In short: Fantastic. In full: I made a 400 mile plus round trip to do this race, and I'm very glad I did! Having been scared stiff before the start by all the talk of "the climb" at 3 miles I was pleasantly surprised to come home only 8 minutes over my PB, set on a flat course. I'll never complain of wind in a race again (well, not that sort of wind at least). Date of review: March 21, 2006
In short: Larger field caused organisational problems In full: Last year I really enjoyed this race; I think about 400 did the half, it was full without being packed in the clubhouse beforehand, and the toilet queues were bearable.
This year, according to the starter, 1000 started. The clubhouse was packed solid (and with the cold, standing outside wasn't much of an option) and the queues for the toilet ridiculous; in fact they had to open a back door because runners leaving for the start couldn't get through the main doors because of the toilet queues. I think if this race is to go on with such numbers, thought must be given how better to accomodate them all before the race, especially with the cold weather to be expected at this time of year.
The only other comment I have about the race is that I can't remember less enthusiasm from the marshals anywhere; I think one of them muttered well done as I staggered past, but all the others stood there stone-faced and mute. This may seem a small point, but it really makes a difference when you have the sort of enthusiastic, cheerful and encouraging banter that you get at, say, the Watford Half every year.
Other than that, a good tough test with some very nice scenery, although I swear those hills get bigger each year... Date of review: March 5, 2006
In short: Top race! In full: Apart from a couple of very minor things - the long queue for the baggage tent, the "isotonic" drink at halfway that, in my case at least, was actually water - this was a fantastic event, organised extremely well, and marshalled with enthusiasm and good humour throughout, even on the rainy and cold second lap.
Runners were treated (?) to a fast and flat course well laid-out and with hardly any traffic, and an original memento which will doubtless see service in the living room in the event of a power cut. Date of review: February 20, 2006
In short: Fantastic race with great organisation In full: Third time I've done this, and seems to get better each year (the race, not my running, sadly). Enough climbs to be testing but not suicidal, and a surprising number of PBs on the forum demonstrates that no-one should be deterred by rumours of Himalayan ascents.
The words "Watford" and "scenic" don't often come in the same phrase (unless there's an "isn't" in between) but apart from the first and last couple of miles the whole race is along country lanes and is remarkably bucolic.
A big thumbs up too for the marshals - efficient, enthusiastic and encouraging throughout. And at last a t-shirt of decent-enough quality to wear as an item of daytime clothing (although perhaps it would be sdafer not to do this after dark in Luton). Date of review: February 6, 2006
In short: Dashing through the snow... In full: I've been reading the comments below from people who didn't manage to get to the start on time and must say that I don't understand the problem. It clearly stated on the race literature to allow 15 minutes to get from the hall to the start, and before this the race director came into the hall with a megaphone to warn us we had about 7 minutes left in the warm, and to start thinking about leaving for the start. By my watch the start was a couple of minutes late anyway, so I can only assume that many people who missed the start must have been huddling in the hall waiting for the snow to stop. It isn't as if they weren't warned!
Apart from this I found the course surprisingly tough - although my own run was very poor I appreciated the scenery once outside the town, and cannot fault the enthusiastic marshalling in very cold conditions. The trophy made a nice change from the usual t-shirt or medal, and as soon as I have a nice fireplace it'll have pride of place!
Looking forward to having another crack at this, better prepared, next year. Date of review: December 28, 2005
In short: A very friendly, well-organised race... In full: ... and if they could only shorten it by about 7 miles I would add "enjoyable"! An excellent run, fast and flat. Will certainly be back for more next time. Date of review: October 18, 2005
In short: Very well-organised race. And it's flat! In full: Well worth the drive up from London; everything from parking to registration to marshalling was carried out smoothly and efficiently. The race itself is as flat as Tom's head after Jerry has hit it with a dustbin, and the medal is way above average. Highly recommended! Date of review: September 11, 2005