Well... Where to start! The Run Bolton Abbey event was new to the racing calendar. It was held on the Bolton Abbey Estate in the Yorkshire Dales, and for those that have been there, will know that it is a stunning location. The registration process was nice and easy along with pre race information that was sent out. So, I woke up on the Sunday and opened the curtains - the sky was blue as far as you could see and the sun was shining, however, it was bitterly cold!!! I arrived at Bolton Abbey nice and early, collected my race number, and then went back to the car to warm up! Closer to the start time, I took in the atmosphere as they had a DJ playing in the back of converted Land Rover which was pretty unique. Unfortunately, the start was delayed by 15 minutes due to cars not being able to get into the estate. The entrance is a single track lane so people would need to give themselves plenty of time. Speaking of which, entry to the Bolton Abbey Estate coats £10 per car, but runners were allowed to park for a reduced rate of £7.50. Personally, I would have thought that runners could either paid as little as £5 or even got in for free. I can gurantee that the Estate doesn't have that many people there at 09:30 on a Sunday morning so they will have made a pretty penny from the event...! (Maybe thats just the Yorkshireman in me).
Due to it being on Remembrance Sunday, the start time was due to be 11:02. Every single person there observed the Last Post and minutes' silence impeccably.
The race itself! I have been running for 2.5 years now, and this is right up there as one of the most scenic runs I have done. (The North Yorks Moors, Sherwood Forest and Kielder Water come close). The 10k runners gathered on the start line and they were off - right across a narrow bridge which meant you had to walk about 200 yards after starting. Up you went into the woods where it opened out a little - until you hit another bridge!! The first mile took 18 minutes to complete. I knew this as I had the chance to talk to fellow runners and take some pictures as we were just stood... Finally, we were moving again. When you managed to get a pace, the scenery was beautiful. Runners were laughing and joking with each other and the race had a good feel about it. We then started to head downhill off the moors towards the Estate again where we were met with a style over a wall..... And about 50 runners waiting to cross. Some took matters into their own hands and just jumped over the wall, ran down the hill, then crossed over a gate back into the correct field. At last, some flat to run on. Along the river and through a couple of fields, we were back into the woods on the flat heading to the finish line. The support at the start and finish was fantastic, along with a great medal too.
There are lessons to be learnt from this event, and this has already been taken on board by the organisers as they have emailed all participants this week apologising for what went wrong.
1) They understood they should maybe have started the race in waves.
2) They apologised as the lead runners did an extra 1k due to a farmer closing and locking a gate that was open for the race.
3) They admitted they wrongly assumed that runners would be well spread out by the time they reached the styles.
The email went on to say that the organisers "apologise and can assure runners that lessons have been learnt".
On final point to add.... It was advertised as a Trail race, but I'm pretty sure it was a Fell race, and I'm not the only one to comment on this. If you do decide to enter next year - it is tough!!! But worth it..
Posted on 14.11.17
ThIs is another new event for a fairly new company - seeyorkrunyork! The race is in York, which straight away is a tick in my box... The event takes place on the Knaivesmire next to the race course. It's flat, includes tarmac and some grass, luckily today wasn't too boggy. It's a small event which I'm sure will grow as years pass. It's friendly, there was a fantastic medal and most importantly - cake! Look out for this next year if you want a friendly, flat 10k is beautiful Yorkshire!
Posted on 05.11.17
My favourite event of the Run For All events. York is such a beautiful place, and the route takes in plenty of it. As I live quite near, I always take the opportunity to go into York after for a few beers! The route takes in the city centre by the Minster, along the river, and through residential streets. The support along the route is brilliant, a mixture of locals and tourists. As with Run For All, you get a tshirt and medal at the finish line which all adds to the collection. Well worth entering and making a weekend of it
Posted on 29.10.17
It's Grim Up North Running run events from 5k's to Ultras - all on the same day! Gargrave is a village just north of Skipton in North Yorkshire. The event takes place along the canal so the surface can be uneven in places. I entered the half marathon but tweaked my calf after 4 miles so made the decision to finish at 10k. As a friend was doing the marathon, I had a few hours to spare. So, off I went to the adjoing pub, got a pint of lager, then volunteered handing out medals and cooking on the BBQ. (As well as eating the cakes that are always on offer at these events). An event well worth entering!
Posted on 29.10.17
The Hull 10k route must have the most amount of turns in a race that I have ever competed in - but I like that! There's nothing worse than a long straight that never seems to end. As with Run For All events, they are always well organised. I got there early and parked up then walked across to the event village to soak up the morning sun - it was going to be another hot one! As more runners turned up, so did more people that I know, it's always great to meet with them at events. I wasn't wrong, it was hot, I was almost glad to finish this one! Once again, cracking tshirt and medal at the finish, a great race to take part in...
