In short: Tough trail marathon in glorious scenery In full: Harder than advertised- hills, boggy ground, some scrambling in places- but the fantastic lakeland scenery made it all worthwhile, despite the incessant rain! This was my 27th marathon and definitely the hardest yet- I'd recommend adding 45 minutes to1 hour to your standard marathon time. Organisation was very good and post race t-shirt medal and food all to a good standard. Recommended. Date of review: July 9, 2012
In short: Friendly small, low key marathon around picturesque Grafham Water In full: This was the first Grafham Water Marathon and half marathon, intended to raise money for humanitarian projects in Peru. It's a rather low key event, with around 50 marathon runners and 200+ half marathoners. The start was located close to the Grafham Water visitor centre/cafe and they'd set up a few stalls selling Peruvian food and a South American goods, plus a free sports massage tent (the physio gave good advice and a massage to sort out my calf problem- great service, thanks). There are no changing facilities, but we made use of the loos in the nearby cafe. The marathon route comprised a 2-lap circuit beginning and ending at the lake with a mix of trail, road and cross country running around some nice mostly flat-ish countryside. The route was extremely well signposted and milemarked - good news since there were few marshalls other than at busy road junctions - these however were very well managed. Refreshment stations were very basic, and rather too sparsely located (1st station at approx 6m) with just plain water on offer: no food or gels. I spoke to the organisers at the finish and they seemed very eager to hear feedback from runners on how they could improve next year including the need for more water stations and snacks such as banana, bread pudding(!) or gels. Considering the basic nature of the event the entry price was a bit steep (at £30 these are more than 3 times the cost of a comparable LDWA event) but this did attract a lot of enthusiastic first time runners and for your money you got a well organised race, printed T-shirt and cotton carrier bag (sadly no snacks or drinks in the goody bag) and your contribution to a worthy charity. it was a shame that the Perivian food stall had packed up by the time I finished (4 1/2 hours), since I really would have liked to try the food (had to settle for a burger from the Grafham Water cafe!). Recommended. Date of review: September 19, 2011
In short: Accessible and friendly short ultra, could do with better navigation prompts In full: This was my first Ultrarace and I found it a very enjoyable experience, despite an abundance of slippery mud (and the 'wrong' shoes!) and more hills than I thought existed in London.
Pros: - I found the whole event to be very relaxed and friendly. Rory and Jen are very accessible and 'hands on', available at the 'Expo', start of the race and there to shake your hand, give you your medal and congratulate you at the finish... a nice touch - the route is very varied, with a good mixture of urban roads, pavements, tracks, trails and off-road... keeps it interesting - great technical shirt IF you're prepared to pay £20 (see below) - 9 bars were given out at the check stations tasted really good - I'll be buying more of these Cons: - I was expecting a shirt but was told by Rory that we had to pay for these... very surprising to me and contradicted the race confirmation email that very nice 100 marathon club member had in her handbag! I paid up for a shirt, but this did make me query value for money and whether to enter future events - the refreshment provisions were rather spartan: 9 bars, flapjack, a few sweeties and some water... some bananas and gels would have been much appreciated - there were far too few directions and 'Ur' markers. Can I suggest that the oirganisers print out some basic directions as is common on LDWA challenge events... these would be really helpful since too many of us got lost! - no need for an expo for an event of 200 people... much easier to mail out the number and save the cost of an overnight stay in a hotel Thanks