In short: A little Gem from my hometown!! In full: 2nd time on this painfully but fulfilling course and even better than last year. Well organized and superbly marshaled. Support as always from the locals was spot on and very well received. Already signed up for 2015, cant wait. Date of review: October 7, 2014
In short: Hated it In full: My first marathon in 16 years since an abortive London Marathon in 1998. Publicly I had said I just wanted to get round comfortably and raise a few quid for a Myeloma charity. Secretly I had a goal, to run within two hours of my best time from 25 years previously. A target then of sub 4:40. My other target if that failed was to run quicker than the time 74 year old Pat Dobbs one of the London ever presents had done in April. From the word off I felt terrible, comfortable went out the window at the first sign of a hill, something, living down by the coast I was woefully unprepared for. From then on it was a struggle, mile after mile of misery, running from drink station to drink station, wondering if I could risk picking up what appeared to be bottles of discarded sports drinks. Thoughts of energy gels filled my mind, alas left carelessly in my bag. Minute after minute passed by, I could have easily stopped and headed back, but of course I didn't my brother in law's terminal cancer saw to that. On On On I went, taking a little walk every mile, just .1 of a mile, thanks Garmin you did help with that. Was determined to run the last mile, but the grassy field saw to it that I didn't, but still managed to jog the last bit across the line. Nice medal and goody bag, was told by work to wear the Pink T Shirt with pride. No, but I will wear it under a rain jacket! What went wrong? I think, looking back I went into the race badly dehydrated, not just on the day, but in the weeks and months leading up to it. I sure paid for that and finished officially in 4:56, missing both my targets. And here is the but and it is a big big but, would I do it again? a big resounding yes. The organisation was superb, the course great the Halstead Road Runners friendly and supportive and the people standing patiently for us tail-enders handing out sweets, Jaffa Cakes etc were brilliant. And as a postscript to all of that, the person serving in the Macdonalds on the way home near Clacton asked if I had been doing the Tour of Tendring Cycle ride was very impressed when I said no a marathon - I felt 10 foot tall - can't wait to do it all again next May. Date of review: October 7, 2014
In short: Fantastic event, picturesque route, excellent marshalls, exceeded expectation In full: Really well organised and slickly run event. The course is varied and challenging in places although the scenery provides a welcome distraction from the undulations. No brutal climbs, but the odd cheeky hill to test the legs out. The marshalls and spectators were fantastic expecially considering the race is on closed roads through rural locations. Would highly recommend this event to anyone looking to complete an Autumn Marathon and I will definitely be back in the future. Date of review: October 7, 2014
In short: Very well organised, fun event In full: Great scenery, with good support in the villages and on the return to Chester. The organisation is excellent, overall a very friendly, welcoming event. Hope to be back next year. Date of review: October 7, 2014
In short: Great race, nice course, excellent marshalls, a good time to be had! In full: The route is fairly flat with only mild undulations so I think a shot at a PB time could be had here. It's all on roads, apart from about 150 meters on grass at the finish, and you have at least one side of the road to run on except for one section on a main road where it was a bit narrow (2 or maybe 3 abreast at most) which isn't ideal. I really like getting a T-Shirt at the end; I know some prefer a medal, but not me; I do like a nice running shirt. Slightly odd was the 'half' banana. Not quite sure if the budget didn't stretch to a whole banana for everyone! That minor quibble aside, a fantastic run, and I've already pencilled this one in for next year. Date of review: October 7, 2014
In short: Great scenery,great route, great support, great cameraderie, great organisation. Just a great race In full: Fourth finish out of 4 races, and have entered for next year too. The views from the course never disappoints me, and though the hills don't get any smaller, it's still fun to meet them. Great atmosphere for the inexperienced runner too, and the public support is great when you run through the villages en-route. Keep up the good work guys! Date of review: October 7, 2014
In short: for an inaugural event I think the organisers did well. - but one or two improvements needed. In full: As already there has been commented the start was very congested and there was a lot of traffic on the roads even at 9.00am. Having run both the Surrey Half and then the Brooklands half marathons which had road closures I suppose I expected the same. Nevertheless, for an inaugural event I think the organisers did well. I would suggest the following improvements
a) Earlier start time (say 8.30am) to avoid the traffic – or have a system of rolling road closures along the Walton to Hampton Court road. This could at least be closed to through traffic from the Walton direction for thirty minutes in each section.
