In short: Rain-filled, ice-cold mudfest - Not for the faint hearted! In full: The organiser was very clear that it was a tough race so I knew what I was getting myself into on the surface of things - but then it rained. REALLY rained.
Six hours later I was plodding (never has that word been more apt) past the finish line having fallen over three times, lost my shoe and excavated it from its clay tomb, been buttock deep in mud, and rescued after being swept into a stream.
If it sounds like Hell, then this race isn't for you. If your blood's pumping just at the idea then see you next year!! Date of review: February 11, 2013
In short: Fun and friendly run with world-class marshalling. Loved it. In full: A windy and chilly 10-miler on the lovely Isle of Wight. Lots of club runners meaning there were only a few back-of-packers by mile four and few others to be seen.
Being an avoider of hills and steady inclines, I wasn't sure this was for me. But I was pleasantly surprised. I counted three hills in total and only two on the steep side.
The marshals were a cheery bunch and each had some words of encouragement as I puffed past - thank you.
Ryde Harriers always seem to be very well organised which means pre-race faff isn't a problem.
As with the Isle of Wight Half Marathon, a lovely medal too.
In short: Slippery, squelchy mud-fest! Love, love love it! In full: After last year's fantastic first race, this became a firm favourite on my running calendar. This year it's cemented its position despite being, muddier, dirtier, squelchier and tougher. I blimmin' loved it.
The route changed a little on last year's - no clay cabbage patch [thank you God]. If anything it was better, more off-road and that additional final challenge - a boggy home straight with the finish line taunting you from the top of the field.
The personalised medal this year was a beaut and well worth the effort - not to mention the finish-line mince pies and mulled wine.
The marshals were upbeat and great fun, despite being pretty cold I imagine, and the organisation was top notch [thanks for holding off the briefing while us late comers nipped to the loo].
Thanks so much for a great event - still a calendar highlight! Date of review: December 30, 2012
In short: Great fun for all abilities, putting you in the mood for Christmas In full: Great fun. Our mission was to reach the finish line with sweaty santa garb, inc beard, intact. It was tougher - and sweatier - than we thought. A great race to get you into the festive spirit and suitable for all abilities. I'll be back again next year. Date of review: December 30, 2012
In short: Great route with some spooky fun along the way In full: I really enjoyed this race and am glad I turned up despite having a last minute wobble about it being cold - wimp!
The atmosphere was fun and loads of people turned out in fancy dress. I loved the pumpkin lanterns leading the way across the darkest parts of the course.
I was nervous about being jumped out on. In was supposed to be running with a friend who had to pull out so was a bit of a scaredy cat about doing it alone. I needn't have been worried - while the mischeivous marshals might spook you, there's no Freddy Kruger-esque/Dawn of the Dead-style chasing.
The medal made my week! For such a low cost run (£10/£11 from memory) the medal was top notch and who doesn't love a goody bag with actual running goodies in? Oh, and the festive toffee apple as a sweet post-race treat.
I really enjoyed this race. It was a great bit of Hallowe'en fun and something I would do again for sure.
My advice to future participants - invest in a headtorch. It's an absolute must! You don't want to get left behiiiiiiind! Date of review: November 3, 2012
In short: This is a must-do every year In full: I love the Great South Run. It's one of only two races in the calendar I vow to do every year. This year was the hat-trick for me and I'm already looking forward to 2013.
GSR is not only geared for the elite-y PB chasers but the fun runners and newbies as well which makes it the perfect fit-for-all race. I started out as a running novice and am slowly working my way up to PB-chaser status (although still far from elite!)
It's a flat course. V flat. And takes in the historic dockyard and the lovely Southsea seafront via the city centre (ish) where there are plenty of spectators to keep your spirits up when your legs begin to tire. The atmosphere - even on this year's nippy day - is always upbeat.
There have been a few gripes about the medal but I have no complaints. I love how they're all different enough for you to pick out the race they belong to without seeing the date, but same-y enough to know they're all from the GSR.
I'll be back next year for more miles and more bling! Date of review: October 29, 2012
In short: Beautiful day and speedy course In full: The only thing that let this otherwise great race down was the incorrect marshalling at the turning point for the Pieces of Eight (where 10k runners turned off and PoE runners continued). If there were signs they were obscured and the marshalls a bit vague.
I ended up running just 10k, as did one or two others apparently, and one 10k runner continued with the 8-mile lot.
Disappointing in terms of what I set out to do but still had PB potential so not a race wasted.
I did enjoy the 10k immensley and the distance markers were spot on.
Next year I'd suggest having a marshall directing runners, rather than the signs which are easily obscured when running in a crowd. Date of review: October 7, 2012
In short: Great choice for a first marathon. In full: This was the perfect first marathon. The crowd and marshals were encouraging, plenty of water on hand, more gels/blocks/Powerade than you could shake a stick at and the highest point on the course (mild incline) was out of the way before the first mile was up. Loved it. Date of review: April 16, 2012
In short: Superb race with buttery-smooth organisation and a band of very merry marshals In full: This was an absolutely superb race which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The distance markers were pretty spot on, the fuel stops exceeded all expectation and the marshals were simply lovely - incredibly enthusiastic and encouraging every step of the way.
As most of this race was along country roads it was important that traffic was managed safely. The marshals did a fantastic job of keeping us safe along the busier stretches and were quick to jump in if a car was getting a tad too close for comfort.
I was happy to part with my £25 for this event. Not only were there more gels and Jelly Babies than you could shake a stick at on every water stop, everyone got a drink and a chocolate bar at the end and the medal was a great quality bit of bling - something worth earning.
For a small donation you could even get a post-race massage at the end.
I will definitely be back for this race next year. Thank you for a great day and keep up the good work! Date of review: March 19, 2012
In short: Challenging run - especially in the glorious sunshine. Shame about the unenthused marshals and lack of water stops. In full: It pains me to say it but was fairly disappointed with this race. The route was a mix of everything which was enjoyable and challenging - especially with the glorious sunshine. However, there was more encouragement from passing walkers and cyclists than from the marshals along the route, most of whom didn't look up from their phones as you passed by. There was no water at the second water stop when I reached it and no race memento at the end, despite the listing saying there was one. I do these runs for the challenge but it's still nice to have something to show for it and remember it by. The 'goody bag' had a race leaflet and an energy bar in it, which for a £25 entry fee was bitterly disappointing. If I do this run again it'll be on my own as a training run. It just wasn't worth the cash. Such a shame. Date of review: March 11, 2012