In short: WHITE STAR RUNNING DOES IT AGAIN In full: The Team at WSR just goes from strength to strength. Not just a brilliantly organised run, but beautiful scenery and lovely quirky touches ( naked farme in bath/lady farmer setting off the race with a hunting horn) Well stocked aid and water stations, marshalls at road crossings, on course first aid ( medics in land rovers) super friendly volunteers and just smiles all round. At the end there's free massages, an ice cream van selling ice creams the size of Dorset, burger stall. Then, when you think it's all over, along come the amazing villagers, with mountains of chili and rice and then crumble for pudding. For such a small cost it isn;t even worth mentioning! After you have run the marathon, stuffed youself with delicious food, you then have a barn dance...... It isn;t just a run, it is a community event, the farmer who gives his field over to parking/camping also serves beer at the bar! One of the toughest runs you'll do - but also one of ( if not) the best! If Carlsberg made marathons......
In short: A GOLD STAR EVENT In full: What a fabulous event this is. Started last year, the team has nailed the art of race organising. The start is at Cheltenham racecourse, loads of free parking. ... route goes over virtually every surface you can think of, grass, fields, mud, sand, stone. It goes uphill and along the ridge for probably the nicest view you'll get in a race. The downhill is great fun :) Every aid station is also equipped with a loo, even in the middle of nowhere... Now that's luxury! Brilliantly signposted, I managed not to get lost :) Option to do a variety of distances, two laps for a marathon, so you get to enjoy the cracking view twice ;) And a free massage at the end. ... Very welcome. I did this event last year and enjoyed it immensely. This year I loved it. Bring on 2016.
In short: A GOLD STAR EVENT In full: Crumbs, where to start? Easy to get to, easy to park, plenty loos, smooth check in, great instructions. Right, the event Itself.. I'm a trail runner, I love mud, so was slightly dreading this first I into tarmac loops.... But it was just such a brilliant day. You can tell it was organised by runners as every little thing was taken into account. .. names on fabulously designed bibs, water every mile, crisps/jelly babies/clif blocks every 2.5km, area for personal tables to be set up, plenty of room for supporters around the course, free photos, showboating zone (genius! ) 17 laps sounds like a lot but there's so much socialising to be had that the time passed pretty quickly. So much so that PBs were falling all over the place. The marshals were superb and hugely encouraging, the scenery was actually not as industrial as I feared and the screen showing lap progress was a nice touch. ... Even though we dutifully lobbed a band each time we completed a lap. Topped off with the hugest medal, free beer and a 'keep warm' jacket, it was pretty much the ideal marathon. Well done tz runs, see you next year :) Date of review: May 31, 2015
In short: ANOTHER CORKER FROM WHITE STAR RUNNING In full: Reall, if you haven;t cottoned on to Andy Palmer and the WSR Team, then you are really missing out. There's nothing to fault about the Ox....fab scenery, tough enough to make you feel you've worked a bit and great aid stations, fab marshalls, hilarious pre-event updates and an all round lovely feel topped off with an epic medal.
In short: WHY DOES EVERYONE DO LONDON WHEN THERE ARE EVENTS LIKE THIS? In full: I did London last week for the first and last time. I did this today for the first time, but it vertainly won't be the last. I am not a happy tarmac runner - I run for scenery ( which is why I didn;t like London!)and this has plenty. Hills, yes, but runnable ones. Lovely marshalls, plenty aid stations and a free hig roast and massage at the end. Despite my dislike of tamac, I will go back to this! Well done Gillingham Trotters, with your mad french woman. You did great :) Date of review: May 3, 2015
In short: DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND ENTER! In full: Well, just when we thought White Star Running couldn;t get any better, they raise the bar yet again! From the highly entertaining and informative pre-race emails to the free food and massage at the finish, nothing was overlooked. Clear signage to the event, marshalled and sensible car parking( and plenty of it - free) close to the start/finish, adequate loos, a beautiful course - undulating rather than horribly hilly and just the right ratio of mud/tarmac, fab aid stations with a superb variety of food, lovely marshalls who smiled through the distinctly chilly weather , hilarious en-route signs, the LOVESTATION complete with alcohol,free photographs, free post race food ( delicious and in a lovely warm and beautiful dining room) I'm sure I have probably left something out, but all in all it was a brilliant day. There might have been an outbreak of running at one point, but I couldn;t guarantee it. Definitely one for next year :) Date of review: March 20, 2015
In short: Ok. Could be better In full: Pros: Route well signed, plenty marshals, lots of aid stations which were superbly stocked. The sections along the canal/River are pleasant, but quite congested on a sunny Sunday afternoon in July.
