In short: A dream race, flat course and superb atmosphere In full: I thought that this was a great race from start to finish. The pre race info was thorough and detailed. Parking was fine for me but I heard that there were some thieves that stole signs and set up a bogus car park - resourceful but not nice. Loads of loos at the start, easy to find the start. The course is something else with amazing support all the way along. This is definitely the friendliest crowd and they keep you going. loads of water and gels and an awesome medal and T-shirt. Definitely recommend Date of review: April 8, 2014
In short: Superb crowds on flat course with little character In full: Lots of support and excellent marshals, but the mood didn't quite lift. Large amount of out-and-back side-by-side running made you constantly aware of how many were ahead. Some windy sections but mostly flat or very slight gradients. Would have appreciated more gels/food on course. A jumble at the end: crowded funnels of people. No technical T-shirt (unlike Frankfurt and Chester). Date of review: April 8, 2014
In full: The Finish line great but then had to stand for about 30mins for bag with a mars bar then stand in and wait for a T shirt , then move a foot or two and undo race tag then medal , suggest put all in one bag with a bottle of water and tell runners to start undoing tags as soon as crossed finish line. I collected race tag just before start and noted lots on entrants not turned up which is a shame because potential runners denied a place , Car parking terrible organisation , First to get there turned away and sent to overflow carpark area;s . People turning up later parked right near starting point , fairs fair , get there early to park and get sorted you should get the the first parking spaces. Will still do race again and hope there is someone taking note of feedback or else its pointless . Date of review: April 8, 2014
In short: Shame about the course change, and lack of loos at start a joke In full: What would have been quite a pretty course changed a day or two before to a course mostly along quiet suburban streets, with plenty of kerbs etc. Flat, so flattering to your time :)
Really friendly marshalls, who were smiling through the rain and very encouraging.
Two (gents) loos at start a bit of a joke considering entry limit was 2500 (!), luckily only 350 or so started. No coffee/cafe at start contrary to race details. Overall, not one of most professionally organised events.
In short: the crowds make the difference In full: had to pick my number up the day before...it's Manchester and weather forecast was accurate...so XtraMile obviously decide to us the smallest tent as pickup and leave you queing in the rain for 30 minutes....obviously learnt very little from 2012's fiasco. However, the day after was excellent. Free on the tram, plenty of loo's, good buzz at the start and away with similar paced runners in my pen. Although the first 5/6 miles are fairly sparse in the support stakes, it's more than makes up for it for the rest of it. Lots of noise and encouragement from spectators and marshalls alike. Same again next year. Date of review: April 8, 2014
In short: Super fast - definitely one for PB hunters In full: Positives - Fast course – as promised, it is very flat. Smashed my PB! - Loads of crowd support, bands, choirs – so a great atmosphere - Lots of water stations – all staffed by a great bunch of guys. I liked the pouches too, although sometimes a pouch that started off really well would suddenly stop letting anything out. - Out and back parts of the course meant I could see my friends going in the other direction. Was good to see the leaders powering on in the other direction as well. - Friendly and helpful team at the finish - Organised starting pens meant plenty of room to get into rhythm v early on without having to weave around people who may have started too far forwards
Things I think could have been better - Pre race info – all done in a pdf, most of which was advertising. I’d like to have had the information, without so much advertising, supplied in hard copy. Paper saving or cost saving? - Gels: the website, and subsequent emails, implied that these would be available at regular intervals on the course. After buying some (from XtraMile, in response to one of their many promotional emails) to get used to them, it turned out that gels would only be available at 22 miles – and then at 22 miles I only found bloks. - Entry fee – why add on a 5% handling fee? Very Ryanair – here’s the entry cost - oh and here’s a compulsory extra. I’d rather have one cost quoted up front which includes that 5%. - Photos – surely the most popular one to buy is the one under the finish gantry, especially on a course that prides itself on its flatness and therefore its PB potential. The photographer was so far to the side that in the pic I’m 90% behind someone that crossed the line beside me! A lost sale there.
Overall though, well worth doing. After fluffing things big time over the last couple of years at events with hills in the last few miles, I wanted a flat course to nail that GFA, and I got that. The race itself was great – fantastic buzz out on the course, due to the crowd support and entertainment – and the other key stuff, like baggage facilities, toilets, water stations, all worked well. Thanks Manchester for a memorable day.
In short: Gets better every year In full: Even the weather was better, for the runners, this year. Cool, cloudy, dry and the forecast of strong winds proved to be wrong. The crowds along the promenade and through the city were big and loud. Overall organisation from the expo to the finish line was excellent. Expensive but worth the entrance fee. Date of review: April 8, 2014
In short: Accurate measurement despite the day before route change due to the boat race In full: the course was a bit boring due to the route change, but the marshals were brilliant and I would definately reccomend this race! really well organised. Date of review: April 7, 2014
In short: Well organised and super friendly event In full: My second year and again found it to be a really well organised event, with super friendly marshals, priceless St John's support (needed a minor bit of attention at the finish) and excellent value for money.
The course is not the easiest - the hills and general rural isolation takes real mental toughness as well as physical endurance to overcome - but that just increases the satisfaction at the end.
I wanted to break 3.30 on this course having narrowly missed out last year. Having now achieved that I probably won't run Bungay again, but would certainly recommend to others, particularly those that have run a big city marathon in the past and want to experience something a bit more authentic. Date of review: April 7, 2014
In short: Good race spoilt by problems getting there by car. In full: Why were the roads to the stadium car parks closed, they could have been kept open till 8:30'ish without affecting the start. As they were closed where was the signage for alternative access. Like many others I wasted time, petrol and money on prepaid Old Trafford parking because I failed to find a way in after 45 mins. Instead of having a nice relaxed 90 mins to enjoy the atmosphere and prepare for the race it left a stressful 30 mins. to get everything done. Fortunately baggage drop off was very quick and queues for urinals very small. The race itself was actually quite good, the crowds and marshals were excellent and very encouraging. Certainly lived up to claims of being flattest, friendliest marathon. I personally didn't like all the switchbacks in the first half, especially first one after less than a mile, but it does make it easier for spectators, marshaling and reducing road closures in the city. Baggage collection not as efficient as drop off, 1 tent not enough for up to 10000 bags but cadets were brilliant and did their best in the confined space. Overall would recommend for flat, friendly course, just don't try and get there by car.
In short: Hills and more hills In full: My third time at the Bungay Marathon and one I will definitely return to. Ok, there are hills, some long drags, but lots of nice downhills too. Organisation was brilliant, an abundance of water stations and plenty of encouragement from spectators, making this race would you should try if you haven't done so before. Thanks to BBD for a great event. Date of review: April 7, 2014