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The Fox

27-Apr-2019 Godalming, Surrey, UK (England)

YOUR RATING

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7 REVIEWS
Trail Race Race Terrain
60KM / 37Miles
1 Day - 150 Runners

Alternate Distances: 20KM/12M 42KM/26M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

Circular ultramarathon around Guildford, sponsored by ULTRA Magazine. The 60km route follows the " Fox Way" - a scenic circular course devised by Richard Fox - an avid local walker who was amazed by the beautiful and varied countryside he found along the way. The route is fully marked and offers 5 aid stops. Half Marathon and Marathon distances also available. Runners receive a Fox branded headwrap (buff) and a large Fox medal.

https://aat-events.com/race/the-fox/

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Beginner

Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.

Intermediate

Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Advanced

Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Expert

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Brutal

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

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readge1

11:47 28-09-18

I ran the Fox in 2017 and had a fantastic time. I ran the inaugural event as part of a team of 3 and loved the route. Really well signed and picturesque although it wasn’t totally off road I was aware of that up front and the small road sections were worth it to reach the off road portions of the route (the route is off road in the majority). Plenty of variation in scenery from river sections to heathland, farmland and woodland. Marshals were friendly and helpful, the event was well organised and I enjoyed it. I couldn’t take part in 2018 but will am planning to be back running the event again in 2019

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aat events

10:56 28-09-18

Hi Boxhill Dude and VBXK,

Thanks for taking the time to review our event. We value all feedback received and proactively use it to continually improve our events. I address the points you raise in your reviews below.

Sorry that you felt the aid stations were not up to scratch. As you mention it was a hot day so most of the food and drink was kept in temperature-controlled cooling bags and boxes, and staff were instructed to top up the food on the tables in small batches - little and often - so not all of the food was visible at all times. We have taken feedback from 2017 and 2018 participants and will continue to update our menu and quantities each year as the event grows. Though there was no tea at the finish line the VW campervan bar at the finish line proved to be popular. We also have antibacterial hand gel, sun cream and other personal hygiene products available for everyone to use at all food / water stations.

We personally design all the routes for all aat-events. Though The Fox route features the best bits of The Fox Way, there are deviations from it to make the running experience all the more enjoyable and keep road crossings to a minimum.

Thanks for your honesty on the day regarding medal collection. As I’m sure you can understand we must make all EOD entrants aware of the possibility of receiving no medal before they decide to pay and enter the run as we only order enough for those who enter in advance, but I’m glad you got one in the end.

Thank you both for taking part in the event, and with these improvements in place we hope to see you at The Fox or another aat-event soon.

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MaxMarathonMan

04:32 26-09-18

Exceptional route markings made it possible to concentrate on the beautiful scenery and just enjoy it. Lovely, friendly atmosphere. Already registered again for 2019.

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RobRunner

04:03 26-09-18

The Fox 2018

Having done the 20k event last year, I signed-up for the ultra this year. It was a beautiful day and a nice sized field of friendly runners - it never felt crowded, but I never felt alone.
I was really impressed with the route signage and loved the medal and foxxy buff.
I didn’t notice any problem with the aid stations but I only really wanted liquid plus took a couple of pretzels or jelly babies. I had packed plenty of provisions of my own. See you next year!

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vbkx

01:37 18-05-18

FOX Ultra 2018

Easy parking just a few meters from the starts.

Lovely route . A lot of roads however I was aware of that before so did not bother me.

Check points absolutely pathetic. Not only the selection of food on offer was quite poor to start with but despite the fact I was a middle of the pack runner the CPs in the 2nd half of the race were running out of food. No coke , no bananas , no watermelon just a few insect caked jelly beans.

The finish . The second I finished the timing guy started barking at me to give him my chip. I just run for 7 hrs and this wasn't the sort of behaviour you wanna be faced the second you finish.One table with a few pieces of melted chocolate cake. A drum of water where every runner who wanted to get a drink had to dunk their cup which was very unhygienic as it meant pretty much everyone's dirty and sweaty hands came into contact with the water in the drum. There was a camper van selling beer so I had some but if the organisers could not be arsed to provide any food at least they could get a burger van to sell food.

Pretty much felt like unsupported run. I rather expensive one.

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BoxHilldude

11:35 03-05-18

2018 Fox Ultra

I entered this event pretty late into the process (on the Thursday before the event was due to be held on the Saturday) and the website froze on me halfway through entering my personal details. Always a bit of a worry. But I spoke to Toby, the Race Director (a pleasant chap) the next day; he explained that "on the day entries" would be available, though a medal was unlikely as the event had proven to be unexpectedly popular this year (2018 was its second year) and despite ordering 200 medals from China several weeks previously, they would probably be short.

