Trail Race Reviews

Bath River Pursuit 12k (2017)

This 12k race is a two lap, multi terrain, 94% flat course (except for a few steps and one slight incline) held on roadside paths and trails along the River Avon, the Bristol to Bath Railway path and transverse through the open countryside with beautiful surroundings of the Avon Valley.

About the race
When: – 
Sunday, 21 May 2017 @ 10.15am

Where: – Stothert & Pitt RFC, Bristol Road, Corston, Bath, BA2 9DJ

Cost: – £17.00 (12k race)

Organisers website: – aspirerunningevents.co.uk

Can I transfer? You can transfer to another event and swap your entry with another runner (check dates of last transfers).

It’s a trail run, do I have to wear trail shoes? The running organisers advise that road shoes are fine, however, if the course becomes muddy, trail shoes are recommended. When I ran this course we’d had heavy rainfall in the days leading up to the race but it was not too muddy. I did feel that trail shoes would have been beneficial to me but I did run it in road shoes.

Corston is a small village close to the River Avon, with a population of 494. The All Saints Church dates from the 12th century and is a grade II listed building.

Race Aces
There are options for running 6k and Canicross at this event. If you’re new to trail running, the 6k would be a perfect distance for a taster.

Nice flat, scenic route with fairly stable terrain.

The day of the race, a little runner lost their teddy bear and after an email shot to the runners the teddy was reunited with it’s owner.

Free race photos are available so look out for the photographers (unlike me who never sees them until it’s too late – no cute race photos of me).

Race Unlaces
The course is open to the public and the advice from organisers is that you may need to watch out for fishing poles from anglers fishing along the riverside as well as other members of the public that may be on the course.

I’m not a fan of 2 lap courses, you go right back past the finish line before doing another lap on this route.

While the terrain is mostly even, there were a few areas with large tree branches underfoot so I feel that trail shoes would be beneficial.

This event is not chip timed.

There are some narrow parts on this course which is frustrating if you’re behind a slower runner and there’s no passing points.

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:20:50 | Pace: 10:51 | Mile splits: 10:05, 10:37, 9:39, 10:15, 10:08, 11:05, 10:12, 8:45
Position: 71/97 | Gender position: 18/30

Total runners: 97 | Fastest Male: 49:45 | Fastest Female: 57:40 | Slowest Runner: 1:44:25

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
 @aspirerunningevents | Twitter: @AspireRunning | Facebook: Aspire Running Event

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 24min ~ 116 miles | Birmingham:  1hr 53min ~ 96 miles | Bristol: 28min ~ 9 miles | Cardiff: 1hr 13min ~ 53 miles | Exeter: 1hr 46min ~ 101 miles

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
This was a lovely small race and my first ever trail run; this event made me want to do more trail runs. The views are really pretty but might be difficult to get a PB if you happen to get caught up behind a slower runner on one of the more narrow parts of the course.

As mentioned previously, I don’t enjoy 2 lap courses, there’s nothing worse than running right past the finish line and knowing that you’ve got halfway and need to run the same route again but you can downgrade to the 6k if you weren’t keen on the double lap.

When I ran this race I didn’t have any trail shoes as I was pretty new to running but the recommendation was that road shoes would suffice. Personally, I think they would have been a better addition to my race especially on the more difficult to navigate terrain areas.

Is there anything for spectators to do? The Rugby Clubhouse is open for food and drinks during the race for spectators and runners so you can enjoy some snacks while you’re watching the finishers, the second lappers and the cute Canicross runners.

I think the race was good value for money, the medal was average but the route was spectacular, as long as you don’t run into any pedestrians!

Would I run this race again? Yes absolutely, but I’d do it in trail shoes next time.

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

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Trail Race Reviews

Slay the Dragon 10k

The Slay the Dragon course takes you in and around the villages of Hinton, Dinnington and Allowenshay. It’s an undulating 6 mile course of multi-terrain with country lanes, rough tracks, stiles, gates, fields and hills and breathtaking country views.

About the race
When: –
Sunday 25 February 2018 @ 10.30am

Where: – Hinton St George Village Hall, Hinton, TA17 8SB

Cost: – £11.44

Organisers website: – www.slaythedragon.co.uk

The Church of St George includes 13th century work by masons of Wells cathedral. Hinton St George is regarded as one of the best kept villages in Somerset and is known to have been a settlement as far back as the 12th century.

