In short: Beautiful course, big hills and well-organised In full: This was my second marathon and first off road experience. The hills and terrain (uneven roman road and muddy, sometimes boggy, open moors) make this a challenge on the legs and ankles and I suffered in the back half as a result, but the quality of the organisation and supporters along the way helped to make this a fantastic experience. If you fancy a challenge or just want to run across some beautiful hills I would thoroughly recommend this race - just take your time up the first set of hills. And if you are a true masochist, run both days. Date of review: March 11, 2014
In short: Tough but very rewarding race In full: Used this for hill-marathon training and it fit the bill perfectly. The hills in the first 5 and last 3 miles were generally shortish and steep, and made all the more challenging by tons of ankle deep mud. The flatter, slightly firmer middle miles were very welcome and overall this was a varied and testing cross country run. This was my first time at Benfleet and I would be back in a second, assuming I can get my kit cleaned up by then.
One minor grumble - I travelled by train and bike to the event and without a car to change in it was hard to get changed/cleaned up - even a changing tent/marquee would have hepled. This is a very minor grumble in the scheme of things - wonderful race. Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: Good fun, enthusiastically marshalled, not the greatest organisation In full: Pre-race communications were a bit of a muddle, and the race didn't start that well as there was no real start line, just an area where people amassed (initially all facing the wrong direction). But the pre-race warm up and DJ were good fun, the marshalls were some of the most lively I have ever seen (despite the rain) and there was a decent goodie bag and free food before the start.
The race itself - I thought 6 laps would be dull, but the actual route was reasonably varied and the laps helped with pacing (as there were no mile markers). It was flat as a pancake and I took a few minutes off my PB. All in all, well worth it, especially if you are local. Date of review: September 24, 2012
In short: A very well organised, nicely challenging marathon In full: This was my first marathon and I was a bit apprehensive after reading about the hills on the course. Fortunately they weren't too bad at all and the wonderful organisation made the race as pleasant as a first marathon can be!
I got round in 3h35m, faster than I was expecting, so good times are pretty achievable I'd say.
The course is beautiful and lots of supporters made it out. All in all, a brilliant day.
Tip: take advantage of the special drink stations, they make a world of difference. Date of review: May 15, 2012
In short: Friendly race but basic mistakes In full: This is a very friendly race, with lots of helpful stewards at the start and around the course.
However, the mile markers for the first few miles were not measured correctly (I don't run 6 minute miles normally!) and between miles 5 and 8 I saw no mile markers, which meant pacing my race was a nightmare.
Despite this I did enjoy it - it has a small local and friendly feel that overcomes the obstacles of running on the sometimes busy and not especially pretty streets. Different!