In short: Great experience for my second HM! In full: good organisation, c.2000, lovely people to run with! Echo points made on muddy HQ , I went so far as to spend 40 mins walking a back to my car to change socks and shoes. Ended up having a v brief warm up which I regretted at mile 11 with cramping legs - self inflicted I know. Would love to have had bottle water and would pay extra, 3 half cups didn't cut it. Would buy a small camel back for the next time. Thanks to the spectators and fellow runner encouraging me to drag my carcass up the final hill !
Race announcer's stand up routine raised a pre-race smile.
Only my second HM though I preferred Watford to Luton HM (even though Luton had the bottled water!!).
In short: Best Half Marathon in the Country In full: Firstly I can't believe no one else has written a review for the 2015 race! In 2015 the Swindon Half was taken over by SEQOL, who unlike the previous sponsors asked the local runners exactly what they wanted. The result was a very organised race, along with a great medal and technical t-shirt at the end. The route remains the same, which some people claim is a bit hilly, but Badbury is a gentle rise, leading to the fantastic view from Liddington Hill. Some great support at various points around the course. It also includes a five mile multi-terrain run and two mile fun run, which means your family can have a go, even if they aren't runners. Photos taken by Sportcam, who have photographers around the course. Plenty of car parking near to the start. I've completed sixteen half marathons so far and Swindon still remains my favorite, due to the price, organisation and the views. Date of review: February 11, 2016
In short: Nice Way to Round Off The Year In full: Ran this race for the first time in 2015. Normally don't run in November due to weather, temperatures, and of course bugs! However when I ran it the weather was OK. Race assembly was at Swindon Karting, I do feel a little sorry for them as it would appear the locals do not like traffic going to and from them regardless of which road you take. If going make sure you have proper directions as there are no signposts! Race was a double loop around the lanes on the hill tops above Wroughton so the race is relatively flat. At the end of the race there is a presentation, and race numbers are drawn for some lucky person to win a pair of running shoes!
In short: Danother barking mad, brilliant Mad Dog In full: I come home every year for Mad Dog and it is totally worth the 600mile round trip. Fantastic pre race organisation, well set up park and ride and start HQ. As always the wind was a bigger for 1st 5k but even Adrian can't sort that.. Flew round the 2nd 5k! Great goodie bag.. With socks, proper water bottles and a fab technical t shirt which I regularly wear after.. Date of review: February 11, 2016
In short: Great atmosphere but challenging hills In full: This is a lovely scenic course, once you get out of the housing estate, with fantastic marshals all along the route and some supportive locals too. There's a friendly atmosphere among the runners despite it being quite a clubby event, and the bag drop off and pick up was friendly and quick. I liked the t-shirt at the end. On the negative side: as others have said, I would much rather pay an extra £1 and have packs sent out beforehand. I wore my road shoes and they ended up the muddiest they've been this year, not from the actual course but from sludging about in and around the tent before and after. Number pick up didn't take too long, although there was a long queue, but it was another thing to worry about before the race. Similarly the queue for the portaloos moved quickly. I hung back a bit at the start as I didn't want to go off too fast, but then regretted it as the first mile was congested. So I would advise starting ahead of your predicted finish time. And the hills! They weren't as steep as at Berkhamsted but there were an awful lot of them. Not one for a pb in my opinion. Overall, I think Watford Harriers put on an excellent race, a good one to do as part of Spring marathon training. Date of review: February 10, 2016
In short: tough race but worth the effort In full: If this were a summer event then it would provide a completely different perspective. In the winter it’s cold (naturally) and bleak. Today it rained which kept support away and made it slippery and hard to see when hurtling downhill! But it’s a proper challenge, with relentless up and down terrain and little in the way of even paths and sanctuary. I guess some of the corners are acute which meant almost stopping in places, and even the flat sections rolled and took just a little bit more; if you can finish without stopping and break the hour then you’ve earned cake. Date of review: February 10, 2016
In short: Hardest Marathon I've ever done In full: You won't get a PB on this course it's as hard as the come. With 3000 odd ft of elevation this bad boy will really test you out. Fantastic views, great race if you like your trails. Will be back! Date of review: February 10, 2016
In short: Fantastic race with a tremendous atmosphere. In full: I really struggle to see how this race can be knocked. From start to finish the atmosphere was fantastic and not to mention the obvious care and organisation that had gone into it. The goodie bag, t shirt and medal could not reflect a better value for my money, which is why i continue to enter the Mad Dog each year. I have not yet missed one and don't intend to. I will certainly be voting for Mad Dog yet again this year and would like to thank everyone involved for making it what it is. Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: A challenging 10k In full: I opted for the 10k, nice to have the option, however with the hill this didn't make it the easiest 10k I had achieved, but had great scenery and was a good challenge. A small group did the 10k but a friendly one. well organised, well briefed and good medals, tshirt etc.
