Winnie-the-Pooh Challenge

Info: This race was a 5.25mile loop where you had up to 6 hours to complete as many or as few laps as you liked.

Location: ★★★★☆
Organisation: ★★★★★
Cost: ££
Course: ★★★★☆
Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
Morale: ★★★★☆

Location: ★★★★☆
The race was held at Ashdown Forest (where Winnie-the-Pooh was written). A glorious part of the country with spectacular views. However, with the heavy rainfall the day prior this race was boggy making it that little bit more challenging.

Organisation: ★★★★★
The event was well organised with volunteers, and an aid stations offering water, treats and even vegan snacks. The figure or eight loop was easy to follow with signs and taping, addtionally volunteers helped runners cross the country lane avoiding the speedy cars. The brief at the start along with the website information made the event easy to understand.

Cost: ££
This event cost £39. But honestly it was so worth it!

Course: ★★★★☆
I personally love ‘laps’ so this course was perfect in my eyes. The laps were a figure of eight shape, the first half was a very hilly, muddy course. The second half certainly wasn’t flat, but instead a light up or down hill depending where on the hill you where. Overall the course was wet and boggy making it a technical race.

Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
The race medal is amazing quality!
Perks included:
1. Aid Station
2. Good quality bib
3. Toilets
4. Free parking
5. Super goodie bag of chocolate and snacks
The only reason I did not give the final star was because there were no photographers for this race.

Morale: ★★★★☆
All the volunteers were friendly and athletes were supportive. The volunteers were amazing at using your name, making the experience feel that little bit more personal. It was a long day for the volunteers 6+ hours but they never failed to share a smile and encouraging word!

Thank you Saxons, Vikings and Normans for this event! As always check out findarace.com to book this event next year!

Running Grand Prix 10k

Location: ★★★★☆
Organisation: ★★★★★
Cost: £
Course: ★★★★☆
Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
Morale: ★★★☆☆

Location: ★★★★☆
The Running Grand Prix took place at Goodwood Motor Course. Goodwood is a superb venue and during this time of year it is beautifully decorated.

Organisation: ★★★★★
The event was well organised with volunteers, and some aid stations offering water. You simply followed the race course which made navigation very simple. There were multiple distances taking place but it was clear from emails and online information when each race began and the event start times were timely. There was a ‘runners village’ which made finding the bag drop off, race bib collection and post race goodies easy to find.

A little big of rain will not steal my smile Insta:@aimeesennett

Cost: £
This event cost £24 (fairly cheap). For this price you got a good quality race bib, timing chip, free photographs and loads more as listed later.

Course: ★★★★☆
I personally love ‘laps’ so this course was perfect in my eyes. It started with an easy out and back to join the race loops, then for the 10k runners it consisted of two laps! the race circuit was almost flat with a very gradual uphill at the end of each lap for 100m. There were mile markers but with a marathon, 20 miler, half marathon, 10k and 5k distance all racing, I found the mile labels a little confusing. However the directions of join the race course and run two laps was very easy to follow.

Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
The race medal is really nice, I came home to my sister saying “I’d run 10k to get a medal like that”
Perks included:
1. Photographers 
So many and all the pictures went online the same day for free! 
2. Water station
3. Chip timing
4. Loads of post race fuel
5. Bag drop off

Morale: ★★★☆☆
All the volunteers were friendly and the crowd was supportive. I think because there were a lot of different distances on the day, the spirit of the racers were a little lower than usual. Plus it was terrible weather haha.

Thank you to the organisers of this race, it was great fun! Do you want to find your next event? Visit: Findarace.com

5k Open Water Swimathon – Lakeside Country Park

Location: ★★★☆☆
Organisation: ★★★★☆
Cost: £
Course: ★★★☆☆
Medal/extras: ★★☆☆☆
Morale: ★★★★☆

Location: ★★★☆☆
Lakeside Country Park is a lovely place with a small lake for open water swimming. Not the prettiest location, with it being just off the motorway, but convenient for travel! The location also had showers, bathrooms and changing areas which was helpful! Plus free parking!

Organisation: ★★★★☆
The event was well organised with an athletes talk, volunteers and lifeguards. Plus the course was marked out well.

Cost: £
With an entry fee of £17, this event was very cheap to enter, and was taking place to raise money for Cancer Research and Marie Curie! Many swimmers had raised additional funds for the charities, although that was not a requirement to take part.

Course: ★★★☆☆
The Lake at Lakeside is slightly on the small side. Making the 5k course 15 laps! Thank goodness for my Suunto watch to hit the ‘lap’ button, otherwise I am not sure I’d be able to keep track.

