In short: Very pretty route. Great t-shirt and medal! In full: Shame about the wind on the day I ran it! A few little hills felt like mountains on the second lap! Great course on little roads through pretty villages, with the last mile next to the canal, which was lovely. 26 mile-markers agreed exactly with the distance on my Garmin ...then the last little bit I measured as .48 of a mile! Gave me a good sprint to the finish gantry though - nice to know that you're nearly there when you can hear the commentary and see the impressive Sixways Stadium looming. Great encouragement from the marshals and the crew at the finish. Loads of parking, and good facilities at the venue. Very pleased that I entered this one. Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Great support, organisation could be better, decent London alternative In full: Brighton 2015 was my 6th marathon having previously done London twice and a few low key smaller 26.2 races.
Let's get the grumbles out of the way first:
1) Brighton gets rammed with people on marathon weekend, parking, traffic, eating out etc' all require patience. I made it to the Expo at 4:30pm on Saturday to collect my number only to discover a queue going round the block, after an initial panic that I was going to miss the 6pm cut off I was pleased that the queue moved fairly quickly and I made it in at around 5pm. I still don't understand (other than saving a fortune in postage) why the race packs aren't posted out.
2) Mile markers - way too small, need to be much bigger.
3) At the start in Preston Park, the number of toilets in relation to people is ridiculous, people have commented on this issue every year and no action seems to be taken, I suggest the organisers go check out the toilet set up at the Reading Half Marathon, luckily I had a pass to the hospitality area, but I felt really sorry for the people stood in the huge queues as the start approached.
4) OK, Brighton hasn't got masses of landmarks like London, so the route will never be as scenic, but the industrial part between 19.5 and 23 miles is awful, worst part of the route at the time you are struggling, consider changing this.
5) Most of the time you are running against either faster or slower runners, this gets a little irritating, but I appreciate the restrictions on the course planners.
Now that's out of the way, the positives:
1) The support around the course is awesome, the streets were lined most of the way and the crowds helped pushed the runners along and lifted them when they were feeling low.
2) The course is pretty flat, I managed a PB, there are a few inclines, but nothing too bad.
3) Water stations are frequent and well stocked, although water in cups is a little annoying.
4) Nice medal and TShirt at the finish - the runner meet and greet area gets very busy as does the beach village, but there was plenty of space to sit on the beach.
5) Lovely sunny day, which brought out loads of spectators, not sure how the organised made this happen. Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Very well organised race with a great finish In full: Easy to get to and with ample free parking meant a stress free start to this race. A short walk to the start which had organised pens to gather in before leading all the runners to the start line. This kept everyone together and meant a good start was had by all. Scenic rural race with a few hill but nothing too challenging. Great support from the marshals and few supporters that lined some of the route. Nice stretch on the canal led into the finishing straight where they was some terrific support waiting. Along with water, banana, technical tee and medal. Excellent race and highly recommended Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Sunshine and supportive crowds - a wonderful first marathon! In full: Overall a fantastic day.
Not enough portaloos in Preston Park BUT Kit dropoff and collection very efficient 'Meet your athlete' area worked well Beach village at the end was lovely Crowds were great with live music, sweets etc. Beautiful views along the seafront Other runners very friendly - good for a first-timer!
I love Brighton! I'll be back! Date of review: April 13, 2015
In full: Fab race, great marshalling, excellent support, lovely scenery. Thanks for the sunshine, Burnham Joggers! Only downside was that the medal was exactly the same as last year's. Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: My first marathon (nothing to compare it to but was great!) In full: This was my first marathon and I had a charity place so can't comment on cost of entry as I heard this was high.
The atmosphere was great around the whole course and the views of the sea definitely a positive. All runners and supporters very supportive even when I wanted to give up at mile 20!
The start area at Preston Park was ok. It took me 25 minutes to walk there from my seafront hotel and then I had to walk around the entire park to get in!Not the best start to the whole thing. Then the queues for the toilets were stupidly long! I had paid for the VIP area but even those queues were long (20 minute wait for the ladies)! So much for a stress free start! Luckily I made it to the start just in time after a friendly helper at the VIP tent went up and down the queues helping people with the bag drop! Not sure I would have made it otherwise!
