In short: Very friendly but definitely not flat! In full: Things to improve: - the course definitely isn't flat, and certainly not 'pancake flat' as the announcer said. It's not the hilliest by any means, but there are ups and downs which, for beginners, would've been intimidating enough. It's kind of a breach of trust and doesn't do a good job of managing runners' expectations - more water stations! Given the high temperatures, it was pretty unforgivable that there were so few water stations and that the first one was some way in to the race - the announcer in the race area should not have talked about 'only drink when you need' to - yes, hyponatremia can be a real risk but given the conditions, there was really very little risk of drinking too much. The emphasis should've been 'drink a little and often'... or was it that the organisers were bracing runners for the fact that there were so few water stations? - more toilets! More toilets were definitely needed... - access to the starting pens could have been slightly better organised
Things that went well: + for an inaugural race, they did really well to accommodate nearly 10,000 runners, making great use of the space afforded by Hackney Marsh + the course was nice and varied, taking in a good chunk of the borough and offering plenty of corners and changes in direction + the goody bag was great! + good to get my race time pretty much immediately Date of review: June 22, 2014
In short: Friendly, cheerful, scenic and challenging - a lovely all round package In full: This was my first cross country run over this distance since school so I felt a bit daunted but was encouraged by my cousin to take part.
It felt very relaxed from the start, with friendly volunteers and enthusiastic participants.
We were lucky to have beautiful weather which ensured that the course remained dry and provided a beautiful backdrop.
Taking in shaded and wooded tracks, a couple of really challenging climbs and a second descent through a wooded path wide enough for only one person to fit through, it was nevertheless a real pleasure to tackle.
Pretty much the entirety of my running has been done on solid ground and on the flat so this was a real eye opener for me, an opportunity to challenge myself over a familiar distance but a completely unfamiliar terrain - so take my review with a pinch of salt if you're an experienced trail runner. That said, everyone was very friendly and encouraging, the course was well signposted and the environs were really stunning. Definitely recommended. Date of review: July 1, 2013