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While we’re still getting things up and running, it’s much easier to rate a race on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/runlong.co.uk – head over there and have a look!

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Classic Quarter – Race Report by Ben

The Classic Quarter is a 44 mile coastal run organised by Endurancelife. In the interests of openness, I ran this event in 2013 as my second ultra, but didn’t make it down there in 2014 (my original write up with all the painful bits in is here: http://doarunner.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/cornish-classic-quarter/)

Organisation

Even through novice eyes, this run was well organised – bus to the start, plenty of info. The race brief got the point across, despite the very loud thunderstorm overhead! It was clear the formula they used was tried and tested. It did feel a little bit commercial though – while many races will be run on a commercial basis, it’s nice to feel some passion too (sorry RD, I’ve no doubt you’re passionate about your races but I’m still annoyed about only getting gels and pink water at the last aid station!).

CQ44

Route

Say ‘coastal run’ and you may think flat beaches and sunshine. Fool! The route is non-stop short ups and downs for the first and last sections, with a few miles of flat tarmac in the middle. While navigation was in theory simple (keep the sea on your left), there were a few sections where I felt a little bit unsure but hadn’t really been keeping track of my map. I also managed to go wrong on one of the road sections and missed the photographer! Again though, the route made the most of Cornwall’s spectacular scenery and getting to Lands End in time for sunset was well worth the extra time on my feet.

Food and People

The people as ever (both marshals and runners) were mega friendly, and welcoming to a newbie. The aid stations however were disappointing for the (at the time) £60 entry (my basis for comparison was the fellsman with their mega food stocks). The front runners may have had more, but at the back end I was left with some jelly babies, biscuits and gels. Not ideal endurancelife 😦

Summary

The route goes a long way to make up for the slightly formulaic aid station/food set up. As ever, everyone was friendly and helpful to a newbie, and there’s a handy pub and ice cream van where the route passes through Penzance so take cash. If you’re already in the South West, this event is well worth having a go at. If you’re further away, it’s a very early start after a long drive, though 1 UTMB point is on offer. Entries for June 2015 are open now at http://www.endurancelife.com/event-new.asp?series=86

Lakes in a Day – Race Report by Ben

The full race report from this event is here: http://doarunner.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/lakes-in-a-day/ Leaving out the boring pain/human suffering bits however, here is a short assessment of Open Adventure‘s Lakes in a Day awesome 48 mile ultra.

Organisation

As expected from OA, organisation was first rate. The experience all involved had in outdoor events came across in that all bases were covered from start to finish. Equally, we were well informed from the outset. The high number of emails sent out in the run up was a symptom of this being the inaugural running – that will no doubt be squared away for next year – but I’d always rather have too much info than too little, no dramas.

(C) Dave Macfarlane/Open Adventure
(C) Dave Macfarlane/Open Adventure

Route

This run was nails, in a good way. With 12000′ of climb, most of which in the first 30 miles, it would always be hard. This section spread the field out nicely to ensure we all had to navigate. The second ‘half’ was mostly flat but meant there was a good race for the front runners all the way to the finish. The scenery was amazing, taking in some of the best the Lakes (and indeed the UK) has to offer. The route was mostly unmarked (and advertised as such), with only a few marked areas. Nav was at times a challenge (in fog or the dark), but not so tough as to be an impediment. Advertised as 48 miles, that would always be conservative once you included ups, downs and wiggles (not to mention nav faff), so I expected 50 which turned out about right for the fastest runners of the day.

Food and People

Although spread well apart – there was a looong section between CP 1 and 2 (in time terms) with no water unless you went wild – the aid stations were very well stocked in terms of quality and quantity. Lots of the right stuff, handed over by very friendly and capable marshals. They also had tv screens with our positions (we had trackers attached to us) which was great to keep an eye on other runners. Equally, the other runners were v friendly and happy to chat, and everyone was looking out for everyone else from start to finish. The event had 2 photographers out on the course as well snapping all of the competitors and sharing the pictures on Facebook – good work. I’ll be back next year

Summary

With the magic spreadsheet returning a strong 8.6 out of 10 (highest so far), this race is one to have a go at – if you’re fit and well prepared. Navigational ability is a must, as is planning, but if you get it right you’ll have chance to enjoy some amazing views. Carry enough food/water to get you between check points if you make a poor route choice, and have a look at the route (at 1:50,000 on the event website) and you should be good to go. Entries are open now.

Run Long – The Truth about Your Races

Aside from facebook reviews, it can be hard to get an idea of how a race will be when you enter. This page will give you a true reflection of ultra runs around the UK. Reviews will be given a mark out of 10 based on a number of categories:

Overall Impression. Self explanatory, how you felt about the race at the end of the event (or more likely, a couple of days after!).

Organisation. How well organised the event was as a whole (i.e. were the organisers all over everything).

Information. How much information the organiser provided, and whether there was anything else you would like to have known.

Difficulty. Difficulty of the route (more difficult being a higher score).

Scenery. How awesome the views are on the way round!

Route. Route selection. Is it all on roads, or does it take in some of the best bits of the local area.

Markings. If the route is marked, how well is it marked? (The race won’t lose out if it’s unmarked).

Food. If anything other than water is provided at aid stations, how well does it meet your needs? (Again, the race won’t lose out if it doesn’t provide feed stations).

Chirpyness. This relates to marshals and aid station personnel. How chirpy are they when you come in hanging out?

Chatability. This relates to other runners. How friendly and willing to chat are they? No adjustment is made for the race length.

Repeatability. Similar to overall impression but taking all elements in to account, how likely are you to do the race again?

If you’ve done a race recently, let me know what you think! If you have any thoughts on other categories, let me know too.

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