Entered this one with a little bit of trepidation, having seen the elevation profile on Strava beforehand... it's fair to say, this isn't a run for the faint-hearted!
Registration was easy, through the usual BookItZone channel, and only £7 (+ booking fee) to enter! It’s a relatively small field – approximately 300 runners. Race HQ was at a nearby primary school, which actually organise the race in conjunction with a local triathlon club. Profits from the race/sponsorship go to the primary school, so another good reason for taking part!
The course itself is beautiful. Starts from a local pub, along the reservoir, over the River Roddlesworth and up into the woods following the river. The first half is uphill, along trail terrain and shale tracks, and is tough going but rewarding! At the top, there’s a brief respite along a tarmac country road, before the fun really begins – a downhill section back through the woods (trail shoes and a certain amount of courage required for this bit!). Really enjoyed this though, as it was quite technical and challenging, and so much more interesting than pounding pavements.
The only downside is when you’re racing you don’t get as much opportunity to take it all in and enjoy the scenery! I said to my husband afterwards that if we get a chance to go a bit further afield for a leisurely run together, we should do this route as it was a lot of fun.
The course was really well-marshalled and sign-posted, and the marshals gave lots of support and encouragement to runners on the way round.
At the end of the race, there was homemade cake and hot drinks back at race HQ. A 2km kids race and fun run (Daffodil Doddle) also takes place after the main Roddlesworth Roller, which is an out-and-back along the reservoir.
A tough race, but really enjoyable and one I’d look to do again.
Posted on 12.03.18
I’d heard about how popular this race is, and seen loads of people with various years’ Mad Dog running tops, and thought it was about time I entered! Online entries for the 2018 race opened on a Sunday evening, and the race was sold out within 2 hours. My husband and I both got in, and were excited about our first Mad Dog event - “Hairy Potter and the Half Bred Pup”!
In the last couple of weeks leading up to the day, there were regular emails from the race director (all dog themed!) giving updates and race information. I loved how even the bib numbers are dog themed - fastest runners being allocated the “greyhound” corral, with “dalmatian”, “husky” and “bulldog” amongst the others.
On the day itself, parking was free at a car park a few miles away from the start point. I would advise getting there in plenty of time before the start, as there was quite a long queue to get into the car park. From there, there were regular free shuttle buses taking runners and spectators to race HQ. At race HQ, you could pick up your goodie bag and T-shirt (more on this later), get some food/drink and head for the toilets. Although there were a lot of runners, there were plenty of portaloos - with a less chaotic queuing system than you normally find at races, so you weren’t waiting too long!
Loads of people got into the “Hairy Potter” theme, with some amazing outfits - spotted a few Harry Potters, Quidditch players, some Dementors, a Patronus and even a (very tall!) Hagrid.
The race start was a few minutes walk from race HQ. At 10am, the “Crazy Pups” fun run started - a roughly 1 mile out and back for the younger runners! We entered our 5 year old - only £8.50 and she got a T-shirt and medal, bargain!
At 10:40am, the main race started - courtesy of Olympian Jo Pavey starting us off! The course itself is really flat and fast, with great PB potential if the Southport winds don’t work against you (and in fact I got my 10k PB here today!). There are bands/singers every mile, with acts this year including “Pelvis Presley” - couldn’t help but giggle as he serenaded the lady running in front of me with “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You”. The run itself is really nice, especially once you start running back along Southport Promenade. There’s also a nice fast downhill finish to the run.
Although it’s quite an expensive 10k, you get a lot in return for your money. The themed medal is awesome, the technical top is even better - plus I’m always a big fan of races which give a ladies option for running tops, rather than us having to just go for whatever the smallest unisex size is and hoping for the best! And as for the goodie bag - I’ve never had a race goodie bag with so much useful stuff in it! This year we got a Mad Dog themed buff, hat, backpack, folding water bottle, Event Clips, and running belt (with light), plus various snacks and drinks.
Afterwards, it was a quick bus ride back to the car (buses were already waiting at the HQ, so no waiting around for a bus).
