say more about your failings and bitterness than they do about the dedicated and encouraging team at Ultra Race UK.
In full: This was the only race I have ever entered where not only was there no form to fill in to actually enter the race, but there were no bibs either! I was told to write my no. down on my hand with a felt tip pen and would receive a special price of £12 for the lack of number!
At least the chip timing worked but this race was an organisational shambles. How can you charge £14 for a 10k with a field of less than 200 with one marshal handing out drinks at one station and not have sufficient entry forms or race numbers and no initiative as to how to cope with the situation (like writing the number on a blank piece of paper and asking people to display it in the usual manner!?)
In short: Instantly forgetable ! In full: I'll start with the positives. There was free parking 30 secs from the start line. That was where the perks ended. I was passing through Melksham and decided to drop in on a midweek 5k for the novelty factor. This race starts and ends in an industrial estate and at its most exciting ventures into a non-descript housing estate after an unimaginitive loop around the industrial estate and yes, you've guessed it, ends on the same stretch of road in the same industrial estate!!
For £7 entry I received precisely nothing other than a free bottle of water from two kind and cheerful little girls as I walked towards the sports centre.
This race felt like a midweek club training run and £3 might have felt good value. But when you are trying to start a race with an artic lorry and a procession of cars heading towards you in the direction the race is heading, it becomes a bit farcical.
One wonders why the marshals at the first junction could not have held the traffic for two minutes to allow the race to start (a field of 50 to 60 people shouldn't be too problematic!)
Sorry, but this would be in my room 101 of road races...maybe having a direct comparison with a race I did last weekend on Offah's Dyke on the Black Mountain, overlooking stunning fells did not help the transition to the opposite end of the race spectrum!! Date of review: June 14, 2010
In short: A good effort for a first... In full: A nice friendly atmosphere. Not many views but pretty flat for much of the 26 miles apart from the last 2 which wasn't ideal!
My only disappointment, having finished well within 5 hours, was that there were no more XL shirts to hand out! It is time that event organisers realise that there are many runners with large or very large physiques who are running marathons these days. We've paid our money like everyone else and deserve a momento that fits rather than the leftovers!!
Otherwise it was a super race well worth the 400 mile round trip. Date of review: June 1, 2010
In short: varied scenery and terrain with some tough lengthy climbs! In full: A large field and very well organised. Encouraging marshals and a kitbag that is neither use nor ornament! The only let down of a pleasant race. Surely a medal or a t-shirt? Or a bag that fits more than a pair of socks and a shower gel?! Date of review: January 17, 2010
In full: I arrived at 10.15am and already there were problems in organising where people were going to park round the rear of the hangar. There seemed to be little communication between stewards at this point. But the race itself was fine tho at times the gusts made a pb very unlikely. The course was in no way flat with a deceptive incline following a left turn after the 3K marker and both the start and finish had quite noticable climbs (tho not too long in either case!) The 2 lap course was good for pacing and not at all dull tho the lady who stood opposite the drinks table at the 5km drinks station with an empty plastic cup in her hand was an unhelpful tease!! I would have thought it best only to hold a cup out if it had liquid in it; this minor gripe aside a pleasant enough atmosphere to the race. Date of review: November 22, 2009
In full: The weather made this race seem worse than it was but with waterlogged paths and strong winds with the odd downpour thrown in my misery turned to disbelief that insufficient water had been allowed for at the end. Thank goodness it wasn't a warm day. Providing water at the end is surely a basic minimum requirement. Surely you need one drinks station even at the start of a lap would do?! Date of review: November 16, 2009
In short: An outstanding Half Marathon. In full: The Kenilworth Runners should feel very proud of such a wonderful event. I've been running for two years and have done many races in that time. This was near the top of the pile. Fantastic organisation, and stunning scenery. Superb marshals with genuine encouragement and fantastic kids handing out water at the plentiful water stations. As a very minor observation I would class this race as out and out undulating rather than flat/undulating. From memory there seemed to be many more climbs than downs! The only major dissapointment was the lack of photographer at the finish gantry to take every individual's picture and finish time. I was informed that this was because the photographer got in the way of the time keeper last year. Maybe this could be ironed out for 2010 as this was a major factor in me wanting to travel from London to do the race as I was so impressed with that personal touch. Having taken over 3 mins off my PB this ommision was even more tragic for me! All in all a fabulous day out!! PS The medal was a little cheap looking!! Date of review: October 4, 2009
In short: Much improvement needed! In full: What a let down the Amersham 5 proved to be. Non existant signs to park or to the cricket club. A route which was an old fashioned X-country affair but with no mention of the extreme nature of the terrain or hills both of which were prohibitive to beginners. This should have been indicated as a hilly race. The start was ill conceived. Why have such a severe bottle-neck within 400 metres of the start? With a bit more thought and a lap or two of the field the runners could have been more evenly spread to reduce the waiting time to funnel onto the path. The ploughed field was unacceptably dangerous underfoot, one of many places where passing was nigh on impossible. The marshals were amongst the most unresponsive and uninvolved I've seen and the fact that Chiltern Harriers were not prepared to give finishers who had registered on the day a momento of the effort involved in completing a demanding course was hugely disappointing. My friend and colleague who had travelled from Essex to run politely asked if he could have a T-shirt as a keepsake as there was a pile left on the tables. He was informed that this year's T-shirts were not being given away or sold. However he was informed that we could have last years for £4!!! For a club who must have reasonable levels of affluence in such a geographical position this all made for an unpleasant and resentful conclusion to the day. Surely a massed produced mug or medal or last years T-shirt isn't too much?
In short: well organised and flat In full: The organisation was excellent. Just a few more toilets for a 400 field would be good and a drink station earlier than 6K (perhaps have two). The 180 loop after 1.5K was a little unimaginative but everything else was really very well done. Superb marshals all the way round. Well done! Date of review: September 2, 2008