In short: Best Half Going! In full: I have run quite a few big city 1/2s (Brighton, Birmingham, Royal Parks, Reading, Run to the Beat, Ealing) - but Bath is by far and away the best half marathon of them all! 2014 was a cold, drizzly day - but in no way did that dampen the fantastic atmosphere, incredible support from the people of Bath (the full way around the course) and the PB potential.
The start was smooth and efficient, and didn't feel too crowded. I liked the 2 lap course, as I knew exactly what was coming up in the second half of the race. Drinks stations were sufficient and well spaced out. The course ran through Bath (though not the very centre), and then out into the countryside a little. So although I'd class this as a city race - it was nice to see some scenery! There were a few short, shallow inclines - but overall a very fast course - which resulted in me getting a surprise 3minute PB! Great medal, decent goody bag with food/drinks - the Finishes t-shirt is cotton, not technical, which is the only thing letting it down really.
Okay, so this might not be the cheapest half on the market - but definitely worth paying for and making the trip to Bath. You certainly get what you pay for in Bath - and more! Three days after completing the race, I am still riding that runners/race high, and the memories of Bath Half 2014 will be fondly remembered for a very long time to come.
In short: A great first half marathon In full: Loved the Bath Half, great atmosphere and organisation was pretty good considering the numbers of people. For the price, a technical t-shirt should really be included in the goody bag rather than a cotton t-shirt.
Definitely back next year to shave 10 minutes off :-) Date of review: March 5, 2014
In short: I enjoyed the race itself, but bag collection was a fiasco. In full: I am seriously considering never running this again. The organisation of the bag collection was dreadful. The queue for race numbers 1 to 5000 was very long, it took about an hour for me to get my bag by which time I was shivering like mad.
Unless there is some public announcement and apology from the organisors, with a statement of how this will be improved, I will not run this race again. Date of review: March 5, 2014
In short: A fabulous event. In full: Tunbridge Wells Harriers have yet again put together a fabulous event. Efficient baggage, toilet queues minimal thanks to the organisation by the toilet marshals (not a glamorous job but so important!), a great technical T, lovely bespoke medal, bands, plenty of friendly marshals the people of TW out in force, results out and presentations made promptly...the list is endless. Some people have expressed a preference for bottles at the water stations but I think this is a point where opinion is split...I'd vote for cups! Well done to all at TW Harriers, here's to next year. Date of review: March 5, 2014
In short: I love this race - first did it in 1984 and keep coming back.....What a medal this year! In full: I love this race for the support from the people of Reading (regardless of the weather), the music en-route (spec the drummers by the Oracle) and the finish - what a finish! Date of review: March 5, 2014
In short: Well organised slick top quality race In full: I've ran a lot of the 'big' races and this is right up there for me. I've ran GNR, London and New York, all give you extreme challenges either getting to the start in time, or getting away due to the amount of people, it's not perfect to wait an hour for a bus home, but something I'm prepared to put up with for that finish. Bus queue aside, I thought the day was perfect, well organised and clear start, fast and even quite pretty course, this race though is made by the people of Reading who are really helping turn this into one of the 'Must do's' on the road racing calender, Thanks, will definitely be back in 2015. PS, medal is the best I've ever received. Date of review: March 5, 2014
In short: 2nd time for me. A fair old trip for me so probably won't do it again. Excellent course apart from the last couple of miles, the stadium never seemed to get any closer. Mainly flat course. 50 minute wait for bags took the gloss off it a bit Date of review: March 4, 2014
In short: Great Race, Great Atmosphere In full: I enjoyed the race, happy to wait 20 minutes until we got to the start. Atmosphere all around the route was brilliant with bands playing,people cheering and if you wanted to free beer! Sorry but the bad points, The annoying women from Heart FM at the start and the idiot with the bicycle who tried to cross the road taking out a female runner! Date of review: March 4, 2014
In short: A day to remember In full: This is the third year in a row I have taken part in the Reading Half Marathon and I’m always recommended the race to other people because of the support and atmosphere along the route. The support was again fantastic this year – I love how the people of Reading really make an effort and cheer people on. They are awesome and gives you such a lift!
