In short: Amazing atmosphere, amazing scenary, amazingly tough In full: Having only done 3 very flat marathons previous to this, doing one with nearly 3000 feet of elevation was a daunting prospect. However, set in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, not even the rain could dampen the runners spirits and the scenery was still spectacular.
First climb to Pen y Pass is a long one. The second climb just after half way is not to underestimated. The final climb around mile 22-24 is a killer.
A really tough race but for me, this one had to be done. Incredible experience. Date of review: October 29, 2015
In short: Challenging road race with a bit of off road thrown in In full: Great turnout of 150 for a first time race (although it was replacing another race). Quick and easy registration on day or could sign up in advance online. Well organised. Run on open country roads but no issues with the few vehicles that did pass and pretty much every runner called out to warn those behind / in front of oncoming vehicles. Although mostly an out and back, the mile loop at the end seemed to ensure there weren't runners on both sides of the road.
A steady 1.5 mile incline to start before a couple of short downhill sections. A steeper climb towards the 3 mile mark and then a short section of off road before a sharp downhill and back along the same roads. Those small downhill sections on the way out felt a lot steeper and longer on the way back. The final 1.5 miles all downhill was nice.
Forecast to be really warm and humid day so organisers put in an extra water station which meant because you passed them on the way back, there were 4 opportunities to get a drink in a 6.6 mile race.
If it was closer to home I would definitely do again which is why I only put 'Maybe'. Great race. Date of review: July 2, 2015
In short: Great atmosphere, awesome experience In full: Bit disappointed to be put in pen 9 (last pen) with a predicted time of 4:30 and after training I thought sub 4 might be possible. One reviewer has already said they managed to get through the crowds and achieve their goal but for me, I found it impossible. I actually ended up running 27.1 miles according to my GPS and I was really trying to stick to the blue racing line and not go well out of my way to overtake slower runners. It seems to be something no one mentions, but in my opinion, if your in pen 7, 8 or 9, your very likely to run at least 26.7 miles as it's impossible to stick to the racing line due to crowds.
All that aside, the crowds were incredible. I've done a few of the big running events in the UK but this was on another level. I had earphones in but 90% of the songs were drowned out by the crowd who were fantastic.
Decent goodie bag at the end and medal to cherrish forever, but no tech t-shirt - I've entered races charging £10 which have provided them!
Overall, a fantastic experience and great day. Whether it'll be a one-off, it's a bit early to say! Date of review: April 15, 2014
In short: Too many 'dead-turns' and mentally challenging! In full: Decided to enter this one as a London Marathon training run but after reading how pancake flat it was, I thought a quick time might be on the cards. It's by far the flattest HM I've done (this was my 13th) but with five 180 degree turns on each of the 4 laps plus another on the 1K loop you had to do at the end, it killed any rhythm. I found doing laps really tough mentally as well. I don't know how the marathon runners coped doing 8 and a half laps! Also, as the airfield is so exposed it was very windy on many of the long straights which made it even more of a challenge.
Having the 5K, 10K, HM, and Marathon all starting at the same time also made it difficult to judge who you were running against. I often try to pick out someone to keep up with after the first mile or so, but ended up chasing people who it turned out were doing the 5K or 10K and clearly going a lot faster in the early stages.
On the plus side, I thought it was well organised and the marshalls were brilliant with their encouragement. There wasn't much crowd support as it was only family / friends that had attended the race with the runners and they were all gathered at the start / finish of each 5K lap. The entry fee was the cheapest I've paid for a Half Marathon and there was a half decent medal at the end to add to the collection plus a headband, drinks, energy bars and bananas.
If they could take out some of the dead turns then it would be a good PB course but I don't think this is possible within the airfield. Unfortunately, I think this was a one off for me. Date of review: March 16, 2014
In short: First 'Great' event. Enjoyable but not really 'wow' In full: This was my 11th half and my first 'Bupa Great..' event. As it's the biggest race series in the world, televised live etc, I expected a bit more going on and bit of a 'wow' factor, but didn't think it was much different other big city Half Marathons I've done.
Got a place last minute from someone who dropped out and ended up in the Pink (last) wave so even though I was pacing for my brother-in-law doing his first HM, there was congestion pretty much the whole way round as we were aiming for just under 2 hours but this is understandable. Found the scenary quite dull with a good 80 percent of the run being on main roads without many major landmarks / buildings. The bit through Cannon Hill Park was a welcome change of scenary.
The hills made it a bit of a challenge and put any chance of PB out of the question for anyone who's done a few halves before.
Organisation and atmosphere were great. Great goody bag at the end although expect a tech-tee from most big races.
Glad to tick it off the list of races 'to do' but would probably only enter again if my brother-in-law fancied another crack at it to beat his time from this year. Date of review: October 21, 2013
In short: Fun filled course but make sure you can do a lot further than 10K! In full: This was my first Survival of the Fittest event and I entered in a team of 10. We didn't 'race' it and decided to plod around at the pace of our slowest runner to stick together and help each other on some of the more difficult obstacles. Really enjoyed the free-for-all at the first obstable (Hay Bails), running the steps in the Millennium and the team effort to get over the wall at the end. Not so sure about getting in the river Taff though!