Medal/extras: ★★★☆☆
A lovely little medal, good quality and nice colour !
Other perks included:
– Swim Cap
– Free tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
– Lifeguard
– Changing/ showering area
– Toilets
– Free Parking
However, no photographer, aid station or timing chip 😦

Morale: ★★★☆☆
The few volunteers that were there where spritely, encouraging and helpful. Not many watching to support but the race did only have 47 athletes.

Thank you Open water Swimathon for this event. It was a really nice charity event to take part in!

Arundel 10k

Location: ★★★★☆
Organisation: ★★★☆☆
Cost: £
Course: ★★★★☆
Medal/extras: ★★☆☆☆
Morale: ★★★★☆

Location: ★★★★☆
The Arundel 10k took place in the picturesque town of Arundel, and the views throughout were glorious!

Organisation: ★★★☆☆
The event was well organised with volunteers, and some aid stations offering water. There were signs and taping on the course making the navigation of the course simple. There was no athletes talk before the race or any clear count down at the start (this could have been completed but I heard nothing) and it was difficult to know beforehand what the route was for the race unless you had completed it prior.

Cost: £
This event cost £15 to enter which included running through the castle grounds (usually £12 to go in). Moreover, it had plenty of photographers which offered free pictures online the same day (Win, as the photographs can get pricey).

Course: ★★★★☆
This 10k race was visually glorious. Starting in the quaint village, then making its way through the castle grounds. The first half of the race is all uphill but it appears worth it when you get to 5k and see the breathtaking view of the surrounding country side. Follows is a spectacular decent for 2k on a grass path (mind your ankles). A final 1k steep climb follows before running the final 2k downhill. The course is make up of 70% tarmac and 30% grass paths.

Medal/extras: ★★☆☆☆
The medal isn’t good unfortunately, it looks and feels to be a cheap kids metal medal with a simple sticker on it to address the race.
Perks included:
1. Photographers
So many and all the pictures went online the same day for free!
2. Water station
3. Chip timing

Morale: ★★★★☆
All the volunteers were incredibly friendly, the runners were great and super supportive. Genuinely a friendly group of people, many asking if I’m coming back next year to race and I haven’t experienced such a lovely chatty crowd of competitors before.

Thank you to the Scouts and organisers for the Arundel 10k, It was super and Ill be back next year!

Chattanooga IronMan 70.3

Location: ★★★★★
Organisation: ★★★★★
Cost: ££££
Course: ★★★★☆
Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
Morale: ★★★★★

Location: ★★★★★
Chattanooga is a gorgeous, fun, and friendly city in the state of Tennessee. Throughout the race I was taken away by how beautiful the place is.

Organisation: ★★★★☆
The IronMan village was set up with everything you could wish for, and there were hundreds of volunteers making the whole process really fun. The athletes guide had all the information you needed, and the athletes talk went through all the things you need to know load and clear. Overall, the day of the races was super smooth. So why not five stars? well the only two downfalls in this race was the number of toilets at the start area (queues were huge) and the athletes t-shirts running out so they had to ship them to people instead. Its been three months and I still have not received mine 😦

Cost: ££££
IronMan events are expensive. With an entry fee of £245-£290 depending on when you enter, plus flights, hotels, bike hire/ sending bike over it all adds up. Then there is the purchasing of photographs afterwards (and IronMan merchandise).

Course: ★★★★☆
Swim ★★★☆☆
Swimming in the Tennessee river was so much fun, due to the strong current the swim was altered on race day to a 1mile down stream swim. So this was a fast section!
Bike ★★★★★
I was most nervous about the bike ride due to all the hills. But it was amazing! The rolling hills meant that you just had to play it right. Race fast down the hills to help throw you over the next. The views on this part of the race were spectacular.
Run ★★★★☆
Two loops around Chattanooga including running over some gorgeous bridges. The run was mainly flat with a slight uphill at the start and slightly down hill at the end. The aid stations were superb and around every two miles. At one part of the race you ran through a mist as the hoses were turned on to keep us athletes cool.

Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
The medal is so so so great, Amazing quality and superbly thought out.
Other perks include:
1. Photographers
2. IronMan bag
3. IronMan swim cap
4. Racing chip
5. Finishers cap
6. T-shirt and bottle
7. Finishers Massage
8. Finishers meal

Morale: ★★★★★
This city was pumped for the race with hundreds of people cheering, supporting and providing killer vibes. I was feeling so stoked all race long because of the spirit and energy Chattanooga delivered!

Want to race this next year? Book ASAP at: Chattanooga IronMan 70.3

‘The Long Half Marathon’ Relish Bath Running Festival

Location: ★★★★☆
Organisation: ★★★★★
Cost: ££
Course: ★★★★☆
Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
Morale: ★★★★★

A 16.1 mile trail run around Bath

Location: ★★★★☆
As suggested in the title, this race was around beautiful Bath. With exceptional views of the city and surrounding country side.

