In short: Farce In full: I'll briefly list the problems with the race:
- The car park queues were around 2 hours long before the race for those who had paid for parking prior to the race. This lead to cars being dumped and people being late to the start
- The baggage queue was at least 2 HOURS long. 10,000 bags were kept behind 1 desk. I had to wait to get my wallet, phone, clothes etc back. If it had been colder or raining this would have been even more chaotic
- Mile markers were out by a LONG WAY
- 22 miles appeared TWICE
- The start line was nearly impossible to see
- They ran out of medals for people taking part in the relay
- They cleared up the finishing mat before the allotted time
- The relay times are wrong
- The race photos are shocking.. the finisher photos are taken from behind a crowd of people so all you can see is a bunch of stewards
- The finisher pack was shoddy, poor selection of food (beef jerky?!) and lack of usual things
- No foil blankets immediately after the race
Overall the organisation was farcical. Having to queue for upwards of 2 hours after the race (I could have been half way round the course again by then) was not acceptable. It's not just little things that were wrong, there were huge problems with the organisation. At £65, it is just a complete rip off. I would never go back. The course is flat though! Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: More loos would be good! In full: Flat route on closed roads. Excellent marshalls and lovely home made cakes at finish. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Excellent goody bag! Only issue was insufficient portable loos at the start, very long queues. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: great In full: My first race and my first time guide running in a race. The race was very visually impaired friendly. Very few hazards to warn about. Will be back next year. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: Great Race, really thoughtful organisation, a must do event. In full: Fantastic race in a beautiful area of outstanding natural beauty. Parking easy, Registration a synch, plenty of loos provided. Great that its on a Saturday! Superb marshals and volunteers. Speedy results online. Tea and cake at finish a nice touch. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: Fast, Flat Course with great support - In full: This is the second yar I have run this, ran in 2015 and loved it so came back for a second dose. I have ran many marathons (big and small) and would say that this is a typical big city marathon but with much better support (apart from London which I have also ran). I would like to add that I travelled up and stayed on the doorstep so did not use any of the bagage areas or the toilets so those negatives here did not impact me. I never use baggage ares in big marathons as they are normally awful. However, what I would say I enetered this in the early bird when the date was not known so it was excellent value for money for me. The marshalls were wonderful and nearly everyone on the drink stations called you by name. The poeple of Manchester do not deserve the negative reviews as they came out in strength to support us, the organisers have badly let them down. However, I have two big gripes, how can nearly every mile marker have an issue with it, either, out, in twice or pointing the wrong way. Secondly, runners here need to look at themselves (sorry). I finished in 3hr 24min and getting out of the race funnell was awful and this was because of familes (I mean WHOLE familes)clogging up the way and refusing to move. Very thoughtless. I did think that it would be carnage when the bulk of the runners come in. My husband and kids met me away at the townhill basking in the sun.I would do this again but not for a few years only because twice on the trott is enough, maybe in 2018? Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: Good PB course and great support sullied by poor organisation In full: Pre race the village was poor. The number of toilets was woeful. There was a distinct lack of marshals or information for the runners. The bag drop off was a stressful mess.
Despite the poor start I happily ran a big PB and enjoyed the course. Bar the underprepared and undermanned 1st station, the water and gel stations worked well and were frequent enough. The volunteers and crowds on course were great and the atmosphere very good. The only negative was a few dodgy mile markers.
At the finish the medal and t-shirt were very good, the goody bag ok, and the alcohol free beer enjoyed. However it was very crowded and stressful getting out the funnel.
However the real sting in the tail was the disasterous bag pick up. I finished in 3:30 and it still took 90+ mins to pick up my bag. Not acceptable.
So a mixed bag for me, and i'm not sure I'd rush back to Manchester until they sort out the organisational issues. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: Really well organised, great event In full: A couple of miles along the canal towpath at the start and end with the rest being in hilly countryside along the roads. It was really well organised, the queues to register / use the changing rooms / get free drinks and cake at the end were never longer than a couple of minutes, and along the course there were mile markers all along and lots of friendly marshals along the route. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: Overall a good race, a few small issues though most were due to exceptional weather and dealt with pretty well In full: To put into context any problems, there were gale force winds and rain the night before which thankfully started easing off about an hour before the start and stopped completely shortly into the race.
As the university was on holiday for Easter there was plenty of parking available on site, however it wasn't very clear where we were meant to park or where the registration area was, although I gather signs had been put out but blown away.
Before the start the organisers made the decision to do the race briefing indoors due to weather and tried to get people into a starting formation to minimise the time spent waiting outside in the wind & rain. This seemed like a great decision and was good that they were thinking of the runners.
Once the race got under way, the weather brightened up and it was quite good running conditions really. There is a small climb towards the end of the 2-lap course which I barely noticed on lap 1 but was a bit tougher when tired near the end. The scenery was nothing special, but this was expected really as it's in a residential area.
Although mainly on open roads, most were quiet residential roads and there were plenty of marshals at all major junctions. I don't remember cars being a problem although I'm sure some people would have had to stop for a couple of seconds at times.
The mile markers were a bit ropey - mile 2 marker was at about 2.8 miles and mile 3 marker was missing. 1 & 4-7 seemed in the right place but then there were none on the second lap, which as the laps were not the same length I found difficult to tell how far to go especially as I was struggling.
Overnight in the high winds a tree had fallen on the course inside the university grounds which meant the course needed to be diverted, then after having run it once apparently they were told we weren't allowed to run that way. They quickly came up with another acceptable diversion between laps though this did mean it ended up being about 0.2 miles long. I felt the organisers did well to keep on top of things though as this is obviously much better than cancelling the race!