Posted on 29.10.17
I have done a few It's Grim Up North Running events now, and they are always enjoyable. They hold events from 5k right upto Ultra. Each event is always friendly and well organised.
The 10k route was from Kirkstall into Leeds and back, along the canal. Upon finishing, there is always a warm welcome - and cakes! The goody bag has a medal and a bottle of beer which is welcome, especially in Autumn.
The events the company run are always enjoyable and well worth doing
Posted on 29.10.17
A friend asked me if I wanted to do this race, it sounded like a challenge so said yes. Before you know it, about 6 of us were running it! The idea is to beat the train back from its journey from Grosmont to Goathland, and back. I set off early from Leeds as the event is near Whitby, York races was on, there was an event in Pickering, and the weather was stunning! Luckily, the traffic was quite light. I arrived in Grosmont with my friend Keith about 3 hours before the start of the race. We parked up and then went for a walk, hunting out the start line. Plenty of photos were taken as it is one of the most scenic places I have been for a race. Cold drinks were bought as I have already mentioned, the weather was hot! Not a cloud was to be seen and the temperature was recording 29 degrees on my phone!! As time passed, we made our way to the start line. It was about a 15 minute walk from the village centre so allow yourself some time. 14:00 came, and the train set off, as it passed us, we all set off. The first couple of KM's was steady and eased you into the race. After this, it was what can only be described as a fell race. The hills were steep, the hills were high, but my word was it stunning - and hot. It became obvious that I was never going to beat the train so I took my time and enjoyed the surroundings. Running back into Grosmont, I was met by the rest of my friends who were trying to find some shade. I was presented with my melted Kit Kat, warm bottle of beer, and my medal. I'm not a fell runner, (or trail runner), but this race was fantastic and one I would definitely do again. I'm not sure it would be so much fun in the rain and wind, but we can't control the weather. A good laugh was had by all and the beer was enjoyed later that evening once chilled.
Posted on 01.10.17
This is the second year I have ran this race and I think it is great... Although relatively new to the Run For All calendar, it will grow in popularity. You need to arrive early for this one to get parked in the park right next to the start, it only costs £1. What is a bit annoying is that the machines won't take your money until 08:00 so you have to hang around and wait until the clock ticks over - by which time there is a big queue at the machine! Once paid, it's a 2 minute walk to the charity village and start line. As its quite new, it's one of the smaller events in the Run For All schedule, I believe approx 1,500. The atmosphere is good, music is playing, everyone is chatting and warming up. As you head to the start, it is a bit congested when you set off, a narrow path takes you out of the park for about the first 1km. I believe that if this event grows over the years, the start will have to be moved because when you get to 2,000; 3,000 or 4,000 entrants, you'll end up walking at the start. Out of the park and onto main roads, the support is great with music and singers along the route. I really enjoy this route as there are 2/3 parks you go through, flat, up and down hills, and a slight downhill finish. All in all, I enjoy Burnley and it was one that will get more and more popular!
Posted on 16.09.17
This was the second year I have done the Nottingham 10k, but things were different! Now, I compete in most Run For All events, they organise great races and are always worth doing. In 2016, this race started and finished in the city centre. It had hills, flat road, great support, booming music - I really enjoyed it! However, 2017 was a new route, and a new date. To my understanding, (I may be wrong), there was an issue with an event in Nottingham city centre and the council said no more...! Run For All then had to change this race. Firstly, the date was pushed back a week to Bank Holiday weekend, which meant it now clashed with another race I already had booked. I had a decision to make, either way I would lose money. Secondly, it was a new route. 2017 started and finished at Nottingham Forest football club. The new route was here as I understand it was organised through a County Council and not the City Council. The new course was FLAT, great for a PB, but my word it was boring. I will be brutally honest, it wasn't enjoyable. We left the football ground, ran down a residential street, then a country lane until we reached Holme Pierrepont Water Sports centre. We then did a loop of this, which went on forever, and ever, and ever! In between dodging dog walkers, ducks and geese poo, it was boring. No support, no atmosphere, and just dull. I really do enjoy Run For All events, but this was such a let down. I know that a lot of things were taken out of their hands by the council, but I was really glad to finish so I could go home! Unless the route changes, it will be one I won't do again unfortunately.
Posted on 16.09.17
You can't beat a home town race, if just to save on travel time! This event seems to get more and more popular each year. As I arrived, I headed to Millenium Square for something new this year - a UK Runchat Tweet Up!! It's always great to meet people that you chat with and become friends. The atmosphere before the race is great. Everyone has smiles on their faces, the music is playing - and the sun is shining. For the second year running, it was HOT, not as bad as 2016, but still hot. As its a city centre start, the crowds are busy. The atmosphere is great and everyone is cheering you over the start line. I have to say, the support all the way round is fantastic apart from two areas for me. The first being the ring road from Meanwood to Lawnswood, and then when you first get on the A65 at Horsforth until you reach Kirkstall. They are a bit out of the way away from houses so you kind of expect that. What was a relief this and last year, were members of the public outside their houses with hose pipes....! As you head back into town, the crowds increase as does the atmosphere. The route has a bit of everything, (all roads), but up hills, down hills and flat. The finish was a relief on such a hot day - but made that first pint even nicer. A definite must do race...
