In short: Great British Summer 1 - New Forest Runners 0 In full: There was ample parking at the start, in fact I had a ten acre field to myself enabling me to park right next to where I thought the start line might have been. The queues for the porta-loos were pleasingly short and the loos themselves nicely unsoiled and unstinky - I could get to like this kind of race. The start area was surprisingly quiet and uncrowded, with a complete absence of announcers, supporters, timing mats or indeed other runners. Still this enabled me to line up right at the front without any of those bothersome "competitors". My garmin was a solitary beep in the rural silence.... I set off at 1115 and I led from the start a position I was able to hold without undue effort all the way round. Unlike previous years the course wasn't very well marked, I had to make it up as I went, and unlike last year there were surprisingly few marshals or words of encouragement. The drinks stations were, well, infrequent to the point of non-existent but one musn't complain. It was kinda quiet out there churning out those ten miles, just a few ponies and walkers and when I did see other runners they didn't have their race number on - I assume they were later disqualified. The ten miles passed reasonably quickly if a little soggily. In previous years the runners have been greeted at the finish line by the announcer shouting ones name and home town over the tannoy with words of encouragement. It was a little quieter this year though a cow did moo and a walker did shout "pillock" at me. I cruised to an easy victory, my first in twenty years of running. HOWEVER I was greatly saddened not to receive the "Overall First Male Trophy" nor the "Category M40" trophy as promised on the web site. Come on New Forest Runners give me the 2012 trophies! What kind of idiot do you take me for? (Actually, the kind of idiot who'd make a 100 mile round trip without first checking the race was on first......come on it is summer and we still have a hosepipe ban!!)
In short: Super scenic super hard race - the worst climb was after the finish line going back to the car park In full: It starts in the middle of deepest darkest Devon so just getting to the event is a logistical challenge. The course itself takes in some staggering climbs over the cliffs and coastal path around north Devon. The atmosphere amongst the runners is first rate. A i had a horrid fall and several runners offered help. I got marvellously lost at the end missed the turning for the finish and ran a couple of miles of the ultra course thus guaranteeing me last place? Elic. This race should be twinned with the Six Foot Track in the Blue Mountains in Australia, as they are identical in nature even down to the remote hotel which forms the race hq both are just over marathon distance and have the same 5200ft of climb and both have awesome cliffs. Date of review: April 15, 2012
In short: Whooooooooopeeeeeee! Pass another custard cream. In full: For a first time event this was a remarkable feat of organisation.
As most other runners have said the marshalling made the day. I could get lost in a phonebox but these guys got me home despite myself. I ran an ultra on the North Downs Way earlier this year and managed to get hopelessly lost on more than one occassion - not fun. No danger of that this time.
And on top of that the food and drink was copious and frequent. I didnt carry any food or water and never felt I'd made the wrong choice.
Every marathon needs a Heartbreak Hill, this one had loads to choose from. I felt sorry for the poor lady who had to tell the marathon runners "up the hill and round the chapel and back". And then have to say "Yes. Really". It was a nice quirk. And that summed up the course, never ever did one really know quite what was coming next. You never had a chance to get bored. It made it.
Like other Garmin wearers I clocked more than the regulation distance - about 43km for those metric types out there. But time and distance didn't really matter that much at the end of the day - it was just a great day out.
Back next year - definately.... Date of review: September 21, 2010