The marshalling was good, all encouraging and always clear where to go even when it had been changing. There were a handful of locals out cheering people on, not many but maybe would have been more in nicer weather. Plus one lad on his bike who seemed to be cheering people on everywhere, I think I passed him about 6 or 7 times.
Overall I felt the organisers did well to cope with the conditions, and keeping runners indoors where possible in the bad weather was IMO a great call. My only real gripe was mile markers in the wrong location (you can't blame the wind for it being tied to a lamp post 0.8 miles from where it should be) and none on the 2nd lap. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: A great day, marred by a small number of poor organisational aspects In full: Yes, there was a number of issues with this race, not least the totally unacceptable baggage situation (something I have heard was at least partially caused by limitations imposed by LCCC, but I'm sure that will come out in the fullness of time), but IMO some of the previous reviewers are being blinded by this issue. - How can somebody rate this event 3 for PB potential when in their description they say they PB'd? - I've seen people rate the race as 1 & 2 for atmosphere. Did they not see the 1,000s of people lining the streets for miles on end? Or the local choirs/bands playing? Or the speakers playing music along the country road? Personally, I had a fantastic day. I arrived by Metrolink and made use of the numerous toilets early enough to avoid issues. Then had no problems with bag drop. Enjoyed the support of the crowds and the bands on course. Ran a perfectly judged race (wasn't passed by anyone between 18&25miles) on the flat/fast course, and therefore got a 5min PB. Then picked-up my bag again without problem (Area B), and returned home using the adjacent Metrolink stop again. Hopefully Xtra Mile Events can put right the mistakes made this year and give the people of Manchester the event their support deserves in 2017 (I'll be there for sure). Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: I survived the Manchester Marathon Queue-a-thon In full: There is a lot of focus on the bag drop and this was terrible and blighted a lot people's day. Just think, you ran your first marathon in brilliant sunshine, you want to now go home and celebrate but wait, you can't, you now have to wait over two hours for your bag due to terrible organisation.
Ok, that aside? I was not a fan of non runners being in the race village, as they just get in the damned way. Sure you want to see mommy, or daddy after their run, but don't stop runners from getting where they want to be after 4 hours running.
But the rest? Wonderful atmosphere, the crowds were superb throughout. Lovely medal. Superb race t-shirt, loved the goody bag. Lots of water tables, lots of Jelly Babies, lots of gels for anyone that needs them. It is definitely a PB course. If they can fix the kinks this could be the UKs number 2 marathon.
But, as I started with it, I shall end on it, that people will focus on the bag drop disaster. Which is a shame, as there was so much good too. Date of review: April 13, 2016
In short: My first marathon experience - ruined In full: From the lack of loos at the start, the race pens changing colours and letters then appeared on my number, the 2 x 22 mile marker, no 26 mile marker, baggage-gate and a depressive wasteland of an event village - awful. I had such amazing high hopes for my first marathon experience. However the organisers made sure any buzz was killed by making me stand in the cold wind to claim back my bag. Being in its 40th year, & winning best marathon the last two years I was disgusted. It's made me seriously consider doing any big events again Date of review: April 12, 2016
In short: Enjoyable but let down by poor organisation. In full: I didn't use the Baggage Drop or Car Parking as I had booked a local hotel, so will comment on my experiences.
First the positives: - Great, massive, chunky medal! - Brilliant Marshall's and Volunteers. - That Non-Alcoholic Beer thingy at the end was shockingly nice. - Flat Route. - Great Support from locals. - Perfect amount of water and more Gel on offer than a Mark Lamar lookalike contest. - Toilets at the Start Line were adequate as long as you were there 30-40 mins ahead of the race start. Got a lot busier closer to gun time, but what do you expect?
Negatives (that I noticed): - Why no urinals? Those portable urinal units take so many people out of the toilet queues. - Massive bottle neck going through the finish funnel. - Mile Marker's were out on a fair few occasions. Was not a big problem for me as I'm slower than a snail, but for those pacing per mile I'd imagine it was quite irritating.
Kind of feels like (based on other peoples observations and my own) the organising company had an absolute shocker on the day. Maybe it was bad luck, bad planning, a bit of complacency based on previous years successes or a mixture of all three. I get the feeling Xtra Mile will have learnt from this year that you're only as good as your last race.
In short: NEVER DO THIS AS LONG AS CURRENT ORGANISERS ARE INVOLVED In full: This is without doubt the most poorly organised, dissastrously put on, inept and frankly dangerous event i've ever done. I felt safer when i was running around the brecon beacons completely lost with a couple of mates. All the negative comments this event has received are in my opinion wholly deserved. The organisers should be taken to task for gross negligence. Apologies and promises to make things right for next year are inadequate at best. The course itself wasn’t overly hilly, but it certainly wasn’t flat in the way the organisers touted it. To compare this shower of s**t to London and Paris is to compare a kebab to roast dinner.. If you are looking for a spring marathon do not waste your time or money on this one. Even though i got a PB, it has been marred by everything else. then to add insult to injury the photos look like a bunch of drunken baboons were given an old disposable camera and a keg of Newcastle brown ale and released into the crowds. never ever ever ever ever again.. Date of review: April 12, 2016
In short: Can't fault the Marshalls on the course or the supporters, they dre fantastic but every other detail was appalling In full: Baggage handling at the start was dire, you had to queue to hand baggage over. Directional signs were poor. There was no section pens for the differing paced runners so slow runners mixed with faster runners. No speaker system so we didn't hear the start gun.The archway that appeared to be the start was some 10 metres prior to the chip strip lines. The mile markers were too low and not easily visible. The finish was chaos, no foil to keep runners warm, ridiculous queues to retrieve baggage, which caused major distress to finishers who just needed to get warm,fed and hydrated and no signs as to where the family reunion area was. Appaling organisation I will not be running that race again Date of review: April 12, 2016