In short: Great first running of this marathon In full: Really good, well-managed marathon.
The scenery was lovely, so although it's not *super* PB-friendly, you end up not minding too much. And as you don't have 10,000 people around you, it's great to not have to walk the first ten minutes to get to the start line.
The fact that it was such a small marathon did make it feel a bit lonely sometimes, however! From mile 13 to mile 16 I didn't see a single runner behind or in front of me! In that sense, it felt like a training run sometimes, albeit one with friendly marshals who gave you water.
I think we were lucky to have had dry weather recently. I wouldn't have liked to try to negotiate the exposed tree roots and uneven running surface after heavy rain.
The only thing I'd like the organisers to change, if possible, would be the figure-of-eight loop that meant you sometimes had to head off on the right path, sometimes on the left. The marshals did a good job of keeping track of us and pointing us in the correct direction (as I was at mile 15, the people around me were at mile 11 and the marshals were able to spot this), but I think the possibility of human error should be removed. If a lot more people sign up for this marathon next year, it'll be much more difficult to direct runners to the appropriate path.
The above notwithstanding, however, it was a great day. Well done, people at Nice Work. Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: Good challenge, great course, scenery, support and goody bag In full: The course is multi terrain so choose your trainers carefully. I wore road trainers and these were not up to the job really. Felt it in the Achilles and calf areas.
The course was very picturesque, a good quiet route. Support was plentiful in areas dotted around the course. Good starting area at the town park, as it gives spectators the opportunity to wave people off and take kids on to the play areas or go shopping if they so desire.
Very impressed with the goody bag for the price. Other half marathons only offer a t-shirt and get all defensive about cost of medals. Everyone loves a medal! Good quality technical t-shirt, medal and snood(?) given along with bag of sweets and excellent flapjack - very impressed. Also, other half marathons have stated that bottled water is too costly when we had this at all stations. Good work.
It is a challenging course, as I haven't done multi terrain before, but is accessible to first timers. Did feel a bit clubby, as there seemed to be a vast amount of club runners out of the 600 or so runners.
Not many things I can say for improvements to be honest. A few more portaloos would be handy in the park to save public urination and having a slightly more organised start with people lined up in their predicted finish times would be useful. In addition to the latter, I would advise releasing each group 30 seconds apart from each other, as the first mile seemed rather narrow and impossible to pass the slower runners.
Great event, well organised, would recommend for a day out for all the family for shopping, sightseeing or playing as well as supporting the run. Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: Boring. Very, very boring. Couldn't wait for it to end In full: By far the dullest marathon I've done, the course is very uninspiring. The crowd support was ok in parts but there were large stretches of unsupported areas, largely because we were running through industrialised areas or on big roads which were not spectator friendly. This was marathon number 9 for me. I've never ran the same one twice as yet though I will return to the ones I've really enjoyed. It's a definite NEVER AGAIN for me on this one. I've never been so bored on a race in my life.
Negatives Horrendously dull and mentally demoralising course Cheap looking medal Toilet queue situation was terrible. Waited 40 mins for the loo before the race Mile markers were often out of synch with the actual distance. The first mile marker was at 0.6 miles! Asics tracker app was posting gun times, rather than chip times on Facebook. My Chip time was over 6 minutes faster than gun time.
Positives Fast and flat Beginner friendly Small water bottles at feed stations (easy to refill your own bottle with or carry) Good supplies such as drinks given out at the race festival at the end
In short: Great alternative to big city Marathon. In full: Really well organised race. Scenic route including a section of Pilgrims Way. Very supportive and friendly marshals along the entire route with well stocked aid stations. Few hill to keep it interesting. Will be back! Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: Quiet undulating country lane marathon with great marshaling. Well organised. 1st time for this event. Would recommend doing for either half or full marathon. Parking limited at start area, but plenty of road parking available. Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: Loved it!!!!! In full: A great challenging 10k with a couple of inclines and a nice downhill finish. A well ran event in a lovely area with some great views. Well done to everyone involved. Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: Stunning as always In full: Great parking. Love the early start as it gives you the rest of the day. Good registration and chip / number collection method. Okay facilities. Chip timing was very good. Marshals were very friendly and helpful - full of cheer and smiles. The route is glorious (a few challenging bits that make you work). Just love this event. QUALITY QUALITY medal - worth it's weight in gold. Banana, water and chocy bar after - also home cooked snacks for sale to raise money for the school. Another fine job Darent Valley. Thanks go also to Anthony Roper school and the very patient drivers who were held up for a while. Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: The toughest yet most enjoyable of all runs! In full: Very organised, great photography, regular feeds of updates on social media leading up the event. Welcomes all abilities. Although the course is challenging, there are only two major hills with the rest undulating. In addition there is a lot of welcoming downhill sections to compensate! Post race there are stools and treats which is great. Chip timed and instant results put up for show!
In short: Great scenery, lovely race, well organised In full: Loved this race. Apart from the huge hill half way round! Loved the 2k downhill finish. Extremely pretty run through some quaint little towns and countryside. Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: Altrincham Rocks! In full: Really pleased I entered this race. Yes, it's not full of landmarks or easy on the eye but the atmosphere and support were superb, Altrincham for half marathon distance needs special praise, they were great!
