In short: beautiful scenery and enthusiastic marshals In full: Apart from the bizarre antics of the woman who sprinted past me, stopped, faced backwards and jogged on the spot while I overtook her every two minutes for the first half of the race until I was driven to ask her whether I was on Candid Camera, this was perfect. Easy parking, plenty of loos, no problem picking up my number, cheery marshals, beautiful scenery and glorious sunshine to boot. Date of review: October 1, 2013
In short: I really enjoyed this one In full: Personally I don't listen to music on the go so the headphone ban was irrelevant to me, but honestly, I run a lot of village fun runs and the much-hyped "safety" aspect seems over the top in the circumstances.
My only real annoyance was the astonishingly slow directions into the parking field; there was a massive queue which was quite unnecessary. Given they managed to organize four races to run simultaneously like clockwork they might have managed to organize a car park!
Still, I thought the atmosphere and facilities were great, the marshals friendly, the route pleasant and relaxing, there was a play park for my littleun and the man with the mic cheered me over the line by name. I love it when that happens. Also I wasn't last. That's good too! Date of review: October 1, 2013
In short: Fantastic race, loads of support, but could you sign the race HQ please! In full: I know Newbury pretty well, but as a late entrant I had to pick up my number and three separate marshals near the start/finish told me they were sorry, they hadn't a clue where I should go. The race HQ was pretty close, but there were no signs and it was tucked out of the way behind some shops. A few simple signposts would have been really helpful. Fortunately I had plenty of time.
I was planning on running in Wallingford but their online entry had already closed, so I signed up for Newbury just because I knew that if I'd already paid there was a good chance I'd actually turn up. So glad I did; on balance Newbury is better - fewer bottlenecks, better for spectators since it's a figure of eight so they can see you easily three times, and Newbury is fully open for business on a Sunday whereas Wallingford is basically shut. Also there were loads of marshals and locals lining the route cheering us on. I'll definitely do this one again next year. Date of review: May 27, 2013
In short: One of my favourite local races. In full: I love this race, the scenery's glorious (apart from the pig farm, but when you smell it the second time you know you're nearly home!), there's a proper village festival, ice cream, dog and cake shows, stalls, loads of fun for little people and they always stretch to a technical t-shirt for finishers. The down side is the 12 noon start and a lack of water during the race on a hot day. Be prepared for a few hills in the last third and take a water bottle and sun cream just in case. Date of review: May 20, 2013
In short: organisation has declined but route is lovely In full: I wouldn't touch a 10K at Blenheim due to the notorious inaccuracy of the course length and markers, queues to get in and annoying zigzags and loops to make the distance, however the 7K has always been good. It's a nice loop, very scenic, with a couple of challenging hills and raises a bit of money for the local youth club.
It's true, there were queues for the loos, however there are more than the three portaloos, there are several more in the butterfly park, the maze area and I think the café. They're all spotless and well equipped. I went twice, and waited about 5 to 10 minutes each time. That compares favourably with lots of other events. The main trouble with queuing was the biting wind; it was very cold.
The course was not as well marshalled as in previous years. They were asking for six more volunteers over the PA system, clearly they were short staffed. There was no support in the first 5K. The narrow uneven path by the lake is always a bottleneck; I saw a woman who'd fallen heavily, was bleeding and in pain, being helped by another runner. There didn't appear to be anyone else to come to her aid. The 2K marker was clearly in the wrong place and I had to wait for an apologetic woman to pour me a cup of water at 4K. There was a table full of cups, but there was no water in them.
Still, the run after the water station, downhill through the woods, is one of the nicest going and once I got to 5K the support picked up and the marshalls were plentiful.
When I got to the end, like another runner, I found a queue to get over the finish and a bottleneck formed by the medal distributors and chip clippers. The gun and chip time is the same as they don't have a starting mat, so you really do need to get over the one at the end! Someone was making the effort to seek out runners and hand them water, which was nice. A banana would have been appreciated too.
I will undoubtedly do this run again, but I really think the finish and marshalling needs to be reconsidered for next year.
