In short: Glorious course but the organisers need to iron out the chaos at the starting line In full: This is a wonderfully scenic course with plenty of of PB potential - out along the wide and flat prom, up a zigzag, returning along the undulating clifftop with a 2.6km flat finish back along the prom with plenty of potential for a sprint finish.
The only thing that marred the race was the organisation at the start. Although runners should have positioned themselves according to their predicted finishing times (as per signs along the starting barriers), the organisers were pushing all the competitors backwards from the starting line with the result that the quicker runners (who should have been up the front) were pushed backwards into slower categories to make room for other starters who were much much slower and should have moved through the crowd to the back (but didn't). This meant that the start was extremely congested and quicker runners had to dodge plodders for the first 1km or so before the race thinned out. An easy solution would be for the starting barrier to be filled from the back, so that quicker runners can make their way forward to the starting line, not vice versa.
Aside from the chaos at the start, it was a lovely race and a great day out. A great t-shirt and nice medal. Date of review: April 4, 2011
In short: A charming local race with undulating route and a superb downhill sprint finish. In full: This event is supported by plenty of clubs and locals (although coincided with the New Forest Triathlon in 2010 so might have resulted in slightly fewer numbers than usual). The circular route is on nicely paved roads through the Hampshire countryside, with a few hills thrown in for a challenge, but none of them unduly long. The finish is an uplifting downhill sprint. An enjoyable event all round. Date of review: May 5, 2010
In short: A tough climb with fantastic downhill dash and fast finish In full: The race starts with a loop around Monmouth where runners are warmly waved off by spectators, followed by a long climb which consists of baking tarmac, shaded and narrow forest track and a field. The climb was challenging (to say the least) in 28 degree heat so make sure you leave plenty in the tank to get you past the false summits. The downhill, though, was fantastic - shaded roads for most of the way and perfect for making up lost time. The finish had a great carnival atmosphere and it was great to be able to use the changing and showering facilities at the leisure centre. Overall, perhaps not a beginner's event (as evidenced by the number of clubs in attendance and incredible times), but I'd definitely recommend it for those who want to test their fitness over some varied terrain. Date of review: July 28, 2008