It is nice to have a medal, especially after such a long run, but it isn't the be all and end all for me, so I still became one of the few that paid up with cash on the Saturday morning, bright and early at the starting location at the Wilfrid Noyce Centre, Godalming.

I was due to take part in the Fox Ultra, a 60k run, which, given the weather forecast actually could have easily have ended up being a 60k circumambulation of Guildford (in an anti-clockwise direction).

There were other events also scheduled to start at different parts of the course on the same day, a marathon which started further around the clock-face due East and a half marathon which started due North. The Ultra started at around 7am at the 7 o'clock point (South-West-West, I suppose).

On the journey, we were promised a series of 5 Aid Stations where various refreshments would be available; the first couple were before and just after the marathon start point. The third and forth on the marathon route and the final one on the half marathon route too, more or less.

And for me, this was where the event organisation really fell over.

Whether it is because I have been spoiled by the only two other Ultras that I have run (both hosted by Centurion Running) where the aid stations provided an excellent selection of foods, drink (including Tailwind) encouragement and banter; with the possible exception of the very first aid station, the standard of foodstuffs at the Fox Ultra was really poor and I felt they were under-manned too.

In particular the final aid station was just miserable.

I choose between half of a brown banana and one of three dried out cheese spread sandwiches. I choose badly. The bread was so rough I felt I could taste my own blood for a mile thereafter.

I accept that I am not the fastest runner, but I finished in the top third, which meant that the majority of the Ultra running field was still behind me. All they probably had to look forward to was an even browner banana and choice of two, even drier, cheese spread sarnies.

But even some of the other aid stations were genuinely pretty poor. Broken biscuits, melted jelly babies, (I accept it was a hot day, but the organisers should have anticipated that) a few mixed nuts… and at aid station 4, a small mountain of sausage rolls.

Thankfully, also at that aid station there was also some very welcome cut water-melon (which was refreshing) and since I didn’t fancy the prospect of burping up sausage meat for the next couple of hours, I swerved the sausage rolls.

In my opinion AAT, the organisers, need to try much harder in future. They should know that the later aid stations will certainly need more people on-hand and more 'stuff' as more runners from the different races will inevitably pass through. And if they are prepared to charge £60+ a runner (and rely heavily on volunteers …and, I thought there were very few marshals on the course too) then at least get some proper snacks in. And Tailwind. And if you offer flat coke then at least get some of the gas out of it. Look at what other Ultra organisers put out... pineapples are cheap, cheese slices and soft wraps aren't that expensive... even vegan brownies aren't that weird (anymore).

The saving grace is the route itself which follows, broadly, the Fox Way. There are some long and rather unwelcome road sections (heading into Ripley in particular) but the countryside sections that run alongside the canals and through woodland (especially the parts that rise up to cross the North Downs Way) were excellent, really lovely. Despite the weather being so warm leading up to the event, there was still a fair bit of mud and bog to cross to which I found challenging in road shoes, but that is all part of the game – to take it as it is on the day.

In summary I enjoyed the route and enjoyed the challenge of getting it done – but the route is there all the time – the organisers of this event did not create it (though to be fair, they did do a very good job of marking it with orange arrows…only an idiot would get lost – and I did briefly; but fortunately another couple of runners put me right in no time). I felt their job was to organise and a major part of that (as described above) was poor.

The finish was mostly nice – family and friends had gathered and the runners were clapped across the line, but for some reason the camaraderie of the Centurion events was missing (as was the cup of tea - at least it wasn't obvious; or brought to you, as was my experience at NDW50 last year). Sorry for the repeat comparisons – it's all I have to go on as I am an Ultra running newbie.

I was given a finishers' medal at the end; I tried to explain to the young lady that presented it to me that I ought not to get one as there were not enough to go around; but then another guy (who literally barked at me to give him my wrist band timing chip - how rude) explained that there had only been 174 starters for Ultra in the end, so they had spares.

Shame they didn’t have spare food to go with it.

I also heard that the changing facilities at the end were a bit poor but I can't really be too granular about that - I was more concerned about whether I'd put enough money in the car park ticket machine (which obviously, wasn't free). So, having searched in vain for a cup of tea I split with mixed feelings...

Would I run this course again – yes, you bet! But would I pay £60+ to AAT for the pleasure? Not unless they take a quantum leap forward in the quality of the aid stations and get more support at those aid stations. If they do that, then yes I'd support this event again – after all, it is in its infancy and I generally welcome any efforts to populate my trail running calendar.

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aat events

10:19 13-07-17

Finalist in the RunUltra awards!

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