The actual run was hard. There were a few hills and it was really hot! I think I was suffering with a bit of heat stroke at the end. I had to drink at every water point as it was so hot! The toilets along the way were ok too. Wasted about 5/10 minutes queuing for one then the next ones there were no queue. I have heard London is worse for this though!
The finish was the disappointing part. I spent 30minutes walking around the finish area trying to get out and hug someone I knew! Very upsetting having to wait that long for a hug after the finish. Also were given men's cotton t-shirts at the end! Not very flattering to show off in! The banana and protein drink were welcome though but the chocolate I couldn't eat as I am gluten free! I was also told I would be able to pick up my bag first as I had paid for VIP but it was actually the very last truck! Bit disappointing. The VIP area at the end was great though- food, drink, toilets and seats to relax with my partner and dog! That was worth it, even though it was a long walk away from the finish! Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Amazing crowds and fantastic atmosphere In full: Wouldn't hesitate in recommending this race. Amazing atmosphere and huge crowds keep you going. Superbly organised and could have eaten my body weight in jelly babies if necessary. Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Overall good - but sticky points on organisation In full: I can't comment in full on the start experience as I was able to use the Amex Card Members area (pay for entry by Amex card to get this). But the queues for the loos looked terrifying as I walked to the start. Talking to people afterwards, I heard reports of queuing for 45-60 minutes. Perhaps that explained why the first pen was so quiet.
Support round the mostly flat course is good. If I was going to make a change anywhere, I would consider swapping the Ovingdean and Shoreham sections. The power station and aptly named Basin Road from miles 21-23 are dreary in the extreme and although the few supporters and the Saucony stand tried to make a difference it's the worst part of the course at the worst part of the race.
Not sure about other baggage stations, but the one I used (1-1000?) was dreadful - not enough people for the number of runners and bags being moved around so that they were out of order. Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Excellent event will definitely be back next year In full: Atmosphere around the route was fantastic with crowds the whole way round - going up to the Norfolk Arms reminded me of what you see at the Tour de France with crowds alongside the riders. Think we got the benefit of the wind strengthening in the second half of the race. Something must have blown me to a PB by 8 minutes. Minor gripes were the slight delay at the start while various speeches went on that were unintelligible given the poor PA system and the ridiculous queues for toilets. Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Great support from Marshalls, can't be faulted for that.. In full: Very friendly team, but 6 laps is tiresome and having time yourself does make me question the fee for entering. Was told that timing chips are too expensive, but it's nice to be able to acurately record your time. If you're looking for a no frills run out, this is for you. Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Disappointing run on the river In full: Having completed the Wimbledon Half Marathon last month with the same company which was nice ,friendly atmosphere marshals and organisation. My expectation level was raised so entered this race. A nice sunny Sunday morning on the river was left with a disappointment. Usual scrum before the start for bag drop and at the end people were just helping themselves to their bags ( not secure). Course was ok, though as others have stated with no road closures is difficult weaving between people getting off buses at times. I do not want to pay a fortune for a race with a t shirt but there was a distinct lack of atmosphere meant I could have done a 13 mile run and spent the 20 quid on lunch in future. Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Loved it: a proper Sheffield course! In full: The new route made this event. The old tour of the post-industrial wasteland is gone, replaced by a route that takes runners out into the Peak District and back. The cost for that is 250m of steady climb in the first 8k, but what goes up must come down, and it's well worth it for the scenery. Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Filled a hole. In full: I wanted to find a last minute race to get some tempo/speedy miles in and found this. Enter online a few days out, jobs a good'un. That was grand.
I didn't expect much from the race and it filled expectations. A few niggles here and there, nothing outstanding, just run of the mill. I wasn't expecting much and got that.
The start line has no expected finish time markers which may help on such a thinned route for the first km within the sports ground.
I didn't trust the look of the baggage area so preferred my car boot. Number pick up on the day was a bit disorganised. Toilets I had to go scouting for, no real obvious signs to show where they were. Post-race goodies were fine, water, banana, crisps, cereal bar. The medal is a bit tacky with a simple engraving on the back of a bog standard generic design. The speaker system/PA is old, busted and inaudible.
The route is fine, it's hard to squeeze 13.1 miles in along the river near central London. I had no issue with the twists and turns personally. I felt sorry for Bishop's Park and the total state left by the Boat Race spectators, not the race organisers fault that at all. Putney Bridge will always be busy so pedestrian weaving was par for the course.
