In short: My favorite half marathon race! In full: This is my second time running this race. I was injured last year and was able to defer my place for this year. I ran on Sunday and the weather was perfect; the views amazing and the organisation is second to none. It takes runs like this to make you remember how much fun running can be. Being a gradual downhill route, you just know you will run a PB for a half marathon and it just allows you to enjoy all your hard work. I'll be back next year! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Fast and well organised In full: This was the second time I have run this smashing race.
Its flat or downhill for all 13.1 miles. Its off road with lovely views of the Derbyshire countryside. On the Sunday we were blessed with a sunny day albeit with a little wind, but it was dry.
Marshalls were great and we had water/sweets along the way. Its a smashing atmosphere with a fair number of not so serious runners. Its a good race to go for a PB though - I managed to knock 4 minutes off my previous best event.
Communication and organisation is fantastic, cannot fault it in any way. I'm pleased to say I've already got my form in for 2015.
Well done to everyone involved in this rather special event. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Well worth the trip In full: This is my second time of doing this marathon. And yet again we were rewarded with breathtaking views over the sea and glorious weather. The inclines were a little steeper than I remembered from last year but spectators loud and encouraging. Love the medal and t-shirt. Good shade of pink, not sure how the fellas feel about the colour though. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Brilliant Basingstoke In full: Very well organised and friendly from the car parking to the finish. Excellent marshals and really appreciated the bottled water rather than cups. Great medal and tshirt. Hills not as bad as anticipated and was SO pleased to be 4th in my category! Thank you for a fantastic local race. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Good PB potential, lovely scenery. Coach to start, but finish not where we had left cars, so we're a bit stranded! Ok as sister had come to meet us. In full: Pre race communication excellent, re coaches etc. However, we left car at Ashbourne leisure centre, where coach picked us all from, and the finish was short drive away, and we had no instructions how to get back to leisure centre. No 13 mile marker, and finish very crowded, benches and people just past finish. Marshalls excellent and friendly, lovely after race recovery snacks, and en route goodies too. I thought there was mention of a goodie bag, but we did not receive one. Showers available afterwards which is always a bonus! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: A credit to Basingstoke, the villages, supporters and the organisers In full: What a brilliant race!! This was my first half marathon and as a local I knew it would be tough, especially as I had only decided to do the race 2 days before. Not impossible but those hills were certainly a challenge for a first timer and a great sense of achievement at the end. The organisation was slick and along the course there were plenty of marshalls, water stations and signs to keep going. Anyone who knows this part of the world will know how fabulous the scenery is, especially the views across the town as you descend into Cliddesden (a lovely descent after the uphill through Ellisfiled and Bedlam Bottom). The support was great too - locals out everywhere with smiles and support aplenty. Would definitely recommend it to anyone as a good challenging half to do - even for those like me who aren't built for running ... A credit to one and all involved!! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Wonderfully varied course; woodland, fields, lanes, villages and beautiful countryside helps offset the pain of a challenging course. Well marshalled throughout by a very friendly team. Thanks for a fab race! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: WOW!!! Amazing scenery, fabulous marshals and a goody bag that puts every other goody bag I've received to shame!!! In full: I decided to run this race as I'd done VMLM 2014, wanted to run another marathon, but wanted to do something completely different! It certainly was different but not in a bad way...
Firstly the scenery was stunning!!! We were certainly very lucky in 2014 as the weather was glorious, (if not a little hot for marathon running) and so the views along the costal path, ridges and from the tops of the hills were spectacular. I had to keep reminding myself to look around and take it all in, although watching where you put your feet is equally important as the vast majority of the route is off-road on uneven ground.
The marshals were fantastic and so supportive and there are plenty of aid stations that were well stocked with all sorts of goodies. The support from members of the public was wonderful too... Like someone else mentioned, I also lost count of the number of times I said thank you for peoples kind words and offers of sweets. I'm sure many people trying to enjoy a picnic and the beautiful scenery on a sunny sunday weren't expecting 300+ runners to amble past them, but everyone I met embraced us with words of support and encouragement: this made the event all the more special for me!
