In short: Good intentions but seemed to forget that the runners were fundamental reason for being there! In full: If a race is advertised as a closed road race I'd expect that I'd finish without having to do battle with cars from 4km onwards. Yes, I was one of the slower runners but the roads were being opened as I ran past signs stating that they'd be closed until 11am, and yet this was before 11. There was no marshalling for the last 1.5k and I was left going against the flow of finished runners, very few of whom moved over to let us pass, and with no one directing us to the finish which required us crossing 2 lanes of traffic and running through a busy car park. More thought required about placement and good briefing of marshals and their role. Every runner from first to last deserves the same treatment. Starting late may have compounded this. Very disappointed. Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: Amazing organisation and volunteers In full: What an amazing day! Gels, water and powerade available at regular intervals. The support from locals and volunteers/marshals was fantastic. Foggy today but the views around here are fab. Nice touch of being announced as you come into the finishers funnel, very quick text receipt of chip time. Great goody bag including chocolate x 3, crisps, protein shake, powerade, water, tshirt, gorgeous medal. Park and run Service great VFM and well organised.
Can't think of any bad points, loved it! Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: Another great race - never disappoints! In full: This is my 4th year doing Henley and I cannot fault it - good value for money, good location, easy parking and a nice atmosphere.
Quite a few people complained about the limited number of toilets, and I do agree however the instructions do say to arrive at 8.30am which I did, and given it took 15 mins to park, then 10 mins to walk, I was had still time to queue for the toilet, but then it was straight to the race so I guess if you got there any later, they yes you would have struggled to get to the loos.
Marshalls very encouraging throughout, great support - and it remains my PB back in 2010 so I'll be definitely coming back next year! Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: Glorious sandy trails in picture post card perfection In full: This was the 10'th anniversary of a brilliant race, superbly well organised, with chip timing, and a fab x country course with superb views over Poole harbour and Studland. The terrain is challenging with lots and lots of soft sand/dunes etc with the last few miles dodging the sea on one side and dogs and walkers on the other. Despite its weird distance (7.5 miles/12 k'ish), this is a great event with probably the best medal and goody bag I've ever been given. Well worth a race. Well done the organisers and the encouraging marshals. Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: Nice run but a bit chaotic In full: Firstly, great to see Roger Bannister and also to run the Iffley Road track, that was a privilege. Route was pretty good but a bit dull in the first couple of miles, however.....
"Mile" markers that were not every mile! I'm not sure what criteria was used but a Garmin would have helped..... Plus, what was going on at the start? Waiting for ages in the cold with reports of varying start times (we eventually got off 20 mins late). Park and Ride worked for me but had to wait around for ages at the stadium when I arrived.
All in all, it was alright. The best organisation was at the end, medal, water, goody bag, out. Perfect. Needs a bit of work and with this, could be a great half as the support and bands were great. Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: Shambolic organisation this year, please improve quick! In full: I will try to avoid ranting. Before I start my review of the 2014 race, I want to be clear that OHM charge £32 for (affiliated) entry putting it at mid-high price bracket. It has also been running for 4 years, therefore teething problems should be sorted by now.
Entering through the website was very straight forward, although if you are affiliate athlete make sure you know your number. Entry pack arrive in good time with everything you’d expect. So start day arrived, an early start I arrive in Oxford outside the Kassam Stadium at 7:50. There is an option to park at the stadium for a prior charge. I had not paid the charge, but stupidly put the wrong postcode from the pre-race leaflet in my sat-nav. I re-checked the leaflet, and followed the new directions the 2 miles or so to the Park & Ride. This journey (according to the nav should take no more than 10 minutes). (Not a complaint at this point, my own silly mistake). I got to the ring road and with in ¾ mile of the turning with in about 5 minutes. The rest of the journey took 1 hour 10 minutes. With only one Park & Ride, the majority of runners appeared to be heading for it from 3 different directions converging on one entrance. The obvious result was a huge tail back in all directions. I then joined a massive queue for a bus. I would seem that the buses had to come in the same way of the cars! Thus they were sporadic at best. Hundreds (I am not exaggerating) of runners were still queuing for buses as I finally boarded mine and we set off for the start. We were dropped, not at the advertised drop off but, at a housing estate a short walk away. The time now being 9:35 (scheduled start was 9:30). Rumors spread that the race had been put back, this was confirmed as we arrived at the ‘Runners Village’ by some of the marshalls. We were told until 10am. So I went to find a cubical to relieve myself. However, the one toilet had only one (male) cubical, which had run out of paper! I later saw some porta-potties, but by then it was too late. So I went put my bag into the secure tent, the attendant was very helpful, taking my bag and pointing out where to pick it up. I, along with many others, were then hurried to the start. I arrived at 10am, however, the vast majority had already been sent on their way (over 10 minutes before, I later found out). For those that have not raced Oxford before, it is not the most picturesque . The majority is on roads around the more industrial areas, there is very little (if any) of the more inviting sights of the city centre. I was prepared for this, but I think the flat course and good spectator along with a lovely few miles along the river Thames, help make up for that. (Although passing is difficult along the side of the river). Oh and not to forget the Bannister mile, though not a wonder to behold, there is something very uplifting and nostalgic about treading the hallowed ground. The website claims it is a ‘traffic free’ race. Well, I would dispute this comment; there is traffic along long stretches of the route. I do concede, however, that there is a section of road coned off for runners so the is a safety gap. Marshalls are enthusiastic and do a grand job, although they are a little sporadic at some points. Water stations could be more regular too. This is only a minor issue though. So to the finish, which is at the Kassam stadium. It’s a great place to end because it means friends and family can cheer you in on the (plentiful) covered seating. As I walked to the through to the goody bags I realised it was the same organisers as at Bath half. The medal was fine, but the T-shirt, what can I say, very basic white cotton with an awful design. Why can’t they do a technical T-shirt (like 2 years ago) or at least put some effort into it. Perhaps do something different, like a towel, pullover, mug or something. The goody bag, as well, was nearly empty save some leaflets and toothpaste?! I had got a PB, by chip-time although nowhere near by the gun! I wandered through the runners village, a total of around 5 marquees and ventured to the line waiting for the buses. Things hadn’t improved! The line was so long, once again no buses, I decided to walk back to the car (roughly two miles). I left Oxford feeling thoroughly disappointed, despite the PB. For an event that is in it’s 4th year, at the price they charge, it really has a long way to go in the organizational stakes. But, the one thing it has to sort is the Park & Ride. That can’t happened again. My suggestion would be to have two locations (at least), it would certainly relive the traffic, which would enable the buses to run more efficiently. There is nothing more frustrating than not being there for the start of the race. I know some people didn’t even make it across the start line. I do want to love and recommend this event, but I can’t.
In short: Nice course but bit shambolic! In full: First time at Oxford - we managed the parking & park & ride fine but clearly loads didn't - the start was put back to 10am, but then all of a sudden we were off at 9.50 with no warning - luckily we were lined up but I'm sure many weren't! Not sure about the green start thing as there were LOTS of slower runners at the start - we had lined up in the right start zone but spent the first mile dodging much slower runners who had been lined up ahead. Very annoying especially as loads had iPods on so no special awareness! Next gripe (and my main one) was the mile markers were AWFUL!! The first one came after 6.15 ( we were running a 7.30 all the way round), & then they were literally all over the place - 4 mins between 6-7 (!) then 10 between 9-10! If they're going to be that inaccurate you may as well not bother! I dont wear a garmin so found it hard to know if i wss on track had i not asked a man running near us! The course itself was lovely in the main (bit boring at the start & end) and the bands and support were FAB - really good touch. The staff at the stadium were fab, nice medal and tshirt and no problems getting back to the park and ride at all. Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: Very freindly but extremly TOUGH 20 miler In full: This is the first time I have done this race and loved it I will be back, hills are hard but I love down hills and there where plenty of them. Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: Great medal In full: Very well organised, lovely medal and tech top. Loads of toilets. Finishing time was sent by text fairly quickly after crossing the finish line. A couple of sneaky little hills, especially after mile 24. For a city centre race it soon got into the countryside. Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: A great challenge, a good community backed race. In full: My first ever 10k and already I cannot wait to tackle the course again. I found the Petts Wood 10k course challenging but the marshalls and members of the local community do a great job of cheering on and motivating the runners. Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: Interesting & scenic course with a great atmosphere In full: Really enjoyed this event. Very friendly with fantastic marshals and a technical t shirt to boot! Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: Great race. Lovely scenery. In full: Organisation spot on. Steady start through Chichester before gradual climb to bottom of the Trundle. About the 4 mile mark it becomes steep! Another 2 miles to the top and then it's mostly downhill to the finish. Nice goody bag too. Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: good trail run In full: Really enjoyed the race and the route. I am generaly not keen on laps but on this race you really did not notice when you started the second lap. Slowstart with hills and mud but able to pick up the speed with downhill running. Overall the course was very good and far better for the knees than running on concrete. The nearest to trail running you can get in London!
Just a small grumble needs more attention to detail after the race. Many runners had to ask where the water was, the person giving out the medals did not know. I was told to ask the guy at the bag drop off but he did not know. Eventually came across a table right at the far end. 2 extremely large container water bottles were left with no organiser there to help. Very difficult to lift two of us had to lift to pour whilst another held the cups. One guy became a bit fed up with everyone asking him to pour the water whilst he had the large water bottle lifted as I think he was in much need to just drink water:)
Also did not pick up the teashirt after crossing the line no one there giving them out so like the water you had to go and look for them and it went of of my mind after the race.