The obstacles aren't too difficult especially if you've got people around to help you over the taller ones so in terms of those I think most could give it a good go. However, I'd been told and read on here that the distance is often a kilometer or so longer than the 'roughly 10K' they state on the website... but a couple of our team measured it at 13.5K!?
We may have just been lucky but didn't experience any more than 10-20 second queues for most obstacles which I think was down to the excellent organisation and wave starts.
If I were to do it again, I'd probably try to race it to make it a bit more of challenge. Saying that, I may have finished not feeling to bad - but legs were aching for 2-3 days after!
Definitely worth doing once - a good 'beginners' course for anyone considering Tough Mudder or another longer, more difficult obstacle coure event. Date of review: October 7, 2013
In short: Enjoyable race at bargain price In full: Costs clearly kept to a minimum for this one. No chip timing, no race clock at the finish and just a plastic cup of water at the end. However, if like me, you've already got a load of plastic medals and race t-shirts, I was happy to miss out on these and only pay £6 to enter.
As for the race. A dodgy start with a 180 degree turn around a lorry required to ensure the distance was correct, followed by a flat mile or so on the industrial estate. At the 2K mark we were in for a bit of shock with a steep ascent up a country lane for about half a mile. However, after that, it was mostly downhill and slightly undulating until the 5K point where there was a water stop. The second 5K was pancake flat but mostly back on the industrial estate which is why I rated it low on the scenary front. Although roads weren't closed, there were no issues with traffic, and the course was well marshalled.
Organisation was great although a re-think on the lap around the lorry might be in order for next year. A shame about the hill at 2K otherwise it would definitely be PB potential. Slightly disappointed results weren't uploaded until around 36 hours after the race although appriciate it's a bigger task when not chipped timed and done manually.
Overall, a bargain officially measured 10K for club runners, but probably not that appealing to beginners. More than likely I'll be back next year mostly due to it being a local and well priced. Date of review: May 28, 2013
In short: Friendly, well organised, challenging run In full: First club event for Cwm Ogwr Running Club but you'd never have guessed as the organisation was excellent. A friendly atmosphere beforehand with the 90 odd runners from several different clubs and a lot of beginner runners from the local community chatting inside in the Leisure Centre.
The actual run includes 5 inclines nicely spread out over the 5 miles although the major one is up first and therefore out of the way early. Some support from locals but hoping there'll be many more in future years once more people know about the event. Marshalls were excellent giving encouragement and support to all runners.
Nice presentation for the male and female senior / veterns top 3 with trophies and prizes handed out. Results posted on website within a couple of hours of the final finisher.
Really enjoyable event and speaking to people afterwards, everyone else agreed. Hopefully everyone will be back again next year - I certainly will. Date of review: May 13, 2013
In short: Challenging course but lots of fun In full: This is actually reviewing 2012 race but that wasn't an option above.
After a few 'normal' road 5K's, 10K's, Half Marathons and a Marathon, I decided to try something different... and it was definitely that. A tough 2 mile ascent to start with, followed by 3 miles of udulating grass, mud, gravel, farm path terrain, and a very welcome steep 1 mile decent to finish.
The mud was pretty bad but it had been dry most of the week including race day so could have been a lot worse... or more fun depending on how you want to look at it. The marshalls were excellent with every one of them cheering on the runners and teasing us we were over the worst of the mud when there was clearly much more to come.
No medal or t-shirt at the end, but entrance fee kept to a minimum as a result which is great. A cup of soup and a roll went down very nicely instead. Also, they were typing in the finishing times as people were coming through so you could find out your 'official' time straight after and they had results on the website the same day which isn't always the case with non-chip timed events.
Overall, a very friendly, well organised race, and despite the hills and mud, popular with local non-club runners / beginners as well.
Disappointed with my time this year which makes me even more determined to come back next year and try again! Date of review: November 19, 2012
In short: Really enjoyed but maybe need for stricter rules with Elite / Fun Run In full: My first Nos Galan experience was really good. Atmosphere was brilliant, fireworks before Elite race were amazing, and although drizzly throughout, very mild for New Years Eve.
Only negative would be that I think all runners who expect to finish under say 21 minutes should be told to enter Elite Race but particualrly anyone over 21 minutes in the Fun Run as the Fun Run was held up due to a bloke dressed as Santa entering the Elite Race and finishing in about 30 minutes+?! Think the organisers were probably a bit suprised by the numbers and the course was probably a bit narrow for that amount of runners.
However, it is supposed to be a fun run and I'm sure most people will have had a few too many drinks / mince pies over the festive period to worry about PB's anyway. Hopefully results will be up soon. Date of review: January 2, 2012