In short: Clucking fantastic! In full: Well, I must say I am a tad biased writing this review since I was on a high from winning 3rd woman trophy :D yet I'm sure others would agree that this is a fantastically organised race considering it's only in its 2nd year of succession.
Course inclines came in waves - pretty straight for a lot then a long, steady climb would knock you back a few seconds. Airfield terrain was more gravelly than I expected. Compared with Andy Reading 10k which also includes an airfield, let's just say I can tell why they need to class it as MT.
Wonderful marshalling - about 60 I think and super goodie bags - I even got a buff in mine 'cause I was 3rd :D
Plenty of race photographers if you like seeing yourself in photos after the race and although only 200 runners at the event, it did have that big race feeling probably due to the many sponsors who helped out.
Not a PB course. I shaved 20 seconds off mine but pretty much died at the end. Be back next year though!
Thanks Sole Destroyers! Date of review: June 20, 2011
In short: Beautiful route, fast, flat and friendly In full: Just got back from White Horse HM - first time at this one for me - definitely be back next year. Matched my PB at 1.39 - not too fussed about beating it since it was a SCORCHING hot day so conditions weren't exactly on my side.
Three well-manned water stations and eager crowd support through the villages made it uplifting and the peaceful quiet country lanes made for a lovely HM at this time of year.
ALMOST flat except for two small inclines at the end - weren't that dramatic though really.
Only thing I'd change is that I'd prefer a medal instead of a mug as I'm sure most runners would. Date of review: April 10, 2011
In short: Back for 2010 - just as good as last year - if not better! In full: Just got back from Abo 2010.
Well, what can I say?
It was a fight or flea for me with this race - put all the training in, not injured, clocking good times then last night my father died. I had to decide whether I would still run or not - I did and I decided to run in his memory.
It was tough at some points but everyone was spectacular. I talked to and hugged and shook hands with so many 'strangers' and people off the forum and it made for the most unforgettable race of my life.
Home in 3.41 (4 mins off PB) - not the 3.30 I aimed for but I went off a bit quick and slowed naturally around 17/18 miles.
Course was pretty much the same as last year so nice to know some familiar points.
Marshals were fantasic - as was crowd support. Plenty of water, jelly babies and a woman at around mile 20 with COKE which I could have kissed her for (I didn't though, I'm not a lesbian)
Only thing that p'd me off a bit was the slow start on the track - getting around it (especially as it was frosty so quite slippery) and then off onto the route was a bit of a claustrophobic nightmare but it's nice that they uphold tradition and have the start/finish at the track as it makes it feel more athletic.
SUCH a flat course. Have ran a few XC races and Woodstock 12 a while back (9 hills and mini hills in between!) and this was definitely a positive.
In short: Hilly but humble! In full: Just got back from Woodstock 12. What a great race. 3 laps around Blenheim Palace with some challenging hills.
Went off a bit too fast and paid for it on the last lap but everything was very well organised and there was a real 'local feel' to the race which is always nice in these times of big, sponsored events.
Rated as a bronze and you can really see why - loads of really friendly marshals (the guy on the little bridge was fantastic) and plenty of water on all three laps.
Medal was good quality and goodie bag included some refuelling food.
Quite a clubby race but beginners would be welcomed too.
Anyone who has never seen Blenheim Palace would love this scenic course. I'm from the area so know it well but definitely appreciated it.
REALLY sunny - shades were a must and pretty hot in places (roll up your vest and run in your sports bra heat) but trees provided some shade in places.
The descents were fun - wheeeeeeeee all the way down yet you really had to pull out all the stops on some of those hills which seemed everlasting at times!
Not a PB course but fun nonetheless :) Date of review: September 18, 2010
In short: Fantastic multi-terrain HM but VERY hilly and stiley! In full: Well that was... BRUTAL!!!!
Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez. I have never been so hot in my entire lifetime (Got the impression a good number of runners didn't even turn up due to the 30 degree heat this year)
Considering my road PB is 1.39, I'm pretty happy with my result of 1.47 - considering the sweltering climes and there were about 5/6 hills, it was multi-terrain, there were about 10 stiles to climb over and a few fields to dodge cows in!!!
A fantastic race though. Atmosphere and organisation were superb - seamless.
A few kids races at the start - we got there early so saw these, so cute.
10k and HM set off at the same time which was a bit odd as I could have sworn I'd read that 10k was meant to start before - oh well, didn't cause any problems for me.
No timing pens or anything although runners running 1.10 - 1.20 were told to be at the front - at this point, everyone moved back!
Soooooo hot even just standing before the race but spirits were high and very friendly bunch. Got a mile in and was absolutely hating it - actually considered pulling out around mile 3 - what a wimp! But soldiered on through pleasant local scenery taking in some childhood haunts - through church yards, fields and then onto some narrow towpath which had a big muddy splodgey puddle in which I got my precious Glides grubby in.
Continued up the tow path for a few more miles, passing a few people but mainly just sticking behind this guy I was using as a pacer (thanks whoever you are).
Lots of hedgerow to run through - really itchy on the legs but not a massive problem and obviously it's nature, what can you do!
Water stations were REALLY well manned and there was plenty of fluid to go around - was able to chuck a few cups over myself AND carry full bottles around for the next few miles - really appreciated it.
Hills were a KILLER. There were a LOT as well - and I thought Chiltern Chase was hilly - compared to this, that was a walk in the park!
