In short: Poor organisation, crap facilities. Great course In full: Never been at an event that had a false start before - how did it even happen? The promised markers were not in place so plenty of slow runners at the front as no one knew where to line up.
And while some bollards are an inevitability on a course of this nature but 2 or 3 unmarked low height bollards within the first half mile in the middle of a path not much more than a metre wide and 800 runners was an accident waiting to happen, amazed if no one tripped on them.
When I finished there was no water available and no goodybags (and I was far from last), though I did subsequently get one of the buffs which in fairness was a pretty impressive freebie.
Lack of toilets is a common but nontheless valid gripe but 5 portaloos for 800 runners is no where near adequate. I also think the fact that they wouldn't let you in the pavilion unless you paid for a massage was a joke. I travelled on public transport so no car to change in and was forced to change in a stairwell (where I shouldn't have been) or get my kit off outside. Bearing in mind the time of year, the lack of any usable headquarters could have been a real issue had it not been exceptinally mild or had the rain not fortuinately held off until after the finish.
having said all that, the course did, to a degree make up for it. Not what I was expecting at all and only gripe is that it was possibly a little too narrow for the volume of runners. I never thought that I would say how scenic a route in Milton Keynes was! It was a pleasure to run and we even saw the concrete cows! A lot tougher than I expected, with lots of twists and turns and gradual inclines but that's not a negative unless you are PB chasing. Very well marshalled and pretty much all were vocal and supportive as were the limkited pockets of support.
In short: I loved this race In full: Was disappointed to miss out on this event last year, but was well worth the wait. Easy to see why it gets such consistently good reviews and there is little that can be added. Great race, great atmosphere, great organisation and a fantastic course. A real must do event. Date of review: November 16, 2013
In short: Not just bad but dangerous due to the amount of cars on the course In full: Positives - well informed with regular emails from the organisers in the lead up to the event. Free massages pre and post race. What support there was out on the course tended to be vocal
And that was it. This event was an absolute joke.
No signage at the HQ as to where to go. No signage from the HQ to the start. Nothing to indicate where you should start in relation to time.
Headphones. The last email (Thursday) said strongly advised not to use them. Nothing at the HQ suggesting this had changed. Announcer at the start stating that anyone using them would be disqualified. Not surprisingly many people ignored this.
It was supposed to be closed roads yet there were literally dozens of cars on the course. Some respected the runners others didn't. I saw motorists ignore marshalls instructions and forcing their way on to the course. Other marshalls appeared to give up and let the motorists do what they wanted. It was dangerous and I was mid field so can only suspect that it got worse.
The finish weaved through the main square in Luton Town Centre. It was poorly roped off and shoppers were oblivious to the runners. there were bollards to weave around and no obvious finish line - just timing mats. People were stopping immediately after and there was no finish funnel and I couldn't find the goody bags and drinks as they were obscured by people milling around.
Coach back to the finish. No signs to find it. Unbelievably it went along a narrow section of course amongst runners. pre race notes said runners would get priority yet the one I was on had friends and family while runners were left at the road side.
I'm led to believe there was a post race presentation at the HQ but didn't go as no one knew where it was!
This race was shockingly organised and while some could be see as glitches I will never go back simply because the road closures were so badly enforced, Date of review: October 27, 2013
In short: Great event In full: First time doing this event and I was looking forward to it. Having completed the GreenWay Challenge (another event the NHRR promote) last year I knew that everything about the organisation would be faultless and it was. The part closed roads were well marshaled and driving to the event the signage on the A507 warning motorists of the event was welcome and reassuring. The majority of marshals were keen to encourage runners which is always appreciated.
Only negatives were a fairly uninspiring course scenery-wise (granted I may have been spoilt by my expectations from the afore mentioned Greenway challenge), and having finished pretty much exactly midfield I found the course quite congested for the entire race. Date of review: October 6, 2013
In short: Something different In full: As other reviews state, there are quite a few negatives to the race and it would be easy to focus on them. The diversion this year added 0.5 miles and there was no obvious reason why the start or finish weren't adjusted to compensate for this. The start was an absolute farce, allocated start times were ignored and it was just a case of turn up and join the queue. And personally having booked a hotel as I was travelling a fair distance and the organisers never bothered to reply to email/forum posts requesting a rough start time it's not great to then see that the start times are irrelevant anyway...
So based on that it would be easy to slate this event, but I loved it. The long course was not ideal but the nature of the course means PB's are very unlikely anyway. Everyone was friendly, the event was well marshaled and the marshalls full of support , the course is definitely something different and the 4 water stations were well staffed and well stocked.
Quality medal, quality goodybag, and despite the moans I can;t imagine not coming back next year.
In short: Ignoring the cost, a different and fun race In full: Positives - well what other race do you run past a herd of somewhat bemused looking Rhino's? A fast flat(ish) course, great organisation, a 3 lap course which was great for spectators, and lots of vocal support from officials.
Negatives - cost. Yes it includes admission to the zoo and it was clear that I was far from alone in making this a family day out but even so almost £30 is an awful lot for a 10km. I know if you subtract the admission it's not bad at all, but it still feels a lot. The goodybag was a battle of water, a cereal bar and a load of flyers for sponsors which is hardly inspiring.
The positives did massively outweigh the sole negative, but it's not an event I envisage doing regularly if ever again. Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: Hard is possibly playing down how tough this is! In full: I only entered this as I have friends on the rock and they suggested it and I am so glad that I did. What a hidden gem of a race - I'd recomend it to anyone looking for something slightly out of the ordinary. A great course, different, very challenging and a refreshing change. Despite the overcast weather the scenary was fantastic and I imagine on a clear day they would be something truly special. The organisation was faultless, and the glass momento was an original and lovely souvenir. Date of review: May 20, 2013
In short: I loved this event! In full: Fabulous event.
A couple of minor niggles to get out the way the gate just after the start and in a few places it is a bit narrow for overtaking (more the fault of people running down the middle or 2 abreast without thinking), but they are very minor. Support on the course at the water points and recommended viewing spots was enthusiastic, the band at one of them a lovely surprise and some support from walkers and people on narrow boats.
It's not really a course for PB chasing although I clocked one (albeit by just a handful of seconds), the course is predominantly flat and is certainly not slow. But I think most people don't enter for that reason, the course is lovely and makes for a thoroughly enjoyable run. Date of review: November 12, 2012