In short: Back to the woods In full: The new start/finish location in the lower part of Cassiobury Park worked quite well. More toilets this year, which was nice as TfL had left the gents at Watford tube locked. Great atmosphere, it looked as though numbers were up this year.
It was nicer going back into the woods rather than just going around the park and canal as per last year. However, it might be worth looking doing just one longer loop rather rather than the two laps, it was quite hard to keep out of the way of faster runners (I wasn't wearing headphones, so could hear them). A bit hillier than you'd expect. Well worth doing though. Date of review: May 6, 2014
In short: Great value and atmosphere In full: My first time at what is one of my local races.
Parking can be a bit problematic, but if you get there early enough you can use the leisure centre car park further down Sheperds Lane (I live close enough to cycle). If you're coming by tube it's roughly a half hour walk from Ricky station.
Very friendly atmosphere, tea and coffee available at the clubhouse before the race, not too many toilets, and you can leave your bags in the clubhouse.
The race starts just under the M25 bridge, passing a live band (playing Highway to Hell!), before heading out of town. Most of the race actually takes place around Chorleywood and into Bucks rather than in Ricky; for viewing along the route, friends/family could go to Chorleywood and Chalfont & Latimer tube stations as the race passes nearby. Three water points (it's partially organised by the local water company) along the route.
Fairly undulating route, nice autumn colours, but nice downhill finish back under the bridge. Most of the roads aren't closed, but the traffic wasn't too bad.
Decent goody bag for the price (mug, t-shirt, mars bar, fizzy drink). The clubhouse does beers afterwards if you're up for that.
Surreal moment of the day: overtaking two vintage steam engines on one of the back roads. Date of review: October 28, 2013
In short: My first Tri! In full: Chose this as my first tri (sprint distance), as I'd swam there before and knew the area was flat for the cycle. Everyone was very friendly and helpful to this beginner, a very nice introduction to triathlon.
The swim section was a bit crowded but the water is nice and clear. The cycle section was very flat, but a strong headwind on the return leg made life very difficult. The run was a simple out and back, it was quite nice to be able to observe swimmers and cyclists in other waves, and doing loops meant that my wife was able to see me go past a few times. The organisation was smooth, and the organisers were on hand to help some of the competitors who had specific queries.
Would I do another tri? Yes, but I'd probably wait until I get a road bike and get some more miles in my legs - I was constantly lapped on my hybrid, so will stick to swimming and running for the moment. Date of review: September 30, 2013
In short: Scenic but hot! In full: This is for the Princes Risborough 10k (just in case it shows up in the Waddesdon Manor 5k reviews).
The start in Princes Risborough is good - there's plenty of parking, toilets and lots of the cafes open early for the race. The race goes mostly on small backroads beyond the town - they aren't closed off but there isn't much traffic and the marshalling is very good.
There are some good views around the Chilterns, it does make you want to return for a walk.
Kudos to the organisers for getting extra water points out on a very hot day. A bit thank you also to the people with water sprays outside their houses, it was much appreciated.
No medal but a nice mug, and very friendly atmosphere. Would definitely consider doing again. Date of review: July 7, 2013
In short: Route not as good as last year, but still nice In full: Changing the route because of the mud last year was bound to bring out dry weather!
It wasn't quite as scenic as going through the bluebell woods, though is still very nice. The weather brought out crowds of people into Cassiobury park, so some areas were a little busy with walkers and cyclists (and runners going the other way), but on the whole it was pretty good. Wouldn't have minded being diverted through the paddling pool in the heat!
It's a shame that the course seems to have been short, as I got under an hour for the first time ever. I'd probably do it again, but would prefer the old route.
Incidentally, parking (particularly on a hot day, when lots of people didn't even realise the race was on) can be problematic. I'd consider parking at Croxley, one stop down from Watford on the met line and getting the tube. Watford met is just by Cassiobury Park and has toilets without queues. Date of review: May 8, 2013
In short: Nice to have done it once In full: Great route and atmosphere, but probably wouldn't do again. Didn't get to the start line until 35 minutes after the gun, and being an average to slow runner, had to deal with both walkers in front and faster runners coming from behind.
My wife's bag was left unguarded at the baggage drop when we got back, and there was quite a queue for the t shirts. Potentially a great race, but needs better organisation and perhaps less runners. Date of review: July 20, 2012
In short: Great day despite the weather In full: Very enjoyable despite the weather - a scenic course, hilly in parts, with the bluebells out. Good stewarding along the way, and easy to get to with the metropolitan line station being nearby.
If you are coming by tube, it's worth using the station loos to avoid the queues. Great atmosphere, would recommend! Date of review: May 8, 2012
In short: Decent choice for first ever 10k In full: My first race since a half marathon 20+ years ago!
Has a long climb on the golf course, but otherwise quite nice, away from roads on the Moor Park estate. Good atmosphere and with stewards on corners, nice and friendly, two water stations. Shame the Metropolitan Line was closed for engineering works as wouldn't have needed to drive there (replacement bus awkward).
Good if you've got friends/family watching as there's a couple of circuits of the sports field at the start before you get on the road.
Will do again as fairly local to us. Date of review: September 26, 2011