Was really looking forward to this race today. Very small field, beautiful scenery, local, without traffic or navigation to think about, and a perfect weather forecast- which proved to be spot-on!
I have to say it more than lived up to expectations. Firstly, the registration and start was well signed, easy to park near (pay to be very near or park around 600 yards up the road for free) and well-organized with friendly marshalls.
The terrain was very varied, a mixture of dirt tracks, stony paths (some VERY stony!), gravel roads, a couple of field-tracks and a very small amount on road. This was a nice and challenging mix.
There was an expected hilly section around 15 miles in and the descent proved to be hard too with a tough steep, rocky, muddy and very uneven woodland section that seemed to go on and on and which with less tired legs I'd like to have hurtled down much quicker.
Much of the route was on gravelled perimeter roads round the reservoirs and whilst the views themselves weren't stunning here, it was still lovely to be off road and in nature. Sometimes though incredible views into the hills revealed themselves and despite my obvious discomfort I couldn't have imagined anywhere I'd rather be.
The feed stations, at 5, 10, 15 and 20 miles had a good mix of snacks and drinks. If I were to make a polite suggestion for next year then a bowl of (just) jelly-babies would be perhaps better than wine gums! Only because they're much easy to chew and swallow whilst moving! But hey, thats only a minor point because its nice that there were sweeties at all! When I arrived at feed station 4 I took the last 2 sweets from the bowl and felt a little guilty as there were plenty of runners behind me! So I hope they were able to replenish!
The last mile seemed to be a mix of flat and descending which was very welcome at this stage. The finish was well organized with friendly marshalls. (There were no drinks offered here,- not to me anyway! And by the time I finished only 2 bottles of water in the registration tent.. which I again guiltily snatched 1 of,.. as did the finisher that followed me!- I hope there were more supplies somewhere!?)
All in all not an easy race. But nor was it really tough. If the course is the same next year then don't go in to it expecting it to be flat just because on the OS map it follows the reservoir perimeter! Because flat it isn't!
Many many thanks to David, the other organizers and all the marshalls for giving up their time to put the event on. I'm sure it's appreciated very much by all that took part.