In short: Very friendly race.. as many styles as miles! In full: This is a great race which has many things going for it. Very friendly organisers and runners, some stunning scenery from the downs, choice of water/juice/biscuits/mars bars and sweets at the drink stations and free food for the finishers! This race oozes the feel good factor, but is let down badly by one thing and that’s the course marking. For those not familiar with the area, or a member of the local running club, trying to follow the route if you lose the runner in front of you is complete guess work at parts. An effort has been made to mark out the course with red streamer at key points, but often these could be missed, or didn’t give you an indication of which way you should be turning. I went off course twice – once with one other, and the second time with about six runners – so still persists as a problem. I think this could be easily fixed with 10 – 15 fluorescent arrows hammered into the ground the morning of the race by someone on a Mountain bike. The course is tough already, and so with the problems following it, had to mark down on beginner friendliness – but no reflection on the friendliness of either the organisers or runners. I hope that the marking improves next year as the runners I spoke to after the race, like I thought that they got everything else spot on. Well done to the organisers – Just buy a cheap pack of fluro arrows for next year! Date of review: September 17, 2006
In short: Good little race - but I was one of the runners who got lost! In full: I did the 10 mile challenge, and overall everything was good. Nice roll at the end and friendly marshals at the stations with sweets and mars bars! Only gripe was that in some areas the marshalling was sparse. Not knowing the area, I missed one of the turn offs, and didn’t realise anything was up until I had run on for a mile or so without seeing another soul! If it were a little better marked this race would be spot on. Date of review: September 8, 2006
In short: Hilly little country Park run In full: At 5 miles I wasn’t expecting this to be too hard, so was surprised at just how tough I found it! Plenty of ups and downs, all through picturesque woodland. Well organised, and a decent medal. A good Sunday run. Date of review: September 3, 2006
In short: Cheep but plenty Cheerful! In full: This was a pleasant well organised little race. The scenery is a nice mix of corn fields, woodland, disused rail track, and Canal banks. There are also 5 or 6 styles to climb/stumble over, which make this unlikely as a PB course. There is the odd hill, but nothing to worry about, and always seemed to be a cheery marshal or spectator at the top to clap you on. Overall, this is a good training race - just don’t expect a fast and furious course. Date of review: August 20, 2006
In short: The Heat made this Hard! In full: By now you have probably read dozens of reviews mentioning the extreme heat (almost 30 degrees), which did make this run very tough, and I think soured some peoples experience of the race. But this was hardly the organiser’s fault (for those recommending not to do it again). Quick Reality check – average maximum temperature for June is 20 degrees, so although we have had a few days of hot sunny weather, I’m not sure the organisers could have predicted this and moved the start much earlier as though we live in Honolulu or Los Angles. It could just as easily have been 15 – wet with gusty winds – so you’ll never be able to cover everything 100%. But there was plenty of advice before the race to take on water, plenty of well manned water stations, and lots of St Johns Ambulance support – who did a great job. The A road running was dull – and no shade, but the town finish was very good. Finish area with T-Shirt, Medal, Drink, Iced Lolly, and hose down was also very good. A few tweaks needed, but I thought this was a pretty good race – although my time was a personal worst (heat!). Date of review: June 12, 2006
In short: Think Village Fair Crossed with Fun Runs In full: This is a well organised series of runs (I did the 10 Mile) in the village of Great Baddow. The scenery is a decent mix of country side and town running, and there are stalls set-up to look at before and after the race. Despite the very wet weather which spoiled the second half of the race, there were plenty of enthusiastic spectators and more than enough marshals. The course has a few hills, but nothing to worry about. The only negative was getting out of the car park and town, which took me almost as long as the race! Date of review: May 21, 2006
In short: Great Scenery, Spot On Organisation – A must do if you are looking for a smaller field Marathon. In full: I did this race on a whim at the last minute having previously read all the positive reviews about it from previous years, and I wasn’t disappointed. It is hosted out of a local School, and its the first time I ever remember going to an event of this size where there was no queue for the toilets! Everything is very well run – and friendly. The drinks stations are spaced out just about perfectly, and you get a goody bag and a nice medal at the finish. Despite the hills, I managed a PB having run plenty of flatter Marathons, and attribute this to the;
1. Lack of congestion 2. Great Scenery 3. Feel Good Factor in this race.
I would recommend this race to anyone. The only small change I would suggest, would be removing the last ½ mile over the field. By this stage my legs were like runny jelly (not even firm – set jelly!), and it was really tough getting both over the hill, and coping with the sudden shift to uneven terrain – otherwise perfect! Well done and thank you to the organisers and volunteers.
In short: The “Tough One” Won’t disappoint. Fantastic Scenery and good Organisation. In full: This race is one you shouldn’t have any hesitation in doing… Yes it is tough – and Hilly, and rough underfoot in parts, and hilly, and did I mention the hills?! But the Scenery and other runners will help pick you up and get you to the finish. This race had come into quite a bit of stick previously for being inadequately marshalled, with some runners heading off route and doing their own 30 Mile circuit! No such problems this year. Marshalling was everywhere it was required, and a big thank you to the volunteers who stood for hours on end in some pretty bleak weather. There were plenty of friendly aid stations, and you get a really nice medal for your efforts. Do it! Date of review: May 3, 2006
In short: A real Nutty little Race In full: You certainly can’t accuse this race of being “same old same old”… I was never going to find it easy as I had just recovered from Chickenpox – and although feeling ok, looked slightly like a Plague Victim.. It helped with the support around the course.. With a scruffy 2 week old beard, and pox marks, I think most people thought I was on my last legs… Which at times during the course wasn’t far from the truth. 33 degrees. Long Grass with narrow tracks, running on sand, shingle, over styles.. This isn’t for PB fans – unless you are trying to beat previous times you had done on the circuit. It’s not for everyone, but of all the runs I did last year, its one that sticks in my memory. Worth a look at. Date of review: April 26, 2006
In short: A Huge Improvement on last year. The Organisers have listened to previous criticism and done an excellent job. In full: OK… So Reading is no oil painting, but other than the take it or leave it scenery they had everything spot on this year. Despite a much bigger field, the start was well organised, the route was well supported/marshalled and there is the excellent finish in the football stadium. Good Goodie bags, plenty of water and lucozade, ample toilets and a good quality medal… Well done to the Organisers for listening to the runners and putting on a top event. Date of review: April 12, 2006