In short: Now this is proper "Cross Country" In full: Cross country running at it's best. Once past the opening mile of road leading out of Pewsey it's into the fields for an undulating [and muddy] few miles to the Kennett & Avon Canal. A trot along the towpath [muddy] follows after which the route leads you through a picturesque village, along more [muddy] bridleways and some [very muddy] paths. There are a few [very] challenging hills and the dip in the river at the end did the trick in terms of refreshing the legs and washing some of the chalky mud off of the trainers. Got tagged by a few hawthorn bushes here and there [still have the scratches] but this was a brilliant run, definitely one to do again. Date of review: March 6, 2014
In short: Not a race for the uncommitted, in more ways than one! In full: Great race, very well orgranised and so different to the usual fayre that it makes it worth doing once a year. It's tough; ground conditions, terrain and the fact that you're running in a small pool of light from a head torch all add up to a run that you'll feel proud to have completed. Well done to all there last night in the rain and mist; and to Duncan and all the organisers for a brilliant time - even though my expression might have said different at the end ;) Date of review: November 26, 2012
In short: A treat for cross country fans In full: Fantastic weather again this year, considering how it has been either side of the event it was a real bonus.
Ground conditions much tougher than last year; very muddy and wet on the trails across the heath and the high tide didn't leave any harder sand for the run home, so it was soft sand or piles of slippery seaweed :)
Brilliant race, chip timing for the first time this year and faultlessly organised. A real credit to Victoria, all the organisers, marshals and volunteers for making it happen.
Just need the tagline 'Get off your arse and run' to reappear on the t-shirts next year. Quality :P
I hope to be there again in 2013. Date of review: October 22, 2012
In short: Scenic, enjoyable route around quiet lanes with some trail sections. In full: Really enjoyable race; superbly organised and marshalled. Nice touches like the motivational signs on the way up 'Jelly Bean Hill' in mile 22. Marshalls very friendly and happy to exchange a joke or two, despite the awful wet and windy weather. Course was run mainly on quiet country lanes through the picturesque New Forest and had enough undulation to be challenging without being a real toughie. Far better than a flat course IMHO. Well worth doing. Date of review: September 25, 2012
In short: Scenic 7, one tough but unmissable cookie In full: Far better weather this year than in 2011. Good route, impossible to go wrong but still plenty of cheery marshalls on the way round. Over 900ft of ascent, but oddly never feels like that. Great event, fantastic value and one 'not to miss'. Date of review: July 11, 2012
In short: Tough but XC as it should be... In full: Excellent race, brilliant organisation, marking and marshalling as usual. New route for 2012, starting and finishing in Brockweir. Felt harder than the usual route but the Garmin reckons about 50ft less climbing and .4 mile less distance. Irrespective of the stats the course was great. Lemmings Leap was very slippery and I was lucky to stay on my feet, but other than that conditions were fairly favourable with a fair bit of mud about. Thanks to the young ladies at the end serving a lovely cup of tea and cake :) Date of review: April 25, 2012
In short: Dozen't Disappoint... In full: Excellent race. Course alterations to include more forestry track and less road were a real improvement. Ground conditions were variable, icy and hard in places [first descent was a bit slippery!] to glorious Dursley mud in others.
Brilliant marshalling as always and T-Shirts that can be worn with pride made a welcome return.
Will be back for more in 2013 :) Date of review: February 15, 2012
In short: Sand dunes, mud, hills and a smattering of tarmac. Multi-terrain at it's best. In full: Crisp, cold and sunny; Merthyr Mawr always seems to benefit from favourable weather. Excellent race, organisation and marshalling faultless as usual. Seemed a bit muddier than last year across Ogmore Downs, but very happy to see the stream crossing reintroduced this year. No chance of finishing with dry feet! The 'Big Dipper' never gets any easier, although I suppose I'm one year older... top race, would recommend to anyone! Date of review: December 18, 2011
In short: Demanding, character building challenge In full: First time at the Sleepwalker and the first night race I've ever competed in. The sense of it being an adventure race with checkpoint and military style organisation added to the atmosphere, which I found inclusive and informative. Pre race briefing described the route [and last minute change to use the Beacons Way rather than Taff Trail for the second climb] and advised of terrain and weather conditions to expect [although they're always going to be changeable].
Enough red/white tape on entrances to trails and key points although you do have to keep a lookout as they're easy to miss if you're not concentrating. Not too much to spoil the adventure category and the 'pick your own trail on the way back but stay east of the reservoir' added to that IMHO.
Weather could have been a lot worse; didn't feel that windy on top and it was a fairly mild evening. Trail conditions were extremely testing in most parts, the second climb up the fireroad and short(ish) road sections being the only exceptions.
A really good cross country trail race with the added difficulty of night and limited visibility.
I certainly hope to be back next year! Date of review: November 27, 2011
In short: Fantastic cross country race with superb scenery and views In full: Did this race first in 2009 and loved it but couldn't make 2010 as it clashed with Clarendon Marathon. Back this year and it didn't disappoint. Faultless organisation, excellent signage and marshalling. Only very small sections of tarmac during road crossings so definitely one for those who like cross country. Lots of sand, starting and ending on the beach although the toughest section of deep, soft, sandy bridleway comes between 8 and 9.5km. Superb scenery, helped even more but a beautiful sunny day, not reminiscent of mid-October! Will be back next year. Date of review: October 17, 2011