In short: Great Race, really thoughtful organisation, a must do event. In full: Fantastic race in a beautiful area of outstanding natural beauty. Parking easy, Registration a synch, plenty of loos provided. Great that its on a Saturday! Superb marshals and volunteers. Speedy results online. Tea and cake at finish a nice touch. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: Fast, Flat Course with great support - In full: This is the second yar I have run this, ran in 2015 and loved it so came back for a second dose. I have ran many marathons (big and small) and would say that this is a typical big city marathon but with much better support (apart from London which I have also ran). I would like to add that I travelled up and stayed on the doorstep so did not use any of the bagage areas or the toilets so those negatives here did not impact me. I never use baggage ares in big marathons as they are normally awful. However, what I would say I enetered this in the early bird when the date was not known so it was excellent value for money for me. The marshalls were wonderful and nearly everyone on the drink stations called you by name. The poeple of Manchester do not deserve the negative reviews as they came out in strength to support us, the organisers have badly let them down. However, I have two big gripes, how can nearly every mile marker have an issue with it, either, out, in twice or pointing the wrong way. Secondly, runners here need to look at themselves (sorry). I finished in 3hr 24min and getting out of the race funnell was awful and this was because of familes (I mean WHOLE familes)clogging up the way and refusing to move. Very thoughtless. I did think that it would be carnage when the bulk of the runners come in. My husband and kids met me away at the townhill basking in the sun.I would do this again but not for a few years only because twice on the trott is enough, maybe in 2018? Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: Good PB course and great support sullied by poor organisation In full: Pre race the village was poor. The number of toilets was woeful. There was a distinct lack of marshals or information for the runners. The bag drop off was a stressful mess.
Despite the poor start I happily ran a big PB and enjoyed the course. Bar the underprepared and undermanned 1st station, the water and gel stations worked well and were frequent enough. The volunteers and crowds on course were great and the atmosphere very good. The only negative was a few dodgy mile markers.
At the finish the medal and t-shirt were very good, the goody bag ok, and the alcohol free beer enjoyed. However it was very crowded and stressful getting out the funnel.
However the real sting in the tail was the disasterous bag pick up. I finished in 3:30 and it still took 90+ mins to pick up my bag. Not acceptable.
So a mixed bag for me, and i'm not sure I'd rush back to Manchester until they sort out the organisational issues. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: Really well organised, great event In full: A couple of miles along the canal towpath at the start and end with the rest being in hilly countryside along the roads. It was really well organised, the queues to register / use the changing rooms / get free drinks and cake at the end were never longer than a couple of minutes, and along the course there were mile markers all along and lots of friendly marshals along the route. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: Overall a good race, a few small issues though most were due to exceptional weather and dealt with pretty well In full: To put into context any problems, there were gale force winds and rain the night before which thankfully started easing off about an hour before the start and stopped completely shortly into the race.
As the university was on holiday for Easter there was plenty of parking available on site, however it wasn't very clear where we were meant to park or where the registration area was, although I gather signs had been put out but blown away.
Before the start the organisers made the decision to do the race briefing indoors due to weather and tried to get people into a starting formation to minimise the time spent waiting outside in the wind & rain. This seemed like a great decision and was good that they were thinking of the runners.
Once the race got under way, the weather brightened up and it was quite good running conditions really. There is a small climb towards the end of the 2-lap course which I barely noticed on lap 1 but was a bit tougher when tired near the end. The scenery was nothing special, but this was expected really as it's in a residential area.
Although mainly on open roads, most were quiet residential roads and there were plenty of marshals at all major junctions. I don't remember cars being a problem although I'm sure some people would have had to stop for a couple of seconds at times.
The mile markers were a bit ropey - mile 2 marker was at about 2.8 miles and mile 3 marker was missing. 1 & 4-7 seemed in the right place but then there were none on the second lap, which as the laps were not the same length I found difficult to tell how far to go especially as I was struggling.
Overnight in the high winds a tree had fallen on the course inside the university grounds which meant the course needed to be diverted, then after having run it once apparently they were told we weren't allowed to run that way. They quickly came up with another acceptable diversion between laps though this did mean it ended up being about 0.2 miles long. I felt the organisers did well to keep on top of things though as this is obviously much better than cancelling the race!
The marshalling was good, all encouraging and always clear where to go even when it had been changing. There were a handful of locals out cheering people on, not many but maybe would have been more in nicer weather. Plus one lad on his bike who seemed to be cheering people on everywhere, I think I passed him about 6 or 7 times.