Organisation: ★★★★★
Five out of Five for organisation, this race had volunteers left right and centre. There were so many aid stations with fruit, cake, biscuits, sweets, water and electrolytes that I didn’t need to use any of the fuel I had on me. You constantly could see two sign posts ahead for directions so it was almost impossible to get lost.

Cost: ££
The entry fee was £31 (so cheap for the fuel you where provided). Also the photographs taken on the day were free to download and only £1 per picture if you wanted the watermark removed. Finally, parking was free on site making for a rather cheap race!

Course: ★★★★☆
My goodness, this was a hilly race. At the athletes speech it was announced ‘no PBs will be made today’ and a quarter of the way in it was obvious why. The course went through forests and fields, climbed roads and rocks, and boarded canals. As a results the views were insane. There were technical areas such as running up and down stairs, and scrambling a mile long steep climb. But, ultimately this was the funnest race I ever completed.

Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
The medal is made to slot together with three other Relish run races. Making it a bizarre shape and picture, however its super high quality.

Other perks include:
1. Photographer
2. Aid Stations

Morale: ★★★★★
The morale was high from both competitors and volunteers. With a large number of volunteers cheering you on throughout the race, and then a big crowd to welcome you at the finish line !

A huge thank you to Relish Running for organising a super fun 16.1 mile trail running race! If you want to take part next year visit: Relish running races

Caterham Half Marathon

Location: ★★★☆☆
Organisation: ★★★★☆
Cost: £
Course: ★★★☆☆
Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
Morale: ★★★★☆

Location: ★★★☆☆
Caterham Half Marathon took place at the Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey, UK. The area is very beautiful with the race predominantly being on country lanes.

Organisation: ★★★★☆
The event was super well organised with loads of aid stations, volunteers, supporters and spaces to park. However the only downfall was …. Very few toilets! The queue for the toilets upon arrival was huge !

Cost: £
This event cost £22 to enter and with all the aid stations and volunteers provided, it was worth the money. The photographers pictures however was much more expensive, costing £8 per picture downloaded !

Course: ★★★☆☆
The Half marathon consisted of two loops. The run was mainly along quiet country lanes however cars were still on the roads which was difficult at first when the runners were all grouped together, but became less of a problem once we had spread out. The course undulated with only one ‘real’ hill (which you completed twice). The hill was around 1/4 mile long and had an immediate downhill run afterward wooooooo!

Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
The medal is of a little Caterham Car and is a lovely quality. Additional perks included:
1. Photographers
2. Time chipped race
3. Waterbottle at finish line

Morale: ★★★★☆
All the volunteers were friendly and helpful (and there were lots of them). There was a nice sized crowd at the finish line also. Big shout out to the lady on the microphone for the entire event, she really knew how to motivate the runners and the crowd!

Thank you Caterham Half Marathon for a super fun event! If you want to do this race next year, visit:

https://www.nice-work.org.uk/races/caterham-half-marathon

Ullswater Triathlon

Location: ★★★★★
Organisation: ★★★★☆
Cost: ££
Course: ★★★★☆
Swim: ★★★★★
Bike: ★★★☆☆
Run: ★★★☆☆
Medal / extras: ★★★★☆
Morale: ★★★★☆

Location: ★★★★★
The Ullswater Triathlon took place at Pooley Bridge, Ullwater in the Lake District. The event started at 14:30 allowing time for people to travel.

Organisation: ★★★★☆
The event was very well organised with a huge carpark for people to get set up for the day, lots of toilets, access to water and volunteers to help answer questions. Registration was easy to complete and navigate online with everything ready to collect on arrival.

Cost: ££
Race entry was £50, and it felt well worth that price. Additionally official photographs were £3.50 per picture which seemed reasonable enough!

Dreamy Ullswater

Course:★★★★☆
Swim: ★★★★★
The swim was two laps in Ullswater lake, and all swimmers had to wear a wetsuit. Swim caps distinguishing the sprint triathletes from the standard, and the race started in the the water with a crowd counting down. Inflatable buoys were clear to see and overall this swim was easy to navigate.

Volunteers helped swimmers make there way out the lake (gradual hill) and with hay underfoot, the 50 meter run from the lake to T1 was a breeze.

Cycle: ★★★☆☆
After transition you run with your bike 100m slightly up hill to the mount line. The cycle was one hilly lap around the glorious area. And when I say hilly, I mean hilly! The course was well signposted, with volunteers helping to manage traffic and motivate you. Only downfall for the cycle would be no aid stations. After my water bottles falling off in the first mile due to a technical fault, I was gutted to have no access to water or fuel until I returned to transition.

