Carmen To

Ruislip, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Member since Oct 2017

My Completed Races

2017
The Harry Hawkes 10 Mile
2017
Stockley Park 10k
2017
Leatherhead Rotary Bluebell 10k
2017
Ickenham 5
2017
Hillingdon Half Marathon

My Latest Reviews

Completed as a first timer in 2016

4.6

Tough course

On the recommendation from the UK Runchat community I entered the Royal Parks 10K Winter Series. Greenwich Park was the first of the three and only my 4th 10K overall. Race HQ was by the bandstand so there was a bit of a walk from the station up a hill, which is an indication of how tough the course is. You get a led warm up by one of the volunteers and briefing of what to expect. Definitely pace yourself, as there are some serious inclines, which you run twice. My favourite part was speeding down a massive hill. Just let gravity take you all the way down it's a lot of fun. The medals are nice but tend to be the same colour for all the races, unless you're lucky enough to get the odd medal in a different colour from previous series, as there is no year printed on them.

Posted on 09.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4

Experience in trail running

I'd read about the Leatherhead Rotary Run because of the scenic run through the bluebells. I got there early, as it was advised there was limited parking on site and also limited toilet availability. The route itself was very scenic but also a hard lesson in trail running for me, as I picked up an injury around 6K. It's quite hilly early on in the course so I would advise this to be for more experienced trail runners. 

Posted on 09.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4.3

Local 10K event

Nice local 10K event for me. Plenty of parking on site. I offered to warm up the runners last minute so that was new experience for me. The organisers are friendly and race village had a few stalls, including a pick and mix stand which was a win for me. The organisers also got Granny Turismo to entertain everyone and also hand out the winners trophies at the end of the race.

The course itself was a mix of running around Stockley Park's wide roads and also trail running around the outskirts of Stockley Park Gold Course. There were some serious inclines in places so you have to pace yourself. Some runners were caught out by a confusing point in the course. Not so much a negative for me as I managed to stay on track but it might help to make sure signs are pointing in the right way and having a marshal to make sure peole don't get lost. The event is chip timed and the medal is really cool.

Posted on 09.10.17

Completed in 2017

4.3

Fast local 5 mile

I'd previously run the Ickenham 5 in 2015 as a step up between 5K and 10K distance. I returned to the event this year with my local fitness group for the 5th anniversary of the race. They changed it up and reversed the route but it is still two laps. As it's in the Summer it is quite tough race conditions as there isn't much shade on the route so bring a hat and have adequate fluids to hand, as there's only one water station. But it is a fast flat course where PBs are possible. The only bit to be wary of is the start and end in the park, as it's on uneven grass so watch your footing. It's chipped timed and there is also a mini race for the kids before the main event.

Race HQ is in Swakeleys Park, which isn't far from Hillingdon tube station. You can park nearby but the organisers advise you where to park to avoid blocking the race route. There aren't many toilets so make sure to go early before hand. Bag drop was easy and the course marshals were very encouraging. A nice friendly 5 mile event

Posted on 09.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

3.8

Local Half Marathon

I chose the Hillingdon Half as my first half marathon race as it is fairly local to me. I had run the 10K event the year before so I was familiar with the route. The race start is at Brunel so race HQ has plenty of parking available and there changing facilities and toilets on site. Definitely go to the toilets early, as between the sports centre and the Indoor Athletics Centre there aren't really enough. It's a chipped time event. It is open road so you will be reminded not to wear headphones. They did checks this year so they are clamping down on it unless you have the UKA approved bone conducing ones.

The route goes through residential areas so there isn't as much support in for parts of the route as there is on the campus itself. The half marathon takes you out on the course twice, which is tough when you're feeling quite tired. The medal is very nice and there is also the opportunity to get a sports massage after if you need one.

Posted on 09.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4

Nice 10 Mile Run

I was recommended the Harry Hawkes 10 by members from the UK Runchat community, as I was looking for a race distance between 10k and half marathon. There was ample parking nearby and the race village was easy to reach. There weren't enough toilets for the number of runners entered so there was a bit of a queue right up to the start of the race. The course itself was fairly flat and scenic, going along parts of the Thames and near Hampton Court. The water stations used cups so you couldn't take the water with you and I had to stop at one of them as the cups weren't quite ready so it slightly disrupted my run. Other than that it was a nice first 10 mile race for me.

Posted on 09.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2016

4.2

Home of London 2012

Another race that I had read about and wanted to try out. You can't say no to the prospect of finishing a 10K run in the Olympic Stadium, which some of the world's best athletes had graced during London 2012. The organisation of the race was pretty smooth I didn't have any major issues. Given the time of the year for the race the weather was very unforgiving. There were water stations but it would have been good to have some more shower stations along the course to help cool you down. It was a busy event but you didn't feel like you had to weave around or jostle for space for too long at the start of the race. The course is flat for the most part but there were difficult parts such as the incline near the velodrome. When you approach the stadium you run inside the corridors and then detour out to the practice track before heading into the stadium itself. That caught me out a bit as you think you're almost there so definitely don't go out to hard. Finishing on the Olympic track is certainly a memory I will cherish for a long time. 

Posted on 09.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4.4

Good Way to Start the New Year

I entered the New Year's Day run as a way to kick start 2017 and also for training towards my first half marathon. It's a race event organised by Serpentine AC members so it really is an event by runners for runners.

It was quite a good day weather wise and the race organisation was pretty good, as there were about 600 runners. No major queues for the bag drop. The route is a nice scenic one around Hyde Park. Definitely recommend it.

Posted on 09.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4

Great Half Marathon Experience

I had heard about the Royal Parks Half from friends who ran it last year so that was enough for me to enter the ballot. When I didn't get a place that way I chose to run for Macmillan Cancer Support, which is one of the Golden Oak charities so meant raising a fair bit of money for the place. But that just gave me more purpose to complete the race. The weather was perfect and the course is very scenic. Race village is a bit hectic in the lead up to the start. Queuing for the bad drop wasn't too bad as I got there early but queues for the toilets were really manic. So you have to plan it well or risk having to stop early on in the race to use the ones at the start of the course.

The atmosphere is amazing but also very busy. It does take you a while to get going due to the sheer number of runners in the green, blue (where I started), yellow and maroon pens. You have to pace yourself and watch you don't trip over legs as you jostle for some clear space to run in. The fueling stations could be a bit better organised as the bottles of water and lucozade and weren't opened up quick enough so I had to stop briefly the two times I picked some water up. Also another thing to be wary of is spectators darting across sections of the route where there weren't enough volunteers to safely guide them across. This happened a few times in really busy sections of the run so there could have been a few accidents along the way.

The course itself is very scenic. Parts of the route cover that of the London Marathon and also the Cancer Research 10K Run that I did earlier this year. It's definitely one way to take in the sights of London. The route markers were clearly laid out. The crowds were amazing and I loved some of the funny banners being held up to help spur you along when the race got tough towards the latter end. The medal is a great one to have in your collection. It's definitely one of my favourites.

Posted on 09.10.17