b) More marshals at junctions and along the towpath
c) At least one more water station
d) Have a PA system to convey information to runners – only noticed one hand-held manual megaphone
One particularly dangerous point was the first set of traffic lights (junction of New Zealand Avenue, Oatlands Drive etc) where the runners were several abreast and spilled out onto the road. Next year why not start of race on the SHEPPERTON side of the bridge. The pavement across the bridge is wide enough and by the time the runners arrive at this junction they will be spread out further. I have run the Great North Run now 24 times and the Tyne Bridge is one of the high-points of the race. The new Walton Bridge is Surrey’s 21st century equivalent – so why not incorporate this landmark as part of the route please?
In short: Lovely varied route, superb organisation, race venue perfect In full: This is a superb marathon, the organisation was flawless and friendly and helpful marshals. Only 2 negatives:- 1. allowing headphones, very damaging to the race atmosphere. 2. the shirt, nice design but I have a Small and it's huge, I measured it and it's 42 inches!!!! straight into the rubbish bin, what a shame. Date of review: October 7, 2014
In short: Hidden gem! In full: What a fab race, sometimes these big half marathons can be soulless Tarmac pounding affairs, but this race quickly transports you to lovely country lanes, there is a few hills to keep you entertained but it's worth it for the views. Organisation was second to none and they even organised great weather again!
If your looking for a quality event in the south of England, then this is it. But you will have to negotiate a few hills before your moment of glory.
Great support from local residents, especially clidesdden, you guys rock!
See you all next year Date of review: October 7, 2014
In short: Well organised friendly event In full: The marathon is well organised, lots of pleasant marshalls, lots of water stations although in the latter stages it would have been nice to have something with a bit more taste than pure water, toilets a plenty especially at the beginning , excellent commentary at start and finish and baggage well run. However, too many switchbacks for my liking and going through the finish at 18 miles especially as it was followed by two inclines was not only cruel to tired runners it just should not happen. When I finished other runners were going through the line with 8 miles to do, which must have been really hard on them. The medals and t shirts are good but unless I was mistaken every race that weekend 10k, half marathon , marathon all got the same ones which seems to be happening a lot nowadays at races. Come on organisers distinguish between races. Infact the 10k was Saturday and thus I already new what I was getting the next day as I was already in town for my race. The start was along way from the finish which wasn't good for spectators. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Pretty good, but not quite great In full: Well-organised, with friendly marshalls. I'd have preferred energy drinks to gels; in any event, whatever they had needed to be available earlier than 10 miles and more frequently. Expensive: and parking plus event bus ticket added another £12. The run along the beach front away from the finish from mile 21ish is particularly dispiriting. Still, all in all a nice day out, and the sporadic crowds were cheery. I was particularly impressed by the elderly people from a care home sitting around in comfy chairs drinking champagne at 1030. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Fantastic! In full: An uncrowded straight-ish trail winding down from Parsley Hay to Ashbourne. On a trail path so some loose stones in places. Open public access, so a few cyclists also. Well organised, base at Ashbourne for bag storage etc. regular water stations at roughly 3 miles apart. Great finishers medal. Good value for money. Stunning countryside! Also great PB potential too! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Tough course but well worth it In full: Second time of doing this race, and took 22 minutes off my previous time. Despite the hills nearly killing me this time. The pace makers are a great idea and the whole event was well managed, slick and local support was inspirational. The only improvement would be more water and energy bars at the end. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Lovely course, Nice medal & T-shirt and overall a great race In full: This is the first time I have participated in this race and I was pleasantly surprised how scenic the course is. The route mostly consisted of quiet undulating country lanes.
The whole event was very well organised, with good facilities at the HQ and the marshals were very supportive.
At the finish we received a nice medal, a florescent Technical T-shirt (great for training in the evenings) and a goody bag which included a choclate bar, packet of crisps, Sweatshop Voucher and a sample of SOS. All this for less than the price of most 10k races, what great value.
Well done Sittingbourne Striders, thanks for a great event.
In short: Signed up for next year In full: My first half marathon, challenging, but worth it. Some of the hills are a bit daunting, but when you get to the top really rewarding. I didn't expect to do as well as I did, so pleased with my result. Great atmosphere, pretty route, great marshalling. Date of review: October 6, 2014