Cons: there's a mid route cut off, but no sweeper, so if you don't have a watch, you're in trouble. The marshals thought there was a sweeper, so I thought I was fine. ... Til I got to the cut off and was told I was too late. There's quite a lot of tarmac for an off road event It's not for your average off road runner;definitely an extreme course on the hills-combination of the gradient and terrain. I did Giant's Head a few weeks ago. Which I loved. Similar elevation gain, but much more runnable. If you like scrambling up steep gullies or tiptoeing through tree roots and rocks you'll be fine on this one. I asked for an early start as I feared the cut off would be tight, but was told I couldn't have one.
In short: HILLY, WITH A BIT OF HILL, THEN SOME HILLS THROWN IN FOR GOOD MEASURE In full: What a fab event. If you'd asked me this time yesterday as I crawled over the finish (a smidge over 7 hours!) I'd have said 'not a chance will I be back'....now I'm thinking, when do entries open....One of the best all rounders I've been lucky enough to do. Just lovely, from the superb and entertaining pre race info, the ample parking, great welcome at registration, shotgun weilding lady farmer to kick it all off ,naked farmer and farmeresses in baths. Lovely lovely running community who literally helped each other up the nastiest hills you'll ever meet - worth it for the great views - smashing photographer, wonderful marshalls, super aid stations (inc cake!), a love lounge at 20(ish) miles - this is Dorset you know - with cider/vodka/cake/crisps/ hugs/hugs/more hugs (did I mention hugs?) There were some people heading for their 1000th marathon, some on their first. There were elite runners, there were plodders (me!). There were the orange sweeper shirts of doom - but the cut off is pretty darned generous at over 8 hours and if I can get round comfortably in under that, anyone can. Free post-race massage,hot showers, fab medal/tshirt and pint pot all with THE WILLY on! The rest of the Country was being deluged and thunderstormed, but the RD even used his influence to make sure we'd brilliant weather. Slightly on the warm side, but I guess you can't have everything. If I was going to be really picky, I'd say a ski lift would be nice. For that biiiiig hill..... Cheers Andy and team, can't wait till next year :) Date of review: June 29, 2014
In short: FAB COURSE, FAB SCENERY, FAB ORGANISATION In full: Entered this (marathon) at the last minute and am so glad I did. What a brilliant event. The route is changed this year and from what I hear it works better for runners. No major road crossings, very little in the way of tarmac ( 3 miles maybe) superb underfoot with the exception of a 1km downhill through the woods which is a bit of a killer. The marathon does two laps and whilst I am not a huge fan of laps (this was my first such event) it was worth the go round again to get another look at the superb scenery! The views are stunning, worth the steep climb up the ridge. Running along the escarpment means you get the views for a good while. Super signage, very little opportunity to go wrong. Lovely friendly marshals (even on on horseback in the middle of the downland!)and plenty water/food stations. Free massage available at the end - the RD even offered to hold my dog while I had mine! There are a few very minor things which could be improved on, but as this is only the 2nd outing for the current organisers, I give them 99% for a great event - I will definitely go back again next year!! Well done guys. Date of review: June 22, 2014
In short: TOUGH BUT BRILLIANT In full: Fourth time round this one for me and the delights of Savernake forest don't fade. First sighting of bluebells though, they've sensibly stayed hidden from the tramply feet of runners in previous years! Gloriously muddy, so quite tough in parts. But that only adds to the fun. This was my daughter's first ever event and she managed fine, so treat yourself and give it a go next year. The marshals are great and very helpful (offered to look after my jacket till I got back!) and the organisation can't be faulted. I have two'must do' events of the year. This is one of them. ?? Date of review: April 7, 2014