In short: Brilliant Event Again In full: Absolutely brilliant event again. Terrific course over some fabulous scenery – if you don't like the narrow paths, there are plenty of dreary road marathons to choose from.
Marshalls did indeed vary in their approach – I'd far rather have a silent marshall, if that is their nature, than someone egging me on with faux enthusiasm if it is not. They all unfailingly kept us safe and on-course – job's a good 'un.
Speaking of marshalls, I've been running events since the Sinclair Cambridge Half Marathon of 1984 – what a day, my first ever run over ten miles, I can still remember my sense of disbelief when I finished. But I digress – what I have noticed as the years have rolled on is the appearance of the dreaded 'Marshall Thanker'.
Now, I've done my share of marshalling over the years too, and while I appreciate the occasional nod or a 'Cheers!' as runners come through, I definitely do not welcome, nor expect, a full-on, condescending, look-at-me-I'm-running-and-you're-not, overly-enunciated 'Thank, You, Marshall'. Unfortunately, this event had its unfair share of these patronising twerps.
One marshall I would like to thank is the chap at St Catherine's, who cheerily took my photo. A superb keepsake – and well worth the minor detour up the hill.
Mile markers? Who needs 'em. My preference would be for there to be none at all and just enjoy the day out. Do you really want to spend such a glorious run counting miles to the finish?
Plodding round in my time meant the drinks, food and goody bag collection were easily accessible, though I can see it could have been a bit fraught at peak times.
A great event, that's two out of two over the full course for me, and I'll be back for the hat-trick in '12!
In short: Another Brilliant Wells Fun Run In full: Again, excellently organised and marshalled with a great atmosphere at the start in the Market Square and at the finish by the adjoining Bishop's Palace. The route is well thought out, as the fair number of runners thins out well before potential congestion on the old railway path by the relief road. Road closures from Dulcote over Constitution Hill to the finish must take some organising, too.
Talking of Connie Hill, I did receive some local flak last year for suggesting it wasn't much of a problem. I guess if you turned up expecting a completely and utterly flat course where you can set your new PB or whatever, you might be disappointed. From my perspective as Mr Average Jogger though, I still can't really see a problem, especially given the marvellous view across the Bishop's Fields from the top and the downhill half-mile or so to the finish.
Anyway, a fantastic event again! Date of review: May 29, 2011
In short: As Always, Brilliant! In full: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, once again I have to say this is a superb event. My eighth, consecutive year now, the first six on the 20 mile course, and for 2010 and '11, on the 33.
As usual, the atmosphere was terrific, with a real shared spirit amongst the runners. I must thank the woman who offered to take my photo with my camera, with the superb view as a backdrop after the hefty climb from Roundway, north of Devizes - a superb keepsake, thanks for disrupting your own run!
Definitely take a map - or the provided instructions - on this one! There were generally lots of markers and several marshals out on the route, but a sudden dearth of both around the slightly tricky section around Calstone Wellington.
It was good to see the very young female marshal at the checkpoint before the Cherhill Monument making a second appearance – having appeared ‘in utero’ for the first time last year.
If you haven’t tried an ‘ultra’ (which this most definitely is, surpassing the required 50km) I’d say have a go. Just slow down from your usual pace a bit, treat the event as a day out rather than a race, and enjoy. Also, forget all the nonsense you read in the running press trying to sell you exorbitantly priced ‘hydration’ and ‘nutrition’ products – here there are plenty of checkpoints allowing you to DRINK water and squash, and EAT jellies and Jaffa cakes. These work perfectly for me anyway, without the pretentious and ludicrous terminology.
Another classic day out – please don’t spoil the event by increasing numbers! See you in 2012, I hope!
In short: My Seventh, Consecutive, Clarendon Full In full: The fact this is my seventh, consecutive Clarendon Full (after tentative Half in 2003, seems like yesterday) speaks volumes for what I think of this great event. Okay, muddy this year, but it's been worse - one year in particular I recall where the rain got heavier throughout the run, whereas today it eased off nicely.
Very efficient tee-shirt (or if you really must, medal) and bag collection post race - makes it hard to remember that used to be the one glitch in this event. Now everything including marking, marshalling, transport and finish are all in superb order.
Like the tee-shirt this year, the white was just a bit bland last year - that didn't stop me wearing it with pride on the run today.
Great stuff Paul and team, keep 'em coming, see you in '11. Date of review: October 3, 2010
In short: Great Event! In full: Let’s face it, inaugural event fully subscribed with that number of runners could have been a disaster, especially with the options for going wrong out on the course. But no, this was easily as well organised as any event I have attended, and as others have noted, the number of drinks stations is probably a record for the distance. Marshalling excellent, scenery superb, atmosphere terrific – what more could you want? Needless to say, there was going to be the one competitor who had to complain. After the slightly steep but utterly scenic diversion around the chapel at around 15 miles on St Catherine’s Hill, some chap – let’s just say his accent sounded somewhat north of Watford – was bleating at full volume about how pointless it was. Perhaps you could just round a cinder track for 26.2 miles, my friend! Speaking of 26.2, agree with an earlier respondent – my Garmin said 26.8 too. The only thing that slightly mystifies me is why the event is called ‘Farnham’ Pilgrim – the closest we actually got to Farnham was the start/finish, about three miles away. We were far closer to Guildford I would say. Hope all those day-glo markings wash away with the first shower, or I can see some people might be annoyed! Great event, see you next year I hope. P.S. Last time I ran an event in Farnham it was the old Marathon/half marathon (that actually started in Farnham and went through Rowledge, Dockenfield, Frensham and Tilford Reeds). That was in October 1984 where, at 26, poignantly I was half my age today. Seems like yesterday! Managed 1.22 and came 19th out of over 500. Can’t quite manage that these days!
