In short: Small event with friendly atmosphere (but hillier than expected) In full: This is a small, friendly event, only around 250 finishers for the full marathon, but more for the half. As a result, the pack thins out substantially for the second loop, and I found myself running alone for quite a few stretches.
Water stations were great - bottles of water, cups of isotonic. Marshals were friendly and helpful - clearly most of them were runners themselves, and that makes a huge difference.
Scenery is very pleasant, a few small, picturesque villages, and rolling countryside.
BE warned though - the hills don't let up! It felt like I was either running up hill or downhill the whole way - not sure there is a flat section at all! Watch clocked up 277m of elevation.
Finish at the stadium is nice, a good spot for supporters. Obviously, it is a countryside race, so will never be as well supported as a city race, but those who did come out were lovely and supportive. Date of review: May 23, 2016
In short: Great race , interesting course lots of twists, turns , off road , on road etc . Lots of hills so hard but well marshalled , good facilities at HQ , will definitely do again . Date of review: May 23, 2016
In short: Great friendly local run In full: This was the first year for this race and it turned out to be a well organised friendly little event (about 200 runners on the day). 1 mile fun run for the kids was a nice touch. Good route, not closed roads but rural lanes so very few issues. Nasty little hill at about 8k but other than that fairly flat/gentle. Good marshalls, slickly organised, chip timed, easy parking near the start/finish. Only one water station (5k) and it was very warm, so perhaps another one would have been a good idea. And the start set-up was a bit odd, we had to walk past the timing mats then loop back on ourselves to line up - this could be resolved by moving the start slightly further down the road and making the finish (which is on the field behind the village hall) just come a bit further in to the field? Other than that, a very enjoyable morning out. Here's hoping it does become a regular event, I'd definitely come again. Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: Shambolic In full: Most disorganised race ever entered. Most already been said today but to reemphasise - shambolic start, posted wave start never materialised. First half of course entirely inappropriate probably even without the start problems - far too narrow and crowded, frequent standstills - many runners have earphones (which was encouraged by start marshall) making awareness and passing even more difficult. Not enough and poorly manned water stations necessitating more stops, dangerously few marshalls on course, badly signposted, zero atmosphere. Note dozens of negative comments have been deleted from race social media site today covering the above and many other issues suggesting that, as apparently in previous years, they are not serious about addressing issues. Avoid this race at all costs - I will in future. Unfortunately I only saw previous years negative comments too late. Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: More hills than i expected. In full: Well organised, friendly support, good layout at the finish. Think the course profile is wrong on the website as it states a total ascent of around 100m, but my GPS clocked nearly 300m - very tough second lap - but that was my fault! Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: badly organised, apparently little has been learnt from previous years In full: 1) water ran out at aid stations 2) no (as planned) starting waves, just a large group of people all funelling into a narrow first half of the course with a complete mix of speeds. I was desperately trying to maintain my target average pace, but getting stuck behind a slow group followed by speeding up to overtake was not ideal! (i failed miserably) 3) expensive given that there was no goodie bag, parking, t-shirt, and bag drop was £5 (given the price some/all of this should have been included) 4) the race was according to my watch 13.35 miles (it seems plenty of other people agree that the distance was wrong) 5) only ~5 portaloos near the start line, with no where to wash hands, causing massive queues 6) massive queues for bag drop, you'd expect more given that they were charging extra for it! Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: Very dangerous race, Negligence at the water stations, terrible organisation In full: Unfortunately this beautiful course is let down by some terrible organisation. The e-mails in the run up to the race we very brief, they contained contradictory information and the promised final email with your wave time in never arrived. The start was shambolic and lets not even go there with the £5 bag drop fee. But above all of this was the total disregard for the safety of their runners on a hot day. The water stations were totally inadequate, the 3km water station didn't exist, the 7km water station gave you half a cup of water, the 14km water station had totally run out, the 17km did have water, and to top it off they refused to give water at the end in case they ran out. i just hope that the poor runner that I saw collapse at the end from dehydration is ok. Total negligence I would never run in a F3 event again. Sorry Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: Brilliant fun In full: This is such a great concept: a race around town against other teams to attempt to solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper. Actors to be sought out to interview in order to gather evidence to support your case and win prizes back at the pub. It was very well organised, great fun and I cannot wait to do another. Highly recommended. Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: Never again In full: People and businesses sometimes make mistakes and sometimes things happen outside of anyone’s control – but having experienced first hand the shambolic and dishonest approach of F3 Events I feel compelled to share my experience.
I’m not going to say never do an F3 Events event, but if you do, then you’ll go into it forewarned and frankly I think you’d be a mug to ever get involved with them. I certainly won’t ever again.
I’d read some negative comments about the previous year’s event on Runners World but (foolishly) assumed they’d learn from their mistakes and take action to improve the competitor’s experience.
First, and to be completely fair, the Royal Windsor Trail Half Marathon is a lovely course and a great run. The medal’s nice. That’s um, it.
I did a group booking for eight of us which got us a £5 discount on the advertised £32 entry fee. So, £28.55 per person because they add a £1.55 booking fee, per person, at the checkout.
