In short: Nice race, but failed to learn the lessons from previous years In full: This was my first race 10 years ago, and I've run it maybe 6 or 7 times. It is a lovely route, off road with gorgeous scenery and a friendly atmosphere.
Some improvements have been made over the years for sure. I like the funnel start which was much longer than previous years and also marshalled - much better to get yourself into the right place. Also there was good support (mainly by the copper horse and finish) and also the marshals were plentiful. Technical Tee although additional cost was great. Parking issues were so much better and people were getting out nice and quick. Also the website is much better with an excellent FAQ section. All good stuff.
So after 10 years I've reluctantly decided not enter this race again. I hope my comments below do not read too negative; this feedback is shared in the hope that things can be improved in future races.
Despite every year people calling for the start time to be shifted forward from 1pm to a more sensible time, the organisers stick to this later start time. I bet the 2015 race will be at 1pm too. This means this race takes up your whole day, and you can't eat lunch before the race. Once again it was far too hot for a race to be held in this time of the day. The sight of so many runners being laid out and being attended by St. Johns was a very unpleasant sight. I fear it will take a fatality for the organisers to sit up and take notice and I'm sure nobody wants that.
Once again, silly cups of water were given out at water stations. These are near impossible to drink properly whilst running and also limits you to how much you can actually get down you. The emphasis seemed to be on minimising the clear-up for the organisers rather than keeping runners properly hydrated! In previous years they handed out Lucozade bottles at mile 10 so I don't get the argument about water bottles littering up the place.
At the end to be given one small bottle of water (and denied a second bottle!) and a Mars bar I felt was not adequate given the heat of the day. The queue for the water tap was very long, I didn't want to spend ages just for a top up and wanted to get off my feet.
Could the organisers consider some marshalling of the toilets as they do in other races? The queues were just way too long; given you only have 10 minutes to get started after the gun goes off this could be managed a bit better.
I really hope these issues sorted out and runners safety is put first.
In short: Great experience In full: An amazing and unmissable experience to run across the bridge,the monster hill at halfway was tough but once conquered it was a decent second half.the organisers deserve full credit for putting on a great race Date of review: November 7, 2014
In short: Super value In full: The start and finish were spectacular,maybe the middle parts of the race were less picturesque but overall a great day out in very warm conditions Date of review: November 7, 2014
In short: Shame about the weather which was it the organisers fault. This affected times. And if it had been better would have enhanced the scenery. In full: Yes, I agree with previous comments re diversion to right just after start. Apparently this was because of an obstacle "gate" added after course confirmed and meant race could not start wher intended, further back.However, the extrat distance should have been added at turn round point (2.5k). As it was it caused considerable tail bak of runners.
Overall intentions were good and I would recommend this very low key race for a PB. Date of review: November 7, 2014
In short: Fantastic marshalls thats about all it had going for it! In full: Marshalls and supporters were excellent cold wet miserable bu they stayed till the end.
Car parking nowhere near the start (not a problem for the start as got there early) but after the race having to walk couple of miles to the car not idea!
No problems with the course prefered it to the old 2 lap however prefer the stadium finish and the muddy bank to finish on was saturated never going to be any good in November.
Had a problem submitting my time to gb ranking power of 10, has now been rectified there was a problem with the bronze status.
Disappointing medal and t shirt for the cost although these arent the main reason for running.
I probably will run this event again though as its local, well marshalled however if there was another local half marathon at the same time I'd probably consider it over this race. Date of review: November 6, 2014
In short: Excellent!! In full: Fantastic trail marathon, great route and the views help take your mind off the hills!! Well organised, great atmosphere, superb marshals and capped with an excellent medal, t-shirt and cooked breakfast!! Will definitely be back. Date of review: November 6, 2014
In short: No problem starting and finishing in different places In full: Others have said how great the run and organisation was, so I'll just add that I found no problem starting and finishing in different locations. Two buses carried bags from the start to the finish, so I had a towel and track suit waiting for me. I took the train back to the start, where I had parked free of charge on the road near Birkenhead Park. I thought there might be a scramble for the train, but there were only a few runners joining it when I returned. There are, of course, other ways of sorting out the logistics, but this worked fine for me. Date of review: November 6, 2014
In short: Decent city 10k In full: The start was a bit of a bottleneck, especially when some people overestimate their ability and start too far forward! Water at halfway-ish. Decent support, especially in the home straight. Flat for Plymouth! Date of review: November 6, 2014
In short: Fave race of the year In full: 4th time doing this, great scenery all the way. Excellent value for money. Its a race that you will earn your medal. I did a marathon the week prior and ached more after this half. See you all in 2015! Date of review: November 5, 2014
In full: Lovely weather on the day made for PB conditions, cool with sunshine and dry for the run. A flat out and back course with a great atmosphere, very good organisation and mass good sense about appropriate starting positions by the runners. Although flat, some of the course required caution with uneven surfaces, a few puddles (recent rain) and some muddy patches. The car park soon filled but there was on-street parking nearby. Fair value considering the organisation involved, with good snacks at the end of the course. Well done organisers for bringing these events (1/2M, full M) about. The pleasure of the event could certainly be diminished by poor weather but as both events were fully subscribed this time, book early for the next ones to be sure of a place at the start. Date of review: November 5, 2014
In full: Yes - The race was started early and i was 'late' Yes - We had to park miles away Yes - The start was too far from the HQ But it has a certain charm.. And the volunteers and the supports were great and fairlands valley park is quite nice. You cannot enter a race in Stevenage and then complain about the scenery. To quote Fawlty Towers 'May I ask what you expected to see out of a Torquay hotel window - Sydney Opera House perhaps.. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It was a good course, but a little disappointing we did not finish in the Stadium this year. Didn't collect my t-shirt and medal as HQ was in different direction to the car. Was the t-shirt a proper wicks running one? Date of review: November 5, 2014
In full: Did the 2014 but no box for this. Great scenery too but no drop down box for that either. Really good event with superb medal, great team of friendly marshalls too. Date of review: November 5, 2014