In short: OK, room for improvement In full: On the positive side: a pleasant course, well-marshalled (thanks guys!), reasonably flat (though quite not the pancake I expected!), and pretty much traffic free. So far, so good.
I have two gripes, which shouldn't be too difficult to resolve...
1) pre-race organisation was a bit chaotic. The queue for numbers should have been far better managed. Putting sponsors/local sports businesses into the sports hall while people are queueing just cramped the available space and didn't help anyone. The fact that the start of the race had to be delayed because people were still queuing for numbers/toilets is an unfortunate symptom of underestimating how many people will converge at once on a small space.
2) Mile markers were inaccurate! The total distance was spot-on - but each mile marker from 1 - 12 was slightly ahead of my watch; as I passed 12 my watch read 11.60 miles. However, from 12 - 13.1 it made up the distance and measured out at 1.5 miles. That was a bit frustrating.
All in all - not bad, and full of good intent - but room for improvement. Will give it another go. Date of review: February 15, 2015
In short: Undulating? Ha! In full: I probably underestimated this course - described as "undulating", it's positively "hilly". This, combined with the sticky ground, did make it tough going in places. If you like that sort of thing, you'll love it. If you're hoping for a fast time, this probably isn't for you.
It was well organised, with nice views and scenery. Not much of a goodie bag at the end but a nice Sunday morning yomp all the same. Date of review: February 11, 2015
In short: Enjoyable, pleasant run In full: I was a bit surprised at the relatively small size of the crowd at this race - i was expecting a bigger turnout than the 200 or so. I felt it lacked a bit of atmosphere, though the organisers were very helpful and pleasant. I also hoped that the course might somehow start/finish inside Craven Cottage stadium itself, but that was obviously not possible.
Nonetheless, it was a decent race on a very flat route with nice views over the Thames for most of it. A couple of miles along the towpath didn't pose much of a barrier, despite the recent wet weather.
An immediate chipped time, photograph, and t-shirt - all in all, a pleasant Sunday morning run. Date of review: February 11, 2015
In short: Well-organised, no fuss - good work In full: An enjoyable, very flat 10k. Two loops around lovely Bushy Park. Plenty of parking, toilets seemed fine, cheerful and helpful marshals, well-signposted, decent medal and snacks. No grumbles at all, got a PB, will do it again. Date of review: January 18, 2015
In short: Great way to start the year In full: A wonderfully enjoyable and silly race. Fancy dress is compulsory and the course is so brutal that any remaining prospect of taking it seriously goes out the window. Instead a few hundred mildly hungover cheery souls yomp around some of Surrey's loveliest scenery, cheer each other on and get a super bag of goodies at the end. Perfect start to 2015. Date of review: January 18, 2015
In short: Good way to start the weekend In full: It's a nice flat quiet course, and on a cold bright morning it's very scenic. The marshals are cheerful and helpful. Couple of minor points - my garmin measured 10.30 miles, which seemed quite a big in accuracy over the distance - though I didn't hear anyone else mention it, so maybe just me. Also the toilets were still locked 5 mins before the gun, which the organisers were doing their best to resolve, but it made for a bit of a rush. Overall though, enjoyed it and would recommend. Date of review: March 10, 2014
In short: Fantastic value - can't fault it In full: This is an ideal marathon build-up, and the past couple of years have seen glorious spring mornings and high spirits. Not so this year, as the the bitter big freeze brought temperatures down and a chill to the bones.
It didn’t bring spirits down however, and it was only this year that I fully appreciated just how many kind organisers and volunteers gave up their Sunday to stand in the freezing cold to marshal and give out refreshments – always smiling and always encouraging.
Let’s remind ourselves – this race costs £12. That’s TWELVE QUID. You get 21 pretty challenging miles for that (or 15 if you prefer), great organisation, and a really nice friendly atmosphere. Unmissable.
In short: Tough - but muddy good fun In full: I found this a really tough and enjoyable half - I soon realised that the limit of my ambitions was to complete it in one piece!
The majority of the course is off road, and with the wet weather it made for slippery going. The parts that are on the road are mostly uphill (or so it seemed!), and gives the legs a fantastic workout as a result.
A couple of tweaks to improve for next year would be not having to walk so far to the start of the race, and slightly better marking in places.
But neither of these detracted from the overall enjoyment and it's clear that the organisers really put a lot of enthusiasm and passion into organising this - they also sent lots of communication in the build up which was a nice touch and so a big thank you to them. Date of review: May 6, 2012
In short: Ok - I'm writing this after 4 pints of Guinness - but I'll be back next year! In full: I approached this race with a fair bit of trepidation, being a bit off my best, and with it being a pretty hilly effort. But I enjoyed it! The scenery is spectacular, the banter is good, and the course is very challenging.
Only the very hardest will run all the way - for most mortals, from the halfway point, inclines are treated with disdain and a walk - declines are reluctantly shuffled. By the end, parts of me hurt that I didn't know existed.
It was really good. Lovely, friendly, attractive marshals. Thank you guys! And well signposted and organised. I can't imagine doing this run in the rain - it'd be mind-bendingly horrific. But on a gorgeous sunny autumn day, it's the kind of day when all is right with the world. Lovely t-shirt and medal too, a great memento. I didn't stay for the breakfast, but I am sure it was pretty damn good.
Just follow my example and book the Monday off work, so you can slip into a Guinness-fuelled stupor by evening. Date of review: October 23, 2011