In short: 1st GNR & 1st 1/2 marathon In full: What a day. Fantastic atmosphere. Crowd support excellent. People very friendly (giving out chocs & water). Only gripe was the toilet facilities on route were in-adequate (not enough). Apart from that a brilliant day. Will hopefully be back again next year. Date of review: September 24, 2005
In short: A Great Day Out In full: This was my 5th GNR and I had trained specially for it whilst undertaking a 6 month tour with the MOD in Iraq. My training had gone great and on returning home I developed a stress fracture in my left foot. Being a stubborn old git I still decided to run. Prior to the injury I would have smashed 90 minutes. Sadly the pain from 8 miles was tough so I had to grit my teeth and finished in 1 hour, 37 minutes.
I had a good start because I was in the Leukaemia Research Pacing Team thanks to Running Fitness Magazine. I was able to cross the start line under 10 seconds but I still came across walkers in my start pen! I don't know why the big races in UK can't adopt the same policy in the US where an official checks all the numbers before allowing you access to the correct pen.
Yes, a lot of the criticism from other reviewers is fair but they get the same comments every year. With 50 thousand runners it is always going to be an organisers nightmare.
Just enjoy the day being part of one amazing race.
The best bit for me was finding my wife at the finish and waching the Red Arrows at the seaside at South Shields. The massage back in the hotel was dam good too but I had better not mention that here!
Finally, I also was very sorry to hear about the deaths and from what I've read the 4 guys seemed fit and good runners. My thoughts are with their families.
Bring on the Great South Run in a fortnight. Date of review: September 24, 2005
In short: Could do with "tweeking" in a few areas In full: The pasta party was expensive for what you got. The start really does need sorting out as does the amount of runners in a confined space. apart from that,back next year. Date of review: September 24, 2005
In short: 1st GNR and 1st 1/2M. The atmosphere was pretty special and it was a nice touch crossing the bridge with the red arrows overhead! In full: Ended up standing still for 1 1/2 hours with no stretching room prior to the start - not ideal prep! The race itself was fine although I hadn't done enough longer runs and suffered from about 10 miles onwards, also definitely suffered from a blood sugar crash until a small, rotund chappie gave me a custard cream with a couple of miles to go which got me in! The car parks and traffic at the end is probably my only real gripe as it took 2 hours to get out of SS following the race - not great with two screaming kids in the back! Hard to see what they could do different though so it's pretty much a "feature"! Going to have to train harder next year to get a time to be proud of, my time of 2hrs 11 mins this year reflects my major struggle with the last 3-4 miles, was on for a bit under 2 hours until this point. All in all an event to remember.....was damn hot though! Date of review: September 23, 2005
In short: one of uk's toughest marathons In full: not a course for P.B.'s or if you need a lot of support from the sidelines. but a beautiful course with a definate sting in the tail Date of review: September 23, 2005
In short: Beautiful course, with longish hill in middle, pleasantly organised In full: Beautiful course, with longish hill in middle, pleasantly organised, nice place for food and drink afterwards Date of review: September 23, 2005
In short: First 12.5 miles mixed race with half marathoners, so you have to be careful not to get into a race with them at this stage! 2nd half a lot quieter as you head off into the sticks. Not a PB race but well worth a look. Date of review: September 23, 2005
In short: Undulating? A euphemism for hilly..... In full: Undulating is an interesting descroption of this course. Admittedly, I do most of my training along the Thames path, but I would describe Woodstock as hilly. Funny how some courses appear to be only up-hill! Beautiful scenery and kindly, encouraging stewards made up for the hills. I also managed a chatting PB in managing to talk to my friend - uninterrupted by hills - for 1hr 58 minutes! I would do this again as it is great training for the NY Marathon. Date of review: September 23, 2005
In short: unreal In full: My 1st gnr what an experience, when i walked down onto the start , the amount of people wow ! took my breath away, i started at the 2 hour 10 mark took me about 10 mins to get over the start line, which i did,nt think was too bad,i thought the start was well set out, plenty of toilets , baggage buses , a long wait for the start but it was always going to be so go prepared, just one gripe like others have said if you know your going too walk it start a the back please and move too one side out on the road, the course , well i thought it was flat ( prob is too experienced runners ) but it caught me out at 9 miles , a steady climb up too 12 miles felt like someone had a rope on me pulling me back, but at the top of the bank before you drop down on to the sea front the most welcoming sight of my life a moble screen with one more mile on it , the finish is fantastic where my extra legs came from ???? who knows, quite an emotional time , at the end of the day i was disappointed with my time 2.31 but it was very warm. but when i heard the news about the four fellow runners well my tme means nothing . my thoughts go out to the families of the four runners. Date of review: September 23, 2005
In short: When you have to walk at 6 miles due to a bottle neck it's not really a running race. In full: While it was great to be part of such a large event and enjoy the day, I'll not be doing this race again. There's many many locally organised races where you can enjoy better scenery, better organisation and a better running experience.
The start area was shambolic - no signage, no stewards. The only toilets I could see were in the bushes by the side of the motorway. It took me ten minutes to get over the start line (not too bad compared to many), but I only got to run for 100m before being blocked by four walkers all walking next to each other. How difficult is it to think that if you're going to be walking then start nearer the back, and don't take up the whole road so people have to stop and start.
By about six miles I'd finally found some room and was running at my own pace. So what do they do? Close half the road so everyone has to squeeze in and walk for a bit. Thanks.
The finish area had a good atmosphere, and having parked on the road in South Shields I was amazed at how quickly we managed to get through traffic and out. Date of review: September 23, 2005
In short: Too many participants In full: Badly organised start for the "white" numbers who were a mixture of runners, walkers and those in fancy dress. Discarded black bags could have resulted in somebody tripping and falling flat bringing others down- would the 20,000 folowing on behind have been able to avoid trampling them? Also the race started too late - I had breakfast at 06.30 in order to be sure of getting to the start - no nutrition on the course and no water until 3 miles. So by the time I finished I had not eaten for 7 hrs. True I could have been better organised but how many others were like me - plenty I would guess. There were far too many participants.I spent the entire race trying to get around walkers and very slow runners. Maybe those who want to do a good personal time (however slow) should get away from the start before the fun runners and the size of the field should be limited to say 25,000. According to my wife who was a spectator the metro could barely cope and getting to the finish, including the walk from the southshields station, took 2 hrs from the airport. At the 3rd stop the train was crammed to capacity (600) and unable to take any more on board for the rest of the journey. Date of review: September 23, 2005