In short: Love the new Sheffield Half In full: Fantastic weather always helps but the course is excellent and the Sheffield support second to none. The City Centre is a great venue for start and finish, the organisation learnt from last years mistakes regarding bag drop off. The medal rates high on the bling scale the shirt is good quality but toooooo bright, the rest of the goody bag was poor. I love this race I look forward to the first six mile and then wait for the sting in the tail right at the end no good for a sprint finish. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Great race, great support; terrible organisation In full: Travelled with running buddy and arrived before 7.30am, took ages to get parked and then quite a trek to race village. Was hard to find baggage drop area and had to ask a few people..should have just looked for the queues, had to abandon bags on floor to make the start in time.
Start was a bit odd, start waves from pens would have worked so much better. Didn't actually know where the start was until I'd crossed the mats.
Crowded but great route for the first few miles, lots of people running into/tripping over road cones. It did get better as we headed out to Altrincham, brilliant support all along the route though and fantastic crowds. Great marshals but it was difficult to get to water stations without tripping over other runner. Mile markers seemed wrong, sure I saw 2 22 mile ones?
Race finish was good and a great reception, but it was absolute chaos once back in the race village, with 100's of non-runners blocking passage through from the finish line. Thankfully I was pretty calm and pleased with the medal, tshirt and pint of alcohol free beer (very nice touch) but, as I'm sure many will complain, the baggage collection was an absolute farce and I had to wait around an hour and half to get some warm clothes on and recovery fuel down my neck.
This is my third marathon, and the only other one I've done with a similar number of competitors (Athens) was really, really so much better organised than this.
I cannot understand how it has previously scooped awards Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times In full: It really was a tale of two halves. Great support from the crowds and the marshalls, the route was good, the weather lovely. Awful organisation. The start was vague, unmarked, and unremarkable. Mile markers out of place (and duplicated), mayhem at some of the drink stations where there were not enough people to hand out the water. The baggage! Oh, the baggage. I was lucky, I had a high number and could sail through to pick mine up. I only knew I could do that because a friend finished earlier and told me, otherwise I would have waited the 2+ hours everyone else was waiting. Too crowded in the race village and I only got my shiny blanket because I managed to pick one up someone else had abandoned. I would only do this race again if I'd read several years worth of good reviews following this one. Although, come to think of it, that's why I chose this race in the first place, because of the good reviews in recent years. What happened? Did the move to the cricket club create some catastrophic problems that couldn't be resolved before race day? And that's another thing, don't change the start of a race after people have already started to register for it. That's it, I'm done! Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Definitely won't be back In full: PROS: Support from marshals and crowd was amazing, couldn’t of asked for better. Course was very flat and the medal, tech tee and goody bag was great.
CONS: Not enough toilets (but to be fair, you could say this of most races). There didn’t seem to be an actual start line which was a shame. The mile markers were way off, especially ’19’ which appeared only half a mile before ’20’. They were also very small and hard to spot but hopefully this made it harder to notice how inaccurate they were! I guess a lot of runners use GPS watches but still, how hard can it be to put a bit of cardboard in the right place?
DEAL BREAKER: Baggage collection. Oh my word. I have been to MUCH bigger races than this and generally have my bag back in under a minute. The longest I’ve ever queued for is probably about 5 minutes. This was ridiculous and an utter shambles. After running a marathon the last thing we all needed was to be standing around for hours getting colder and colder with no supply of information and no sense of progress. The queue just seemed to wind up and down with no indication of where it ended and giving no idea of how much longer we’d be stuck in it. Having traveled up from London and standing in the queue for over an hour getting more and more panicked about missing my train home I finally spoke to someone who was pretty unwilling to help. After explaining that I’d paid over £80 for the tickets he suggested I just leave my bag there and hope they posted it to me, which wasn’t an option as the train tickets were in my bag!! He finally did get it for me which I am extremely grateful for so thank you that man! But I felt so sorry for the rest of the runners still left in the queue for god knows how much longer. This really spoilt what was a great event up until that point and there is no way I would ever consider taking part again. But a big thank you to the marshals and supporters along the course, you were amazing. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: challenging course but effort = reward In full: My first half marathon. Having recently lost 5 stone through running I decided to enter as a recognition of my personal achievement, I managed a time of 1 hour 50 minutes which for a 50 year old weighing in at 17 st 7lbs took some doing, many thanks to my running partner for verbally dragging me around the last 3 miles !, great event, well organised, great atmosphere, but needs more toilets. the public of Sheffield were superb, if I had taken a jelly baby from everyone that offered I would have put 5 stone back on !!, thank you Sheffield. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Flat PB course with bursts of enthusiastic locals. Too Many issues - needs ctrl/Alt/Delete In full: Marathon promised much - got race number and details in advance and enjoyed info from website/ twitter feed. On evening of race I noticed the Mobile tracking ap has a 1/2 Marathon split and then a 20k split (12.4miles?). Tweeted Marathon organisers...think it got fixed but no reply to me.
