In short: Excellent fast trail race through RIchmond Park and along the Thames In full: Third year of running and gets better each year. 13.1 out and back route through Richmond Park and then along The Thames, 7 aid stations with lots of goodies, flap jack, crisps, jelly babies and gels, electrolyte drinks too... nice big medal. Very good surface for a trail run (with some tarmac stretches)... bit of a hill on the way out, which seems much bigger on the way back! What's not to like... Now if only they could organise some less typical British Bank Holiday weather too! Date of review: August 26, 2013
In short: Could do much better, cutting too many corners... In full: Pros... 1) Very scenic run around Rutland Water and not many decent sized events at this time of year. 2) Very friendly cadets manning the aid stations. 3) Lots of great runners.
Cons 1) For a £35.00 marathon offered very poor value. No medal (got a blank certificate in the goody bag), no shirts that fitted at the end (only "S" left for the over 5 hours runners), only water at aid stations aside from two that had SIS gels. 2) Looooooooog walk to the start, if you had to visit the information tent and then go back to your car you were looking at a 3 mile walk! 3) Weather was awful and trails very muddy in places, not the organisers fault of course, but was just a grim day in the cold and rain. And just made worse at the totally anti-climatic finish, one poor chap in the tent handing out goody bags (i.e. 9-bar, gel, shirt that wouldn't fit and the blank certificate)...
Was a much better event when we did this in 2010 (medals and far more at aid stations)... won't be on my 2013 list and rather put me off their other events. Date of review: November 4, 2012
In short: Excellent trail race, incredibly well organised and marshalled In full: Second time I've done this marathon and suspect won't be the last. Very well organised, the RD told me that there were 200 volunteers and they were all excellent, very friendly and encouraging. The course by trail running standards is very well marked and marshalled, a bag thank you to the "orange spray man" was barely a 100 yards without something being marked either for navigation or a warning. It's pretty lumpy in places, narrow in others, few roots and rocks and patches of sand to negotiate, but nothing too much to worry about. If you want flat road then there are plenty of alternatives! Would absolutely recommend to anyone looking for an off road marathon (or half!) my only suggestion to the RD would be to look at the marathon schedule - a couple of weeks later and would likely be the only marathon in the country, as it was it clashed with a couple of other trail marathons. It's no big deal for most people of course but for the 100 Marathon Club types, if its a blank weekend, they will come... Date of review: September 17, 2012
In short: Excellent first running of the Kent Roadrunner In full: Organised by a very experienced runner you could easily tell the thought that had gone into the event. Everything went like clockwork and quite possibly the best medal this side of the Atlantic!
Whilst there is a bit of (an ever increasing!) hill it's made up for by a very runnable downhill that you can power down, perfect running surface, aid station every 2.5k with lots of nibbles as well as the usual water/electrolite drinks... I managed a PB and wasn't alone! Bound to sell out in 2013... RD offering a healthy discount for 2013 entries if you're quick! Date of review: June 4, 2012
In short: Excellent trail marathon In full: First class event from start to finish
1) Big field to partk in for easy parking. 2) Easy to get your number/chip on the day. 3) Brilliantly marked course, never once did I wonder "Am I going the right way" with arrows, paint, ribbon and marshalls allowed for a failsafe system in case some idiot thought it would be amusing to reverse an arrow for example. 4) Nice scenery. 5) Not ridiculously hilly and despite a fair bit of a rain the course was 99% mud free. 6) World class cakes at the end. 7) World class marshalls and helpers throughout. 8) Nice medal, goody bag and shirt. 9) Great crowd of runners. 10) Lots of water/munch stations.
Cons 1) Rained a bit. 2) The two pounds I now need to burn off for over eating on said cakes at the end. "Go on love, have some more, you must be famished" said one of the lovely ladies at the end. Alas that I did! lol
Should be a model race for anyone putting on a trail marathon, base what you do on this event. Date of review: September 19, 2011
In short: Very well run small trail marathon In full: After the torrential rain and mist of 2010 the organisers had obviously gone the "extra mile" to make sure nobody was going to go astray this year. At the start they handed out maps and route instructions (which I doubt anyone needed!) and the course was marked with arrows on posts etc and on the ground too, plus tape... plus marshalls at some critical places too. A big thank you to whoever marked out the course! I think must be the best I've seen so far... never thought for one minute "am I going the right way?"
6 aid stations, great volunteers, nice goody bag and for a good cause to boot...
