In short: NICE RUN BUT VERY POOR VALUE In full: I ran the new year and the santa run (half marathons)to keep in shape over christmas in preperation for another series starting in Jan. I had heard some poor reviews previously about ultramarathons other events but it is local to me so thought i'd give it a try. The organisation was ok though. Entry was simple and quick. There was sufficient marshalls, water stations and signage around the course. Its a very low key event good for beginners. The route is reasonably scenic and its pancake flat with good PB potential. It is quite exposed though so if the wind gets up this can make quite a difference. The park is open to the public and i did nearly clobber a few dogs and children along the way but there isnt much that can be done about that really. However, In 7 years of running in events like this these was probably the worst - Sorry. My major gripe with the races was that it was £19 entry each on the day and you get very little for your money. You also have to pay a couple of quid for parking. The medal couldnt have cost much more than £1 each and there was no goodie bag, no prizes, no special medals for winners and runners up etc. No commentry as you pass the half way and finish points. The start and finish point was very lack luster (two small flags). Results are not sorted into age category either. Im sorry if this causes offence to the organisers but it appears that the runs are being used as an opportuntity to make a quick buck rather than trying to create a great event that runners will enjoy. If they want more people to participate, they need to look at what other organisers provide at events and review the pricing.
In short: Small / low key event thats hard and hilly but a great day that i'll be doing again. In full: Im writing this review hoping it will give first timers a better idea of what to expect.
Small event in lovely surroundings. I was little bit unsure what to do on arrival but the marshalls were helpful and explained where to leave our bikes and meet for the start. I had to walk down to the church hall to register (5 min walk) to my get my numbers for the bike and shirt. Pins were provided for the shirt and cable ties for the bike.
There was a race briefing 10 minutes before the race that explained what we needed to do and abit about the course. I think there was about 40 - 50 people taking part. It would be better with a few more competitors and spectactors but atmoshere was still ok.
My first off road duathlon so wasnt sure what to expect. Much tougher than I imagined. The terrain was mixed. About half of the running section was on uldulting fields which were not too difficult but then the course declines down to the river. By the river it was quite boggy but i imagine it gets much worse down there later in the year. This section was hard work and was immediately followed by a step incline back up to the fields. The cycling lap took a slightly different route sticking mainly to the bumpy grass fields although there was a single trail section with a sharp incline back to the fields. Some people opted to push bikes up this section whilst others span it out. I did a mix as it was abit of a killer spinning it up on the bike. The course consisted of 2 running laps, 6 cycling laps and 2 further running laps.
In terms on footwear, i opted for trail running shoes and clip in's for the cycling. The time it takes to change shoes is minimal in the grand scheme of things. Some people opted for the same shoes through-out with flat pedals. Down to preference i suppose. Some people also ran in spikes.
There was also a mix of the types of bikes used. There were cyclocross, hybrids, hard tails and full sussers. I used a Trek EX Fuel (120mm) full suspension but a hard tail would have done the job just as well.
The transition area is supervised by the marsalls throughout the race so the bikes are safe whilst you are running. There are no water stations but there is plenty of opportunity to hydrate whilst you are on the bike if you have a water bottle. I am considering using a hydration pack for the cycling section next time to avoid having to reach down all the time and risk dropping a bottle (i did see a few people having to stop to pick up dropped bottles). I didnt use any carb gels on this ocassion but next time i would probably take one after the first run section and one half way through the bike section as my legs were feeling a little sluggish going into the last run section.
After the race i took a short stroll down to the church hall (where you need to register) and they were selling bacon rolls, soup and cake at very good prices. I sat and ate mine in the gardens by the river and it was lovely.
To conclude. Its a great low key event that provides a good challenge. Dont expect any P.B's as it is very hilly but dont let this put you off. Reasonable price for an event like this and I will definately be doing the next race in December. Ideal for first time off road duathlons but make sure you put the training in or the hills or they will punish you! Date of review: November 7, 2011
In short: Great fun, well organised, nice route, good value In full: Exceeded my expectations. Vary well organised. Definately running the other races in the series to see if i can improve my time. Great fun and good atmosphere for a 400-500 runner event. Date of review: January 16, 2011
In short: A well organised event and great for runner of all abilities In full: This was my 4th time running the bedford harriers half. The first time i ran it in 2005 (which was my first half marathon), the long incline caught me out and i hit the wall at 8 miles and limped home for the remaining distance (thankfully most of the remaining distance was downhill). I managed a time around 1:40 which i was pretty pleased with for a beginner. I have tried to run this race every year since to guage my progress before the christmas break. Whilst there are certainly flatter half marathons, I somehow manage PB's here. This year i was aiming for a sub 90min and got round in 1:28:21. Top tips for people for running this for the first time: 1. Dont start off too quick. Make sure you keep some in the tank so that you can blitz the downhill sections towards the end (thats my approach to it anyway) 2. Although it feels cold when standing on the start line, dont over-do it with the layers. Every year i seem to end up running in less and less. You soon warm up.
Its a great event and I intend to carry on doing every year. Credit to the organisers and the marshalls. Date of review: December 15, 2010