In short: Miles 1 to 19 great, shame about the other bits. In full: Miles 0-1: Poor parking – grass banks out of the village. HQ – OK, they are always busy so just plan ahead, no worse than others. Race Start – shambles in short. Reverse filling a narrow road, so obviously nobody wanted to move back so late start and loads of slow runners up front – wasn’t hard to predict. (Fence the pavement off, make everyone walk down it to the back first then fill up that way and have predicted finish markers – easily solved, no?)
Miles 1-19: Beautiful course – scenic, undulating, but not overly hilly and water stations every 3 miles. Excellent marshal’s, all friendly and helpful. Water in polystyrene cups not ideal, but just stop and walk for a couple of seconds worked fine.
Miles 19-20: What a ridiculous finish. Winding narrow alleyways through a housing estate, some single file. Surely this could be improved as it is not what you want at the end of a 20 mile race. Only topped by the draconian marshal at the finish moaning and stopping people taking 2 (small) pieces of fruit rather than 1 – not her fault really, but from an organisation point of view ½ a banana after 20 miles (and £20) is a poor show. Ditch the dodgy orange hoody and push the boat out to a whole banana next year.
Would probably do it again on balance as the course makes it, but the poor start and finish would make me think twice.
In short: Another brilliant, well organised event. In full: The course is challenging and pretty unlikely to give negative splits (the 1 mile, big hill is just after the half way point!) It’s very scenic, running through the rural Kent countryside. Beware of the downhill’s too as you can mash your legs up going downhill on the first half of the course, before you even get to the up bit. The organisation has always been a strong point in previous years and I don’t think this year was any different for me. With a bit of planning then the queues for toilets and bag store can be negotiated – it’s a large event and so there are lots of people trying to do the same thing at the same time. (I set of for the loo 45 mins before the start and the bag store 30 mins, which left 15 to get to the start – if you cut it finer then you are asking for trouble.) My medal was handed out by Richard Whitehead (WR holder) and so was a pleasure, particularly with the congratulations and pat on the back even though nearly being sick in front of him! The medal – well, agreed, not the best, but then it goes in a bag never to be seen again so I don’t mind that. The T-shirt is a brilliant technical one that I wear all year round and is far more important. The goodie bag, well, again, can’t ever remember anything worthwhile in these and wouldn’t want money wasted on it, so no great disappointment to me. It is however a shame that water and bags have been reported as running out for others further down the field, but I am sure that is an easy fix.
In short: Nice (flat) course, quite scenic in places and a friendly atmosphere. In full: My first triathlon race so had to ask many questions. The organisers were very helpful with this. Swim course was pleasant enough, big marker buoys and carpet on most of transition (exit from lake slippy with a few fallers – take care). Bike course was flat and on quiet, but public roads. A few sharp corners around the village that caught me out a little, but more experienced riders probably wouldn’t notice. Well marshalled at all the important points for the bike. Run course a little contrived with turns around the village and I had to check directions twice as a couple of points missing marshal or sign assistance – If I had memorised the course then this wouldn’t have been a problem. Possibly timing or course measurement issues also as the winners had run times of 15mins for a 6k course – by my calculation that is around 4min mile pace! (Also no memento/ goody bag as far as I could see, unless you count free jaffa cakes and bananas – but that is not so important for me). Anyway despite the couple of niggles this is a good race with a small field and so friendly feel about it – I would do this again and recommend to others. Date of review: May 13, 2011