21 April 2015

The Longhorn Part II

Onto the good stuff! The nitty-gritty details about The Longhorn

What was good:

-First off, the venue at Thoresby Hall is GORGEOUS!  I didn't take along a camera but here's a pic from the hotel website

Thoresby Hall

-Entry to the race car park area was fairly well-marked and it was FREE!

-It's a looped course that meanders through forest and farm land so the scenery changes enough to keep you from being bored.  Some people don't like running loops but I quite fancy them if it's an interesting course and this one certainly was that.  It was also reassuring to me that if I had to quit then I was never that far from the race village. The 10k was 1 loop, the half was 2, and the marathon was 4.

-The race was fully chip-timed, both start and finish plus each loop. They also handed out wrist bands to the marathoners for each loop to help keep track of which one they were on.

-Bag drop was provided 

-Portaloos had extra rolls of toilet paper and hand sanitiser

-The Sunshine Van was on-site selling coffee and yummies!

-Well marshalled and marked course, I never had any trouble finding my way around. The only confusion was at the very start when we weren't sure whether to go left or right. 

-Several water stops on the 6.55 mile loop with two of them having portaloos! Something that's quite unusual for smaller races.

-Water stops used cups instead of large bottles. This one I'm in the minority on preferring but to me the bottle causes far more waste

-Lots of interaction from the race director and volunteers before, during, and after the event

-Every mile was signposted

-No time limit on the races

-Mixed terrain so you weren't just running on pavement for the entire race

-The course was just hilly enough to keep your legs guessing but there weren't any monster climbs

Click to enlarge

-The medal! It's quite nice and unlike some that feel plasticky and cheap, it has a nice heft to it

-Banana in the goody bag (it's all about the bananas!)

The not so good:

-The chip timing company used the larger style chips that are meant to be worn on velcro bands around your ankle and the beaded zip ties provided in lieu of the bands weren't the most sturdy in my opinion.  I was remarking at the beginning that there would probably be a few of them falling off and mine ended up being one! Twist ties or regular zip ties would be much more reliable. 

-A few more portaloos at the start wouldn't have gone amiss

-Very limited to no phone service, totally out of their control but it is something to be aware of

-Mixed terrain. I know I listed this in the good section but there were a couple of areas that was very rocky and it killed my feet. That's partly my fault for wearing my lighter weight road shoes instead of the trail or the thicker soled road trainers but again something to keep in mind.  

-The medal was the same for all 3 distances (that's being nitpicky, I actually don't mind but some might).

-I didn't notice any electrolyte based drinks at the aid stations, doesn't mean they weren't there, I just didn't happen to see any. 

As you can see I had to struggle to find something bad. 

A recurring grumble I have about a handful of other runners is that they leave their empty gel packets on the ground instead of tucking them back away into a pocket or bag and carrying them to the next water station.  Clean up after yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those packets are not biodegradable and the race volunteers are not your mums! 

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