In short: Incredible day in a stunning part of the world In full: Had a brilliant day in Snowdonia. Bit worried about the weather at the start but took a punt to wear the vest, albeit aided by arm warmers. Still had to wrap up in the poncho and an added bin bag for the walk and the first two miles.
Enjoyed the walk and the atmosphere at the start although probably left a bit late. Had a slow start with a bit of weaving, but I think an easy beginning in a marathon can be beneficial. Enjoyed the closed road up to Pen y pass - great sight with all the runners. But did keep thinking 'bloody hell - hardest opening 4.5 miles ever'!
Loved the open and dramatic views on the descent, although did politely pick a bloke up on dropping a wrapper - no need and poor form unless you are near a bin, marshal etc. The 8M descent was epic! Greater technicality than I'd bargained for but it lasted so long. Seemed to overtake repeatedly, but was a bit concerned about the quad damage that would be building.
The second climb was shorter but with a less obvious top seemed to go on a little. Enjoyed the lakeside views and support in Bedgellert. The runners had thinned out a lot by mile 19/20 so enjoyed chatting to a chap from White Rock Runners.
The final climb was brutal. Started OK in Waunfar, but when you turn right in the village it gets ridiculously steep! Told myself I wouldn't walk so slowly trudged up. Quite a few runners passed me only to slow to a walk moments later. The weather had really brightened up by this point. Even some blue sky! Beautiful views back out to the see and some dramatic mountains if you glanced behind. About mile 23 the conditions underfoot rapidly deteriorated. Having sidesteps small puddles for the last three hours I found myself ploughing through muddy lakes. Brilliant to finally make the top although the short bit of the descent that was on the grass was very slippery. Saw that my watch said 7:29 average and realised that a 7:27 would give me 3:15. The battle was on! Felt renewed back on the road and, spurred on by seeing wife and in laws, overtake about ten people. Magical moment running down the home straight - even had it to myself. Delighted to finish in 3:14:18.
What a race! Loved it. It was nice to feel no real time pressure - although of course this is always self imposed anyway. Really enjoyed just looking at HR on watch and not worrying about mile splits (until the very end when at least). Beautiful views, friendly people and a brilliant blend of the personal yet also a big race feel. I would love to do it again and would recommend it to anyone. Date of review: October 29, 2015
In short: Brilliant but brutal race In full: This is undoubtedly one of my favourite races of all time. Amazing scenery, brilliant value for money and a great, yet relaxed atmosphere.
Be warned, however, it is hard! Very hilly - exceptionally steep in places, and some scree-like descents. There are long downhill sections where you can really get some speed up. The conditions were perfect, with hard packed trails enabling far speedier times then when very snowy in the past.
At the end you get a 'Cleevewold' beer and water bottle, and the top ten get more beers! A fantastic race, and well worth putting in the training in order to complete it. Date of review: March 23, 2015
In short: Fast course and well organised In full: A massive PB for me so it certainly stands out as a good race in my memory. I'd read worrying reports of route problems last year, but everything worked extremely smoothly yesterday. The start is half a mile from the car park/finish - fine with me as I wanted an extended warm up. A quarter of the course is on boring industrial estate, the rest of plain but pleasant country roads. All very flat. Nice finish gantry with a funnel of supporters. A good race, timed well for spring marathons and a bargain price. Date of review: February 16, 2015
In short: Great race with real PB potential In full: Slickly organised from the off. Well marshalled corral that was then walked round to the start. Ropes separate each self chosen pen - sub 35, 35-40 etc. One joker was quipping they were for ages.
Bit of a headwind seemingly for the first two thirds of the race but a good turnout meant that were plenty of groups to tag into. Having read last year's reviews it was a great feeling to know the last couple of k were on a slight downhill. I have never ever seen a 5:30 mile on my watch before!
Very happy with a pb. A fun and convenient event and seemingly well timed pre spring marathon. Well done to the organisers. Date of review: February 8, 2015
In short: Superb trail race In full: This is an excellent trail race that shows off some quiet yet beautiful Cotswold paths. Organisation is slick and friendly, and numbers are limited to avoid negatively impacting the surrounding. The village hall makes for a convenient and easy to access bag drop/changing/eating area. The route was muddy yet certainly all runnable, and at 17.8 miles, not quite as daunting as 'nearly 19' sounds! It works really well for a fun marathon training route and consolidates Cotswold Running's reputation as organisers of very high quality races. Date of review: January 12, 2015
In short: Excellent trail race - but hard work! In full: The race is brutally hard - three massive hills and some technical, muddy and slippy terrain at times. But this doesn't detract from what was a beautiful and varied course. I actually enjoyed the 'undulations' - it removed some of the pressure of a road marathon and wanting to hit consistent splits. The marshalls were exceptionally friendly and the checkpoints had good food and drink options. It was, on the whole, well signed, although there were a couple of occasions of looking around for a sign. The white background tends to blend in on an overcast day - perhaps a pink background and white arrow would be more visible.
If you want to do a hassle free marathon in glorious surroundings then I couldn't recommend this enough. I feel proud to have finished what was a very hard race! Date of review: November 17, 2014
In short: Stunning road race In full: An absolute classic. Beautiful views the entire way around Derwentwater. A fast first half looks toward the peaks at the south of the lake before a tough hill at mile 5-6 gives views back towards Catbells and Blencathra. Excellent organisation with a fun and well supported start in the middle of Keswick. Plenty of delightful cafes and shops to fill bellies and empty wallets in the hours following the race. A sociable midday start really helped with travel plans. Highly recommended. Date of review: November 2, 2014
In short: Super race In full: I really enjoyed the 'Chi half'. Great organisation and good atmosphere at the start/finish zone. Great to run through the town centre. Excellent mix of road, path, trail, grass and woodlands. Hard work getting up the Trundle, but you are rewarded with brilliant views from the top. It was nice to briefly pass slower/faster runners at the top.
Fast finish along the cycle path and great support. Really recommend this race for clubby types and beginners alike. Date of review: October 13, 2014
In short: Well organised event with a big race feel at the start and finish In full: Very efficiently organised. A well run car park area led to a good atmosphere around the start. Good to see people lining up according to anticipated finish times. Great music and good support for the majority of the race. The race goes alongside a main road for a short while - the quiet roads after this are much calmer and command superb views. This is potentially a quick course, but the heat on the day certainly slowed me. Well done to the organisers for putting on this welcoming event and raising so much for charity. Date of review: June 25, 2014