In short: friendly and well organized, but be ready for the big evil hill In full: I entered this on a whim at the last minute having been knocked out for a month with illness. It was a pretty nice day for the race which was all on quiet tarmac roads, but the hill that started at the 4 mile marker seemed to be very long indeed. That hurt. A lot. However, it was extremely friendly, well supported and well organized. I found it easy to park, register and use the facilities despite arriving just 20 minutes prior to the start of the race. I'd do it again. Date of review: April 15, 2013
In short: Exceptionally friendly with a flapjack at the end. In full: I've run most of the local 10Ks but never got around to this, probably because it's early in the season and I'm basically lazy and don't particularly like being wet or cold. I signed up because I'd been put off by a lousy race along a busy main road last July and barely run since. I needed to scare myself back into my kit and a race number was the only option. Even when I got there I became convinced I was going to suffer horribly because I'd worn trail shoes and very little is actually off-road, plus I was freezing. I needn't have worried. My shoes did the job fine, it was my frozen feet that were the issue and when they eventually defrosted around the 5K mark I realised I didn't appear to be getting blistered after all. From the word go the people in the race were friendly and all the way round the marshalls cheered as did groups of locals and their children. Sometimes they just happened to be out, getting into their car or walking along, but all had an encouraging word to offer. When I made it to the end I was welcomed by name and given a flapjack. It really couldn't have been a better start to my season. Thank you Goring, thank you. Date of review: March 3, 2013
In short: Disappointing event on a noisy, fume filled and dangerous road. In full: This was to be my last race before a summer break and I was looking forward to half along a quiet road then back along the river. Well, the marshals were supportive and the towpath pleasant, but that's about it.
The race HQ was around the corner from a giant car boot, and the resulting queues of traffic meant I and many others abandoned our cars a mile from the start to walk there. Because of this the race start was delayed by half an hour. The day was hot, but I saw no drinking water at the start and there was no toilet paper. I couldn't hear the PA system.
The first half, yes a full three miles, was along a busy A road, spent inhaling fumes from exhausts or being practically grazed by annoyed motorists passing at speed from behind. Some hooted, and not to offer support.
After 5K the run was pleasant enough, although you could hear the traffic at all times, and there was a small plastic cup of water offered around 6K.
100 metres from the finish I had to ask directions; there was a group of marshals staring blankly and a kid of about 10 pointing the wrong way. I didn't see a timing clock at the end so I haven't the foggiest how it went. I was so cross that I'd spent hard earned cash on such a horrible run I considered throwing the medal in the bin.
Never again. I wouldn't run the Elmbridge 10K again if they paid me. Next time I fancy a run I'll drive myself to the beautiful and free Thames Towpath near where I live and run six miles along it by myself with a bottle of water, I'll have a much better time.
In short: Fast and well supported; a great start for a new run In full: This is a new run, and like an earlier poster I would have appreciated being able to hear the PA system and a banana at the end, but those really are the only quibbles.
It was easy to find, I had no problem parking, there were plenty of toilets (you could use the leisure centre ones as well as the portaloos if you wandered inside) and no queues to collect numbers. I left my chip behind by mistake and the organisers went out of their way to find me and give it back.
The course is out and back, almost all on-road, undulating but not hilly. It isn't as pancake flat as Eastleigh but it is a lot prettier. I knocked almost 4 minutes off my PB and I race most weekends. There was plenty of space on the road to stretch my legs and I really appreciated the masses of supportive marshals and locals who turned out to cheer. It was well worth the trip, thank you. Date of review: July 17, 2012
In short: Scenic, well marshalled, well supported, narrow and slippery in places. In full: This is a very popular run for good reason - there's plenty of parking and toilets, it's a lovely route and the locals and marshals cheer loudly throughout. Consequently in some areas it's crowded and because of the heavy rainfall I was afraid I might fall, but that must be unusual in July.
I was pleased to be offered a full bottle of water instead of a cup since it turned out warmer than expected, and very grateful for the banana at the end. There was only one water station, so on a hot day it would be a good idea to take some for the first half of the race.
It was disappointing that the chip timing failed for some; after a delay of several days I've been told that my chip and gun time are the same, but as a seasoned racer I know that's not true. I guess I should be glad I had cramp and wasn't on for a PB! Date of review: July 11, 2012