This course is boasted as being one of the most challenging duathlon events out there. It's tough, it's always cold and wet, on difficult terrain, with a technical course. You start and finish on the top of box hill and do an 8 mile, hilly lap. That sounds hard right? Well you do one lap running, followed by 3 laps on the bike, and if that is not enough, you finish with a final lap running. There is a team option that makes it more manageable where teams of 2-3 split up the sections.
This is not an event you can just decide to do, it is difficult with hard cut offs, this is one event you have to train for, and that still might not be enough. There were just 500 competitors, but only 320 finished with many pulling out on the course, or not making cut offs.
It has some beautiful views and although this is terribly hard it is an event that draws people back time and time again, I for one will be back next year. So what are the pros and cons:
The registration takes longer than needed. You queue up to go into a small room, and wait for ages owing to the small size and having to wait for people to get out of the way. It reminds me of queuing for the gents, only to get to the front and realise there are loads of urinals not being used at all.
You don't get a medal in this event, and this year there was a lack of goodies at the end. Last year I got a bar and peppercorn, but this year there was just a gel. Also the highlight is a top quality hoody, but a messed up order meant many were left without having to wait for it to be posted out.
marshals were posted at all the turns which was vital for safety. The roads are open and the turns are sharp, without the marshals this would be an even more dangerous course.
the support at the start/finish is fantastic,. It is populated with lots of tri clubs taking part in the relays, it is a great atmosphere. However other than this area the support is pretty minimal.
The course itself is wet, muddy in transition, technical, hilly... just horrible, but all this adds to the challenge. It is not meant to be easy, and this is one event in the calendar that you really go in to not use if you will make it. I will be back for this challenge next year and highly recommend it, but do make sure you are ready.