In short: Great Event Again In full: My local event, so I'd need an excuse not to attend. All brilliantly organised and marshalled, great atmosphere overcomes the two-lap potential tedium. How on earth people can claim Constituional Hill is 'tough' defeats me - they could have taken up one of the paths straight up the Mendips to 900 plus feet!
My only very minor gripe is that, while the introduction of chip timings is probably sensible, we were only told about this after applying - there's a penalty of £10 for losing or failing to return the chip, so it would have been nice to know in advance.
Great event, see you all next year, assuming I haven't moved to Basingstoke (local knowledge required to understand that comment).
In short: An Absolute Classic... In full: ...not that I'd expect anything different given my previous six consecutive years on the 'short' course.
Yes, finally plucked up the courage to do the full course this time, and I'm so glad I did. Once again, organisation, marshalling and general atmosphere was spot on. Best part is that the slightly uninteresting slog from Tan Hill, north to Avebury Trusloe, is now a 16 mile epic of wonderfully varied scenery - more Wansdyke, the Kennet and Avon canal, masts on Morgan's Hill and the superb Monument on Cherhill Down, plus at least one White Horse along the way. Beautiful!
Speaking of Cherhill Downn one minor plea would have been for some arrows around the Monument - I took a slightly long way round, but other than that, had no problems having marked up a 1:50000 OS map from the instructions.
One interesting difference from the shorter distance seemed to be that rather than spreading out as individuals, the runners tended to form supportive groups, most evident at the checkpoints with some waiting for others to catch up. I didn't encounter any nutters this year, but I can well believe the one about the guy who was convinced about the extra six miles - there's always someone isn't there?
Fabulous stuff - will be back for more next year, hope I'm still in one piece enough to go the whole distance again!
In short: Five times and still fabulous In full: My fifth time - missed the year when the container ship went aground - and I absolutely continue to love this event. Probably the muddiest it's been for me, as the previous few days of rain left some soggy stretches. But on the day, beautiful sunshine - though still quite chilly, especially at the start - and a helpful tailwind most of the way. The scenery and atmosphere of this event have to be sampled to be believed - please keep the numbers small to prevent congestion and damage to the footpaths. Even if you're a beginner I'd say give it a go - it takes me about an hour longer than a flat 20 mile route, so there's really no point in rushing. Wonderful, especially after the hideous winter. See you all next year I hope! Date of review: April 4, 2010
In short: Brilliant Event Again In full: Hi folks, Alistair from Wells calling in again, celebrating my sixth run (i.e. since 2004) on the long course, after my inaugural attempt at the half distance in ’03.
And once again, a superb event. Everything is well sorted now – drinks stations all well organised, and as others have noted, it’s quite uplifting to run through the crowds at the relay points. Certainly at my 4hr 20min pace at the end, I just walked through T shirt and bag collection, then straight onto the bus.
Managed a couple of minutes faster this year than last, though probably because of the superb, dry conditions as much as my fitness. One thing that slightly bothers me is that when the course ran in the opposite direction, I usually managed just over 4 hours – since it’s been reversed, you can add 20 minutes to that. I can’t believe the course direction makes much difference despite having Farley Mount at 20 miles rather than six – guess I’ve just hit another plateau of mediocrity. Well, I am 51, used to do a marathon around 3 hrs 10. Oh well!
So thanks again Paul and team, keep ‘em coming, can’t imagine how you could improve this great, scenic, hard but not-too-hard if you get my meaning, wonderful event.
In short: Brilliant, my 6th time over 20 miles In full: Again, fabulous. Showers, headwinds and sunny intervals this year, a real day out.
It always amuses me that on practically every event there's usually someone who says something or behaves in some erratic way that makes you wonder why they bother. This time it was some bloke, along Wansdyke shortly after the hill from CP 2, who started moaning to his mates "How long have we been running?", "How far have we gone?". Then, as we approached Tan Hill and CP 3 - probably the most stunning scenery in the event - "Are we half way yet", "Why aren't there mile markers?", "We must be half way, surely?". Actually mate, at that point we were barely at 8 miles! Why spend all that money if all you are going to do is bleat, and spoil it for those around you? Luckily you seemed to pack up after the checkpoint, leaving me in a group of true enthusiasts.
Will remember to get my application in by post, early next time, as the event was soon sold out. Note to organisers: PLEASE do not increase numbers!
Finally, I take my hat off to the winners of the 33 mile event, who apparently broke 4 hours! Bet they weren't drivelling on about "Are we nearly there yet?" etc! True runners!
See you all again next year, I hope! Date of review: May 17, 2009