In short: Great race over a tough but rewarding course, top goody bag! In full: Interesting and varied course with a mixture of terrain - tarmac, grass, firm trail, muddy trail, some long tough climbs and fun descents.
I think the 16.5 mile option is a good one - as it is a tough challenge but just about short enough that you can 'race' it without having to write off as long a recovery period as you would for the marathon. The final long climb out of Corfe Castle and up onto the ridge is particularly tough and I wouldn't fancy having that at the end of a race-effort marathon!
The atmosphere among runners, marshals, spectators and organisers was good. The goody bag was excellent. Shame that the forecast cloud did not appear as this year it was too hot for me - obviously cannot blame the organisers for that - the Dorset ice cream at the finish was a nice touch though!
If I was to have any criticisms it would be that the middle section - where the 16.5 route separates from the marathon route - could do with more/clearer marking. Might be partly down to my lack of experience at being at the sharp end of trail races, but I ran longer than necessary a few times as did the guy ahead of me whom I managed to call back a couple of times when he missed turns (if I'd have kept quiet I could have had his 2nd place!).
Enjoyable day though and I hope to be back...
Also note - nice to see races like these which bother to get a UKA Licence - so many offroad events do not. For those who take note of runbritainrankings this race hit the difficulty measurement cap with an SSS of 6.0! Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: Scotland's number one "big" marathon, by far. If you are coming to Scotland to run a Marathon, this is so much better than Edinburgh. In full: Brilliant organisation - 70ish coaches taking all the runners out to the start in convoy.
Breathtaking scenery, especially from the start. If carlsberg did race starts, it would be loch ness
Fuel and water stations first class.
Not much support en-route (but enthusiastic when it is) although great crowd support in the last few miles where you really need it.
Marshalls great. Thanks to them
Brilliant goodybag, not just random samples of stuff you don't want after a run like tea bags and bath oil. And a proper, decent, and pretty cool t-shirt (which says "marathon" unlike EMF this year), and brilliant medal.
A proper hot meal after the race! Brilliant.
The organisers of the Edinburgh marathon could learn so much from the way that Loch ness get so many things right. Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: well organised, good event! In full: Not done this before and not massively into large, big city races but was given a free place through a friend's charity, so decided to go along for a day out! The organisation for such a big event was amazing - short loo queues, really clear were we had to go, great baggage storage, couldn't fault it. My place was in the 1.55-2.15 pen, but i'm usually a 1.30-something runner - despite this, I managed to weave my way though a LOT of people (16,000 take part) and even my first mile was 7.05, so despite the huge crowds and wrong start zone, it was still possible to run fast,as long as you're good at dodging people in ipods with no spacial awareness! In places the course got very congested, but again, to be expected with so many people. Route was nice, bits of boring road but buckingham palace was cool and the weather was lovely which made the trees very pretty. Good support, nice flat route but seemed a bit random round the parks in places! I got a text literally as I crossed the line with my time on which was great - cool wooden medal and fab tshirt too. My place was free but had i paid £50 I'd still ave felt a little sort changed - it's a LOT of money, even for a very good half (London FULL marathon only £40-odd quid!) Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: nice race but early! In full: I think it was £50 to enter via the ballot, and places are highly sought after so your chances are low. I got in on the second chance ballot, in my second year, so I was determined to do it. Running through the Royal Parks sounded fun, although actually most of the route was in Hyde Park (start and then from mile 6 onwards) and I didn't really notice much scenery in the first part as it was more round the edge of the parks rather than through. Anyway, the main reason I wouldn't run it again is the early start. It can be really hard to get to unless you stay right in central London, as public transport will probably have engineering works! I had my journey all set then found out my train was cancelled so had a long drive to get another one! Once you are there, if you can get there before 8:15 the queues for loos and baggage are short, after that it's quite long. I wasn't in the first start pen so it wasn't a problem for me but if you are a fast runner you need to get organised early or you might miss your start. Pens are started in order, with a gap in between, which meant the course never seemed too crowded to me - enough space to run comfortably and overtake. The course is very gently undulating so has PB potential. All on paths or roads but with some nice views if you look sideways into the parks. Crowd support varied but was amazing as you re-entered Hyde Park, where all the charity supporters were too. There's food stalls and entertainment in the festival area - but my supporter said queues for these were enormous so he gave up on coffee while I was running. Lucozade and water on course is good but the water bottles were large and felt wasteful for a "green" race - perhaps smaller ones or pouches would be better! Overall, quite a nice race and well-organised but the sheer number of people means queues are pretty inevitable - and it will probably be an expensive day out with entry fee + transport or hotel. Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: Largely Rural with Loud Villages! In full: Good organisation that worked well on the day, although I don't remember having to queue so long to hand a bag in before. The first two miles of the route were great through the streets of York but after that its fairly quiet and rural but great support in the handful of villages on the route. The out and backs are a little tedious but overall I'm glad I did this once and enjoyed the experience but I'm unlikely to return. Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: "Of course I can run a marathon....." In full: 3rd time of running (can we have an "Ever Present" club now please?:-)), and it's got better in terms of organisation for the most part each time. The only thing I'd gripe about (apart from the only real hill, at 25.5 miles) are the ridiculous parking and transport restrictions and costs. Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: A run for runners organised by runners In full: Once again this race comes out on top. It runs like clockwork. A lovely course which is a good mix of road & trail running, with a couple of sneeky hills. The support is second to none, especially from the very cheery marshals. Try it for yourself!! Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: Challenging but very friendly and well organised. In full: Really enjoyed the race this year. The course is pretty challenging, I probably started a little fast, and really felt the undulations in the final three miles. Leigh was amazing, so many people out supporting, and unofficial water stations (which were great). Plenty of water on the way round generally though, it was just quite a hot day. I think I was one of the last people to go through Lower Haysden lane. It was obviously distressing to see, but the runner was being well looked after. The marshalls there and throughout were very supportive and helpful. I travelled down from Bristol for this race, and will definitely put it in my diary for next year. The goody bag was excellent, everyone who has seen the medal thinks its one of the best theyve seen. The t-shirt will see a lot of use, and the clif bar was exactly what I needed after the race. One minor point is that I'd have preferred the race numbers to have been sent out before hand, and the goody bag to be handed out at the end (just because then you dont need to store it anywhere).