Overall I felt the organisers did well to cope with the conditions, and keeping runners indoors where possible in the bad weather was IMO a great call. My only real gripe was mile markers in the wrong location (you can't blame the wind for it being tied to a lamp post 0.8 miles from where it should be) and none on the 2nd lap. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: A great day, marred by a small number of poor organisational aspects In full: Yes, there was a number of issues with this race, not least the totally unacceptable baggage situation (something I have heard was at least partially caused by limitations imposed by LCCC, but I'm sure that will come out in the fullness of time), but IMO some of the previous reviewers are being blinded by this issue. - How can somebody rate this event 3 for PB potential when in their description they say they PB'd? - I've seen people rate the race as 1 & 2 for atmosphere. Did they not see the 1,000s of people lining the streets for miles on end? Or the local choirs/bands playing? Or the speakers playing music along the country road? Personally, I had a fantastic day. I arrived by Metrolink and made use of the numerous toilets early enough to avoid issues. Then had no problems with bag drop. Enjoyed the support of the crowds and the bands on course. Ran a perfectly judged race (wasn't passed by anyone between 18&25miles) on the flat/fast course, and therefore got a 5min PB. Then picked-up my bag again without problem (Area B), and returned home using the adjacent Metrolink stop again. Hopefully Xtra Mile Events can put right the mistakes made this year and give the people of Manchester the event their support deserves in 2017 (I'll be there for sure). Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: I survived the Manchester Marathon Queue-a-thon In full: There is a lot of focus on the bag drop and this was terrible and blighted a lot people's day. Just think, you ran your first marathon in brilliant sunshine, you want to now go home and celebrate but wait, you can't, you now have to wait over two hours for your bag due to terrible organisation.
Ok, that aside? I was not a fan of non runners being in the race village, as they just get in the damned way. Sure you want to see mommy, or daddy after their run, but don't stop runners from getting where they want to be after 4 hours running.
But the rest? Wonderful atmosphere, the crowds were superb throughout. Lovely medal. Superb race t-shirt, loved the goody bag. Lots of water tables, lots of Jelly Babies, lots of gels for anyone that needs them. It is definitely a PB course. If they can fix the kinks this could be the UKs number 2 marathon.
But, as I started with it, I shall end on it, that people will focus on the bag drop disaster. Which is a shame, as there was so much good too. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: My first marathon experience - ruined In full: From the lack of loos at the start, the race pens changing colours and letters then appeared on my number, the 2 x 22 mile marker, no 26 mile marker, baggage-gate and a depressive wasteland of an event village - awful. I had such amazing high hopes for my first marathon experience. However the organisers made sure any buzz was killed by making me stand in the cold wind to claim back my bag. Being in its 40th year, & winning best marathon the last two years I was disgusted. It's made me seriously consider doing any big events again Date of review: April 12, 2016
In short: Enjoyable but let down by poor organisation. In full: I didn't use the Baggage Drop or Car Parking as I had booked a local hotel, so will comment on my experiences.
First the positives: - Great, massive, chunky medal! - Brilliant Marshall's and Volunteers. - That Non-Alcoholic Beer thingy at the end was shockingly nice. - Flat Route. - Great Support from locals. - Perfect amount of water and more Gel on offer than a Mark Lamar lookalike contest. - Toilets at the Start Line were adequate as long as you were there 30-40 mins ahead of the race start. Got a lot busier closer to gun time, but what do you expect?
Negatives (that I noticed): - Why no urinals? Those portable urinal units take so many people out of the toilet queues. - Massive bottle neck going through the finish funnel. - Mile Marker's were out on a fair few occasions. Was not a big problem for me as I'm slower than a snail, but for those pacing per mile I'd imagine it was quite irritating.
Kind of feels like (based on other peoples observations and my own) the organising company had an absolute shocker on the day. Maybe it was bad luck, bad planning, a bit of complacency based on previous years successes or a mixture of all three. I get the feeling Xtra Mile will have learnt from this year that you're only as good as your last race.
In short: NEVER DO THIS AS LONG AS CURRENT ORGANISERS ARE INVOLVED In full: This is without doubt the most poorly organised, dissastrously put on, inept and frankly dangerous event i've ever done. I felt safer when i was running around the brecon beacons completely lost with a couple of mates. All the negative comments this event has received are in my opinion wholly deserved. The organisers should be taken to task for gross negligence. Apologies and promises to make things right for next year are inadequate at best. The course itself wasn’t overly hilly, but it certainly wasn’t flat in the way the organisers touted it. To compare this shower of s**t to London and Paris is to compare a kebab to roast dinner.. If you are looking for a spring marathon do not waste your time or money on this one. Even though i got a PB, it has been marred by everything else. then to add insult to injury the photos look like a bunch of drunken baboons were given an old disposable camera and a keg of Newcastle brown ale and released into the crowds. never ever ever ever ever again.. Date of review: April 12, 2016
In short: Can't fault the Marshalls on the course or the supporters, they dre fantastic but every other detail was appalling In full: Baggage handling at the start was dire, you had to queue to hand baggage over. Directional signs were poor. There was no section pens for the differing paced runners so slow runners mixed with faster runners. No speaker system so we didn't hear the start gun.The archway that appeared to be the start was some 10 metres prior to the chip strip lines. The mile markers were too low and not easily visible. The finish was chaos, no foil to keep runners warm, ridiculous queues to retrieve baggage, which caused major distress to finishers who just needed to get warm,fed and hydrated and no signs as to where the family reunion area was. Appaling organisation I will not be running that race again Date of review: April 12, 2016
