In short: Utterly charming... but challenging In full: With two of running's most welcoming race directors running the show (Dave and Mel from Hermes Running, who also stage the fabulous Thames Meander) I knew I was in for a treat (and I'm not just talking sweet treats, of which there is an overabundance - think flapjacks, brownies and crisps, rather than gooey gels!) I'd never run at Bewl Water before, and was amazed that this little piece of Lake District-esque paradise is just an hour from my front door. Though the hilly course is challenging, the super-friendly marshals and aid station volunteers (and the top-quality snacks they hand out!) keep you smiling. The sections through woods carpeted with bluebells were a particular delight. I came last but wasn't made to feel bad about keeping anyone waiting. Gorgeous medal, gorgeous scenery, moreish carbs, an undulating course that uses ALL your muscles, and no cut-off - what more could anyone ask for? So thanks to everyone for a truly fabulous event. See you next year - with a busload of my friends! Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: My first ever half marathon and I thoroughly enjoyed it! In full: Even though I had put 2:15 as my time to aim for, and therefore allocated into the yellow wave, I was aiming now for a sub 2. I had no problems getting past people further in the race and managed 1:54! The first half is mainly uphill but they are relatively easy climbs. The pipers at the half way point were a great boost! More music over the route would be fantastic. Overall the support was great almost all over and people were handing out energy snacks. Plenty of water, but queues for the toilets. The medal and tshirt at the end are a great momento. Will be back at some point for sure! Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: Well organised, flat seaside run. In full: Extremely well organised and very friendly, good support and great atmosphere. Nice, flat and fast, was particularly lucky to have the sun shining today! Enjoyed running by the sea, its a feel good race! Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: Ruined by the badly organised staggered starts In full: In the interests of objectivity the vast majority of people probably didn't have this issue but for those of us poor sods that it ruined the race.
The organizers had staggered starts the year, probably due to the growing popularity of the event. They asked your estimated time and then (in theory) used this information to put you in a colored group that determined your start time. I put down an estimated time of 1:30 and for some reason was assigned to the last group(yellow) that started around 30 minutes after the first main group.
For me and a fair few others this replaced the usual 2 mile busy section at the start with a busy section lasting from miles 2-13 as quicker runners caught up people who were in fancy dress, had stopped or who were just a little slower. Apart from the start I spent the entire race zig zagging past people, running on the grass and outside the cones which was quite dangerous.
At one point I was running past crowds up a hill right up against the ribbon and a lady stepped out in front of me and I clattered into her(in her defense she wouldn't expect someone going past her quickly on a hill after 5 miles - those people are usually long gone!). She shouted "Jesus Christ" at me.. If I had been Jesus I'd have parted the crowds like the red sea with a wave of my hand! So I'd like to say sorry to that lady!
I can only think that either the organizers were swamped with people putting unrealistic finish times, they didn't organize the groups at all or I was one of the unlucky ones and this was an admin error (but a fair few people were effected by this). Next year I hope the organizers use RunBritain or Power of 10 rankings to see what times people can actually achieve and if someone has no past race times or their times are slow then put them in the same group I was in this year please. Unless they sort this I'm going nowhere near this race next year, I'm signed up to the York marathon in October with the same events company, god(or jesus) help me!
In short: Fantastic orgnisation, good support In full: Staggered start an improvement on last year. Plenty of water stations on a hot day, though personally I'd have prefered them at the top of the hill rather than bottom (Menwood Road, Ring Road). Great support on way round, lots of people handing out sweets, orange, unofficial water stations, lots of cheering at the finish. Can't fault the organisation, well signposted, no queue for baggage van, even toilet queue worked great with the metal barriers! (why don't more races do that?) Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: A half marathon of two halves In full: Once the first 6 miles are done all of hills are out of the way and the rest is flat and downhill. Can easily make up any time lost. Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: Overwhelming atmosphere, great route and amazing crowds In full: First time I have run a Half Marathon, thoroughly enjoyed it, the crowds and people in the communities we passed were amazing, really gave you that push to carry on. Brilliantly organised! Lovely route. Great day! First Half Marathon in sub 2 hours, definitely running the Leeds Half Marathon again. Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: Not fast or pretty but its fun In full: I enjoyed this run, its too hilly to be classed as a PB course and the route isn't exactly inspiring unlike some other hillier halfs like Sheffield but the organisation and goody bag etc were all fantastic as was the support round Leeds so I would recommend this race and wouldn't say anything bad about it, but I probably won't do it again myself. Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: Much improved In full: Done this race for last eight years or so - this year was much better, the graded start made the first mile or so far easier (though some of the people who thought they were going to run 1.30 were slightly deluded!) The atmosphere was much better this year - around West Park - with the bagpipers and houses handing out sweets,oranges - and hose piping us - was fabulous. I, inadvertently, entered twice - but one E-mail lead to a quick refund Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: Brilliant In full: No PB's on this one, the first 4km is quite steep uphill, but then downhill. Very friendly race, scenery excellent, and really well organised. For me, one of the best races of the year. One of a couple of 'definites' on my race calendar. Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: Challenging but enjoyable course, fantastic support and great organisation In full: Really enjoyed this race, first time running it and knew about the climbs in the first half but took it easy and it was great. Organisation was brilliant, really quick bag drop, great organisation on the toilets, queues were long but moved quick and lots of helpful staff about to point you in the right direction. The best part was all the support along the way, there were so many people out cheering you on and holding out oranges, water, sweets etc along the whole route nearly. Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: Great first half marathon In full: Well organised, my first half marathon. Everyone was very positive, lots of people cheering at the finish line which was lovely. Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: Fantastic Run and well organised with huge PB potential In full: 2nd year I have ran this race its with out doubt the best race I have ran absolutely love it roll on 2016 already signed up for this again Date of review: May 10, 2015
In short: Hard, Scenic, needs more signage and/or marshalls at the end! In full: I was doing the half, the second big climb and sharp descent was a real killer, hats off to the people doing the full marathon. Good medal, good t shirt, beautiful surroundings, free massages was a nice touch - well marshalled and signed all the way around until coming back into Stroud where I found myself wandering alone around the town centre and taking an extra half mile to find the finish. Not a disaster though because it's over-distance anyway and your time on this will have NOTHING to do with distance pb. Date of review: May 10, 2015