There are 3 distances at the Slay the Dragon; 10k Slay the Dragon, 4k The Dragon’s Tail and 2k The Baby Dragon.

Race Aces
Got to the race very early so managed to park on the grass right in front of race HQ.

The race promises to be a scenic one and it didn’t disappoint. It was mostly across country fields and over churned up mud, thankfully the ground was dry so I didn’t get as muddy as I’d anticipated.

I always enjoy it when someone different starts a race and the town crier started this one.

This race is very good value for money at just over £10.

There were photographers around the course taking race photos and they were very reasonably priced, so much so, I actually bought my first ever race photo (this isn’t the one I bought below!) and the Facebook page also had lots of photos of runners too.

Race Unlaces
The ground was VERY technical underfoot. The race was held in between two weekends of heavy snowfall and areas which should have been muddy were frozen solid and difficult to navigate across. Obviously if you enjoy this kind of terrain this would be a plus point for you. I was very worried about twisting my ankle in these areas and the impact on my joints was immense.

The races takes you around country fields and there was one section in particular where you have to climb over a stile. That’s no problem for me, this is the kind of trail runs I enjoy, however, one stile had a huge long line that you had to queue in to get over. I probably had to wait over 3 minutes in a queue before I got my turn to get over it! Which isn’t great if you’ve got a time goal in mind.

At race HQ they were selling bacon baps, which is always great, but for some reason they’d stopped selling them after the race was done and I was pretty devastated that I didn’t get to have one. Perhaps I should have run a little bit faster.

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:12:21 | Mile splits: 9:21, 14:37, 10:33, 11:59, 10:09, 14:14, 1:39
Position: 163/197

Total runners: 197 | Fastest Male: 38:03 | Fastest Female: 48:56 | Slowest: 1:28:05

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Facebook:
 Slay the Dragon Run | Twitter: @slaydragon10k

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 48min ~ 137 miles | Birmingham:  2hr 38min ~ 154 miles | Bristol: 1hr 25min ~ 45 miles | Cardiff: 1hr 46min ~ 94 miles | Exeter: 1hr 04min ~ 42 miles

Overall star rating: 


Conclusion
This race was a lovely scenic trail run which, I personally found very difficult as a beginner to trail running. The weather the previous week didn’t help much with that and that’s obviously nothing to do with the race itself it’s just one of those things. Might I have enjoyed it had it been more muddy and soft underfoot, perhaps. I was very worried about twisting my ankle because the churned up mud in the fields was very difficult to run on and I walked several times because of it. It always fascinates me how amazing some of these technical trail runners are, I always think they must have very strong ankles!

This was a lovely small town race and I enjoyed the town crier starting off the runners and it was definitely good value for money. The medal was a cute dragon sticker which one of the local children had drawn.

Race HQ didn’t hold much entertainment for spectators but it was only at a village hall so it was as entertaining as would be expected.

Personally I wouldn’t do this race again only because of how difficult I found it but I would recommend it to anyone that is experienced in running across difficult terrain as the views were really lovely.

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

Trail Race Reviews

Bath Skyline 5k Race Review (2018)

Hilly, narrow and technical under foot this is one of those races you should be taking in the splendid scenery but will probably be too busy trying not to take a tumble. You join a footpath which skirts around the edge of the golf course and descend into Bathampton Woods into technical terrain. There are great views over the valley below to Solsbury Hill and brings you out at Sham Castle, a prominent feature of Bath Skyline.

Sham Castle is a Grade II listed building built in 1762 located on the golf course and was built to improve the view from a wealthy nearby estate. The facade is a single wall with medieval towers and windows on the front and side. The back of the wall is blank as the sham was built to be seen from one side only.

About the race
When: – 
Sunday 11 February 2018

Where: – Bath University, Bath, BA2 7JY

Cost: – £20.00 (for the 10k)

Organisers website: – www.relishrunningraces.com

Race Aces
There’s free parking just around the corner from race HQ.

The medal is part of the Relish Running series of a triangle shape and is good quality.