Posted on 16.09.17
A friend of mine had entered this race but had to pull out through injury. She offered me the place and the process of changing the details was faultless. I arrived early in Liverpool and found a place to park on a side street, then I walked the 2 minutes into Sefton Park - this place is huge!! From the gardens to water fountains, this is a nice place. And the weather was perfect... Blue sky and sunshine all the way! As we gathered on the start line, the music was playing and the atmosphere was great, really friendly. Off we went, I didn't know what to expect as I've not run it before. This may sound daft, but it had the feel of Central Park in New York.... A huge park, with gardens, water features and running trails, surrounded by houses and hotels that are obviously worth a few quid!!! The support was brilliant, locals out enjoying the sun and at least 5 bands on the route that I can remember. As we finished back in Sefton Park, we collected our tshirts and medals and enjoyed the sun. The ONLY criticism about the race is that they run out of large tshirts, although you requested your size upon entering. They admitted this was a mistake when ordering and it was rectified after the event. All in all, a great 10k and one I would do again
Posted on 12.09.17
This was the first year that Run For All had taken over the running of this event. The location is spot on, Kings Lynn is a nice place! For me though, it was a 3 hour drive from Leeds, the only thing putting me off running it again sadly. Again, Run For All pull,out all the stops. Great atmosphere, great goody bag, and a great medal. I'm sure this race will grow and grow, but the 3 hour drive there and back may stop me running it again...
Posted on 12.09.17
I'll be honest, I rate Run For All events... I have run them all for a couple of years now, and they are always well organised events with a great goody bag. Lincoln is a stunning city. If you can get there the day before or even stay over on the Sunday, then there is plenty to see and do. The start of the race is about a 10/15 minute walk from the city centre, as you get there, you are placed in pens dependant upon your predicted finishing time. The atmosphere is great, everyone is talking to one another, music is playing.... As you start, it can be a bit congested until you are about 0.5 to 1km in! After this, the race takes you through a flat course to the finish, and what a finish! Right under the shadows of Lincoln Cathedral, a stunning finish. The only thing I would say about 2017, is that the marshals may have got a bit over zealous in the morning and closed one or two many roads... It was difficult getting to the parking but once finished, getting out was a breeze. This is a race to do year after year
Posted on 12.09.17
The X Border Challenge... Half the title is right, X Border... This is a steady 10k run, perfect to blow the cobwebs away from all the fun and frolics of Christmas and New Year. It is a steady, flat route from Carlisle to Gretna. There is more than enough parking at the start, and a coach to get you back from Gretna at the finish. As it was January, it was cold, wet and icy.... But what else would you expect..? This race is a steady 10k, reasonably flat and a decent atmosphere. What I will say though - a cracking medal!!!!
Posted on 12.09.17
The Wigan HM... March 2017 - it was cold, damp, and dull! But what a race..! For me, this is one of the better Half Marathons I have done. The route had road, town centre, canal towpath, football/rugby stadium, stately home... It was brilliant! A couple of cheeky hills, but flat would be boring! The town centre start was great. A stage with music playing and a band on when you finished, there were stalls serving food and drink - it had the feel of a Christmas market to it, really welcoming and friendly. A great atmosphere was enhanced by great marshals and support along the route, along with bands playing to keep you motivated. All in all, this is a fantastic HM and I will definitely run this again
Posted on 12.09.17
If you like hills, this is the race for you...! I was given a place last minute and wasnt sure what to expect. I live not far from Huddersfield so I know the landscape is, quite unforgiving. The organisers were fantastic in changing the details from my friend, (who was injured), to myself and the whole process was faultless. I arrived at Huddersfield RUFC with it's viaduct overlooking the pitch, on a cold but dry morning. One thing I did like, is that you collected your race tshirt at the start so you are free to head off as soon as you have finished if you wish. As you begin, you are immediately confronted with a HILL! Then some flat, then another hill - a long one..... As you may guess, I am not a fan of hills, but this is Huddersfield so there is no getting away from them. But as they say, what goes up, must come down! This course is very scenic, certainly one of the nicer runs I have done. If you are looking for something slightly challenging to blow away the new year cobwebs, then this is for you. Hilly, very scenic, and friendly. All I would say, is get there reasonably early to get a parking spot...
Posted on 12.09.17
I completed this race in 2016 for the first time, it's not often I do the same races again, but this one is hard to say no to! The location is stunning, it's well organised, the staff and marshals are friendly and encouraging, it just all works! If anyone is wanting to do their first ever trail run, this is the one for you!
Posted on 23.04.17