In short: A nice small-field half marathon with some difficult hills In full: A nice half marathon race in the Devon countryside with a field of just over 300 (so no getting boxed-in at the start by people in novelty chicken suits going at 3 mph !!). Good marshaling and water stations at approx 3 mile intervals. Sponge stations really needed to have been at separate locations though (as at Plymouth Half a few weeks ago), as it's a bit tricky to undo the screw-top lid of your water bottle at the same time as trying to sponge yourself whilst maintaining your running pace... Start signal needs to be much louder - nobody from a third of the field back heard anything at all! Really nice medal - very smart; and a nice T-shirt if you had pre-entered (? in the post for on-the-day entrants).
In short: Scenic, demanding and fun! In full: A really enjoyable and truly multi-terrain race with some very testing hills and even a stream to ford! Surfaces vary between grass playing field, tarmac, gravel tracks, forest trails, stony tracks, and a stretch of very uneven shale rock outcrop "pavement" along the side of the beautiful River Plym. There's even a couple of logs to jump over! Very well organised, and extremely jolly and encouraging marshals-many thanks to them! Scenery in the Plym Valley is beautiful once you get away from the vicinity of the small airport after 1.5 miles. The two water stations were placed at sensible distances and well-organised. The finish was slightly confusing to several of us, as the flags marked the beginning of the funnel, and not the actual finish line about 10 metres further on - obvious when you looked at it afterwards, but easy to mistake with a dehydrated brain... Excellent hi-vis T-shirt as momento. Will definitely be back for this gem next year. Well done Instinctive Sports! Date of review: June 13, 2010
In short: Unique & very hard cross-country In full: Some brutal and savage hills here almost from the word go, and there's no let-up either! Forget all ideas of PB here; this one is all about completing the course and having fun. The course is a mixture of grassy meadows, rough forest tracks and through a couple of streams. The scenery around the course is fantastic and the marshals were excellent. Organisation was extremely good, with no problem with either the plentiful parking or on-the-day entries, and the race officials getting into the spirit in their Grim Reaper outfits!! Also plenty of Portaloos. Lots of water stations (other races please take note!) which was just what was needed, even though the weather wasn't particularly warm. The samba band was a great touch and added to the atmosphere as they played the runners both out and back. No goody-bag or medal, but an excellent design and decent quality cotton T-shirt. Will definitely be back for this one next year!!
In short: A Devon Classic In full: A relatively flat and fairly fast race across both windswept moorland and sheltered country lanes. Superbly marshalled and organised. Despite the potential chaos for almost 1000 runners having to pick up their numbers on the day because of the Royal Mail strikes, there was little queuing (however, that was more than made up for with the lack of toilets - many more needed next year!). Just a shame that the car park is so far away from the registration area; it's a long way to have to go back and forth up the hill just before a race in order to put your warm clothes back in the car again before starting. A good atmosphere, and a nice touch by the commentator at the finish to read out everyone's name as they come in. Great also to see so many spectators clapping all the runners, and not just people they knew. A nice goody bag with the excellent Brooks T-shirt and other bits and pieces. Date of review: November 8, 2009
In short: Excellent race with a couple of tough hills In full: Excellent organisation with well-controlled traffic by both marshals and police. Frequent water stations approx 2.5-3 miles apart which other races could learn from! Course starts at Newton Abbot racecourse and is soon in the country; then come the hills - first is about 1/2 mile long and moderately steep; then the second one comes fairly soon after and is longer and much steeper. Great views from the top of the ridge of the Teign Valley area, heading back to Newton Abbot. Final section of the route is through the less-than-picturesque Kingsteignton housing estate, but to be fair, it's the only way back. Nice medal and a pair of fleece running gloves with the race name embroidered on them; very unusual and a good alternative to the usual t-shirt. My only constructive criticism would be to echo the previous reviewer's comments about the mileage signs for the two different races being in different colours. All in all, a fun but challenging race with a field size of 355, and very well organised. Having done the pretty flat and theoretically fast Bristol 1/2 marathon a few weeks ago along with 15,999 other people, I was pleasantly surprised to cut 5.5 minutes off my PB despite the hills! Definitely on my calendar for next year. Date of review: October 18, 2009
In short: Unusual start! In full: An unusual start at the bottom of a 1 in 4 (25%)gradient hill, then after the 1km climb there's a nice flat bit on the open heathland, before disappearing downhill into the woods, and lots of undulating and muddy tracks, before looping back for the final headlong charge down the original hill at breakneck speed to the finish. (I've never finished a 10k race at 14mph before!!). Most of the runners took advantage of walking over to the sandy beach afterwards for a nice refreshing dip in the sea - wonderful). Cotton T-shirt was a little disappointing, but the drinks bottle with its no-spill top was very welcome, along with the reasonable contents of the goody bag. Date of review: October 16, 2009
In short: One of the best large half marathons In full: Pros: Good route & scenery with a couple of hills thrown in so that it's not boringly fast. Tour of the city centre side streets is fun and is quite a contrast to the straight section along the Avon Gorge. The cobbles made for an interesting change of surface! Good water stations and well manned by the cadets. Good first aid cover. Really smart medal with a nice design. Not a bad goody bag. Wave starts worked well, although many slower runners still can't seem to admit to themselves that they need to start further back so as not to block faster people when they grind to a standstill after the first mile - you would think it was pretty basic really!! Finish was well organised and not funnelled into a sardine tin as happens at many other events: Good use of space. Cons: Disappointing poor quality cotton T-shirt for such an expensive event.(Compare it to the high quality Brooks one at the famous Tavy 7 in Devon!). There are never enough loos at any race I've ever been to... Getting across Anchor Road from College Green to the village in Millenium Square was not easy and was poorly signposted. Signposting in general was poor and way too small. Date of review: October 16, 2009
In short: A scenic and challenging 10.2 miles In full: First mile or so is downhill from Christow into the Teign Valley, where the main road winds and undulates alongside the river for about 5 miles.This is normally a very busy road on weekdays but was well marshalled and policed on the Sunday morning.Then it's a mile or so uphill on a side-road to Trusham-the hill has an arrow on the OS map, so gives one an idea of the gradient!Some flat stretches give a bit of relief on the top, before plunging back down to the river again and the final pull back up to Christow. I've done some quite steep runs this year, but found this a really good mixture of ups and downs, such that my overall pace was very similar to that of my half marathon time on the flat Bristol course. Water stations were well-placed, marshals(& police!) were plentiful, friendly and supportive,and the medal was very smart and unusual. What made this event stand out was that many runners finishing early took the trouble to come back and support slower people, who they didn't know, at the finish. Date of review: October 6, 2009
In short: Tough hills, but great scenery over the Severn Estuary In full: Well organised with great support from friendly marshals. Perhaps a 2nd water station would have been a help as it was a hot day. Some tough hills and a nasty sting in the tail is that just when you're 50 metres from the finish, the course swings away again for another 1km before coming back - wicked! A nice club atmosphere. Date of review: September 21, 2009