I read someone else’s post saying how great it would be for the runners to be able to run a full lap inside the stadium, I must admit that sounds a great idea and would give you more time to soak up the atmosphere in the stadium.
It would be hard to give an honest assessment of this year’s race without commenting on the men’s 1-5000 baggage queue. It took 40 minutes to get my bag and that’s bad, however you look at it. I would say though I never had an issue with getting my bags the 2 years before.
The course definitely has p.b potential; I set mine here last year. I think people should be aware there are a few hills dotted along the course.
The medals when you finish are brilliant. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a medal as big and bling as this year’s was.
Finally, it’s the first time I’ve ended up in the first aid tent after a run, I just want to say thanks to the first aiders who helped me – they were great!
In short: Thank you yet again for probably the best half marathon in the world In full: This was my 6th TW Half so by now I am used to the incredible organisation and the vast numbers of volunteers who give up their Sunday morning to make this amazing race.
So, thank you to the organisers, marshals, HQ volunteers, people staffing the water stops along the route, picking up discarded cups and the first aid people. And also to the local residents and other supporters who turned out along the route and the bands booming / singing out along the route too.
And for traffic free and half traffic free roads thanks to the rolling closures.
As in previous years, the paper cups are excellent - so much better than plastic. For anyone struggling to drink from a paper cup and stay running, just pinch most of the rim together to form a small spout and pour in - OK, it’s easy to spill some but even I can get most into my mouth without having to slow down much. Maybe TW Harriers can somehow demo this process in next year’s pre-race notes or at the first water stop?
While the earlier start at 09:00 suited me this time and I was able to drive less than 20 minutes from home (as the previous 5 times), I did check out train times and noted that the first train out of London was cutting it too fine to get to race HQ with enough time before the start. Chatting with one of the marshals pre-race, apparently this train was cancelled anyway. It seems a shame that the earlier start prevents runners from travelling to the race by train. How about a start at 09:30? Or back to 10:00? Or invite Southeastern to run an extra earlier train on the day (as well as run the first timetabled trains)?
With the entry numbers reduced against 2013 and then maybe a higher than normal dropout rate, this outstanding race is suddenly smaller. Yet, surely demand to participate is at an all-time high. Is there and scope to negotiate with the authorities who decide on road closures to revert to the 10:00 start?
Thank you for the excellent race shirt and medal too. And for the text message with finish time received before I’d retrieved my bag. Date of review: March 4, 2014
In short: Big race, great support, good route....shame about the baggage arrangements In full: Pros: Professional; good value (improvement on previous years); great support along the course; great course with variety and good PB potential; great stadium finish.
Cons: too big...many people overestimate their ability causing hold ups on the course; baggage collection please sort out for next year...took 45 minutes to collect my bag.
Will be back in 2015!! Date of review: March 4, 2014
In short: Must Do Event In full: Goes without saying this is one of the toughest marathons in the UK, but at the same time one of the most enjoyable and rewarding. Great organisation, amazing scenery, killer hills, great support,bespoke medal. Shame it is unlicensed and only 26 miles rather than 26.2. Date of review: March 4, 2014
In short: Could be so much better with very minor changes In full: 2014 was my second EB Half, and my debut running event in 2013 other than parkrun. Being local I feel obliged to take part, although that may change if improvements aren't forthcoming. It's a fairly straightforward course, with a hill that increases in steepness at about mile 3 for 1 mile.
First half of the race is very scenic as you run along the seafront and up towards Beachy Head. As soon as you turn off the seafront towards the harbour at about 8 miles your head starts playing games, and it is very dull from this point, and spectators are few and far between at this point. People that made the effort were very supportive though.
A 79 pence medal was issued. I know they have to be careful with costs, but a bespoke medal would be one of the improvements I would make as it's not the cheapest half. It would be nice to incorporate a bit of town centre to the route and less harbour.
Organisation though is very good, race packs sent out early, good instructions, marshals etc, and availability of chocolate bars at the end made up for the medal a bit. Roads were reopened before end which was a bit of a shame for slower runners.
All in all, worth doing, and very well organised, but could be so much better with minor tweaks. Date of review: March 4, 2014