In short: A really lovely race, great friendly organisation In full: I loved this race, even though I didn't completely hit the sweet spot (3 weeks since a marathon). The organisation was great, with very friendly marshals and officials which I think makes a big difference: it's little things like calling us to the start with efficiency but also a smile and joke or two. That relaxed yet efficient combination made this a really happy occasion. The route is very pretty. We were a little unlucky in having a biting northerly to run into first three miles, and the route is undulating in places although not hilly as such. It's all on road and there were no issues with traffic as the marshalling was superb: very efficient, clear and authoritative.
7 miles is an interesting distance. It's actually a damned good one: more taxing than a 10k but probably damned good training for either that or a half-marathon. I added another 4 miles to mine afterwards to make it double digit for the morning.
After-care was great with tables laden with cakes of various enticing types, tea. Oh and they also had drinks on the route which I passed on but was still a nice touch in a short race.
Love this race. One of the best I have done anywhere. I would thoroughly recommend it and it's worth a diversion or journey. Thanks to all involved at Stowmarket Striders. You've certainly brought a smile to my face today.
In short: An excellent event which could get better and better In full: Turned up 2 weeks after London expecting something very low key and casual. Quickly realised there were quite a few serious runners lining up. I did not find the course as undulating as some have made out previously, but it IS twisty and the gates slow one down. The farmer who deliberately parked his tractor right across the path is a prat who just drags down the name of farming (I am in a farming family). I did shout across to him suggesting politely he move it. Marshalling was really excellent on the course.
My wife and 3-year old also ran in the parallel 5k fun run and thoroughly enjoyed it: my son's first race! He was very proud, and so was I! This is clearly an excellent race for beginners.
There is one MASSIVE area for improvement: Vets prizes please. I know this is a big fund-raising event but given how many 40+ now run you'd actually get a lot more entries and money if you offered some V40, V50 prizes. This is all the more important given the £10-£11 entry fee. Mind you, as I would have won a Vet prize I suppose I feel this a little keenly :-)
Super super event which I would definitely do again post-London. Really good atmosphere, and if only all events were this well marshalled ... Date of review: May 2, 2011
In short: Super race, great organisation, top prizes ... but be warned it's quite challenging! In full: What a lovely race and in such a good cause. Extremely well organised. There's a 1m walk to the start but that didn't really matter. Just be warned, this is not a benign flat course. There are some long decent hills in the first half, and then two or three quite sharp ones towards the end. There are also some bogs and a narrow foot bridge. I ran this as part of a 21m training run @ MP but still managed overall 9th place having done a 1h20 the previous Sunday at Bideford HM. This is a much tougher course. However it is a really great HM. Thoroughly good cause, very well organised, top prizes and best goody bag I've seen in a long while. Really friendly atmosphere at end. Only real negative: more loos maybe next time if possible? FAB folks: thank you for a really great day. I would definitely do this one again. Date of review: March 13, 2011
In short: At times relentlessly uphill, but great fun nice atmosphere In full: 2009 was the direction Hatherleigh to Holsworthy. According to my Garmin it involved 2000 feet of climbing. The start is almost solid climbing for 5 miles, and there's another long climb between around 8 to 12 miles.
The race has traffic flowing but most drivers were very sensible. One or two idiots e.g. the local soft-top landrover driver who overtook on a blind bend when the car in question was itself passing runners - you know who you are. But those are the only negatives. This is a really nice atmosphere race, with decent prizes and nice T-shirt. Because it follows the main road it doesn't show off the glorious Ruby country at its best: you need to head off left or right from the road for that. But it's still lovely Devon and the people are always so friendly here. Really good Big Band finish and cheering crowds. If you want a low key but challenging half-marathon I definitely recommend it. Date of review: June 14, 2009
In short: Great race but, er, 1/3rd mile too long!!!! In full: Had a wonderful day out. My first proper race in preparation for the FLM, and was very satisfied with 1h32'30. I was even more satisfied when I discovered that due to human error everyone ran at least 13.4 miles. Only in Devon! :-) The run was lovely. Mostly pretty flat, but with small undulations on the first half. The final 6 miles along the Tarka trail is lovely, though we hit a bit of headwind coming up the estuary. The weather was glorious, and the organisers were great getting me in following an injury that I thought would mean I couldn't partipate. I would give one word of warning though. I live around here and we sometimes get stinking wet days. The race would be much tougher on one of those. Overall though - fabulous day out. Date of review: March 1, 2009