The addition of chip timing was very welcome and meant an accurate time was possible, although a PB is unlikely for anyone unless this is their 1st marathon! The 3000+ft of climb certainly make this a challenging course that would require lots of hill training. Thankfully I live in the peak district so hills are the norm on all my off-road running routes.
Finally, the goody bag was like nothing I've ever seen before!!! We received a bespoke medal, a bottle of local beer (very tasty!), a technical running t-shirt, a dorset cereals bar and a tub of local ice-cream, all presented in a really nice kit bag for us to use again and again. What a wonderfully though out selection of goodies and a reason to run this event again and again all on it's own!
Starting and finishing in Swanage has it's own special place in my heart as my Grandmother lived in Swanage so I know the town well from many happy childhood holidays spent there. I'm now convinced that every marathon should finish by a beach as taking a dip in the sea when I'd finished was the perfect way to conclude a perfect race day for me.
See you all again next year! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: first of many (hopefully) In full: Was my first marathon and i loved it, can see why they do so many switch backs, as to keep it close to the sea front, plus u get to see your mates to offer encouragement if their running too. will be coming back next year and hopefully beat my time. awesome t shirt and medal too Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Great race In full: To give some context, I race quite regularly and ran yesterday's half in a very surprising PB of 1:39. I don't run many charity races but did this one as a friend of mine who is new to running wanted to choose a scenic half as her first. I came away thinking it was a pretty good half. I understand that people had problems parking on arrival, but BHF did tell runners to arrive with plenty of time and the car park opened 2 1/2 hours before the race! There were bad queues for exiting but I was one of the lucky ones who found a quick alternative way out.
The race was very scenic, and I know it all depends on the person, but I would certainly not describe it as hilly (and I hate hills). I think an accurate description is rolling hills (and my friend who ran it in 2:50 agreed with me, so we have both ends of the running speed/experience spectrum covered!) There are no hills that exhaust you - one or two that are a bit tiring but it's more gentle inclines, flats and gentle declines, with a couple of good downhills too.
They set off the start in waves - I went towards the end of the first one, thinking I should probably have gone in the second one, but ended up overtaking so many people who clearly shouldn't have gone in the first one! But I didn't really have any problems with congestion. There were a couple of annoying moments when you're trying to overtake the 10k runners who are hogging the path, but it didn't really bother me.
Water stations were frequent and it's fantastic having water bottles instead of cups but they were huge and it was sad to see all that waste - most runners only want a small amount. The first water station (obviously the busiest) wasn't long enough or well-manned enough so I missed out, and a later water station only had one person so it was a case of grabbing a bottle myself!
There was a nice amount of support on the course - lots of families at the start/finish and locals out of their houses in the pretty village we ran through.
I appreciate this is a charity race, but I would rather see a better, technical T-shirt or a better medal, instead of the average cotton T-shirt and average medal.
Bananas or something similar at the finish would be nice!
Baggage storage needs to be better organised - the bags didn't seem to have been put in number order so it took ages for the people to find mine! Oh and toilet queues went pretty quickly, which is always a relief 10 minutes before the start of a race!
I don't think they should charge as much as they do for spectators but appreciate it is a National Trust property and they charge more than that for normal visitors to the grounds.
One more thing - the course map displayed on the fence was wrong! It showed 2 laps of the big loop by mistake - we were quite confused when we first looked at it, then realised the error, not that it mattered but just thought I'd mention it!
All in all I thought it was a really good race - the scenery made it and of course I was happy to get a PB! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Brilliant first half. Friendly marshalls, welcoming runners, slight descent the whole way In full: My first half. I'm already looking to see what I can do next and planning next years entry. Highly recommended. Only thing missing was the spectators to cheer due to it all being off road, but the cheerful Marshalls encouragement made up for it. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Needs some fixing for next time but a good first attempt. In full: At points the run was pretty dangerous - no marshals and lots of traffic (no pavement). No water between Hampton Court and Walton Bridge and it was a warm day. The tow path was busy and difficult to get through for the slower runners especially as those who had already finished were milling about the finish which was also the 11 mile mark. The loop at the end was unclear as there was only 1 marshal and no signage. I wasn't sure if I'd gone too far or was going the right way. The marshals were great and very encouraging and generally there was a great atmosphere, just a few things to iron out for next time. Date of review: October 6, 2014