The course is pretty hilly, basically two climbs up the downs and two downs, which makes light of an awful lot of undulations, although the hill at mile 15-16 is the only real killer.
Would recommend to anyone. Date of review: August 22, 2011
In short: Very friendly, flat, low key event. In full: This is the second of these events I've participated in and they've both been very enjoyable.
It's 4 ups and downs along the Mersey on a near dead flat path (the only downside is a few bits of cobbles and it's all concrete/paving stones so a bit hard on the joints).
The advantage of this is that you get to see the other runners multiple times for a high five or a word of encouragement/humour/sympathy.
Easy parking, simple, low key events and raising funds for charity not to mention that the organisers are top people!
Won't be for everyone, no crowds of support and the scenery can get a bit dull when you're on the last leg of the second day but I really enjoy small scale events like this, and would recommend them to anyone. Date of review: June 2, 2011
In short: Excellent race all around! In full: Really very difficult to find any flaw in this marathon, there is a reason it sells out early!
I always consider that a marathon should be judged not on how it treats its first runner, but how it treats its last, and for 22 miles that was me!
Marshalls were excellent, and even without the merest hint of sighting another runner I never felt I didn't know where I was going, thoughtfully in several places there was simply a "straight ahead" marker which I thought was good!
Roads not closed but not too much traffic and what there was seemed very supportive and thoughtful in giving runners a wide berth (residents around the Sussex Marathon please take note!) possibly helped by the organisers posting up (literally) 100s of notices that runners would be about.
Nice medal, t-shirt, great marshalls and aid station volunteers and an special thanks to the Perbeck Runners who cheered me in at the end! Very much appreciated. Date of review: May 5, 2011
In short: Hilly... Hilly... Hilly... In full: Pros
1) Medal & T-shirt were very nice, in the right size. 2) Aid stations were very good, well stocked with friendly and encouraging crew. 3) Marshalls were excellent. 4) Great atmosphere and support from the other runners. 5) Pickup of the numbers/chips and goodies at the start very painless and parking easy.
1) Route was awful, 6 miles of semi closed roads and then two out and back 10 miles down either busy roads or very hilly narrow country lanes that weren’t closed to traffic Absolutely nothing like what was the route when we entered and no explanation given as to why it was changed (though we can guess). I’m not sure they could have possibly chosen a less hilly route. 2) For the first part of the first out and back the cones to make a “runners lane” on the busy part weren’t moved out to create the lane, so you were just running in the road with fast moving traffic. Even when they were, I doubt it was even a metre wide so people coming the other way often had to step outside into the traffic flow. There seemed to be little consideration given my many of the local drivers, there was a serious accident waiting to happen. In the narrow country lanes there was barely any room for a car to pass in any event.
Not one I’d do again, or recommend until things are changed and the local community “buys in” to the concept of a marathon there. AND seen it in action first, once bitten by a total course “redesign” twice shy... which is a shame as the organisation, route aside, was very good.
In short: Very well organised winter road marathon In full: Pros
1. A winter road marathon in the UK! 2. Volunteers, support and everyone involved in the race was very supportive and encouraging, there were several people handing out jelly babies and wine gums which was much appreciated and a big thank you to the volunteers especially who had every chance of being very cold and quite possibly very wet! 3. Rain held off and weather was probably as reasonable as you could expect for January. 4) Really nice custom dated medal. 5) Despite a 5 hour limit they kept things open so the stragglers (including myself!) could finish and weren't abandoned, taken off the course or anything, much appreciated! 6) Sports Hall at the start provided somewhere warm to wait. 7) Nice warm beanie hat! 8) Water stations were well stocked with water, there were some energy drinks at one, but they seemed to run out fairly early on.
Cons 1) As many have commented having the finish a couple of miles from the start is a pain. If something could be done to get that nearer the start would be an improvement. What about a quick out and back up School Lane to get the distance and get rid of one/both of the small loops at the start? 2) Parking seemed a bit confused, I bet the volunteers at the sports centre were fed up with redirecting people! Perhaps if the alternative car parks were mentioned in advance would ease things, I would happily gone to the "field" car park directly, just saved a bit of confusion. 3) The roads aren't closed and whilst there isn't much traffic and the roads are decent I think runners should perhaps be encouraged to wear "hi-viz" gear just to attract drivers attenion? 4) Not sure the wrist band "lap counters" worked terribly well, I saw a lot discarded...
But overall well worth the effort for those hardy souls who fancy braving the potential winter weather! Date of review: January 24, 2011