Overall, a really well-organised event with a great atmosphere. Would I do this one again? Absolutely, without a doubt.
Posted on 04.02.18
Been fortunate enough to get into this race in both 2017 and 2018 now. You have to be very committed to the idea of running this one - entries open online at 6am on a Saturday morning in October, and if you’re not in the queue ready by 5:45am, then you’re probably not getting in! There are about 1,500 places, and it sells out within the hour.
The course itself is very flat and fast, so great PB potential. It starts at York Racecourse, goes out along some country lanes, a bit of a loop and then back in along the same road. Some parts of it can get a bit boring as there’s not much in the way of scenery, but the runs through the villages (like Bishopthorpe) are very pretty! There’s also decent local support from the residents of the villages too.
The run is well-organised, with road closures in place for most of it. There were also loads of marshalls who did a great job. No medal/goodie bag at the end, but you get a nice long-sleeved running top!
Posted on 14.01.18
From past experience, Cannonball Events races have always been well organised, and this one was no exception.
Online race entry was quick and easy, picking up the race number on the day was no issue either. The race is chip timed, with each entrant wearing a chipped ankle tag, so race times are accurate.
The course itself starts near Littleborough railway station, has a short climb up to Hollingworth Lake where runners complete 2 laps of the Lake, before descending back down for a fast sprint finish. The laps around the lake are lovely, and make a nice change to the usual road races! Marshals did a great job, especially as the race isn't run on closed roads.
One thing I was really impressed with was how quickly the results were available after the race. As soon as I got back to race HQ (a few minutes walk from the start/finish), my result was available to view on one of several iPads laid out. Because the results were available so quickly, the presentation was also done without having to wait for ages for results to be collated, etc. Prize structure was excellent too, with awards for the first 5 males/females (rather than the usual top 3), age category prizes and team prizes.
In summary, this was a great local race, brilliantly organised by Cannonball, and one I will look forward to doing again in future.
Posted on 03.10.17
Decided I was going to enter this one after a friend was showing off her 2016 EHM medal last year - very impressive bling!
So, on to 2017. First things - race number arrived rather too close to race day itself, but never mind. Was surprised to see the free beer token on the bib numbers too (similar to Liverpool Rock n Roll).
No problems getting to the event. Parked up at Cockhedge Shopping Centre car park, where it's free to park all day on Sunday. I believe a number of other car parks nearby are free on Sundays too. Start line was only about 10 minutes walk from there.
Start area isn't too packed, and it's split into different time sections (e.g. sub-1:30, 1:30-1:45, etc) for you to position yourself accordingly. However, the start of the race was 15 minutes late - irritating when you've warmed up beforehand, and are cooling down again while waiting around.
The course itself is ok, nothing particularly scenic - out of Warrington town centre, around some Cheshire country lanes, into the Warrington Wolves stadium, and then through Warrington town centre again to the finish at the golden gates! The first half is gradually uphill, followed by some welcome flats/descents in the second half.
Local support is surprisingly good, considering it's mostly on country lanes! About 7km into the HM route, the residents of one of the houses had set up stall outside their house giving out water, orange juice and jelly babies, which was a really lovely gesture! Quite a few people out on the course handing out jelly babies and ice pops too.
Think my main gripe was with the organisation of the race. The water stations along the course were particularly understaffed - at the first one we came to, both the person ahead of me and the person behind me ended up without a water bottle as the 2 people manning it (why only 2??) couldn't give them out quickly enough. After I'd had a couple of sips from my water, I ended up handing it around to the people who'd missed out - not ideal! There was also a huge queue for T-shirt pickup at the end, backing up into the finish funnel. In fact, about a minute after we'd picked ours up, we heard a marshal shouting "T-shirt pickup is closed for now", so not sure what happened to people still waiting??
Amazing finishers medal and T-shirt though, and some decent goodies in the bag. Enjoyed it overall, but feel the organisers have a few logistical issues they need to address for next year.
