In short: Ok to do once, wouldnt do it again In full: Meh.
- Dont get to see much of "oxford" on the route. Have to run through a dull factory, cant see the iffley road track, thames parts might have been pleasant on a better day, but today it was about playing 'puddle or river?'.
- Only saw 5 and 10 miler markers....but then again if you show up to a race and need mile markers you are in the wrong game. Get a garmin or research the route. Dont rely on others.
- Baggage and start area was fine, not sure why everyone is moaning. Do your big poo at home. Plan your day better?
- Getting out was as expected. Its clear from the route that the race runs across the car park entrance, so I knew I'd be waiting until after the 2.15 runners had gone by before I'd get out through gaps. Oxford is hardly known for its flowing traffic.
- Live results seem to have failed, possibly because cheap rfid tags dont work in the rain and get ripped off easily? Again, this is why we record our own times encase of corrections.
- People of oxford, possibly because of the rain, didnt seem bothered to come out and watch.
- Aside from a few switchbacks its reasonably flat (79m of elevation gained/lost as you finish in roughly the same place) so for a no frills crack at a PB its worth a go. Similar to maidenhead and basingstoke.
- Goody bag was alrite. Free technical t-shirt as well which you dont often get anymore. Plenty of water on the route and at the end. Date of review: October 13, 2013
In short: yeh not bad In full: Not a bad course, flat enough, mixed terrain. Narrow in places and as you come back on yourself I found myself at 6k going hard and running head on into oblivious mums chatting doing their casual sunday pace (which is fine for them, but coming the other way and having to weave around them wasnt fun). So that could be improved. Considering no chip timing, its run on paths (so no closed roads), banana, standard red/white/blue medal and water at the end, and it used a cheaper ARC permit rather than the UKA, I sort of wonder where the entry fee went. Its alrite if you live close by, but wouldn't be one you'd travel any distance for. That being said, outside of the dorney lake 10ks in the winter/spring, its one of the fastest/flattest in the area. Date of review: October 1, 2012
In short: Good 2011 race, made better In full: Basically last year it was already a good regional race on a fastish course and as it was the first year they had a few minor issues with the course and baggage store etc, but they took everyones input from last year and nailed it. Cant fault it really. Organisation was great, course was flat, support a little low, but to be expected in those ruralish locations, field wasnt too crowded, baggage store was fine. This is a race you do for a PB, not to wave to the crowd. So if you are dressed as a camel and want to raise money, you'd do the great north run. If you want to put on your club vest and nail your pb, do this one. If we can get water in bottles instead of cups next year it'll be perfect. Date of review: September 16, 2012
In short: Perfect for a 2nd, 3rd or 4th+ Marathon In full: If I compare it to london, there are less crowds, less drinks stops, more hills, some depressing areas (power station) BUT aside from the first few miles, you can quite easily get into clear air and run at whatever pace you want (for PB chasers). So if you want a race to run a good time on and you dont care about a few hills (garmin measured 133m of elevation gain) and lack of crowds in places, go for it. Personally im glad I ran my first marathon at london last year (where the sheer amount of runners kill most peoples chance of running at their own pace choice) and I used brighton to go out and get a better time (3.30). It was around 9000 runners, which was pretty much spot on for the course. I'd assume it will keep growing each year though. Not fast enough to get a london good for age place? I'd sign up now as you wont get a better chance of a PB outside of the south of england. Date of review: April 17, 2012
In short: Great pre-half marathon training run In full: Did this in 2011 and just finished the 2012 edition. Whilst the snow/ice meant the course had to be slightly shortened, it was low key, but a good field, pretty course and the multi terrain offered a great workout and challenge. For anyone doing the wokingham half next week, this was/is perfect training and taper. Wasnt really very clubby, but if you consider its run by a non-profit that does a load of great work for charities, you cant complain. Every type of size/shape of runner was out today and it offered a great low key non-pressure run and actually quite a warm atmosphere. Would be great for beginners. I'll try and build this into my program every year as its a quite training session and a chance to run the rare 5 mile distance. Date of review: February 12, 2012
In short: Tough! But better than a training run In full: Done this one the last 2 years. And with it being wetter/muddier this year, the course was a little slower going than last year (as only about 3k is on roads, the rest trail and fields so the uphills were very tough and slippy). Take your best 10k time on the road and add 3-4 minutes that'll be how you do here. Tough course, but good test and good strength training. Trail runners would love it, road runners will curse it. Organisation is great, good cause, cant really fault it. Date of review: September 11, 2011
In short: Has the potential to be the areas fastest HM course In full: Organistation was ok. Found it easiliy enough from the train station. No sign posts in town though. Baggage at the end was a pain. Spent 20 mins standing in the rain. The start needed some timing target timing markers to help people line up. Pace runners would have been great. The initial loop didnt work as the faster runners ran 500m then came into the back of slower runners who still hadnt really started (Announcing this over the PA at the start would have helped. At least saying first loop runners stay right, faster 2nd loopers stay left. In the end there was one guy shouting directions. Quite a few slower runners missed the first 500m loop and went with the faster runners so therefore didnt run the full distance). Course wise, very flat, very fast, plenty of scope for overtaking people, course wasnt crowded, so really good PB potential aside from a few areas which slowed you down. I'd actually rate it as faster than the RHM course as it was flatter with less crowd to weave through at the start. Support wasnt as good as RHM for example, but it was a horrible day. For next year based on course speed I'd say more people would be up for doing this race, so the course should try to avoid the stepped area somehow. There were no mile markers on the course which would have been helpful. Water in cups isnt ideal as its too easy to spill, plus not everyone wants to drink at the water station points. It needed a lucozade or energy driink station too.
On the whole, I'd love it if they could double the size and scope of this race for next year and iron out the kinks as it can be somewhere that people can easily come and knock out a PB.
No goodie bag at the end :/ Really needed a mars bar or lucozade sport!
Well done to purple patch though. You know exactly what you need to work on for the next one. Date of review: September 5, 2011
In short: Was ok, not a big field though In full: Race was fine. Not many runners though (50-70ish?), so field got a bit strung out...which was a slight problem due to there probably being 2 or 3 marshals less than what was required. A few people took wrong turns here and there. Was a decent alternative to a solo training run though. Hopefully they give it a better try next year, expand the field (course could have taken several hundred runners) and improve the org. Considering it was charity based, cant really complain too much. Date of review: March 12, 2011