In short: Gets better every year! In full: This is my 3rd Yorkshire Marathon, and I'm loving every one of them! I got a bit confused with the new bus and left baggage layout, and in retrospect, the map made sense (I couldn't picture where things should be as I thought they would be where they were previous years - it would have helped if there was a line in the booklet to let us know that the layout is different from previous years). It is a better layout, especially where the buses are this year - next to everything else. There were queues for toilets, buses, medal engraving, but the queues did move swiftly enough. Sufficient water stops, plenty of crowd supporters who were all very encouraging! There is a definite increase in jelly babies offered enroute. The massage was much needed and welcomed. I'll be returning next year! Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: Stunning, challenging course over beautiful Surrey countryside In full: The only negative was the removal, by members of the public, of route markers. Runners got lost! Perhaps signage publicising the event would have helped people realise what the plastic strips were for! Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: The best half mara in England In full: This is the second time I've done this route (Leith Hill) and although it's pretty tough it is an enjoyable scenic run. Miles 11 - 12 are grim! By far the best half marathon I've done. The organisation is impeccable and the breakfast after makes it all worthwhile! Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: The most gruelling marathon you can do through stunning scenery you'll never see due to the sweat, tears & concentration on not falling over! In full: OK, so you do get to see a lot of the beautiful scenery on this run but you have to concentrate hard on the fairly technical course underfoot and that in itself was as much of a challenge as the physical aspect. That said, the course is amazing, the marshals are brilliant and the other runners all helping each other along with words of encouragement is great. The only downside I can come up with was the yellow marker tape against the autumnal yellow background was tough to see in some of the sections but that may have just been down to my frazzled brain! Congratulations to Dr Rob and his team for putting on another truly special event. Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: The most enjoyable 10K I've ever done In full: A cool but bright autumn day, so ideal running conditions. Start and finish are in a pleasant Warwickshire Village setting. The course is mostly on scenic, country lanes - all closed to traffic. The one, fairly minor, hill arrives quite early, so is OK. Raceways organised it well, threw in some entertainers, a decent tech T shirt, water and banana plus a neat medal and winners trophies. SECO sponsorship must have helped significantly. What more could you want ? Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: A good race through some nice New Forest scenery In full: This was my first proper race, and I loved it. Not too expensive, and a good course. A nice challenge to step up from 5k or 10k races before attempting a half marathon. Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: Great scenery, atmosphere, organisation and value! In full: This was my second half, after I did this the previous year. The organisation was really good again and the event had a great atmosphere. I smashed my goal time - which was perhaps slightly cautious in light of last year's crawl at the end (the last few miles are slightly uphill). I like that this event is not overrun by thousands of runners, and is run by volunteers so that the proceeds go to the local club and charities. I shall definitely be back next year! Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: A great race - recommended! In full: This was my first half, so didn't know what to expect. The organisation was really good and the event had a great atmosphere. I like that it is not overrun by thousands of runners, and is run by volunteers so that the proceeds go to the local club and charities. Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: Extremely challenging but strangely addictive. In full: Awesome, extreme, quirky, fun, hilly, trail, mildly dangerous, fast in places, slow in others (those last steps), roll on 2017, or dare I say it - the picnic in 2016. Date of review: October 12, 2015
In short: Enjoyed it so much I came back! In full: Ran this last year as my first marathon, which always raises a few cheers of sympathy on the start line. Came back this year to revisit what is a truly memorable event and course, and although I was slower than last year (I blame the man flu, and leaving my training late) I enjoyed the whole experience so much more. Probably as I knew just how many hills to expect, and wasn't daunted when yet another arose in front of me.
Superb work by Dr Rob and team as always, will almost certainly be back in 2 years time, such a shame it won't be here next year! Date of review: October 12, 2015