If you’ve never done a Santa run before this is a great one to do. Not only is it great fun chasing a Christmas pudding over 5 miles around the beautiful village of Nether Heyford, it’s all in aid of a great cause too with lots of money going to Meningitis Now. The cakes and refreshments in the village hall after the race are delicious and all proceeds go to charity, win win!
The race starts on the village green with a lap of the field before heading out onto the roads around the village and surrounding area, a lovely route with little traffic but marshals on all crossings and corners so it’s safe. Quite an undulating course with a few inclines thrown in but nothing too harsh.
Back to the village green and another lap of the field before finishing and grabbing your festive themed medal, water and banana. There’s also a kid’s 1 mile and 0.5 mile race before the main event, so there’s something for everyone and it’s great to see so many kids involved and running!
Posted on 04.12.17
With the start being just 5mins from where I live, this is a race that always features on my race calendar. The organisation is excellent with lots of info and communication from the organisers both by email and social media in the run up to the race. The race HQ is in one of the halls where you can also leave your bags. It’s a non-secure baggage area but there’s plenty of people still around in the hall getting the tea and cake ready whilst the race is on!
Posted on 29.11.17
My 3rd running of the Bournemouth marathon and once again amazing weather! The race is the fourth and final event of the Bournemouth Festival of Running weekend and always pulls in a great crowd of supporters. The race begins out at Alexander Stadium and then makes it way down to the coast where you run along the sea front along to Boscombe pier and then make your way over to Bournemouth pier before heading off the sea front and onto the road for a few miles before finally heading back down to the sea front and along to Sandbanks where you turn around and head back along the beach towards the beach for the finish. There's a great atmosphere along the whole route with loads of support.
Decent sized event village at the end where you can get a well earned massage, food drink and show off your chunky medal before going to the beach for an ice cream and cool off in the sea!
Love this race and have already booked my entry for 2018!
Posted on 18.10.17
This was my first Middle distance event and my first at a Big Cow event and it was great, I loved it. A brilliant race for first timers at this distance on a great course that's easily accessible for supporters.
The swim in the lake at Emberton Park (2 laps) was good once the chaos at the start of the race calmed down, and although the water was a bit murky and weedy wasn't too bad for a lake! T1 is situated only a few meters from the swim exit so there's not too far to run. Out onto the bike leg and the 2 loops take in some lovely little surrounding villages around Bucks and Northants. A few inclines here and there and a timed climb on one of the longer hills made it a pretty good and fast in places route.
Back into Emberton Park to T2 and for the run which heads out of the park into the village and through some fields before returning to the park to complete your first lap of 4. The run route is a mix of tarmac and off-road farmers tracks and is quite testing with the hills up through the fields, but it's all flat through the park so you can make up some time here.
Registration was easy and able to do so the day before and the whole race was well marshalled and signposted. Great medal at the end and love the Aussie bites and mini cinnammon swirls at the end! Definitely a race to be on the calendar each year :D
Posted on 14.08.17
This was my first triathlon and what a great one to do. I competed in the sprint distance and loved every minute of it.
Registration was simple and quick where you collected your race number, swim hat, timing chip and a water bottle. Transition area was well organised with numbered racking so no need to get there super early for the best places. Race briefing was done 5mins before the race start and was very informative and clear.
Onto the race itseld and the swim was in the river which was a bit grim with all the weeds and reeds but not much you can do about that, just got to get on with it. Apparently it's less weedy in the middle of the river!
The bike route was a single loop with only a few small inclines and some places to get some good speed up. Signage and marshals on the bike route were well placed so little chance of taking a wrong turn and going off course.
Back into transition and onto the run which consisted of 2 laps of the park for the sprint distance on both grass and path terrain and was well supported by spectators. Water was available at the end of each lap if needed. Once finished you were handed your well deserved medal, a banana and some water. Results were provisional but print outs available straight away which is always a bonus.
Another bonus from the organisers is the free event photos that they put up on their Facebook page.
Overall a great event and really well organised. Definitely recommend this race and Nice Tri events as an organiser.
Posted on 27.06.17
My third year of running the London marathon and my second as a championship entry runner and the race still gets me excited! I love everything about the London marathon and can't recommend it enough to people. You truly have to be a part of it and run the course to appreciate the noise, atmosphere and support from the crowd. There's not much of the route that isn't lined with people shouting your name and encouragement or giving out high fives. The crowds seem to get even louder over the last couple of miles which is a huge help when you may be running on empty or starting to struggle. Everyone seems to be willing you to make it to end.
Support from marshals/volunteers on the course is amazing and their enocuragement is just as big as the crowds. From 3 miles in there's water stops at every mile so you haven't got far to go before your next drink if needed and then there's Lucozade at 5 mile intervals too, so there's plenty of fuel along the way.
The goody bag this year was decent and I was surprised at how heavy the bag was when I was handed it at the end, packed with goodies from deodorant, Lucozade, an apple and some other food bits. The finishers t-shirt and medal are top quality too, as expected, and are a great addition to the collection.
Definitely a race that should be on everyone's list and one that I'll be doing for as long as I can. See you next year London!!
