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
In short: PB almost guaranteed In full: After a awful marathon attempt at the Robin Hood seven days earlier where I had to be helped over the line, I didn't expect a decent time. In fact I did a run and went to the pub the night before. But crikey, this is a fast course and I knocked 5m 26secs off of my HM PB, and managed under 1h30m. Already booked next years event (it's Monday after the Sunday race). Would have liked the results by chip time as I started towards the back and my placing is a bit out on the clock. Best HM yet. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Flat, scenic and great for a PB! In full: I entered this race having seen the positive feedback in Runners World as it was voted in the top 10 trail races for 2013. I can certainly see why; it was great!
Really good organisation, with regular email updates from the race director; beautiful Derbyshire countryside to admire that made the miles whizz by (I did the Sunday race and we had lovely sunshine with only a slight headwind to contend with); well stocked aid stations located at approximately 3 mile intervals and a slight downhill profile giving brilliant PB potential (I might be slightly biased as I nailed a PB taking 8 mins of my previous best!).
Other really good points include the staggered start as it's very narrow and this prevented a stampede and the chip timing so you can get an accurate finish time for that all important PB!
Only 2 things that were slight drawbacks: drinks at the aid stations were in plastic cups which makes it hard to drink on the run whilst maintaining a decent pace, bottles would certainly be easier and whilst the race is chip timed, the results were ordered by gun time. It should be easy enough to order the results by chip time as I lost over 8 places due to starting very near the back and working my way through the field during the race.
These are only very minor things though and I'll definitely be back next year to try for another PB! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Decent race, well organised and for the most part flat. In full: excellent organisation - good t-shirt and medal but you'd expect that for the price of entry, which is pretty steep. Lots of switchbacks so you get to see your fellow runners a lot but nothing special really in terms of scenery. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Well organised, well supported en route. In full: Challenging course but very scenic. Crowd support very good and well marshalled throughout. Plenty of water stops, no need to carry water. All marshalls very encouraging all the way round. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Fun, friendly, good value and well organised. In full: This is a lovely race, well organised and excellent value for money. Nice countryside route winds its way through picturesque villages with lots of support.
There are plenty of hills on route (you seem to be always going up or down) which probably knock a good 2mins off your 'flat' time. At least the last 3 miles is downhill!
The event is a nice size, and good value for money with a free (high quality) running top thrown in.
Well done, and a big "thank-you" to all the organisers and marshals who did a fantastic job throughout the day. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Super friendly, amazing scenery (but with some killer hills) In full: This was my first marathon and I felt really welcomed. There were loads of marshalls, all very friendly and encouraging. Plenty of water stations. The route was super hilly and I thought I had trained on some big hills, but nothing like these. I didn't think I'd have to walk up them but I did. Some were so steep there were steps cut into the side of them and there were also a lot of styles to climb over towards the end. I found all the runners really friendly too. It was easy to chat to people as you were going. I have no idea how anyone could actually run all the way round! But looking at the results afterwards people completed it just outside 3 hours!! It's definitely more about the experience than setting a PB. I found it a wonderful experience and more tough than I imagined, but more enjoyable too. I would recommend it to any countryside lover. Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Excellent. In full: Half marathon in home town. Well done to organisers. Not the best for PB 2 massive hill climbs! But challenging enough. Good course; well organised, plenty of marshals and excellent goody bag! Deffinately will do 2015! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: OK day out, smooth organisation but too many switchbacks In full: This is an OK event. OK if you ant to run a big marathon, OK if you want reasonable crowds, OK if you want well marshalled route with water stops etc, OK if you dont mind spending £50+ on a place etc.
What it lacks for me is a spark to make it unique and special. What almost gives it that are the stetches right by the sea,you are almost on the beach at times. But this is somewhat spoilt by the repetitive out and back loops that the organisers have put in to keep road closers and logistics to a minimal. Just too many off them to make it a great race, too many 180 turns.
Nice to run on the two piers and nice shirt and OK medal. The second of the two hills is challenging but comes at a good point. But first race I have run through the Finish Arch at mile 18! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Beautiful scenery, friendly small field, excellent organisation and slightly downhill"" In full: Did the Sunday race and it turned out to be my favourite HM ever - the slight gradient made the miles fly by, the marshalls were friendly and encouraging and despite the intimidating number of serios looking club runners, the atmosphere was friendly and supportive. The last tiny uphill was lined with cheering people who'd already finished, encouraging and advising. Absolutely brilliant! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Keeping up high standards In full: You can see why this race rates so highly. Excellent organisation in every aspect and great marshals and volunteers. Special mention to chap on the tannoy with his calming manner and useful tips before the race. Having pacers was excellent to encourage you along - so thanks to them. Great atmosphere amongst the runners. With closed roads there was plenty of room even when joined by KiloMarathon runners. Thanks. Date of review: October 6, 2014