The one thing that I really wanted to get off my chest from the morning was the marshals. There were a few great ones, and I would like it noted that an Eastern European lady just before Hammersmith Bridge who was giving high fives was excellent, and I believe someone else was doing this too early on. I love that enthusiasm and expect it - it should be fun and the runners appreciate it. A few smiley faces from others here and there. However, there were some who obviously would have rather been anywhere else. Headphones on, leaning against lampposts, mobile phone staring, sitting down showing nothing but total apathy on their face. It deflates the mood, especially on such a gloriously sunny day as we had. As someone who is passionately vocal when marshalling myself this really gets my goat. Get people who care, not just a job filled. It spoils the overall impression. Having marshals just stare at you when you say thank you, or half-heartedly clap sticks in your mind. It really let my feel toward the race down. Engage with local running clubs if possible, ask if they'd help provide volunteers, people who are runners, who have empathy, and watch the level of energy around this revolutionise your race. Also, I was a little let down I had to inform a poor elder chap that the marshal had sent him into the finish from the towpath after he'd only done one lap as I passed him. He had to turn back, luckily not too late on. If you had runners or people from the running community, not just what felt like agency staff, they'd know the difference in pace, so if someone is being lapped they know to direct each party the correct way.
All in all I was happy to get a half done at some pace, so what I wanted, it did. Had it been a big event on my calendar, I'd have been disappointed somewhat with a few things. The car park exit didn't help - traffic lights, other sports events, the Wetlands Centre all adds up to an hour long queue to go 500m. Leave early, park elsewhere or just hang around afterwards in the sunshine is my advice. I'd run it again, but not as a destination event, just as it's convenient in date and place. Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Tough first half, but easy second In full: The first 5 miles are uphill. The first 2 are gradual and you don't really feel it because of being full of energy, but going up Ecclesall Road is tough, followed by Ringelow Road.
It is tough, hence why I do not think first timers would enjoy it as much as a flatter race. A half marathon is tough enough first time anyway but to cope with the steepness of those hills might make it something people wish to consider carefully. Course was a bit narrow in places for the amount of people, as well. Great scenery when you get to the top of the hill, something that was missing from the previous course, but it was much flatter.
Having said that after the top point it is great to be coming back down hill with the wind behind you instead of in your face! The break up of the timing makes it a much more interesting race, love the 10k to go, not so much the king of the hill!
Organisation could have been better as some people were sent their race numbers a long time before some got theirs (including me) which made it a little worrying. The final race details email came two days before race day, which is a bit poor. The baggage situation was abysmal. Waiting about an hour for my bag ended the race on a bit of a negative really.
Fantastic t-shirt, medal, drinks and chocolate bars, but have put average, as it would have been expensive in my opinion if I didn't get the White Rose Double ticket meaning it was a bit cheaper. Other half marathons give you a t-shirt, medal and chocolate bar for closer to £20. Think it works out £24 per race for the White rose double so not too bad.
Fantastic support as ever from the people of Sheffield.
Overall, good race, very tough, would encourage people to do a lot of hill training and check it out if possible beforehand if a first timer. Great medal and support! Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Very enjoyable trail marathon In full: I decided to enter this as a training run for my Brecon Beacons 42 mile Ultra and was very pleasantly surprised by the whole race. Small and very friendly organisation, with very small amount of runners but a great bunch, all super friendly and enthusiastic. What i like about these smaller runs are the way people talk as they run and not just run blinkered and in the zone. The course was tough in places, lots of deep and uneven rutted fileds making up most of it, very little road and a few steep hills, and a few gradual hills. But glorious country running, through endless sweeping fields, and when the sun shone, just epic and beautiful, my type of running, beats road marathons hands down! I'd suggest trail shoes as there are some muddy bits and if it rained hard it would be very very muddy, hardly any road or pavement running. The course wasn't too hard to map read, but possibly could have done with a few more painted arrows at some cross roads, where it was pot luck with choosing the right way, but don't let this put you off! I made sure i ran with people front and back, so we all never got lost once, although some others did! 3 aid stations, with drinks, sandwiches and cakes and super friendly volunteers, really makes these events so good. I loved it, from start to finish, highly recommended. Date of review: April 13, 2015