Darren Staley

Thatcham, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Member since Oct 2016

My Completed Races

The Hampshire Hoppit Trail Marathon
Stroud Trail Marathon & Half Marathon
The Pilgrim Challenge
North Downs Way Half & Full Marathon
The Maverick Silva Dark Series Sussex

My Latest Reviews

Completed as a first timer in 2018


The North Downs Way Marathon

North Downs Way Half & Full Marathon

I ran the marathon option and this is a tough course and in the 30* heat it was even tougher but still very enjoyable.

I arrived at the race HQ which was at a hotel just a short walk from the race start. I registered and collected my race number with no fuss and was able to sort my last minute kit adjustments in the comfort of the hotel lobby as well use the toilets there.

I then walked up to the start where we were given a safety briefing from the race director before being set off on time. The course was a double out and back to cover the marathon distance. I’m normally not a fan of out and back races but this one was fun as it was a great route with some technical trail, tough hills and beautiful scenery. The aid starting were stocked up with water, tailwind, juice, flapjacks, sweets etc and the marshals were very encouraging.

At the end of the race you are presented with a fantastic medal, which you definitely feel u deserve at the end of a tough race.

This was a testing race but the friendly and supportive atmosphere spurs you on all the way to the end

Posted on 10.07.18

Completed as a first timer in 2018


A Fathers Day trail marathon

The Hampshire Hoppit Trail Marathon

A wonderful race, set in the area of Kingsclere. Really well organised from start to finish. The countryside you run through is beautiful with some fantastic views. You take on a mix of trails and road with a beast of a hill right at the beginning. The route is very well signed posted and the marshals were very supportive. 

At the end there was beauty of medal and an engraved pint glass to go and fill up with beer. A brilliant way to celebrate 

Posted on 04.07.18

Completed as a first timer in 2018


A beautiful trail race

Stroud Trail Marathon & Half Marathon

I arrived in the centre of Stroud an hour before the race started at 7am parking in one of the towns car parks which were free to park in on a Sunday and there were lots of them scattered around. It was a short walk to the start and the registration and I collected my race number no problem and without any waiting. 

5 minutes before the start we were given a race briefing in a small courtyard before being set off.

The course was beautiful and 95% trail, it took us through woods, across fields along foot paths and along the canal. It was a tough course with some killer hills but the views at the top of them were definitely worth the effort.

The aid stations were very basic, offering water and towards the end bottles of sports drink, but the people running the stations were very friendly and super supportive.

At the end I received a medal, finishers t-shirt and a goodie bag with drink, flapjack and crisps.

I really enjoyed the challenge of the hills and the fantastic views that this race offered 

Posted on 23.05.18

Completed as a first timer in 2018


A tough but enjoyable challenge

The Pilgrim Challenge

I arrived at the event with no problem and the post code took me straight to the start location and parking.

There was no waiting to register and I picked up my race number and timing chip no problem. 

The race brief was througher and clear and a big emphasis on safety and staying safe which was great.

The course along The North Downs Way was challenging with just over 4,500 feet of elevation along the 33 miles. The conditions were tough too and muddy reputation didn’t disappoint which added to the challenge. Having said all that the course is beautiful and is a wonderful place to run with some fabulous senery.

Navigation was confusing at times and I missed a couple of markers which meant I went on a few detours but I soon got back on the route.

The marshals were all very friendly and supportive at the aid stations and helped me fill my bottles and get food and treats for me which was a great help.

At the finish I was welcomed by some big smiles and congratulations from the event crew and of course at very nice medal, long sleeve technical top and a cup of tea and cake.

I ran Day 1 of 2 days but if you are looking to challenge yourself then this is an event for you.

Posted on 06.02.18

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Great fun in the mud and the dark

The Maverick Silva Dark Series Sussex

This is the second of the Maverick races I have run in, the first I loved and so I thought why not do another, but this time in the dark!

The event was very easy to find and sign posted from the main road. We were directed my marshals and parked up on a grass area, very close to the start. I picked up my race with no problem and no waiting around 

I arrived 45 minutes before the start at 5pm which gave more than plenty time to register, pick my number up and get warmed up.

As it got closer to 5pm the start area really came alive and it was a brilliant atmosphere. The sun was setting and the light fading which made fairy light decorated start look amazing. There were 2 fires burning either side of the start line and the flashing and moving of runners head torches created a mini light show.

We were all called to the start and given a clear race briefing about signage and safety and then we were off starting right on time.

I ran the long course which was 15k and it was 98% trail. To say it was a muddy course doesn't even come close! There was mud, mud and more mud and lots of puddles, but it was all great fun. The signage on the course was great and there were also glow sticks hanging in the trees which confirmed that you were still on the correct track.

At the finish you were awarded with your medal and a bottle of Maverick beer. There was also iced coffee being handed out. 

I had a great time running on the trails in the dark, it's something very different to definitely give a go, I'll be back for more for sure.

Posted on 15.11.17

Hills, mud, beer and bling

The Maverick inov-8 Original Oxfordshire

This was the first of the Maverick races that I have run and I opted to run the long route which was 21k. They also had a middle and short distance available.

The postcode for the event took us straight to the location which was well signed posted and we parked up easily within a short walk to the start line. 

We arrived 45 minutes before the start and collected are race numbers with no issues and no ques.

The 3 distances were set off in waves with the long route going first. We were given a quick briefing explaining the signage and conditions out on the course and off we went.