In short: awful organisation In full: I did a 6min pb, loved the run and finished in 3.25 so my favourite run. But.. the organisation was terrible, the stewards were great but whoever 'organised' the baggage drop and pick up should be fired. It was bad enough waiting for 20mins to drop off a bag at the start but the 1hr wait I had and 2+ hours many people had at the end was dangerous. If you've run 26 miles standing in line for 2 hours is seriously dangerous, if the weather had been cold / wet many runners would have been hypothermic. Shame on whoever was responsible for the truly appalling decision to make 10/15,000 runners queue up for to pick up from a bag pick up staffed by 5-10 people. You need to see the london marathon to understand how a professional outfit runs things efficiently with care for the well being of runners of all paces
In short: Worst city marathon I have done In full: Luckily I didn't get caught up in the baggage issues, but the rest of the organisation was not good. But trying to be fair here is my thoughts positive and negative. Positive:- A flatish course and good opportunity to see friends a few times. Roads are closed to traffic. If you don't mind out and backs you can see fellow runners on the other side of the road. Negative:- If roads are closed you don't need cones all over the place in the middle of the running side of the road so runners were falling over them. Lack of marshals and coordination at the start. Not enough people on water stops to hand out water. Finish was too busy, couldn't move, difficult to find the way out. Only water on route and some SIS gels, not to everyone's taste, thank goodness for lots of jelly babies from the crowds. Not one I shall be back to try again. Date of review: April 12, 2016
In short: Great location, easy parking and a few decent hills In full: This is my kind of event. Small enough so it isn't all cluttered but big enough for decent facilities. Location is picturesque as is the rural Wiltshire course. Parking was a breeze (I used Sainsburys). Chip and number collection dodle. Nice medal and T at end. Very friendly marshals (thanks).
Course is hilly at times. Hill starting 1.5m being the toughest but ok. After that a few ups and downs to keep it all working. The last bit off-road/track into the town was fine as dryish but I wouldn't have liked it in road shoes on a wet day.
Thoroughly good event in a great location and a dreadful PW for me.
(Future runner advice: dodge the portaloos at race HQ and use the toilets in West Central Car Park - near Sainsbury. Empty and the cleanest ever I've been in I think. Well worth the 20p!) Date of review: April 12, 2016
In short: Beyond abysmal. In full: The course was narrow with plenty of bottlenecks, the mile markers were randomly placed, the public had been allowed to mass in the exit of the finish area and the baggage reclaim queue was two hours long. By chance the weather was fair, had it not been so people would have died. DO NOT DO THIS MARATHON. Date of review: April 12, 2016
In short: Painfully disappointing In full: The crowd and runners deserved so much more from the organisers
No signs for portaloo's at start No official start sign Poor mileage markers Innacurate course (26.42 miles) Conjested route Obstacles everywhere Hard to pass runners/use water stations Poor finish shute Absolutely unbelievable scenes at the baggage drop Parking a nightmare
Basically everything which can go wrong for a marathon did. Suspect the organisers too preoccupied with sponsors rather than runners. How hard would it be to post a race booklet rather than email it for God's sake.
Day only saved by unseasonly good weather and a fantastic crowd. Date of review: April 12, 2016
In short: Great course, terrible, negligent organisation In full: The race itself and the crowd, supporters, volunteers and marshals were excellent and created a fantastic atmosphere.
However, it was the worst organised race I have ever endured. Hardly any toilets at the beginning, those that tried to use official car parks could not get in due to road closures, there were some issues with poorly placed mile markers too - not great if you're relying on them for pacing. The icing on the cake was, of course, "Baggage-gate"!!!
Honestly it was a complete joke... To begin there was a crowd of about 3000 runners all trying to drop bags of ~15 minutes before the race through a space the size of a double garage door... Then we were told to dump the bags and they would sort them out. Well, I'm not sure what happened for the next 3 hours, but when I returned there was already a 50minute queue and I was one of the lucky ones... Some people were waiting well over 2.5 hours - that's longer than the winner took to run the full course! Shambolic. In fact, it was worse than shambolic, as I've said elsewhere it was grossly negligent to leave runners stood still for HOURS in 11 degC weather in shorts and vests/t-shirts, AFTER running a marathon!! There were a few people being looked after by medics etc. unsurprising really. In fact it was down to pure lucky with the weather that they didn't have a bigger issue and more casualties.
The organisers should be ashamed of themselves and should not be allowed to organise an event of this scale again, they are clearly incompetent as I learned that the same fiasco happened in 2012 when this company (Xtra mile events) first started running it again. I will be writing to Run Britain and the British Association of Road Racers to see what can officially be done to prevent such a poorly organised run happening again - surely they can't have their licence granted again given 2 major organisational disasters in 5 years of running a race???
I will never run in any event organised by this company again.
The atmosphere on the route and the possibility for PB potential is fantastic, so it's a real shame for Trafford and Manchester to have an event in their neighbourhood tarnished like this.