In short: Absolutely fantastic In full: Brillant race, fantastic goody bag with puma tshirt, pottery medals plus a lot more. Free coffee, sandwiches and pastries at the finishing line. Even the local coop was there giving out cookies and flavoured milk. Then the ceilidh at the end.... Wow this town knows how to organise an event. Roll on 2017 Date of review: June 1, 2016
In short: Great support and on-course volunteers, let down by poor organisation In full: I was excited about this race, as it is a local one for me, but it was let down by the poor organisation.
On the plus side, the people of Hackney were tremendous in their support - a special thank you to those out with hose pipes to cool us down and the very vocal (and welcome) support on the "undulation" at 11.5 miles!
Also, there were plenty of water stations and they handed out bottles (not the pouches which you can't open) and the volunteers all along the route were great.
Baggage collection at the end was also very efficient.
Unfortunately, the pluses were outnumbered for me by the negatives, which arise mostly from the poor organisation at the start.
There were long queues to drop baggage off - all the while with the incessant commentary barking at us to hurry to the start line.
Once we had all been hassled to the start, we were left there, squashed in in the heat with no shelter and no information at all while the start time came and went .... and went.
At one point, in an attempt apparently to stop people squashing in, the organisers actually managed to push people further in to our pen, so we started to get squashed until we yelled for people to stop - not the adrenaline rush you really need before a long race.
After standing for ages in the heat, we eventually got going - but the field was horribly congested - I saw 4 people take a tumble in the first 2.5 miles.
Although there were around 12,000 runners, there was no wave start. In theory there were pens according to expected time, but the disorganised start meant that these were all mixed up, which meant having to weave around people, but that was difficult to do safely in the crowded conditions - and in many places, where the course is narrow, it was just not possible at all. It made it very difficult to get into a regular running pace, which was annoying and especially unwelcome on a very hot day.
I will not be back as I did not feel the race was safe - with such a large number of runners, it needs a properly organised, and marshalled, wave start with decent communication.
In short: Still a great race, but please sort the starting pens In full: This has been one of my favourite races, which I have done every year for the last few years. But I agree with the comments of others here - this year, the starting pens were not right.
In previous years, it was a model of how to organise the start of a race. E.g. last year, there were 9 waves and lots of information to count down to your start (unlike Hackney Half's awful start this year - never again). But, this year, there were only 4 waves and they seemed a bit random. It made the first k or so very congested, which was frustrating and I expect will put people off running it again. It is a shame, as in previous years the race has been so well organised and, the start aside, it was a great race and I still got a pb (with a notably quicker second half, once the field had thinned out a bit).
Good goody bag and t-shirt - although sizing was male so the "small" is huge on me. Now the race is more or less 50-50 men and women, can we not have women's shirts at the end too please?
The new course is still very good, although I miss the embankment course, where it is easier to cheer on the leaders coming back the other way. Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: This is the best marathon around In full: It's very hard to explain to those who haven't been there exactly how awesome a 21-lap marathon can be - but it's excellent. Do it. Just do it. Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: Really impressed and will be back next year In full: I really enjoyed this race from start to finish and thought the organisation was excellent compared to the various 10k races I have entered before. Great crowd support and uplifting music all the way really helped and I was very happy with the finishers technical shirt, medal and the goody bag. I got a PB over both the 5k and 10k distance so absolutely thrilled and personally I didn't suffer too much from slow runners in my way although I was aware of them - I was at the front of the green wave and by 1km I was passing people who had put themselves in the faster waves walking along. As irritating as it absolutely is, the organisers can't legislate for people who are going to put down an unrealistic time. It wasn't as bad as the Winter Run where you keep coming up behind strings of people walking four abreast with linked arms from the off! Overall it was a good race for me and I will definitely be back next year. Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: First timer and will be back In full: Excellent organisation at the start. I was in the second wave and was over the start line within four minutes of the official start (unlike the 30 minutes it took me to get over the line at the Reading half in April which had fewer runners). I think it is unfair to blame the organisers for slow runners in the blue wave. It is up to the individual entering to have a realistic idea of their ability but if they have not done the distance before then they may not know.
