This was a new race for 2018 on the same weekend as the Valentine 30k. It was promoted on the basis of its location at the beautiful Prestwold Hall which really is a lovely spot, but difficult to appreciate on a cold and blustery February morning.
I guess any new event is going to have teething problems, but this one had quite a number of flaws in my opinion. I had a good race so there’s no sour grapes here, but I’m still struggling to be positive about it.
Let’s start with the good stuff. It’s only about an hour drive from Peterborough and it was easy to find. Race HQ was well organised with parking and portaloos in abundance. The course is a single loop (sort of) and in parts goes through lovely villages and I found that the variety of the course made the miles go by quickly. The marshalls were plentiful and really enthusiastic throughout. Full respect to the guy playing the saxophone to entertain us! The whole course was traffic free which was a really good feature. The finish line was well supported and we got a technical t-shirt, medal and lots of snacks and water.
On the downside, all facilities at race HQ were outdoors which wasn’t great on a cold day. The race may start and end at Prestwold Hall but it’s in view for about a minute as you run along the gravel path at the front of it before turning into a wooded area. (The finish straight is also on the gravel which makes a change to a grass playing field but is equally challenging on tired legs!) Then at least half of the course winds around an old airfield now a race track for driving experience days. This is truly dull. It’s also very open so tough going in the wind. In addition some sections of the course were really uneven with potholes so care was needed.
It’s also worth noting that getting parked up took quite a long time due to congestion at the car park entrance. Luckily we had arrive in plenty of time but our departure was equally as slow. So overall there were too many negatives for me so I wouldn’t consider entering again. I’m sure I can’t be alone in thinking this so it’ll be interesting to see that assuming it comes back next year what changes are made to improve it.