Race Report - The Longhorn, 22nd April 2018
The Longhorn is held in the beautiful grounds of Thoresby Hall Estate, which is located in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire. It’s about a 1.5 hour drive from Peterborough and very easy to get to, just pick up the A1 for a leisurely cruise. Once you get there, you are directed to a large field where you can park for free. Then it is just a 5 minute walk to where the event is held.
I am always very impressed with the organisers, SBR Events. It was easy to find the registration/ bag drop tents and the volunteers in the race village are helpful and friendly. There were plenty of toilets and the start times of each race were well spaced out to avoid congestion on the course.
There are various distances you can run at the Longhorn: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon or 60KM. There are also Canicross options, but these are kept separate from the other races.
A few days before the Longhorn, a 9 page pack was sent by email which contained the final race information. It contains the usual information about travel, parking, facilities etc but also goes into detail about what to expect on the course for each distance. This was very helpful when it came to picking what running shoes to wear.
The course itself is advertised as a trail run, but the ground is firm enough not to require trail shoes. I wore an old pair of road shoes and felt these were appropriate for the day.
I ran the Half Marathon, which is 2 laps of the course. At the start, we were asked to line up according to how many minutes per mile we were planning on running. Each group (eg 8-9 min milers, 9-10 min milers) were given individual race briefings and set off as a pack. The next group were then briefed.
The run starts off on a tarmac path, you go over Stonebridge and head into the woodland. You run past a lovely church and then into more forest which contains some farm machinery. There is then a small area of uneven surface called ‘Wobbly Way” where we were warned it could be a little muddy.
At 2 miles was the first water/feed/toilet station, manned by a very friendly bunch of marshals.
After a bit more forest, it opened up into countryside where you could see the Estate House.
At mile 4 there was another water/feed/ toilet station with more friendly marshals. After this, you meander through more forest and emerge onto open farmland. Here is where you’ll see a large herd of Longhorn, which were very impressive, but also very smelly!
At mile 5 you cross over the Meden River where you get fantastic views of the lake. Then you are into the final stretch before you come back into the race village. For the Half Marathon, you are directed over the field to get to the start again to do the second lap. If you opted for the Manathon, it is 4 laps of the course.
The course itself is very well marshalled and sign posted, no chance of getting lost forever in Sherwood Forest! There is also excellent medical cover which included a team of First Aiders and Paramedics plus an A&E Ambulance with defibrillators etc. I noticed there were also 2 cycle responders and a 4X4 ambulance patrolling the course.
Once you have crossed the finish line, you are given your medal (it’s a spinning Longhorn!) and are directed to the finish tent where you get a banana, bottle of water and packet of crisps.
In the race village afterwards, you can get a print out of your time (the chip is on the back of your race number), have a free sports massage or do a bit of shopping for Longhorn merchandise. There were also some food and drink stands selling coffee and cake, jacket potatoes, fruit kebabs, smoothies and ice cream.
Also I should mention, there were photographers on the course and race photos were available to download for free a day or so after the race.
Overall, another fantastic day courtesy of SBR Events and their team of amazing marshals. I will see them again in June for the Grimsthorpe Gallop then in November for Rockingham 10 and in October for Thoresby 10!