Agree some of the milemarkers were a bit out, but pretty much bang on distance when I got to the end, so dont really care, missed most of them when huffing and puffing round anyway :) Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: Fantastic inaugural event, one of the best. In full: A challenging course but scenic and low key with 85 finishers. I really hope this becomes a permanent fixture on the race list as it is really is a fantastic event. Ample water and feed stations, mile markers, excellent signage, bursts of local support, enthusiastic marshals, decent start finish & HQ. Nice medal, T-shirt, drinks bottle, massage, safe baggage area.10/10 from me :) Date of review: April 20, 2015
In full: Great atmosphere - wonderful people of Manchester and surrounding area. Inaccurate mile markers inexcusable. 3 minutes for mile 26? Joke. Get your act together organisers. Highlight was meeting Paul Lake at the end in the massage tent - City legend. Would I do this race again? A resounding no. Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: First marathon - had a great time! In full: Stayed at Premier Inn Old Trafford so parking and pre-race loo stops taken care of as only about 5 mins from start line. Would recommend.
Weather was perfect - overcast and cool, with light winds.
Plan was to try and stay with the 5 hour pacer - pacer was fab; shouting, encouraging, cajoling, bossing, all in good fun. Pace group started to walk on some of the inclines, so I kept running and overtook at 10 miles and managed to stay ahead for the rest of the race, coming in at 4:54:54 so really chuffed!
Mile markers seemed a little erratic, but between them, the pacer and my Garmin managed to pace OK.
Plenty of water stops, very well stocked. Only one gel stop, and gels and isotonic drinks were not made available until only a short time before the race - as I hadn't trained with them I didn't risk them on the day.
Great support throughout most of the course, several hotspots and great entertainment but even just the average resident who came out and clapped was really encouraging.
Course is pretty flat, only a few motorway bridges and inclines to deal with. No real bottlenecks at my pace. My supporters went round on the tram and in a car - tram although crowded was more successful than car, but between them I had support at probably about 8 or 9 spots around the course which was fantastic.
No probs at finish, straight through the chute, goodie bag and T shirt were decent, medal is a whopper!
Overall a hugely successful first marathon for me - thanks to all the organisers, marshals, supporters and entertainers. Would thoroughly recommend as a first marathon. Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: Hills, woods, a river crossing, tea & cake, brilliant In full: Couldn't ask for more from the organisers. The whole event ran really smoothly. Particularly enjoyed the river crossing, despite shoes filling with water and squelching for about a km - all part of the fun! Testing terrain but only one hill that I had to walk part of, the rest was do-able and there was plenty of downhill for recovery. Nice mix of trails and grass but watch out for some uneven footing and tree roots. Tea and delicious cake back at the village hall at super-cheap prices. Hoorah :) Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: good day In full: I live local so can't comment on the parking issues, but the rest of the setup was slick and well organised. marshalls and water stations were excellent!! Great support in the usual places Start\Finish, Brooklands, Timperley and Alty....the rest of the route seems to have dropped in volume and some areas were almost apathetic....can't really blame the organisers for that though.
In short: Not for Bling-Chasers but Egyptian cotton nonetheless!! In full: This race will be remembered by me as the race where I was presented with a glorified muslin at the finish line, not a medal! However I live in Flitwick which is why I said yes to doing it again. I'm a slow runner (always have been, always will be) however there was a good mix of club and unattached runners which always gives a race a nice feel (in my opinion) and makes everyone feel welcome. Even when the last runners were finishing there were still plenty of marshals around and they didn't feel like they had to start breaking camp as soon as the majority had finished (like they did at Watford Half 2015). Not sure why the decision was made to give towels instead of medals at this event and it may impact the number of entries for future years. Well worth a consideration by the race organisers. All the marshals were very friendly and the road junctions/closures were well managed. I would re-consider the location of the water station; halfway down a hill isn't ideal. A few minor tweaks and I'd expect to see this event appearing in the RW magazine top races booklet in the Jan/Feb edition. Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: Well Organised, Flat-Fast-Scenic Course, Friendly Atmosphere In full: I really enjoyed this event yesterday. The organisation was great, everything ran smoothly. I went on my own and before the race i must have spoken to at least 6 people, and after the race i hung around for the presentation and must have spoken to another 10 people. The atmosphere was very friendly and welcoming. The course itself was fast. It was very flat and nice and scenic with great view of the river towards the end. With it being a small event there wasn't many spectators round the course, however the marshalls and photographer were very encouraging and cheered everyone on as they passed, plus there was a number of people waiting to watch everyone come in at the finish. I would definately do this race again. Date of review: April 20, 2015
In short: Fast & flat but boring! In full: Fast, friendly course - loads of great support, friendly runners, great encouragement from the water station people who really boosted me at 20-plus when I was dying on my feet! The parking at the start was messy (hard to find where we were meant to go) & massive loo queues, but nothing I wasn't expecting!! The start was very sudden (& bang on time) but loads of runners in the wrong start zones. Mile markers were also way out (6 min miling for my first mile - thank god it WAS out!) - 21 & 25 were also noticeably out as well (only took 3 mins to get from 25 to 26!) and probably some others too but I lost track! Boring route but nice to have some out and backs as spotted our friends also running which was great! Very flat and fast, and also great pacing from the 3.29 man meant I got a pb (of 3.29 - bang on!) Fab medal, loved the protein shake stall at the end (could have drunk pints of the stuff) and decent goodie bag with tech tshirt and nice big bar of chocolate! All in all a great race - not sure I'd rush back as it was such a boring course, but generally I'd recommend it totally! Date of review: April 20, 2015