In short: Stunning weather and scenery and very well organised... In full: ...apart from a distinct under-supply of toilets and a nonsensical bag drop system. Volunteers wasted time scribbling race numbers onto labels and affixing them to bags which at the other end were just turfed off the truck for collection on the ground. Labels aren't there to help owners identify their own bags! Apart from that little quibble, this race is a stunning course, amplified by the fab weather, and the atmosphere was lovely. I will definitely be back next year. Date of review: July 25, 2011
In short: One of the UK's best races slightly underdone by fewer perks In full: This is consistently a top-ranking race, but I was hugely disappointed by the fact that the goody bags ran out so early. I finished in 1:32 and yet the bags had already gone! I'm also repeatedly annoyed at the lack of lanyards for the medals. These are minor quibbles in the scheme of things, I suppose, for such a well-supported race. It's brilliant to see so many spectators out in force every year for this one. Date of review: March 21, 2011
In short: Third year in a row and will be back for a fourth In full: I do three or four halfs a year and this is always one of the friendliest. I'm surprised by the criticisms being leveled at organisers this year - this race is by far one of the nicest, most welcoming and best value on the calendar. I have to admit the distance is still too short, but this year was better - first 2 years I did it the distance was 12.9, this year was 13.0 so getting closer. But that's a minor quibble. Yes, multi-lap courses are more boring; yes, lack of time chip means less guaranteed accuracy of timing; yes, there were only 3 portaloos. But organisers were up-front and clear about all of these things, including demolition of the toilets/changerooms - I can't fault the planning or organisation and really appreciate them taking on board last year's comments on the distance. Overall, thanks Ufdance for running such a friendly, unpretentious event. Date of review: August 26, 2010
In short: Glorious sunshine and another year of friendly, well-organised fun. In full: The weather for this race seems to be tip-top from year to year. The organisers turned on the charm again as well, it's a real treat to feel both welcomed and unintimidated. My only criticism would be that although they claimed to have measured the course precisely, my Garmin came out at 20.90 miles, a fifth of a mile off, just like last year. Consequently I'd be wary of taking your finishing time here as a true PB. Date of review: August 24, 2009
In short: Suicidally hilly but delightfully well-supported with great scenery. In full: With superb weather, there was virtually no drawback to this race except the hills, but even they served to enhance the scenery.
The first 7 miles were a constant climb and at one point I genuinely like felt bursting into tears from frustration because they were seemingly interminable. I actually had to restrain myself from screaming a string of expletives at the sight of yet another climb after I thought they were over - glad I did given all the young spectators dotted along the way!
That said, I think if you've properly incorporated some incline work into your training, this is completely doable and perhaps even has PB potential. I overdid myself at the start and on the downhills so was spent by the last two miles, yet I only missed my PB by 40 seconds.
Special mention for the orange quarters offered at various points of the race - much appreciated.
All in all, a fantastic day. Date of review: March 16, 2009
In short: Charmingly 'local' feel with excellent value for money In full: With hindsight and a few more races under my belt I am realising that this event was fantastic - extremely friendly, excellent support, lots of freebies (food, energy drinks etc.). Dull 6 lap course of uninspiring terrain but made up for by friendly atmosphere and competitors from all levels of experience, and the weather was a bonus. Date of review: March 10, 2009
In short: Like clockwork and hill surprisingly manageable. In full: Only my 2nd half and despite the hill (and no hill training) I smashed my previous best by 5 minutes. Had fun and plenty to see in the area but was a bit disappointed by the finish - got swiftly slapped with a medal and received nothing but some below average water to swig at the finish (and some chocolate). For such a well sponsored race I expected more freebies. Date of review: March 10, 2009