Stayed in Manchester and got the 7.30 tram to the race village. Bag Drop was easy - no queue at this time. No queue for loo's if you needed a wee. Anything else...wait 20 mins.
Made our own way to start - there was no obvious signage about the warm up area...
Waited 15 mins for a wee in toilets at start line (which, as usual, were pretty disgusting) If had not been tactical with Queing would have missed the start.
Start underwhleming. Compared to GNR it felt like the start of a local village race. No obvious start point...set watch off when ran under arch....but mats with 10 seconds after that.
Many of roads too narrow for volume of runners. We were in the 3.29 group and had to drop back a bit.
Cones were largly ignored from start and saw a few people fall over them. We were shouting "cone", "kerb" and "car" quite often.
I didn't see any mileage or water station signs until someone pointed them out to me. Should be 10 foot in the air.
Plenty of gel and water once you worked out how to time your collection.
Mile markers were out from the start... I think mile 19 was .5 mile late...and 22 miles was seen twice (we all just laughed and stuck with our Garmins).
Locals were ace - I grabbed Jelly Babies and there was a lot of support on about 6 or 7 main turns.
Finish line was great.....
*** all the the above didn't particularly bother me during the race - and I nailed a sub 3.30 as per plan ****
Then you get the packed finishing area....
The signs for Baggage collection were blowing around in the wind...so struggled to get bearings for a while.
Found ourselves at back of 400 or so person queue. Slipped finishers Tee on and actually felt fine. Realised that the queue was gonna to take +1hr. Thankfully my wife agreed to collect our bags so we could rush back to hotel on tram and get changed before incurring late checkout fees (£20 per hour). One bag could not be located so magnificant wife went into tent and found it herself. total time - 90 mins (by this stage I was into my second beer in town!)
Pictures of queues for 4hr+ marathon guys was sickening. My wife saw 70 yr old people with no food or warmth..was offering people her coat.
Good job it was a sunny day - 12degrees....genuienly think there could have been very serious issues if it was cold or windy.
Having done GNR, Stratford Marathon and Chester Marathon I was seriously underwhelmed by the event.
I love my PB....but as a race it need a total rethink. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Good for me but then I didn't have a bag In full: Mile markers were odd in a number of places with two signs in place at at least 2 places - can be mentally tough when it gets into the hard part of the race. Once is unfortunate - more than twice isn't a coincidence. Trying to get out of the finish was hard with the number of non runners allowed in - give people some space when they have finished running please. The cricket ground looked like it is having major work done on it - did that limit the space available? Generally nice and relaxed around the start - toilets an issue but then aren't they always? Nice medal and shirt. The crowds were fantastic and did Manchester proud - thank you! Course is a quick one. I didn't have a bag so my view doesn't relate to that.
In short: Good race marred by awful organisation In full: Some good points - a flat course (I got a PB), great volunteers and lots of support. Plenty of water and gel stations, a well-stocked goodie bag and a solid-looking medal.
Unfortunately, many more negatives:
1. Terrible traffic on the way in. I had to abandon my car and jog to the start. Many others didn't make it in time
2. The start was poorly marked - only the presence of the timing mats made it obvious where it was.
3. Mile markers were erratic and difficult to spot - there were two 22 mile markers!
4. It was congested all the way round, with a number of narrow sections.
5. Water stations were just on one side of the road, and therefore chaotic - lots of runners darting in front of you and jostling to get supplies, a few trips as well.
6. The finish area was incredibly busy and felt unsafe from a crowd-control point-of-view.
7 The baggage pick up queue - which I escaped as I didn't have time to drop a bag thanks to the terrible traffic. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Loved it In full: A fairly challenging course but scenic and friendly. Loved the event HQ area, Villiage green with the church bells in the background (The beautiful sunshine helped I'm sure). Good organisation. Descent medal and a T shirt thrown in. Good value friendly race, I'd definitely run it again Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Challenging route ,great scenery,fantastic crowd -Great Race! In full: i ran the old sheffield route (from Don Valley stadium) many times and enjoyed it but the new route was much much better. The first 5 miles are a tough climb but the scenery at the top of the last hill is amazing and once you reach the top it is pretty much all downhill to the finish.The crowds were fantastic and I have already booked my place for next year -well worth adding to your calendar !! Well done to the organisers for delivering a first class event and thanks to the marshals and volunteers for doing a great job on the day. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: I leave this review as one of the survivors! In full: The course is pretty quick and the locals come out in force to make the atmosphere really good. Medal and t-shirt were good. On the negative side you could write War and Peace, the race has grown to a size where both the course and the general infrastructure in place simply can't cope. Roads were at gridlock getting to the venue, many people like myself started 30 mins after race had started, mile markers were not only inaccurate but 22 mile marker appeared twice which wasn't good for morale. As a late starter I didn't use baggage drop but scenes there were not good. Finish area couldn't cope with the volume of finishers and with lots of tired runners in close proximity of one another there was some argy bargy going on. Finally the goody pack was filled with an impressive range of hideous, cheap and nasty processed food products that no self respecting runner would put down their gullet post race. If you decide on this race you may get a PB but be prepared for a stressful day in getting it!