The crowd support and bands along the route were great, along with an excellent tech shirt (Reading, take note again). My race of the year so far. Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: Two main failings could have easily been avoided In full: 1. There were a large number of toilets but none of the urinal style ones which let to enormous queues. I have no idea why they did not offer these at such a large event, like every other race does. 2. The starting pens were far too big which mixed slow and fast runners together. Combined with the unavoidably narrow first few kilometres, it was extremely difficult to get past the slower runners in front. This was very frustrating and I'm sure ruined the chance of a PB for many people (fortunately not me). As well as making the pens smaller, they should have predicted finish time signs to group together runners of similar ability. Again, a no-brainer for a big event like this, even one that's only 10km.
The goody-bag was full of food and the tshirt is of good quality.
Would I pay to do this race again? Unless they addressed these two problems - no way! Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS EVENT In full: this was my second time and have already sugned up for next year.. From choosing your own number yo setting up your personal aid station, massive medal, beer and wonderful support this is a great marathon to do.. no crowds to weave through, wide flat obstruction free and no cars, kerbs, people crossing in front etc etc... excellent facilities.. Thanks!!! Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: A challenging run, with enthusiastic and friendly organisation In full: Being a local, I wasn't keen on the route on paper, with what looked like a lot of doubling back and repetition of trails. However on the run, this was logical, and flowed reasonably well, with a mix of trail and tarmac and enough inclines to make this a challenge. What made the event for me was the 'community' feel of the event, with enthusiastic marshals, good organisation, but not too professional. Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: Excellent big race although more undulating than flat In full: Great race and atmosphere - well organised. The course is harder than you expect though - being undulating on the dual carriageway. Great atmosphere at the end and excellent medal, t-shirt and goody bag. Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: Fantatstic event, superbly organised. Highly recommend. In full: Always enjoy this race (rain or shine). The organisers are first class and the event gets better each year, which is a hard thing to do but it does it! The course is a little challenging due to the laps and can be tough mentally if this is your first time running, just think of the medal :). The onsite facilities are excellent too (a post race shower is always welcome). I definitely recommend you do this race. Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: Hardly any flat running for ten miles In full: Beautiful Sussex scenery, lovely late spring day, brilliantly organised, but hardly anywhere for the ten miles is flat! Endless undulations and corners, so you never know what's next, certainly a challenge!! Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: Bring back the Embankment route In full: I have run this race since it started and have always loved it as well organised, fantastic scenery, great volunteers and excellent goodie bag. The tee shirt itself this year was a vast improvement on the previous two (we are back to a tech). I agree with other reviewers that the groups needed to be better sorted according to time, am sure i probably ran 11k (ok slight exaggeration!) what with all the dodging and diving around people. Previous years had groups within the waves that seemed to spread this out a bit. Bands around the course were fab as usual. Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: Yes, it is really is as great as everyone says In full: I hadn't done a marathon for 6 years and was looking at various events trying to pick one. Let's be honest 20 laps of a cycle track sounds like hell but I was persuaded by reviews and friends to do this and I was so glad I did. Can't really add anything to the other reviews - so well organised and everything you could possibly want. Just one negative for me though (and I accept I am almost certainly in a minority of one), personally I would have been happier with a smaller medal that was more in keeping with my ones from other races. Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: Amazingly organised,well executed with gurt big medal In full: 20 laps might not be for everyone, but you know exactly where any challenging parts are after a lap or two and unlike point-to-points you don't see a dot on the horizon knowing you have to run there! The race itself is very friendly with some of the best marshals and supporters I've experienced. With names on the bibs getting shout outs by people who don't know you was very encouraging - especially numerous times from the same people. Feed stations were well stocked/located ;) - facilities on-site great and did I mention the great big medal? Date of review: May 31, 2016
In short: Lovely scenery, wonderfully organised, best marshals ever In full: Super stoked for this to be my first half marathon. The course was very well designed and really well signposted and marshalled. Considering the park was quite small it made the most of the scenery. There were times you were surrounded completely by trees or running through lovely villages spots and others you would be running alongside a road. The balance was great considering the location. Participants and marshals were just amazingly friendly. Definitely the most enthusiastic and encouraging marshals ever! As I live in NZ I found it quite flat, but many people were saying the undulations made it a tough race. Would not hesitate to do it again, especially as proceeds went to the Maypole Project. Really proud of my medal. Date of review: May 31, 2016