In short: Friendly, well-organised and just tough enough! In full: The second time I tackled this race was the polar opposite to the first - with a heavy slant on 'polar'. Despite the freezing conditions, there were plenty of people at the start line. Great atmosphere too. The marshalls, despite clearly being colder than the runners, were fantastic as usual and the people of Essex as supportive as ever. Even running on the main road was OK - drivers were very considerate. No criticisms of this race - we can't change the weather!
See you next year, Brentwood! Date of review: March 26, 2013
In short: Easy for Londoners who don't have a car, friendly organisers and challenging hills! In full: This was the first time I'd done the race and wasn't prepared for the hills! The kilometre marking was more of a suggestion than an accurate signpost, but with an event based on laps, it wasn't too much of a problem. Some of the marshals looked like they were being made to stand there rather than doing it thru their own free will, but a couple of supporters cheered us on (especially the builders at the far end of the course!). I was a little concerned that we had to abandon our bags under a tree on open ground, but once I'd run past and spotted a surly teenager in a hi res jacket watching over them, my fears were allayed! Some water at the end would have been nice as it was so humid, but I overheard one of the organisers saying they'd had a lot of people turn up on the day and not catered for such numbers. There was a cafe 100m away anyway.
I'd recommend the race to newcomers to the sport - I made some friends on the way to the course and went for a drink in Del Boy's Nags Head after the race. Date of review: May 8, 2011
In short: Great atmosphere and enough hills to challenge. Bloody awful traffic getting home! In full: Do everything early. Get there Early. The bag buses leave at 10am and the race pens are full by 10.15am. Book a hotel early, probably start looking now (October) as they will book up and you'll have to stay in Darlington and drive up at the break of dawn. Take the next day off work so you can stay in Newcastle on Sunday night and not struggle in the huge amounts of traffic leaving Gateshead.
What a great race tho and what an atmosphere! I chatted to people all the way round and was boosted by all the different people's charities and determination to finish.
I got round in 1hr 55, which I was pleased about as it was my first half.
The best part? The lady standing outside her house in the heart of South Shields on mile 11 with tins of custard creams and chocolate digestives to help us to get to the finish.
Can't wait to do it again. Date of review: October 2, 2010