In short: Great race, awful organisation In full: Positives: - great atmosphere, very friendly & supportive volunteers and spectators - nice course and obviously relatively fast - no lack of people handing out jelly beans, nice touch by the locals. Appreciated!
Negatives, where to start - missed start of race as bag drop descended into chaos with runners ending up just heaping their bags in piles on the ground - signage, a Start sign would be nice & the mileage signs were not very consistent - finish line, over-crowded and lack of food, does anyone really want to drink a pint of non-alcoholic beer after a marathon? - very crowded after finish line with families, supporters etc. - bag pick-up, not much else to add, utter chaos with no food, blankets or communication. Missed my train back to Scotland and had to buy new tickets so not impressed. Tried to go to front to ask for my bag due to pressing train schedule (I had left 2 1/2 hours after the race to make the 3 Metro stops to Deansgate, not unreasonable I thought) but was told it wasn't their problem - given the baggage problem started at 8.30am should it really have taken the organisers until close to 4pm (I know as I was back in the queue for the second time as had to leave after 1-45 hrs to check out of my hotel) to get extra help? - such poor organization & communication, what would have happened if there had been a serious incident
Overall, could have been a really great race but the people of Manchester/Trafford were badly let down by the race organisers.
In short: The weather made the race successful In full: When the best part of the marathon is the weather & out of the control of the organisers you know there is an issue. Booked parking but no signage of how to get there, fortunately found somewhere a mile away to ditch the car. Bag drop off terrible, toilets, obviously not enough. Start line under whelming. Bag collection beyond ridiculous. The organisers are so lucky the weather was favourable as i don't know how many more first aiders they would've needed. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Naive organisers should be embarrassed In full: Lots of good things and lovely volunteers and supporters. But no excuses for getting so much wrong while boasting about being voted the country's best marathon in the past. If had been raining, and if runners weren't such a stoical bunch, it cold have got very ugly at the end. From car park signage through to baggage fiasco, simply not good enough. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Wonderful course, friendly runners, good organisation In full: One good innovation this year was the provision of large blue bins into which to throw (they were big enough for the mildly innaccurate) the water bottles. A really nice race over a challenging but manageable and very beautiful course with lots of downhill after the first 8K Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: The race director should resign In full: Too many things went wrong in 2016, two mile markers for 22 mile? A shamples at the start and the two hour wait for bags at the end. This race gas grown beyond the capabilities of the organisers who froze when it all started going wrong Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Mile marker and baggage tent disaster. In full: Course fairly flat, lots of water stations, good gels given out. although not exactly the same flavours as advertised as the stations. Mile markers completely inaccurate, especially the mile 19, not good enough when it's half a mile out. Split times on route a bit bizarre, you get a 21k split rather than a half marathon split which would be better and more useful. Baggage tent was a disaster, took over 40 minutes just to find my bag, caused me quite a bit of panic. Didn't get a foil blanket to keep warm, baggage team were helpful though in the search, and did bring me inside, the volunteers did well in what was not a well thought out system. Needed a bigger area or trucks. Great medal and technical t shirt!!! Support most of the way round. A fair few fast runners so if looking for a time your probably find someone to run with. Date of review: April 11, 2016
In short: Fast race organisation gone downhill In full: I like Manchester and it was my third visit here. Pros: super fast course,great Pacers and marshals,dreamt atmosphere,nice medal,great parking at cricket ground once you could access it
Negatives: left at 5.30 from Worcestershire leaving plenty of time,I thought. Roads shut off and funnelled into a barely moving queue as the two marshals checking tickets had to give directions to those cars without.Poor signage to start,not enough to toilets.first mile marker at 0.6 miles.first few water stations not ready.The finish area is to packed with family and friends of runners.I am exhausted and have to fight through a crowd. I didn't use bag drop so can't comment. I did see the organiser of the Chester marathon there suggest Manchester speak to him to get back to the 2014 level.I will be back as the course is really quick,please heed the words of the wise on this page or you won't make fifty.