Posted on 17.09.17
Thanks so much for your review. We have gone through and are working on all the issues you have addressed so we can ensure 2018 is even better We have even more volunteers to help us on race day for this year and make sure that this is not an issue this year. Our T-Shirt area is also being worked on to avoid any conjestion. We hope you can return to us for 2018
Posted on 01.02.18
Ok, let's get the 2 downsides to this out of the way first:
1) there's a ballot entry system, so not everyone gets a place; and
2) the entry fee is pretty steep.
However, I have to say that this was the most fun and enjoyable Half Marathon I've ever raced. The support is amazing and is pretty much non-stop along the route - people clapping and cheering, handing out jelly babies and ice lollies, etc. I must have high-fived about a hundred kids on the way round the route, and it really helped make the whole experience so much more fun. In fact, my "I'm just going to enjoy it, I'm not going to kill myself going for a PB..." attitude must have worked, as I ended up taking nearly 2 1/2 minutes off my previous PB!
Logistics and organisation of the race were excellent, especially considering there are almost 50,000 runners to contend with! Toilets near the start of the race itself were crowded, but to be expected with a race of this magnitude. Marshalls, people on drinks stations, etc were all great.
The course itself isn't particularly scenic in honesty. Running over Tyne Bridge is fun though, and the Red Arrows fly over during the run (although I couldn't see them from where I was sadly, could only hear them). The last mile along the seafront at South Shields is good though, especially as the support amplifies at this point!
Great medal, finishers T-shirt and goody bag at the end. I will definitely be back next year!
Posted on 10.09.17
Entered this as it was one of our running club's championship races for the year.
The race starts on the running track at Leigh Harriers Athletics Club, and does a loop of the track before setting off out into Pennington Flash - good for a quick start! The course itself is really pleasant to run - nice undulating trail paths and lots of greenery - before finishing back on the running track again for a sprint finish. I think this year's route was actually changed slightly from previous years - most people's GPS showed 5.25 miles, rather than 5 miles.
Marshall support was great, and it was a really well organised run by the club. Another positive was the prize structure, with prizes going to the top 5 males and females (rather than the usual top 3), as well as usual age category prizes. As I finished 4th lady, it meant I received a prize where I normally would have just missed out :)
Overall, a very enjoyable race that I would definitely look to enter again.
Posted on 30.08.17
Entered this as it was one of our running club's championship races for the year. Had run Royton Trail Race the week before, and had been told by people that Black Knight Charge was easier. My god, were they wrong - it was definitely one of the most challenging races I've done, but a very rewarding experience!
The race is held in the evening at Daisy Nook Country Park. The course itself is really pleasant to run - nice trail paths, undulating course with a few killer hills thrown in :) Lots of greenery, and although it was quite a warm July evening, most of the course was under shade so it didn't feel too hot.
Marshall support was great, and it was a well organised run by the club. My only complaint is that the 2 Mile Fun Run was set off at the same time as the 6 Mile run, which led to some overcrowding at the start (especially with people running at different paces). Would have been better if the fun run had been set off after the 6 Mile race had started.
Posted on 29.08.17
Had completed another UK Cycling Events Sportive earlier in the year, and really enjoyed it so had no hesitation in signing up for another of their (fairly local) events. The promise of fish and chips may also have swayed the decision! Husband and I both entered, and opted for the Standard (78 mile) distance.
Registration was quick and easy, and no problems with toilets, etc. before setting off.
The route was enjoyable, with some good long stretches without needing to stop for junctions, traffic lights, etc. Most of the climbing was in the first half, but nothing particularly challenging. The route was very well sign-posted, and we had no issues with navigation.
Quality of the feed stations was brilliant. Lots of energy gels / smoothies / bars, cakes and flapjacks, drinks, but also bananas! Might sound silly, but bananas are always hugely appreciated by me as a welcome change from sugary snacks. The final feed station by Lytham windmill was where the fish and chips was served. Unfortunately for us it was very busy at this point, and with a bit further to go until the end we decided to pass on the fish and chips and carry on with the rest of the ride.
Great medal at the end, finishers T-shirt, and a very nice protein shake to finish.
Another great UK Cycling Events organised sportive - highly recommended!