Posted on 27.04.17
Having heard good things about this event in the past I was looking forward to running it this year and see what all the hype was about. Talk of it being a fast and flat half weren't so accurate in my opinion, especially with the incline up to mile 3, not a great start! There were a fair few other inclines along the way as well but also some nice flat and downhill sections, so it all evened out I suppose, but not a "fast and flat" route in my eyes.
The race itself was great and the support around the course was brilliant and well supported in places with large crowds filling the pavements and various bands perfoming along the way.
Good amount of official and unofficial aid stations on the course too supplying water, Lucozade and sweets.
The finish is a big highlight for the race finishing inside Reading FC's Madejski stadium to a large crowd. Having made it round the 13.1 miles you're then presented with a goody bag containing a Mars bar, Meridian peanut butter bar, bottle of water, Lucozade and a t-shirt (cotton unfortunately!), and not forgetting the well earned medal which is a chunky metal offering and definitely stands out in the collection!
Overall a great event, but quite pricey for a half marathon.
Posted on 20.03.17
I was lucky enough to have won entry to this race in a competition run by Vitality. Had I not then I would not have entered due to crazy high price of £45 for a half marathon! I've entered marathons for less money than that.
With an early start time of 8:30am and several underground lines closed on the Sunday it made getting to the start a bit of a nightmare and also meant a super early start, but I made it in time which was the main thing. With many tube stations not opening until at least 7:30am on a Sunday it would help to have a later start time.
The route itself was a bit boring to be honest and simply ran away from Wembley stadium along closed roads to the Allianz stadium at half way and then back along the other side of the road to the finish. There were stretches of long straight road with little or no support and no atmosphere other than the odd marshal at a road junction.
On a positive note though, there were plenty of well stocked aid stations along the way and the closer you get back to the stadium the more support there was. The finish inside the actual stadium was a big bonus for an otherwise mediocre half marathon.
Decent goody bag included a good sized chunky medal, nice looking tech t-shirt, banana, water, lucozade and some food items.
Posted on 13.03.17
I live close to Milton Keynes and have done this race before, so this is always a good event for me to include as part of my marathon training, and the 20 mile race that's available is a good training run for a spring marathon.
This year's race was different for me though as I was running the half marathon as a guide runner with Nick who is totally blind and aiming for a new PB (current PB 1:44:55). As a guide runner I was offered complimentary entry and had to email my details to the organiser before the event and then collect my race number from the info marquee on the day. I arrived at the marquee and was disappointed by the lack of organisation with lots of people arriving and signing up on the day, lots of paper and numbers being handed around with people rushing to get their number before the start. I gave my name and said that I was a guide runner and was first asked for an entry fee then my details couldn't be found on the entry list, despite emailing the organiser prior as requested.
Having finally got a number and chip, Nick and I made our way to the start and set off at 10:45. The support throughout the race from both marshals and locals was brilliant with lots of encouragement given. The course is quite twisty and windy with lots of turns along the redways but where there was no marshal it was suitably signposted so very little chance of getting lost.
The finish of the race is always a good one as the last 100/150m is packed with supporters willing you on to the finish line which is needed having made your way up Campbell Park hill at the mile 12 mark!!
Once finished you're then given a nice looking and chunky medal (big improvement on previous years!), bottle of water, banana and a space blanket. Previous years I'm pretty sure you've only got a semi-decent medal and a bottle of water, so a banana and blanket was a bonus!
My only negative is the admin charge that is added on to your entry fee, I don't understand why some organisers charge an admin fee when the entry fee itself isn't the cheapest anyway!
Posted on 06.03.17
This was the first time the Ashridge Estate had hosted the event and what a setting it was! The start, finish and transition area was all located right beside the house with the run route staying within the grounds and running out past the front of the house and round the back on hard/gravel/tarmac before moving off-road onto a muddy track that proved to be quite slippery in places thanks to the recent weather! With 3 different races all starting at the same time (super sprint, sprint and standard) and each having to run either 1, 2 or 4 laps respectively, the route was soon muddier and more slippery on the second run leg.
Being local, the Sprint distance is our club (Leighton Buzzard Triathlon Club) duathlon club championship race series for the year and we had a great turnout (the largest club I believe) with 21 competing in the sprint distance, although there were various other well represented clubs competing as well.
Having completed 2 laps of the run, it was out onto the first of 2 laps on the bike which exited the estate and circled the surrounding villages before heading back into the estate and then out again for a total of 22K. The bike route had a mix of fast/flat sections with a testing drag of a hill thrown in just over halfway to keep things interesting! Road conditions could be better in places with pot holes having to be dodged and various speed humps to bounce over when on the estate, but overall the bike route was good and fully marshaled along the way with marshals at key points so there was little chance of taking a wrong turning.
Back into transition after the second lap and back out for 1 final lap of the run which is always interesting and tough when your legs are feeling like jelly! Then over the finish line where you get to collect your well earned medal a banana and a bottle of water, much needed! The medal is a great looking medal and each medal from the series connects to each other to make an image of Ashridge House, nice touch.
Overall a well organised and run event from the communication before race day, race briefing before the start and everything else along the way. I'll definitely be back next month for race 2 with an aim to better my time and position from this race.
Posted on 27.02.17