In short: Second time at Harvel after giving it a couple of years, remembered now why I loved it so much the first time... In full: My first time at Harvel was in 2009, and was only my fifth proper race. Three years and nearly 100 races later, I returned - and as I always do on Runners World, here is my take of the positives and negatives
Positives * For such an isolated place, it was phenomenally easy to get to if you followed the race instructions and can follow arrows!
* A race started with a shotgun will always have a certain charm to me...
* The course is fast, fast, fast - it's not until you get to three miles that you realise you've been uphill all the way so far - the finish is one of the fastest I know!
* The quality of the field at the front is superb - I finished with a 32' and was only just inside the top 100... Saying that, it seems as if the race caters well for all abilities
* I think the price for a race of this quality, with two water stations and a brilliant medal is top drawer
Negatives * For the first time in doing these reviews - I cannot think of anything I would improve. My message to the organisers would be as follows - keep it exactly as it is, with an eye on maintaining a field no larger than it currently is. The only thing that I can imagine would affect this race is letting it become a victim of its own success - the course cannot cater for too many more runners, in my opinion.
Overall, a superb race - and I have passed on my opinions of this gem to a number of racing magazines over the past week. Date of review: June 9, 2012
In short: Local fast and flat run across the marshes In full: Enjoyed this race very much; having never run it before. As usual, my positive/negative breakdown:
Positivies * Cost - Cheaper than some 10K's I have run, and more than worth the price when you consider all the goodies thrown in * Course - Superbly flat, and a real test of how fast you can run the distance. Wonder if it's possible to chop a bit of the grass at the start off and increase the turn around point outside the pub. This wasn't a problem as the weather was gorgeous, but in wet weather this may cause a very slippery start! * Location - nice and quiet, saw one car in the 90 minutes I was running, roads are as good-as-closed! * Date - I haven't done this race in previous years as it has been the week before Hastings Half, the highlight of my year. Two weeks before Hastings is the perfect time, even with tired legs from Eastbourne the week before
Negatives * Only negative I have was the turn around point directly outside the front door of a pub... Honestly Martin, you do tease us!
I will be back next year if the race is 2 weeks before Hastings again. A brilliant testing course which I enjoyed immensely. I honestly enjoyed this more than Eastbourne the week before, which was £7 more expensive - and as you can see from my review there, it wasn't as if I didn't enjoy it there! Superb effort all! Date of review: March 14, 2012
In short: One of my favourite courses, but small changes could make it a great race instead of the good race it currently is In full: Postivies * Support at mile 11, everyone else has mentioned it, but superb effort from the girls once again. * Bagpiper - what a hero standing out in the rain for at least an hour * Toilets - I arrived an hour early and they were deserted. If you need to go 10 minutes before the start, you've timed it wrong. * Parking - overlooked in other reviews, but brilliant. Plenty of space, easy to get in and out for those at the front. * Course - I love the hill at the start, then the winding hill down to the start again. Brilliant test, and brilliant fun. From eight miles onwards gives the impression of 'winding around to make up the distance', which brings me on to my negatives
Negatives * 21.3KMs is not a half marathon. It is a half marathon plus 200M. * Muddy field was in my opinion dangerous, it is lucky that noone got hurt slipping into the finish, it was a mudbath when I finished in 1:33, must have been AWFUL for those behind me.
My advice for next year to make the distance correct - Move the start/finish 100Ms closer to the exit of the field, eliminating the field as much as possible. Other than that small whine, which should not put anyone off doing this race if you're considering it in future, I love this course, love the atmosphere and will definitely be back for attempt #3 next year. Date of review: March 7, 2012
In short: Brilliant race again In full: I've done this race twice now, and enjoyed it both times - it is quite expensive but you do get the T-Shirt, a good medal and goody bags as well as as much Lucozade as you can get down yourself! I did this race as a training run, and so as such finished in 42 something - but I have one major gripe.
The 45 minute pace girl, after 1K @ 4 minutes threw down her pace sign and just went for it - I didn't see her the rest of the race, and I finished 3 minutes before she was supposed to... Don't get me wrong, I'm very impressed to see a young girl running that well, BUT it's INCREDIBLY bad etiquette, INCREDIBLE rude, INCREDIBLY selfish and I hope personally she gets a rollocking for it. If you have that little desire to pacemake - then don't offer to pacemake - it'll just be letting people down. I very nearly picked the sign up and did it myself, as it was only a training run. The pacemakers last year, some were very good, others were like this girl. (the 50 and 55 minute pacemakers were very accurate... I waited and checked). To put it simply, PLEASE in future, get pacemakers who have proven ability at doing this... I'd be MORE than happy next year to do a 40 minute pacemake if you would just ask... Date of review: June 13, 2010
In short: Lightning fast course... In full: Through the gorgeous nature reserve. The wind seemed quite strong, although didn't really seem to slow me down too much. Lovely course though, and the marshals were very friendly. Definite thanks go to race organiser Martin Burke who replied to all my questions about the race in no time at all, and also gave me a detailed route description that must've taken him a while to type!
In summary a brilliant race, and I'll be hoping to take some sizeable chunks out of the 5K PB's in August! Date of review: July 25, 2009
In short: Lovely course In full: Certainly PB potential if it wasn't a million degrees on the day! Nice chatty field and very beginner friendly. Marshalling was very good around the course, and was very well run all in all. Only slight gripe was I was sure the race map I saw had the race starting/finishing on the green, but the finish was on the road and I wasn't sure where I was supposed to be going... Should've really seen the big FINISH sign I know... Date of review: June 28, 2009