The views are spectacular and I’m that person that will stop and take photos (I’m there mostly for the experience of it not necessary to get a PB, especially on a cross country race) but I just didn’t have it in me to get my phone out – having fallen over multiple times.

Everything around the course is well organised and signed so even if you find yourself on your own and no one in front, you can still easily know the course that you’re supposed to take.

Race Unlaces
Headphones are not permitted for the race.

I fell over twice on this course, it probably doesn’t help that I’d kind of convinced myself before I was even at race HQ on the way to the race that I would! But there were very kind people in front and behind me who checked if I was ok.

It’s a two lap course for the 10k race and I’m not of a fan of these particularly, however, I did enjoy the fact that when I turned up for the race and really wasn’t feeling falling over THAT many times, I swapped to the 5k race which was only one lap.

The Relish Running races aren’t chip timed and I never ended up with a time which was recorded on the website.

There’s really not much to do at race HQ as it’s in the car park of the University.

My Race Stats:
Time: 42mins (estimate) Pace: 13:33 | Mile splits: 11:52 19:06, 11:35
Position: 19/28 | Gender position: 10/18

Total runners: 28 | Fastest Male: 22:38 | Fastest Female: 29:00 | Slowest: 58:02

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
 @RelishRunning| Twitter: @RelishRunning
Official hashtags: #RelishRunning

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 30min ~ 115 miles | Birmingham:  2hr 03min ~ 110 miles | Bristol: 48min ~ 16 miles | Cardiff: 1hr 20min ~ 57 miles | Exeter: 1hr 57min ~ 103 miles

Other Events at Bath Skyline: Night run (slightly modified route), Santa Run, Canicross, 5k and 10k distances

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
At race HQ you pick up your race bib number which is just down from the car park area. While I did really love this route, I’m definitely no cross country runner and I can’t believe it took me quite as long as this to get around. The route is mostly through woodland areas and that was the part that I really struggled with (and where I fell over twice in the space of around 3 minutes) as there’s tree branches, it’s super muddy and some parts are downhill and really slippery. I never know quite how people manage to get such fast times on routes like this but clearly they’re more advanced runners than I am.

Would I run it again? No most likely not, the only reason I would is for the views around the course.

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

Trail Race Reviews

Cannock Chase 10k (2017)

The 2017 race saw the 4th Cannock Chase 10k event. Based in the Area of Outstanding Natural beauty of Cannock Chase. No concrete, no traffic; just nature, woodlands and peace. The course is entirely off road. The race starts on a field at Lady Hill Coppice where you’ll begin your run through the forest. You’ll join the Fairoak trail and run through Stony Brook and past the Stony Brook Pools where you’ll cross a stream. Don’t worry, there are big stepping stones for those of you who wish to avoid wet feet (I was a wuss and didn’t run through it but I absolutely loved this part of the race, I felt like I was on a ‘proper’ trail run). From here you’ll run up to the top of Jockey Hill and run parallel to Marquis Drive. Then you will loop around and down to the Fairoak Pools, watch out for the fishermen. You’ll then race uphill for a quick loop before returning to the Fairoak Trail and back through Stony Brook. Keep an eye out for the Go Ape Forest Segways. Then comes the final climb back to Lady Hill Coppice ~ Race description from official website

About the race
When: –
Sunday 6 August 2017 @ 10:30

Where: – Birches Valley Forest Centre, Rugeley, WS15 2UW

Cost: – £17.50 unattached

Organisers website: – www.cannockchase10k.co.uk

Cannock Chase 10k Race Map ~ Garmin

Cannock Chase 10k Elevation Chart – Strava

Facts about Cannock Chase
Cannock Chase is an area of countryside in the county of Staffordshire. It’s best known for its open heathland, pine forest and its mining and military history (the Chase has several war memorials including German and Commonwealth war cemeteries) which stretches back several hundred years. Cannock Chase was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1958 covering 26 sq mi and is part of the Forestry Commission.

The area gained notoriety in the late 1960s when the Cannock Chase murders made national headlines; the remains of three young girls were found buried on the Chase after going missing.

Sightings of Werewolves, UFOs and Bigfoot have appeared in the local press, however, no conclusive evidence has been produced so keep your eyes peeled for any of these!