One week before the event they sent out the race numbers with a letter saying “it is recommended that you take a bag with a change of clothing and money for any refreshments that wish to get before or after the event”. Then we all get an email with exactly the same wording and an image attached advising that there is a £5 charge for baggage drop. FIVE POUNDS! For something that should be included in the cost of entering the event.
Of course I, and many others, questioned and challenged the charge on their Facebook pages. In response we were told that they were encouraging people to leave their kit in their cars and that bag drop was ‘optional’. Quite the opposite of the text in their correspondence. We were also told that the scouts who were doing the bag drop, and a charity, would benefit from the extra charges.
I asked the lady that took my bag this morning which scout group she was with. She wasn’t. So where has my £5 gone?
Both the F3 Events and the Royal Windsor Trail Half Marathon Facebook pages have had all the ‘visitor posts’ deleted. They’ve also deleted any negative feedback on their posts.
If they ran the event with the diligence with which they’ve been scrubbing their social media clean then I might not be writing this review but right from the start it was an utter shambles.
We arrived on site 45 minutes before the start of the race and joined the baggage drop queue. You’d think that for £5 you’d receive some sort of gold standard service but we got to the front of the queue about 5 minutes after the race had started. It’s no wonder it took so long to take the bags in – we’d not been sent luggage labels so each competitor’s number had to be written down, the label attached and then of course there was a monetary transaction – which was a surprise to some people.
Bag dropped we jogged nearly a mile (a good warm up) to the start area where we found 5 portaloos (to serve 2500 half marathoners plus however many ran the 10k event). 25 minutes after the race started we crossed the line, the ‘wave start’ long since abandoned, and with hundreds of people still stuck in the baggage queue on the other side of the river.
The run was challenging, picking my way past slower runners who should have been in a later wave (lots wearing headphones and oblivious to others) and allowing room for faster runners to pass me, I presume they’d have liked to be in an early wave.
It was hot too. So it was a surprise when the first water station just wasn’t there. When I did get to a water station it didn’t seem very hygienic – the volunteers plunging their hands and a cup into a giant bucket of water. But at least I got some water – apparently they ran out on the course for later runners. Unforgiveable.
And so to the finish. It wasn’t where I thought it should be. It was about a quarter of a mile further away. A 13.34 mile half marathon.
And the goody bag? That would make up for all their shortcomings wouldn’t it? For over £30 you’d expect a banana or a Mars Bar wouldn’t you? Well, no goody bag.
I feel a bit guilty for encouraging my friends to take part with me. I hope they enjoyed the run and the scenery. Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: Poorly Organised, Avoid In full: Communication in the weeks building up to the event was terrible compared to other events I have entered. On race day itself there were massive queues for the toilets and bag drops, so much so that many people missed the start of the waves. The water stops were low on water or completely dry, and it was a rather warm day so not ideal. It needs some more marshals along the entire route of the course in case of emergency. There was no post race snack or goodies. Would not recommend until the organisation improves significantly. Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: Overprices and badly organised In full: just about the only positive is the scenery. Toilet queues massive (not enough loos), start badly organised, marshals practically inaudible. Worst of all, the distance is too long. I thought it was just me, but everyone i spoke to whom measured came in at between 21.5 and 21.7K. That's a joke. Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: Hilly yes, muddy yes, worth it? Yes In full: Another beaut of a race from WSR. Yes it was very hilly and very muddy, but it's worth it. Not sure about the previous comment, I never got lost, I followed the signs and tape, not a problem. Water stations were adequate, plenty of food and fluids. Not sure what people expect from a trail race in glorious open countryside, a marshal with an AED every mile in case of heart attacks? If you want that then run London, if you're not fussed and want a decent run in the country then run with WSR. Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: The WORST organised race ever. Avoid F3 events. In full: F3 are in this business for 1 reason only – to make as much money as possible of trusting people. 5 days before the event they informed people of a £5 charge for baggage drop – this was not mentioned ever. Any questions about this were dismissed or deleted from their face book page. Plentiful toilets were advertised – there were 12 for 2500 people. We were then directed to public toilets. The bag drop Q was immense, for £5 you would at least expect a fast service. No waved start at all, 10K runners were encouraged to start with the half, when it finally started about 15 min late. Huge bottlenecks in the 1st few miles. Hygiene and safety was not high on their priority- people used bare hands to dip cups in water buckets to fill them (at least we had water!) and there are more marshals at a Parkrun. Even a bottle neck on the finish line, just about crossed before standing in a large muddle of people trying to obtain a medal and some water which was fend for yourself. No banana or anything. An absolute disgrace. Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: worth the drive,, In full: A well run village event,small field but a good 10k race. i hope this is run next year as its worth supporting,nice people nice event,recomended. Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: Great organisation, enthusiastic marshals, unusual excellent medal. Oh yeah - plenty of hills!! In full: This event's near neighbour, The Chislehurst Chase, could learn so much from the organisation and marshalling experienced today at the inaugural Chislehurst Half. Date of review: May 22, 2016