This Ridgeway race in Tring ranks among the highest in my favourite races list. I lined up for my 3rd running of the 30thanniversary of this race on a glorious Autumn morning on Sunday 10am, with a little over 500 other enthusiastic off-road runners. This year was cool, sunny and mostly windless which is not usually the case when up on the Ridgeway; perfect for a race.
For me, the appeal of this race is that it has the right blend of some road, fields, uphill, trail, scenery, downhill, footpaths, roots... There's a bit of everything thrown into this challenging 9.7 country miles race. The mainly footpaths and bridleways gradually climb into the stunning Ashridge Forest (breathtaking views from up here), past the Monument, along a stretch of the famous Ridgeway path (thankfully turning left before the steep & unforgiving Ivinghoe Beacon whose menacing shadow we run under) while descending back along footpaths and road into the finish at Tring Cricket club. The road section before the finish does drag a bit having been mostly off road beforehand, but satisfying to finish this challenging race. Despite its 'trail race' tag line, you certainly don't need to be a 'trail specialist' runner by any means; any city slicker would cope fine and probably stay upright for the duration! Unless there's been an abundance of rain (let's not get into that again!) there are very few muddy sections.
There's a technical t-shirt (now into its 2nd year) for all finishers and, testament to this race, cotton race t-shirts from previous years on sale for 1 (going to charity) for those who had run these races and wanted a fresher memento, including yours truly as my 2007 Ridgeway race shirt is almost worn out. Two years ago the race was held on 10th October, the start was delayed by 10 minutes and the resulting t-shirt for that year had the honour of stating 10/10/10 10:10:10. Things like that don't come around very often!!
Winning times are around just under the hour and slowest a little over 2 hours. One or two bottlenecks early on going up a path, but otherwise great marshaling (no chance of getting lost!) from organisers Tring Running Club, and two water stations at the right places help to make this a race worth entering same time next year, and with the cost cheaper than a lot of shorter road races around!! It usually fills up with no entries on the day; come and join us Running on the Ridgeway!
More information here