The course itself was tough with some killer hills. It was 95% off road taking on the trails through woods and fields. There was mud and puddles galore, with winding tracks, open fields and gates and stiles to jump and clamber over. It was a cracking place to run and if you like trail running it is a total delight. 

The course was well marked and marshalled and very little chance of you taking a wrong turn.

The aid stations were good with water and energy drinks in cups and fruit such as watermelon and oranges.

The run was chip timed and when you cross the finish line you were greeted by one of the marshals who presented you with your medal and a bottle of Maverick beer.

The medal itself was very smart and cleverly doubled up as a bottle opener, very unique.

I throughly enjoyed the event and if you enjoy running off road this is definitely one for you.

Posted on 24.10.17

Completed in 2017


Amazing to run around the Englefield estate

Englefield 10k

I had run this 10k last year and really enjoyed so entered it again. 

It is a tough 10k so not one to do if you are attempting a PB. The course is nearly all off road through the Englefield Estate, which is closed off for the race. You set off in front of the very impressive Englefield house and then run through the estate, which is a mixture of grass fields, crop fields and the polo fields. The course is tough on your legs running through long grass and uneven surfaces, plus there are a few good climbs towards the end of the course.

At the end you are give your medal and a cup of water. The medal is very basic and unfortunately did not replicate the beauty of the course and the scenery of the race.

Parking was very well organised and located within the estate right next to the start/finish.

This is a great small 10k race, which offers a great running challenge 

Posted on 07.09.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


100k of joy

Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones

This was my second ultra but first time attempting 100k. 

The start was easy to find and I got dropped of by my wife. Registration was brilliant, I walked straight into the tent and was handed my race number. After having a few photos I was into the start area where we were given a briefing and then a count down from 10 before we were off into the countryside. The course was really well signed and at no point did I ever think I'd taken a wrong turn. The pit stops were amazing and stocked with so many goodies and all the helpers were so positive and happy. They were ready to help you out in any way they could and it certainly gave you a boost each time you hit a pit stop.

The finish was great, being able to run around the stone circle and then down to the finish line where there was lots of cheers and support. 

The medal was quality and you certainly deserved it after taking on 100k of The Ridgeway. There was hot food on offer at the finish which was fantastic 

Free race photos for this event too which are downloaded straight to your Facebook account, brilliant idea to be able to share your success 

I had a fantastic experience and it's a challenge I would definitely recommend 

Posted on 17.07.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Brilliant beautiful ultra marathon

Race to the King

This was my first ultra marathon and wow what an experience. The course is beautiful and follows the South Downs, but this means some testing hills and lots of them, but loved it. The aid stations were packed full of goodies and more than u could ever want. Everyone at the stations was so helpful and encouraging. The finish was amazing running into the grounds of Winchester Cathedral to a huge loud welcome. I loved this event and would recommend it to everyone 

Posted on 25.06.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


An awesome weekend of running and fun

Mizuno Endure24 - Reading

It was an over all fantastic weekend at Endure24. I was part of a mixed team of 6 and that was just about the perfect number. Over the 24 hours we each covered 30-35 each, which gave us good rest and recovery time between each run. 

The course is mostly trail through the woods and involves a good few hills. The loop is 8k and a beautiful run.

The atmosphere and support at the event was spot on throughout the weekend and there was a real festival feel to it with 1000s of campers there for the weekend.

I throughly enjoyed the event and would recommend it as a great social running weekend away

Posted on 12.06.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


If you like hills then this is for you

A brilliant race set in the Surrey hills and running through the forest of hurt. It is an all trail race which keeps the mind occupied as you take on the narrow trails through the forset. The hills were bonkers on the course and so steep at times that you could not run up them and had to slow right down and hike up them. The down hill parts were again tough and very steep in parts and you had to have your wits abaout you as you picked up the pace. I really enjoyed the challenge and would deffinately reccomend this as a tough but enjoyable event.

Posted on 04.06.17

Reply from the race organiser

Thanks for taking the time to review our event Darren, so glad to hear you'll be recommending it. See you at another aat-event soon!

Posted on 06.06.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Beautiful course

It was a beautiful course with us running along the river Thames for most of the run. It is pretty much flat all the way round with with only a few hills. I did find myself dodging the dog walkers and people out for a Sunday walk at times, espically nearer the town side of the course but it wasnt too much of an issue.

I had a great time and really enjoyed myself

Posted on 14.05.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Brilliant race

Oswestry Half Marathon

This was a great event overall and all the original little touches from start to finish made it a special event.

This is definitely one for your race diaries 

Posted on 30.04.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Wonderful Watford Half

Watford Half Marathon

A great half marathon and very well organised. They described the course as undulating and it is certainly that. It was hill after hill but with the hills there are always down hills so it all balaenced out. Really enjoyed the race and would recommend it

Posted on 05.02.17

Completed as a first timer in 2016


A brilliant event

Virgin Sport Oxford Half Marathon 2018

Oxford Half 2016 was a great event. My family and I parked up at the park & ride just outside the city centre and caught the shuttle bus in which dropped us off very close to the start and race village. 

The course itself was very flat and so a great one to do if you are looking for a PB. It was amazing to run through the streets of Oxford and the crowds were so supportive throughout the race. All the marshals and helpers on the aid and water stations were smiling and cheering on the runners which really helped when it started to hurt! 

It was amazing to cross the finish line and be awarded with a spectacular medal which all runners should wear with pride and a goodie bag with some nice sweets and treats. The finishers T-shirt was quality and a top to wear out running and to the gym to show off a brilliant achievement.

Oxford Half you were ace and thank you for a great day

Posted on 10.10.16