In short: Good race marred by awful organisation In full: Some good points - a flat course (I got a PB), great volunteers and lots of support. Plenty of water and gel stations, a well-stocked goodie bag and a solid-looking medal.
Unfortunately, many more negatives:
1. Terrible traffic on the way in. I had to abandon my car and jog to the start. Many others didn't make it in time
2. The start was poorly marked - only the presence of the timing mats made it obvious where it was.
3. Mile markers were erratic and difficult to spot - there were two 22 mile markers!
4. It was congested all the way round, with a number of narrow sections.
5. Water stations were just on one side of the road, and therefore chaotic - lots of runners darting in front of you and jostling to get supplies, a few trips as well.
6. The finish area was incredibly busy and felt unsafe from a crowd-control point-of-view.
7 The baggage pick up queue - which I escaped as I didn't have time to drop a bag thanks to the terrible traffic. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Loved it In full: A fairly challenging course but scenic and friendly. Loved the event HQ area, Villiage green with the church bells in the background (The beautiful sunshine helped I'm sure). Good organisation. Descent medal and a T shirt thrown in. Good value friendly race, I'd definitely run it again Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Challenging route ,great scenery,fantastic crowd -Great Race! In full: i ran the old sheffield route (from Don Valley stadium) many times and enjoyed it but the new route was much much better. The first 5 miles are a tough climb but the scenery at the top of the last hill is amazing and once you reach the top it is pretty much all downhill to the finish.The crowds were fantastic and I have already booked my place for next year -well worth adding to your calendar !! Well done to the organisers for delivering a first class event and thanks to the marshals and volunteers for doing a great job on the day. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: I leave this review as one of the survivors! In full: The course is pretty quick and the locals come out in force to make the atmosphere really good. Medal and t-shirt were good. On the negative side you could write War and Peace, the race has grown to a size where both the course and the general infrastructure in place simply can't cope. Roads were at gridlock getting to the venue, many people like myself started 30 mins after race had started, mile markers were not only inaccurate but 22 mile marker appeared twice which wasn't good for morale. As a late starter I didn't use baggage drop but scenes there were not good. Finish area couldn't cope with the volume of finishers and with lots of tired runners in close proximity of one another there was some argy bargy going on. Finally the goody pack was filled with an impressive range of hideous, cheap and nasty processed food products that no self respecting runner would put down their gullet post race. If you decide on this race you may get a PB but be prepared for a stressful day in getting it!
In short: Great race, awful organisation In full: Positives: - great atmosphere, very friendly & supportive volunteers and spectators - nice course and obviously relatively fast - no lack of people handing out jelly beans, nice touch by the locals. Appreciated!
Negatives, where to start - missed start of race as bag drop descended into chaos with runners ending up just heaping their bags in piles on the ground - signage, a Start sign would be nice & the mileage signs were not very consistent - finish line, over-crowded and lack of food, does anyone really want to drink a pint of non-alcoholic beer after a marathon? - very crowded after finish line with families, supporters etc. - bag pick-up, not much else to add, utter chaos with no food, blankets or communication. Missed my train back to Scotland and had to buy new tickets so not impressed. Tried to go to front to ask for my bag due to pressing train schedule (I had left 2 1/2 hours after the race to make the 3 Metro stops to Deansgate, not unreasonable I thought) but was told it wasn't their problem - given the baggage problem started at 8.30am should it really have taken the organisers until close to 4pm (I know as I was back in the queue for the second time as had to leave after 1-45 hrs to check out of my hotel) to get extra help? - such poor organization & communication, what would have happened if there had been a serious incident
Overall, could have been a really great race but the people of Manchester/Trafford were badly let down by the race organisers.
In short: The weather made the race successful In full: When the best part of the marathon is the weather & out of the control of the organisers you know there is an issue. Booked parking but no signage of how to get there, fortunately found somewhere a mile away to ditch the car. Bag drop off terrible, toilets, obviously not enough. Start line under whelming. Bag collection beyond ridiculous. The organisers are so lucky the weather was favourable as i don't know how many more first aiders they would've needed. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Naive organisers should be embarrassed In full: Lots of good things and lovely volunteers and supporters. But no excuses for getting so much wrong while boasting about being voted the country's best marathon in the past. If had been raining, and if runners weren't such a stoical bunch, it cold have got very ugly at the end. From car park signage through to baggage fiasco, simply not good enough. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Wonderful course, friendly runners, good organisation In full: One good innovation this year was the provision of large blue bins into which to throw (they were big enough for the mildly innaccurate) the water bottles. A really nice race over a challenging but manageable and very beautiful course with lots of downhill after the first 8K Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: The race director should resign In full: Too many things went wrong in 2016, two mile markers for 22 mile? A shamples at the start and the two hour wait for bags at the end. This race gas grown beyond the capabilities of the organisers who froze when it all started going wrong Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Mile marker and baggage tent disaster. In full: Course fairly flat, lots of water stations, good gels given out. although not exactly the same flavours as advertised as the stations. Mile markers completely inaccurate, especially the mile 19, not good enough when it's half a mile out. Split times on route a bit bizarre, you get a 21k split rather than a half marathon split which would be better and more useful. Baggage tent was a disaster, took over 40 minutes just to find my bag, caused me quite a bit of panic. Didn't get a foil blanket to keep warm, baggage team were helpful though in the search, and did bring me inside, the volunteers did well in what was not a well thought out system. Needed a bigger area or trucks. Great medal and technical t shirt!!! Support most of the way round. A fair few fast runners so if looking for a time your probably find someone to run with. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Fast race organisation gone downhill In full: I like Manchester and it was my third visit here. Pros: super fast course,great Pacers and marshals,dreamt atmosphere,nice medal,great parking at cricket ground once you could access it
Negatives: left at 5.30 from Worcestershire leaving plenty of time,I thought. Roads shut off and funnelled into a barely moving queue as the two marshals checking tickets had to give directions to those cars without.Poor signage to start,not enough to toilets.first mile marker at 0.6 miles.first few water stations not ready.The finish area is to packed with family and friends of runners.I am exhausted and have to fight through a crowd. I didn't use bag drop so can't comment. I did see the organiser of the Chester marathon there suggest Manchester speak to him to get back to the 2014 level.I will be back as the course is really quick,please heed the words of the wise on this page or you won't make fifty.
In short: A well organised event which i would highly recommend to everyone In full: A well organised event which i really enjoyed. I would recommend this race to anyone who is comfortable doing a 5k or maybe want to challenge themselves. All done to support Help For Heroes Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Flat course, outstanding marshals and local support: what a shame about poor organisation In full: Nice, flat route and absolutely amazing support from the locals who turned out in their thousands to cheer us on. But poor parking, not enough loos, incorrect mile markers, unbelievably bad baggage organisation and general chaos at the finish spoilt it for thousands. What a shame: I thought Manchester had learnt a very hard lesson after 2012. 2013 was great! Date of review: April 11, 2016
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.