My first ultra and I really can't fault it. Well organised, friendly, beautiful scenery, wonderful enthusiastic volunteers, good range of foods at aid stations, a fantastic medal and buff at the end and a great finish area in general. I'll be back for the 20K option next year so I can really enjoy the most beautiful bit of the course (too tired this time).
If I really needed to find any negatives, I would say the last aid station running out of cold water just before I got there wasn't great - not the end of the world as I had a bit left in my Camelbak (although had been hoping for a refill) and the new water arrived just as I was heading off but I was so sore and stiff by that point that I didn't want to wait around. Some hand sanitiser and a tub of vaseline at the aid stations would have been a bonus but not essential.
The 20% road/80% off-road advertised were more like 35/65 but I'm still happy with my choice of shoes as I wouldn't have made it down some of those steep forest descents or through the sandy bits in road shoes.
Posted on 24.04.17
Dani - Thanks for the great review. We will be taking a look at the route to try and tweak it and increase the off road portions without loosing our Fox Way essence. See you in 2018 for the 20km :) Becky
Posted on 05.05.17
After the epic disaster of 2016, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to run Manchester again but between the discount and the fact that I had to run a marathon that particular weekend as part of a larger training schedule, I decided to risk it again. The athlete village, toilet provision, start pens and - most importantly - bag drop/collection (sub-60s collection down from 2hrs15 last year) were hugely improved so a big well done to the organisers on that front!
The course was slightly different than last year but no better or worse, with absolutely brilliant support most of the way. The finishing straight is a little too long, really and feels like it goes on forever - not what you need when you're on your last legs.
The number of water stations was spot on - possibly even too many, especially at the end. I would like to have seen an actual electrolyte drink of some kind as I don't get on with SiS gels and realised on the final few miles that I was losing salts at a dangerious level with no way of replacing them.
Goody bag was a bit poor - nice t-shirt and medal but a couple more bits of food would have been nice.
The one major issue the organisers don't seem to have addressed is the queues for the car parks. I wasn't affected personally as I stayed locally the night before but one of my friends spent almost two hours in a queue 4-5 miles long. In the end, she got out of the car at 8.30 about half a mile from the start and left her husband to park the car, which he finally did around 9.10 - had he intended to run, he would have missed the start, as some runners likely did. They'd planned their journey to arrive around 7.30am so it's not like they left it too late. This really needs addressing for next year!
Posted on 03.04.17
Not enough toilets, over-crowded race village with people moving in and out of a larger dead-end area through a very tight bottle neck under a stadium grand stand, poorly marked start line, chaotic and poorly laid-out water stations, several mile markers out by as much as half a mile or duplicated, no water at the finish and queues of over 2hrs in the cold to retrieve bags. Apparently the parking was also a fiasko but I thankfully stayed at a hotel a mile from the start and walked.
Only positives were the fantastic crowd support, friendly marshals and the flatness of the course.
I won't be back.
Posted on 12.04.16