Race Awesomes
Race pack sent via post with chip timer on the back of bib

You can buy a Cannock Chase 10k race t-shirt (I didn’t in 2017 but it was cute, I missed out there)

Toilets easily accessible at race HQ

Incredible scenery. I’m a bit of a photography nut and take photos of everything; it was so beautiful I had to stop myself from having a quick ‘photo break’ every other step!

Free and easily accessible parking. You can see race HQ from the parking spots

This is a personal favourite of mine, when you’re running you can hear the sound of the gravel trail underfoot. This area is so quiet is was mesmerising just listening to everyone’s footsteps.

Even though this race is trail, it’s mostly gravel which was nice and clean. I didn’t come away from the race (as I usually do on a trail run) with muddy shoes.

I didn’t wear trail shoes on this course and I felt that, personally, I didn’t need them

Race Naw-somes
I’ll be honest, I loved every second of this race and in my opinion there was nothing bad about it. But for the sake of fair criticism I’ve come up with a few downsides of the race

You are not permitted to listen to music while running. However, I believe that this would have totally ruined the race for me had I been listening to music.

Even though you are running entirely off road, the race is still open to the public and there were people walking around many of the trail routes and there were a lot of mountain bikers. This also meant that you had, at times, random spectators to cheer you on which is always a bonus

If you’re not into that kind of thing, the elevation was crazy and it was hill after hill. At times I couldn’t even attempt to run as it was just too steep (but I don’t mind this at all)

There isn’t much for any spectators that may come with you to entertain them. Because you’re in a giant woodland area, it’s beautiful and you can walk around for hours, however, if the weather wasn’t as pleasant as it was on the day I raced, you might find some fair weather spectators hiding out in their cars

As there was only one road in and out to leave the Cannock Chase, the traffic was a bit manic when it came to leave

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:08 | Pace: 11:26 | Mile splits: 11:11, 12:50, 11:20, 11:18, 11:11, 10:26
Position: 477/651 | Gender position: 165/283

Total runners: 654 | Fastest Male: 38:08 | Fastest Female: 40:29 | Slowest Finisher: 1:33:58

Watch my YouTube running vlog below

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
 Twitter @CannockChase10k
Official hashtags: #CC10k

Distances from Major Cities
London
: 2hr 49 | Birmingham: 38 min Bristol: 2hr Cardiff: 2hr 31 | Exeter: 3hr 08

Next event: 5 August 2018 (check Twitter where they’ve posted that ‘everyone gets a free photo’ for 2018)

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
Where do I even start with this race, I absolutely loved every single second of it and it ended up being my most favourite race of 2017. Even though this was a bit of a trek for me travel-wise, I would have travelled there the next day to do it all over again. The views were just like nothing I’d ever seen before on a race and I could have hung out there all day (I was lucky, it was a sunny day!).

I mentioned that there’s not much for spectators to do at race HQ, I think that entirely depends upon what their interests are. You’re in the middle of a giant field in the middle of nowhere and you can’t leave the Chase to go anywhere else.

One of my favourite parts of the race was when you go past the lake and the fishermen, I just had to stop here and take a cheeky photo (who cares about race times when you’re in a place like this right… I’m probably the only one that holds this opinion).

The medal was just awesome, it was well made and I enjoyed the design which has the Cannock Chase 10k tree logo on it. While I thought the race was good value for money (because I just loved it), you get the medal and a goodie bag and have to pay for a race t-shirt if you wanted one, being totally honest, you could have run the same route alone, but let’s face it, it’s not the same!

Would I run it again? Absolutely, without hesitation heck yes. This for me is the race that all future trail races I run have to live up to. Compared to some trail races that I’ve raced in 2017, the ground is very uneven and I often have trouble staying upright, but this was nothing like that. I loved the little stream that you cross near the start and I must have nearly had a smile on my face the whole way around (I’m weird like that).

So if you’re looking for a trail race as a beginner I highly recommend the Cannock Chase 10k. The trails are on even ground for the majority of the time and you won’t have trouble finding your feet (but you might find they’re wet if you go through the stream at the beginning).

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

* I’d also like to thank my spectator who came with me to this race. I know you love it really but thanks for always trying to get the best video of me finishing, even if sometimes it is accidentally of the ground xxxxxx