Talked to a few runners along the route, 90% of people didn't have iPods - I don't think others would have appreciated people wearing iPods at this event.
Ran in shade whenever possible but at most times was in the blazing sun. Lots of rabbit holes to dodge and cow pats to run around and in the later stage of the race, there were a LOT of stiles to climb over (possibly 10?)
Missed seeing mile 12 but I think it was there - as all the other mile markers were and then looped back round through the churchyard again before springint to the home straight and then the finish.
Finished in 1.47.59 - not sure what time it'll come out as in their results as it wasn't chip timed - just people writing it down on a clipboard but still, didn't run it for the time - enjoyed the course thoroughly, if only it were 5 degrees cooler, it would have been ideal as it felt like a slog because of the heat.
In short: Lovely summer 10k - but watch out for the hills! In full: First time at this event and really enjoyed it.
Weather came out great after a miserable, grey start so pretty much everyone ran in shades ^_^
A very friendly, atmospheric 'villagey' type race - plenty of room before to stretch out. Not many toilets and a huuuuge queue beforehand but that's always the way isn't it?
Route was great - challenging, two steepish hills (could have been worse but still enough to slow you down) and the rest through pretty woodlands. Two big fields stood out - one with lavendar, the other filled with poppies, really uplifting :)
iPod-friendly - lots of runners using them since it was mainly off-road/multi-terrain.
home in 45.26 so managed 7.3 m/m which i don't think is too bad considering the course and the fact it was pretty sunny too!
road shoes were fine - worn my lunarglides and didn't come unstuck though i think had it been wet, the course would have got muddy and i wouldn't have felt confident running at speed.
nice home stretch on grass and plenty of water/medals to go round.
has made me want to get more into multi-terrain running.
In short: Back again - superb once more, but skimped on drinks? In full: Well I was back again at Stratford this year, ran a PB last year and absolutely loved the course (the scenery that is, the inclines and declines are a bit of a pain in the arse - and legs!) so decided to run it on a 'just get through' mentality since I'd been out with a metatarsal SF for 6 weeks.
Lovely scenery again - same as before really, identical route (?) apart from the different start. Although there were a good number of runners, the start was very smooth and I got over the mat only 20 seconds or so after the gun. Could have been timing pens but can't have everything.
Very, very hot day - so much so that I fainted at 18 miles and had to be held up by an old Pirate. Thanks Pirate! Soldiered on after being stuffed full of banana and SIS drink and made it through in a shocking time of 4.33 (PB is 3.45!!!) - am blaming the conditions and my poor training due to injury.
Drinks were OK - plenty of water but was a little miffed that there was only an energy drink at mile 19 and it wasn't in bottles so couldn't take on and carry it along. SIMPLY WAS NOT ENOUGH for the price of the Marathon! Also no goodie bag - again, budget could have stretched to this?
Nice medal - nice contrast to last year and nice to have got through and been awarded one!
All in all, a very memorable race - one that I'll definitely be back for next year. That'll be my 3rd time running Stratford (6th or 7th Marathon depending on whether I do 1 or 2 more this year)
Definitely worth running. Date of review: April 25, 2010
In short: Shocking organisation & undulating not flat In full: Well, what can I say, this was definitely worse than last year.
Didn't get my race pack 'til about 3 days before the race and even then my number looked like it'd been printed off a home computer since it didn't have the Nike swoosh on it like everyone else's did so made me feel like an outsider when everyone was stood round.
Start was terrible - a 5k and 10k were being run about 2 minutes before the actual HM so the atmosphere was extremely claustrophobic and it was frustrating having to try and speed past slower 10k runners in that very narrow section where the road had been closed off.
No timing pens or even timing signs so you pretty much had to judge for yourself if you wanted a set time. As a result, most runners started out too fast, 500 or so must have passed me and then I passed them at mile 2/3.
From what I've heard from other forumites, baggage seemed to be a problem too.
No mile marker at mile 9 which threw me off a bit and no energy drinks at all - their budget could have surely stretched to this.
Not many marshals for a HM and the final mile had two rather steep inclines and then a swerve round a bend to the finish stretch - which was again, quite narrow and claustrophobic.
No goodie bag and no refreshments after either - not even a bunch of bananas.
Set a PB by 6 minutes - 1.39 but won't be doing this one again. Date of review: March 8, 2010
In short: Flat, Fast, PB potential In full: So this was my first stab at a 10k road race. Preferring long distance, I'm not really sure why I entered it since the 6.2 miles is generally either shorter or on par with my usual daily mileage.
Either way, the atmosphere was very good & friendly - slightly clubby but nothing too intimidating for a beginner or non-club runner.
Truthfully, I think the location could have been better - there are so many beautiful parts around this county, so I was a little miffed by a big section of the race being ran round a rather uninspiring airfield track.
Marshalling was great and even a water station half way for anyone who wanted to top up. (Not necessary if you're well hydrated though IMO)
No iPod rule in force - but for good reason, runners needed to be totally aware seeing as there were sections on roads.
Nice souvenir t-shirt at the end, a bit big for a small but will do for sleeping in! Plenty of refreshments for afterwards too in the warm, convenient hall. Showers/lockers too I believe.
Overall, a well-organised 10k but didn't change my opinion on 10ks - all over too quickly.
Kudos to the Alchester Running Club though and a lot of money raised for the extremely worthwhile charity - MacMillan. Date of review: December 18, 2009