Readers' Races of the Year 2003

You voted for them... here they are. It's your races of 2003

Posted: 6 January 2004

Ireland's Connemara Marathon, second in the '3+ votes' category

Many thanks to the thousands of you who in just four weeks have helped create the UK's biggest collection of race appraisals.

It's really clear that 'weekend-away' races are runaway successes in most runners' eyes. Ballycotton, Connemara, Welsh Castles, Loch Ness and Coniston sweep into some of the top spots. But all types of races - over 900 in total - got represented.

We know that no rating system can be completely relied on, and you should be ready to make your own judgements about some comments and scores. Still, the overwhelming size of your response points strongly to the need for us to build a permanent rating system into our events calendar. Watch this space... For now, though, you can start to rate 2004 races right here.

The Races of the Year Charts

There are two charts -

The Comments

You can also see over 2500 individual comments on races, including:

  • The good ("One of the best marathons I've run, very friendly too. Smashing organisation. Plus free finishing photo!" - Abingdon Marathon)
  • The unique ("Running out to sea at low tide as the sun sets - spectacular!" - Black Rock 5)
  • The tough ("If you can get through this, you can do almost anything. Weather is atrocious almost every time and the showers are freezing..." - Benfleet 15)
  • And the, um, could-be-more-inspiring ("A guided tour of a bland town. Nothing is left out." - poor old Bracknell Half-Marathon)

We've organised them alphabetically by race name -

(Editor's note: If you look hard through the race comments, you may find, er, the odd spelling mistake. The huge volume meant that we've only been able to give them a quick scan-through.)

Previous article
Short Breaks - Shorter European Races in Spring
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Newsflash! Great North Run 2004 Entries Open!

vote, races of year

Discuss this article


I like to say thank you to who ever mentioned the Canterbury 10 & the Herne Bay 10K.

Being race director of those two events & having people vote for them is a very nice reward.

Also I like voteing for the races I thought worth while!
Looking forward to comenting in 2004

and no I didn't vote for the two above ;-)
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 14:56

couldn't see the London 10k mentioned anywhere.
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 15:04

Funny, cause I thought the, ahem, 'British' 10k (not 'London') was popular around here...
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 15:08

it is on ther as you don't only vote for the good races... or do you? It has quite low marks, although low enough... you decide?!
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 15:23

There was a "National 10K" in the top 100 in the mag. Is that the same as the British 10K, or is it 13 times better.

Tim, well done on the honourable mentions.
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 15:23

Big Tim!!!

I've just analyzed the results.

33 votes for the Canterbury 10 came from B Tim, and most of the votes for the Herne Bay 10k came from Big T.

I smell something fishy and its not the contents of Mrs Miggins' meat pie!
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 15:28

Posted: 08/01/2004 at 15:28

LOL Chimp. Don't tease!

If you look under "B", the British 10k is there in all its glory!

Nice to see my two local races (Inverness half and Loch Ness Marathon) scored so highly. And it looks like we all like nice scenery, going by how many of the races are "country" ones.
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 15:32

I'm far from convinced that PB-worthiness should count for anything. It's irrelevant to how good the race is, isn't it?
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 15:36


sussed again :-)
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 15:37

I suppose PB-worthiness is good for those looking for erm PB's

Like me!

Posted: 08/01/2004 at 15:39

Swerve - having just rechecked what the form asked for, the bit about PBs is supposed to give a clue as to how 'hard' the course is. I agree we could debate for ever over the relative weighting of the factors considered (and never come to an agreed conclusion) but I think the course itself is likely to be a factor for many.

Shame we can't see the full set of ratings but the comments are much more enlightening. Well done everybody.
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 15:56

I agree with Swerve. Loch Ness is marked down in the ratings system because it obviously isn't a PB course but it was great for everything else.
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 16:28

Yes yes yes the British 10k is in there and it got the slating it thoroughly deserved. There has to be a race at the bottom of the pile and it might as well be ( no should be ) this one. I look forward to ahem Mr Bond's response which i'm sure will be most amusing and not unlike Mrs Miggins meat pie referred to earlier by the effervescent Chimp.
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 16:32

Big Tim,

Joking aside, I take my hat off to anyone who spends an inordinate amount of time and effort organising races with all the head-aches that involves (not least the likes of us lot moaning about all and sundry) so to have two races attracting favourable responses is a great achievement. Us week-end warriors owe a lot to people like you.

