In short: A good race spoiled by a shambolic finish. In full: I'd chosen this as my first marathon after being unlucky in the London ballot, mostly because I have friends in Manchester that I could stay with. So firstly, weather was pretty much perfect (sun, but cool). Crowd support was excellent, with lots of high fives and sweeties being thrust at you along the route. It reminded me of Ealing half in that respect. The course was part rather dull urban streets (the race didn't go through the more interesting bits of Manchester), part pleasant leafy 'burbs and a little bit of countryside complete with a strong odour of cow ordure. Not really exciting in terms of views but OK. As promised, it was mostly flat - some inclines and declines but nothing you'd actually call a hill. PB potential is definitely there. Pacers and marshalls were excellent. Goodie bag and medal were good (nice shirt) but the finish area was a complete disaster. This being my first marathon, after a difficult, injury-laden prep, I was in quite a lot of pain afterwards. Couldn't find my way to the bag area and noone gave me a foil blanket. Eventually a nice young man gave me his after feeling sorry for me. The bag queue was hours long - not what you need after being on your feet for five hours already. I was getting cold and everything was starting to sieze up. Eventually I just went to the the front and told them I had a train to catch and they let me through but otherwise I'd have been there another hour at least. Totally unacceptable. There's a message of apology on the website with a promise to sort it out for next year but a lot of people won't be back as a result. I'd give it another chance, honestly, due to the local friends thing and the friendliness, but I'll likely try a different race next year. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Great half and marathon In full: I ran the first ever marathon last year and it was fantastic, but this year decided on the half as I have Brighton Marathon in 7 days. It's a great run, through lovely Kent countryside, quite hilly, mainly on road, and with a small field, but a great event and definitely worth doing! Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Horrendous organisation In full: - Baggage drop off not sign posted. Witnesses loads of people running with bags after the race had started- that was probably because it took 2 hours to park their car. - mile markers way off. The pacers got it right, but people may have missed targets because the course was way longer. - baggage collection - the worst ever seen at any running event (although it appears that Manchester have a history of doing this). How can the organisers not learn from experience. If they can't get it right after 40 goes, I'd suggest it's not worth the risk of entering again.
In short: Incredible challenge. Don't underestimate it In full: It's closer to 22 miles than 20 and it's around 4000 feet of climbing. The run doesn't really start until after Sidmouth as that's where the hills start. So take it easy, get to Ladram Bay and down into Sidmouth and get ready to take on Salcombe, Weston and Branscombe climbs. Harder than any flat marathon and it _will_ find out any weaknesses you have. But the views are spectacular and it's well run and supported so definitely worth doing if you think you have it in you. Date of review: April 10, 2016
In short: What a shambles! In full: Going to start with the positives. The Marshalls, pacers and supporters were amazing! This could have been a fantastic race. The medal and technical tshirt were both very good. Now the negatives.......where was the start? The obvious place would have been beneath the bridge not a few yards up with no markers at all to let you know you had actually started. The mile markers were way out! The mile marker appeared too soon and the rest were all over the place. I measured the course as 26.36 miles. The baggage collection was a complete and utter shambles. I queued for over an hour, cold, wet and tired, the queue had barely moved in this time, so had to give up as I had to get back to the hotel to avoid late check out charges. I then had to trek back to the race village to collect my bag. Totally unacceptable. Has put me off ever running this event again. Date of review: April 10, 2016
In short: Great race spoiled by criminal and incompetent organisation In full: Over 2 hours waiting in the baggage queue. Cold and hungry, despite what the official statement says I wasn't offered food or water - eventually got a foil blanket. It's all very well saying they will learn their lesson for 2017 but where's the accountability for what happened today? I will not return which is a shame as it is a good course and I got a PB Date of review: April 10, 2016
In short: Monster hill at the start, but well worth it for the view at the top! In full: Only the second time I've done a halfie, the long climb was tough, but such a sense of achievement at the top. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking and the latter half being downhill, fantastic local support, mile markers and 'Last 10k' feature were other great points! Would definitely do again and recommend to anyone up for a challenge whether more serious or not! Date of review: April 10, 2016
In short: Shambolic bag drop and collection In full: Felt I was getting hypothermia in the hour+ wait for my bag, hands were blue and I was shivering in sticky running clothes. Something needs to be done about this. Never again Date of review: April 10, 2016
In short: Had potential but incompetent organisation really let it down In full: First a couple of positives to try to be balanced. The route was pretty flat and definitely had PB potential. However, I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say the flattest in the UK. The support along the route was great and when it narrowed in some places it was really uplifting.