Will definately do again, maybe the half next time Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: Fast race - but spoiled by confusion over start and especially the finish! In full: A good course; pre race admin fine. Excellent turnout of spectators at the end.
I found the start confusing. We gradually moved from a walk into a run, but I could see no clear indication of the starting line until I was a few feet from the timing mats. By this point I had already switched on Garmin prematurely and had been (unsuccessfully) asking other runners whether the race had started.
There was a greater problem at the end. I ran over what looked like timing mats in the finish funnel and stopped - only to have the crowd shouting that I hadn't yet finished. I had to start up again, which definitely spoilt the feeling of achievement. Afterwards, I was told that many other runners made the same mistake.
In short: 2016 - lessons learnt from 2015 In full: The 2015 race was ruined by dangerous black ice on a really rural 4/5 mile stretch of the race. Bad weather happens but it was wholly remiss of the organisers not to forewarn runners beforehand.
Thankfully the 2016 race weather was not as bad as forecast but in any case the organisers gritted the road where necessary to ensure a perfect surface,
The course is basically a frying pan shape with the first 4 miles forming the last 4 as well. Course is flat save for road and rail bridges in the first 2 miles (and the last 2 of course). Scenery is rural but it's January and the landscape is flat so don't expect rolling green hills. I've done race 3 times and there has been next to no breeze on all occasions adding to PB potential. Huge racecourse grandstand can be used pre and post race, which is great in the inevitably cold weather. Long sleeve running tops have been in the goody bag every time which is pretty good. Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: This is what running should be like In full: So first off this is a tough marathon, don't come looking for a PB as Mother Nature will snatch that away. Mixed terrain course with rocks, boulders, slippery mud, sticky mud, coast paths, quarries, shin deep puddles, brutal climbs and tarmac but with stunning views pretty much all of the way. Very well organised and wonderful marshals, feed stations a plenty with all the good stuff (jelly beans, jelly babies, flat coke, crisps and chocolate). Top bling, shirt and buff for finishers. Oh and weather, its a lump of rock in the English Channel and its February, you better like a head wind. Bucket list marathon for sure, one of the UK's best and maybe one of the England's toughest? Bring on next year, and hopefully they will add an Ultra to the event as well ;) Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: After a while this becomes a picturesque half marathon In full: This is a very enjoyable half marathon. Apart from the first 5km set in a local Watford estate, the overall course is extremely enjoyable. It's one of the first HM of the year, which is why I have entered this race before.
I feared that the course was going to be a muddy, wet, puddled mess, but surprisingly it was set among beautiful countryside, with some hills that weren't too bad or too long. Very much appreciated the marshals on hand who supported you along the route.
My only gripe about this race is the strong 'no headphone' rule. I fully understand if there are road crossings but this is a gentle race along blocked off country lanes, so can't see what the issue is.
Also - the media is identical to that of 2014. It would be nice to look at a change of medal design for each year (just saying) Date of review: February 9, 2016