Well done!!
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 17:01

Chimp, to be honest it was the bit where I was answering/helping runners with problems I think were most enjoyable!

have since retired from the job but as ever geting involved in the sport elsewhere!

Posted: 08/01/2004 at 17:05

Taking up proper running now are you Tim?
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 17:16

Ping Pong Boy - Loch Ness marked down? In races with 10 or more responses its third on the list behind two others apparently even less PB worthy.

I suspect however that this discussion is pointless
a) because the importance of different factors will vary between people.
b) there's something weird going on in the totalling. If anybody else is sad enough to check, none of the columns seem to add up to give the number on the left. Also, there are eight categories marked out of five contributing to a total out of 35. Beats me what they've done.
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 17:22

Thought I'd give it a go Plum!
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 17:25

I have to take my hat off to RW for compiling these results. The numbers are a bit skewey at times, but the overall benefit to us, the runner, is fantastic.

I will never attempt a new race without checking these pages out first for a candid opinion of the terrain/ organisation/ vfm, etc..

And what a bonus for the race organiser. The comments should help them target improvements.

I can only see this growing. Well done RW
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 17:56


inevitan;y going to favour the big race though? As numbers matter? Or am I missing something?
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 18:07

I don't think that I voted for any of the mass participation races that I did as there's always enough comments on them. Far more useful (IMHO) to comment on the low-key races that people won't know about & probably need the support
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 18:15

From RW's home page the frightful:
"Horrendously expensive - medal shocking quality" (Name withheld - but you can find it inside...)

Let me guess which race is that one (13 13 13 13 13..BOND!!!)
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 18:29

I agree with Gavo, if we talk enough about the smaller races, I'm sure we can all find that something special the big races promise.

Also RW should put the voteing form with the race details in the events section.
Then each race will have all vote's counting for that event.

City Of Lincoln 10K
Lincoln 10K

are down as two events & I'm sure it's the same April date! so that means votes are divided!!!

After an event runners could vote on the race & event's must be the best place to look.
Posted: 08/01/2004 at 19:39

I'm sure the presentation and voting will improve - it has to! The representation of comments here is only possible due to the relatively small number of votes, and with mistakes like the one you point out, Tim, there has to be some kind of "pick list" for race titles at the point of voting.
Posted: 09/01/2004 at 09:04

This is one of the best features RW has ever done. In fact it's one of the best innovations I've seen since I started running.
I don't think the total scores matter so much: people will look at the individual categories and judge whether to enter a race or not on the basis of the categories that matter to them. The comments are even more revealing (and useful).
I hope the list will stay on the site till it's superceded by the list for 2004 and that RW will continue to post all the races commented on.
Well done RW and thank you!
Posted: 09/01/2004 at 09:32

Agree with Jonathan and many of the others above, the points system is fairly academic - as to some whether a race is good for a pb or if it is good for a beginner is totally irrelevent.
What makes this feature a complete winner is the alphabetical list of races with short comments that give a balanced reflection of the race in question if enough people voted. I've only got to B and already there are a number of races I would now be interested (Or not as the case may be) in running purely on the comments.
Thanks Runner's World and ,may the project continue and evolve!
Posted: 09/01/2004 at 19:57

I just dipped into the list so far and its definitly the comments and not the scores that catch the imagination. I want to find a race thats commented on both as a great race and a lousy one. Also found one of my own comments so I feel involved. A top class idea.
Posted: 09/01/2004 at 20:23

Just raced the Stubbington Green 10K now off to vote!

Was a great little race & worth doing again, about 1200 runners.
Posted: 11/01/2004 at 19:11

Same here BT for Milborne. It was a small race, but excellently organised and tea/coffee/orange squash/water at the finish line. Then everyone got a certificate a mars bar, bottle of beer or soft panda pop drink, hot soup (tomato or chicken)and a hot dog!

No showers, but adequate changing in the village hall.

Definitely worth doing if you happen to be in Dorset at this time of year!
Posted: 11/01/2004 at 19:29

I could have got a hot shower but I never had a towel.

There was homemade soup, hot drinks, filled rolls cakes & all thing's nice.

A nice finishers mug & t-shirts if you pre-orderd them. We never but would have if we had known them to be a nice dark green colour!
Posted: 11/01/2004 at 19:35

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