Posted on 14.07.17
Local trail race organised by Royton Road Runners - been going since 2007, but this was the first year I ran it.
Had been warned by other members of my running club that it was a tough one, and they weren't kidding! First half of the run is mostly downhill, but then the climb up towards Tandle Hill starts, and it definitely gets tough... The course is lovely - running past farms, along trails, and into Tandle Hill Country Park. Makes a really nice change to run amongst greenery when you're used to running on roads most of the time.
The event was very well-organised by the club, and they even put on sandwiches and cakes afterwards! Well marshalled and supported, with a water station around the halfway point.
Excellent value for money, and will definitely be doing this one again.
Posted on 13.07.17
I've entered this race for the last 3 years now - largely because the early bird entry fees are so cheap for a 10k with a medal and T-shirt!
The course itself isn't anything to write home about to be honest, as it's just going round some housing and industrial estates in East Manchester, but it's mostly flat. On a sunny day, however, it can get very hot as there's little-to-no shade on the route.
Athlete's village is always good, with freebies and games for the kids too.
After the main 10k, there's also a couple of Toddler Trot races (400m lap of the athletics track) with a medal - one for 0-4 year olds, and the other for 5-8 year olds.
T-shirt and medal are good, only gripe is that they don't vary much from year to year.
Overall it's a good event, and I'm sure I'll be back again next year!
Posted on 12.07.17
Nothing particularly unique about this one to be honest, but I suspect it's popular for its PB potential more than anything else. Well-organised local run, with great marshall support (especially welcome as it's not run on fully closed roads). Very fast, flat course.
The coaster (rather than a medal) for finishers was a really nice touch, and something different to usual.
Posted on 06.07.17
This was the first time I'd run this course, and have to admit that I was watching the weather forecast leading up to this event with a bit of trepidation... Knowing that about half of the course is run along the waterfront, and seeing 15mph forecast, did not fill me with confidence!
But anyway, onto the day itself! The atmosphere before the run was great, and there was a drumming band playing near to the start/finish. The route was lovely - ran along Lord Street, through some nice parks, and along the seafront. Some good support from spectators along the run too. At one point along the waterfront we passed a guy who'd brought a large portable speaker and his iPod, and had Sum 41 blasting out - that brought a much needed smile to my face, as the wind was getting the better of me by this point!
Great finishers T-shirt and medal. I often find that when the finishers T-shirts are unisex, even the Small is too big for me, but this one was fine. Goodie bag was a bit scant though.
Only real complaint was the shortage of toilet facilites for such a big race (particularly the women's toilets). I'd be surprised if everyone managed to actually start on time given the size of the queues I saw!
Overall though, enjoyed this one and would happily do it again.
Posted on 06.07.17
I've now run the Liverpool Rock n Roll Half Marathon twice (2016 and 2017), and have already pre-entered for 2018. If I manage to stop getting injured, I may even look to upgrade to the Marathon for next year, but we shall see :)
So, in 2016 this was the first ever Half Marathon that I had run, and back in my home town! Part of it may have been the nostalgic element for me, but I thought that the route was really nice. Lots of green leafy areas, interesting buildings to look at, etc - not just full of housing and industrial estates like some other runs I've done.
The event is well organised and marshalled. Runners' bib numbers indicate which starting corral to use, which is a big help in ensuring you're running with people at roughly your pace. There's also a beer token attached to your bib number for when you've finished - love this, although I only wish there was a cider option :)
What makes this event unique is the bands playing at roughly every mile of the course, which gives you a bit of a boost when you're starting to flag! Numerous feed stations, some of which had Lucozade and gels in addition to water, which made a welcome change.
Mostly flat course with a couple of ascents - everyone dreads the Upper Parliament Street climb, but it's really not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Last few miles is along the Liverpool waterfront. Really nice place to run, but if there's a headwind it can potentially scupper your PB chances.
Some spectator support along the route, but it's a little thin on the ground. However, the support in the last few hundred metres of the race is awesome! And it wouldn't be the Rock n Roll series without mentioning the medals/finishers T-shirts. Hands down, these races have the best bling!
Posted on 06.07.17