In short: Fabulous little cross country race - a great warm up for the season! In full: I just wanted to say a big thank you to Stockport Harriers for staging this race. It may only have been small but I had a great time. The route was pleasantly scenic and different to the one we use for the Manchester area league series which was a nice suprise especially as the hill was less steep! Lots of spot prizes for the ladies and friendly marshals and officials made this race very welcoming for all abilities. Date of review: October 11, 2011
In short: Hot, hilly and tough but one of my favourite races of the year! In full: Fantastic course with stunning views and helpful marshals. Not an easy run with plenty of ups and downs and rough terrain - made even tougher this year with the hottest October day on record! I've run this twice now and both times have blown up about mile 10 and struggled home through the last few miles but I'll still be there next year. Date of review: October 11, 2011
In short: Fantastic for PB chasers but better organisation at the finish would have been appreciated In full: I was slightly suprised with just how negative some of the race reviews have been as I did genuinely enjoy this race (more so than I did the London Marathon last year) - the fact I managed a PB and broke 4 hours may have contributed to this however!
To everyone commenting that the race is not in Ediburgh after the first few miles - I'm not sure how this came as a suprise to you? The course map makes it quite clear and I seem to remember last years race reveiws making the same comments. Personally, I wasn't bothered that we left the city as some of the views were lovely (the power station less so!) and I actually prefer running on quiet courses (I found the crowds and noise at London overwhelming for instance). The tight turns weren't great and the road surafce near the stately home didn't do much for my legs but otherwise no complaints about the course.
Organisation at the start was very good and all the drinks stations/ fuel stops worked like clockwork - the big signs letting you know these were coming were particularly helpful as I knew when to move to the side. Mile markers were quite small and I did miss a couple but I think they were all there. I had my Garmin beep on the mile in any event so knew more or less how far I'd gone.
I didn't actually notice the lack of crowds at the finish. I was running with 9 other runners from my club and we didn't have any non-running supporters at the finish so I wasn't aware that the big screen was broken. Being made to walk on at the finish I'm used to from larger events but I was suprised they made us go so far before we got to the water as I was gasping for a drink! I discovered from my faster clubmates and a couple who ran the half that earlier (and half marathon) finishers were handed bananas as well but these had clearly run out by the time I arrived.
I was lucky in that I managed to collect a medal, goody bag and small T-shirt quite quickly and easily. I do have a generic "marathon festival" T-shirt not a "marathon" one but I can put up with that (and I am certainly not paying to send it back to them in the hope I'm given a marathon one - I think they might live to regret that comment!) I can't work out how they managed to get T-shirts mixed up/ run out when we all had our size on our running number. The only conculsion I can come to is the fact that most of the crew handing out T-shirts seemed to be children. I'm not sure it's even appropriate to have children "working" in what must have been quite stressful circumstances dealing with a lot of tired and emotional marathon runners. Add to that the fact that there were the last of the relay runners coming in and funneled the same way as us (despite the fact they were supposed to receive different medals etc.) I can see how mistakes were made.
The medal is disappointing having seen the ones from last year and as for the bit at the back so you can buy a personalised insert - I'm not about to give any more money to EMF! Wondering if I can make myself one!
My real issue was at the bag reclaim. Having been at London where they spot you coming and have your bag ready I wasn't expecting a 20 minute wait trying to shout over other runners to yet more children to get my bag back. Again, I think adults were really needed here to try to ensure people were looked after in the order they arrived rather than on the basis of who shouted loudest. Also, I can't work out why they didn't mix the bags up more? Baggage tags were based on race no. which was based on pen - when I arrived there were lots of other pink number people finishing (as you would expect) so two of the lorries were heaving and others were empty.
Finally, who on earth thought it was a good idea to send us all out of the finish area through a tiny gap in a fence? Any logic tells you that's a bad idea! When I finally got through I found the reunion area fine and was able to meet up with my clubmates very easily.
However, the chaotic nature of the end of the race didn't detract from what was a fantastic day - most of all I'd like to say a huge thanks to all the marshalls and spectators who gave up time in what wasn't the nicest of weathers to cheer us on. It was very much appreciated. Date of review: May 24, 2011
In short: Tough, hot and hilly but fantastically well organised and brilliant support from the lovely marshals In full: I ran this as a warm up for Edinburgh and found it challenging but enjoyable. Lots of water stations which were much needed on a hot day and plenty of marshals out on the course to offer support and make sure you didn't get lost (which was helpful as the field got quite strung out and I couldn't always see the runner in front). A massive thank you to everyone involved in the organisation especially those people who gave up hours of a Sunday to stand by the road for us! Date of review: May 3, 2011
In short: Possibly the slowest race you'll ever run but great fun In full: Not sure if it was the night of rain making things muddier or the delightful extra sections thrown in but this felt even harder than last year.
Never going to be a fast race unless you're good enough to start at the front but it is great fun and even finishing feels like an achievement - not sure I'm ever going to get the mud off though! Date of review: November 1, 2009
In short: Run it for the atmosphere not a PB... In full: ...unless of course it's your first time or you're starting right at the front. Even in zone C the first few miles were crowded (I saw 4 people trip over other runners before mile 1) and there was lots of bumping around the drinks stations (didn't much appreciate the gentleman who saw fit to swear at me when I knocked into him as he veered in front of me to grab some water). The course seemed hillier than I remembered and it was bit hot for those of us who prefer running in the rain.
That said it is a great day and the support on the course is fantastic (especially the guy hosing people down from the bus stop and the small boys handing out cups of water just as I thought I was about to expire).
It's not the cheapest of races and I'm not sure I'd go back next year as once you had accommodation and travel on it works out as an expensive weekend and then takes hours to get home in the mass exodus from the North east.
As far as the goody bag goes - yes I have seen better but a lot of the races I do are much smaller and the most you hope to get at the end is some water and maybe a chocolate bar! I can't say I've ever entered a race on the basis of the quality of the goody bag. Date of review: September 22, 2009
In short: A PB friendly race in glorious conditions In full: Very scenic route especially in the sunshine and a largely flat course led to a PB by nearly 10 minutes. Marshals were very encouraging and the water stations were well organised - being handed a sponge at one station was particularly welcome! The race booklet had worried me though - seemed quite beginner unfriendly when the race was actually quite welcoming!
In short: Lovely venue but not actually 10km In full: Got a great PB but sadly my garmin thinks it was only 5.35 miles! Distinctly lacking in organisation as well although the marshals have to be commended for having agreed to give up a Valentines Day lie in to stand around in the cold! Date of review: February 14, 2009
In short: Very muddy but great fun even for a beginner In full: I was a little nervous about doing this as an off road running beginner but ended up having a great day despite getting very muddy and running what has to be the slowest 11 miles of my life!
Special mention has to got to the marshals who remained cheerful despite the chilly conditions. Bit of a disappointment that some of the goody bag items had run out by the time I finished and that only extra large T shirts were left. The start could have been more organised - I was happy enough at the back but as large parts are single file hit the front if you want a decent time.
I would run this again - for the experience of "running" waist deep in boggy water if nothing else! Date of review: November 4, 2008
In short: Marshals did a great job - flowers for female runenrs were a nice touch In full: Really enjoyed this race - great PB potential as it's almost entirely flat (barring a couple of railway bridges). The marshals were really supportive (especially for those of us at the back) although there was a massive queue for the loos so I did nearly miss the start. All in all a really friendly run and a good day out. Date of review: August 18, 2008