Now the cons:
1. The start was a bit disorganised. Why didn't they have a gantry or at least a flag at the start so you knew where it was rather than just stumbling across the timing mats?
2. why only 2 or 3 people at the first water station?
3. the lack of sufficient toilets at the cricket ground was surely something the organisers could have anticipated? The toilets you need for a cricket match and those you need at the start of a mass participation marathon are two very different things.
4. A couple of the mile markers were repeated. How can that happen? Besides that, they were quite small and hard to spot. You expect something better from big city marathons.
5. Last, but by no mean least, baggage. I can only assume this was organised by someone who has never been to a running race before. Assigning the majority of runners to a single drop and pick-up had disaster written all over it. I waited 90 minutes but I hate to think how long those poor soles queued who finished after the 4 hour mark. Added to that they seemed to be only one poor lady trying to organise the queue from hell. Where were the organisation team (in hiding?)
All in all, this is not a race I would recommend or go back to. Date of review: April 10, 2016
In short: Challenging but scenic half.great support throughout In full: My 1st time at this new route. Although hillier than the old route I still got a pb .the scenery is great for a city half.support was brilliant throughout the course.the only gripe is about the toilets at the start.nowhere near enough. Huge queues meant people were trying to find local shops open to use their facilities. There were no staff about to manage them so badly organised. Needs properly managed queues.well done to the people of Sheffield. Date of review: April 10, 2016
In short: Criminal organisation spoiled an otherwise decent race In full: We waited more than two hours to collect our bag - in the cold, with no food, having just run a marathon! Not acceptable, and had the weather been colder / wet, there would have been serious trouble. Marshall's were scarce, no information and a disorganised queue that snaked around and around. We're told that they found out two days beforehand that they wouldn't have access to as much space as they'd expected -TWO days and yet no contingency was in place. At drop off, it was clear there was an issue, but with 4 hours until the bulk of the runners cane back, nothing was done. It was a nice day - why weren't the bags laid out in number order? Not exactly difficult. When we got to the front of the queue (after 2+ hour wait), it took them 15 mins to locate the right bag as they were all dumped in a heap. A very disappointing end to an otherwise decent race. Start was a bit disorganised, and too few loos. But good support on course. We will not be back. Date of review: April 10, 2016
In short: Fast, friendly and enjoyable . In full: Nice and flat , great finish point . Quality medal / tech t shirt . Good support in pockets . Occasionally congested at times Definate pb potential. Would consider it again . Date of review: April 10, 2016
In short: The worst bag drop I have ever seen In full: This is a good race. Did it in 2014 and the organisation was flawless, loads of pre race loos, great, wide bag drop arranged by number - the way ALL the big races do it. And it's well supported with a nice wide course with enough stuff to keep you interested.
But this year I would describe it as an utter shambles. What was said in the meeting to review last year's race? "Yeah it was pretty good but what we should do is make a total mess of the race village and abandon things (i.e. the bags and loos) that have been working well". Really, really bad. The queue to pick up bags was a joke, and I managed to get mine relatively fast (a mere hour). I felt so sorry for people who were going to be queuing for 2+ hours in a chilly wind, with no money (hence no food) and no way to contact friends and family (if phone in bag). Oh yeah, and no announcements or information. What if it'd poured down like the day before?
Add to that the abstract mile markers and what others have said about the parking. It's hardly getting rave reviews, and all the criticism is fully deserved.
Good for first timers? The course is - undoubtedly. But they won't be back to this or possibly any marathon if they take away the queues and loos as their lasting memory. Shape up and get it right. Date of review: April 10, 2016
In short: Shameful organisation In full: Organisers take note. The parking is disgraceful. We left in plenty of time to park up but as we are not from the area the sign posting was awful. Found the car park at the football ground but only to be in gridlocked traffic (i ended up letting my husband wait in the que to park while I walked the two miles to the start). He didn't arrive at the car park until 8.55 so missed the start. Mile markers were all over the place and barely able to be seen. I thought I was going mad when I saw the 23 mile sign twice!! Also calculated the race at 26.4 miles along with all my running club. Can't comment on the bag drop as I didn't use it. Although these negatives in did get a 2 min pb and will probably be back next year! Date of review: April 10, 2016
In short: Great atmosphere and astonishing landscapes In full: This was my first half marathon and I will always have great memories. The atmosphere is awesome, with thousands of people cheering you along the way. The route is hard, Sheffield is hilly and the route takes advantages of the hills at the outskirts of the city, where the peak district starts. But if you don´t mind the hills, its obviously not a PB race, you can run along beautiful sceneraries that make the race worth it. For sure I will repeat! Date of review: April 10, 2016