Run: ★★★☆☆
The run course was four laps around the campsite at Pooley Bridge, this made for an interesting run as many of the spectators where ‘accidental’. By this I mean that people were sat enjoying their day outside their tent and we were running passed. To be fair many of the campers were cheering us on but at times it felt like we were disturbing their holiday. This flat course did made for a quick run time, and thankfully there was one aid station we passed every lap which has water, coke and some sweeties!

Medal / extras: ★★★★☆
The medal was really good quality and well designed! Additional perks included:
1. Photographers
2. Time chip with times printed at finish line
3. Swim cap

Morale: ★★★★☆
All the volunteers and organisers were super nice and friendly! My partner forgot his swim goggles and one of the volunteers gave him a free pair to wear and keep (now thats a nice volunteer!). The only party of the race were the morale was lower had to be at the campsite run just because fo the location and people enjoying their holiday.

Thank you Ullswater Triathlon! I had a blast. If you want to do this race next year, visit:

First ever IronMan 70.3

Mile 12, a very happy Aimee

Review of Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Swim

The swim element in Chattanooga goes upstream for 0.2 miles before turn down for the final one mile. With this knowledge in mind I knew it was going to be a ‘quick’ course, but with an incredibly strong current the course adjusted, and suddenly the ‘swim’ element became a breeze; on race day us ‘age-groupers’ swam one mile downstream due to the conditions of the river.

I trained for the swim in a pool 3x a week and then sea swimming with against and with the current twice a week.

Wearing my dhb wetsuit

The Cycle

Known for its ‘hilly’ course that parallels Lookout Mountain, I trained hard for the cycle element however, it wasn’t anywhere near as ‘bad’ as I thought it would be. The 56 miles has rolling hills, meaning if you worked hard going down hill, you would be able to throw your self a third of the way up the hill in front. I would easily say that the race cycle was my favourite ride I have ever done and was far less tiresome than my training sessions! This was helped by amazing aid stations and views.

I trained twice a week on an indoor bike working on repeat long ‘hard sessions’ with short recovery time. And I would cycle twice a week outdoors, one long cycle on the weekend (3-4 hours) and a short and fast cycle in the work week (1-1.5 hours).

First mile on the bike, unaware of how beautiful the views would get.

The Run

The first 5k my legs and mind was switched off, and I panicked. I thought that the race was over for me, and I’d be walking the 13.1 miles. It was hot, humid and I was over four hours in at this point. However, once I hit the first aid station, drank some water, put ice down my tri-suit and munched on an orange, everything changed. I fell in love with running as I always do. Each mile became faster, stronger and more enjoyable. To the point where at mile 12 I was running a 8.44 mim/mile pace with a huge smile on my face. The course undulated for sure but nothing the legs couldn’t take.

As a runner, I enjoyed training for this race. I would do 3 short bike training runs a week on the treadmill (around 15-20 minutes each). I would do one long run a week (1-2 hours outdoors) and a hilly run once a week (around 1 hour and 6 hill climbs).

Mile 7, finding my feet …

Overall, I overtrained and under preformed at this race. Unsure of what the challenge ahead looked like I held back on all three disciplines. However, please do not read this as a negative for I had the most brilliant day; taking my time and taking it all in!

When will you do your first? Will it be Chattanooga?

Unexpected life changes when training

When you sign up for marathons and triathlons you expecte the long training sessions, muscle aches and the need to make time for life. But here are somethings you might not have considered;

Dreaming about lunch …
  1. Food glorious food
    Eating when training becomes all kinds of complicated, with you thinking about the quality and quantity of your food, whilst trying to squeeze it in to a time that will work with your training schedule. Plus you are ALWAYS hungry! Your life revolves around training, but your training revolves around your meals.
Swim day = Wash hair day

2. Washing your hair
This applies more to the triathletes out there. Washing your hair becomes anther aspect of your life you need to organise. Before you know it, you’ll be scheduling washing your hair with your swim sessions.

So many activities, so much washing

3. Laundry
Regardless to the sport, if you are exercising a lot your laundry pile builds up very quickly. You are forever washing swimsuits, trisuits, running clothes, towels and cycle gear.

Relaxing but tiring

4. Tiredness
Training, planning, working, and trying to squeeze a social life in; you will be exhausted in no time. You are tired, your muscles are tired and your brain is tired. Rest and relax on the weekends? No way, that’s when you do your big runs and cycles duh!

Bathroom selfie

5. Planning your pit stops
Another thing you have to consider when training often is when to go the bathroom. Unless your happy to do a Paula Radcliffe you need to make sure you go before you go. Moreover on this topic, if you exercise before your morning coffee has kicked in (if you know what I mean) then you will get hit by all kinds of stomach cramps.

Its all worth it

Despite all these additional considerations and changes, every training runner and triathlete will agree; it is all worth it!