In short: A great race. More people should try it. In full: Anyone who can finish a marathon in reasonable comfort can do this. The race is a national treasure and deserves to be as well known as London M or GNR. Date of review: October 6, 2004
In short: Very challenging cross country course, certianly not PB unless it was your 1st marathon In full: I done the full marathon, and this was the 3rd time since it has been operating, the weather was against me, and it was a hard slog, compared to the 2 "dry" years i had had before. Got soaked, muddy and very tired, but loved every minute of it. It feels like you had achieved by the end. Marshalling and signposting have come on fantastically since the 1st event 7 years ago, and i would certainly put it on my list to do for a 4th time next year Date of review: October 6, 2004
In short: More isotonic stations please (eg halfway) In full: I really enjoyed this race, particularly the great finish in the Millenium Stadium. However, the actual start wasn't well marked at all and wasn't really apparent when assembling on the bridge - I presumed that we started when crossing the orange timing mats. Plenty of toilets in the stadium for runners and spectators meant no queues.
Only one isotonic station at 7ish miles (plus the same one again at 19miles for 2nd lap) - another station would have been most welcome at the halfway point (ie, outside the stadium itself). Manning of the isotonic station could be improved -nly one person was actually handing out isotonic drinks in the rush on the first lap whilst another was struggling to unwrap the plastic cups. Plenty of carbohydrates (fruits and a pack of Welsh cakes)in the goody bag was most welcome.
Although the rain came down during the last few miles it didn't dampen my spirits. Date of review: October 6, 2004
In short: Excellent organisation, stunning scenery which I managed to get brief glimpses of whilst not looking for a firm foothold! In full: Seemed a nightmare at the time and I was only doing the relay! The afterglow has now made me think more of muddy cross country rather than flat road races though. Even thinking of entering Grim 8 now. Will definitely be back to do it again Date of review: October 6, 2004
In short: Smashing event, that needs the odd tweak to make it even better In full: Mustn’t moan too much, as this was an excellent event, but I think it focused too much on the larger Half Marathon(HM) to the detriment of the full Marathon(M).
I have to admit setting off the HM’s 30 mins ahead seemed a good idea to me before I started, and between 5 to 10 miles I found overtaking the backmarkers very motivating. However, after that there were just so many, they had fast become a pain in the arse, and possibly added as much as a minute to my finish time.
If both events are to get any bigger, and I think they will, the organizers have got to set off the HM’s a least an hour before the M’s or else we will finish up queuing to get out of the castle at the halfway point.
On the plus side, the water stations were the best I’ve ever seen, and the finish in the Millennium Stadium, was superb.
In short: A good flat race, ideal for beginners In full: My first half marathon, so nothing to compare it to, but a few comments are:
Start - Random. Not very well organised at all. Course - Nice and flat. Interesting route, although the cobbles towards the end were a bit of a killer. The information we'd been provided with indicated that the cobbles would be covered with matting, but they weren't. Maybe something for the organisers to keep in mind for next year. Marshalls - Really friendly (apart from one, but I won't name names ;o) Water stations - Very frequent, but only one with energy drinks. A second one would have been nice. Crowd - Not huge crowds, but those that were there were very encouraging (apart from the woman in her car who shouted at a couple of my mates to get off the road!) Marathon Runners - The thing that touched me most was just how encouraging many of the marathon runners were to me during my run. It was my first half-marathon where my aim was just to get round, so it really helped whenever someone urged me to keep going, even if they were speeding past me at the time! Finish - Absolutely brilliant. Races I enter in the future will have to go some to beat finishing in the Millenium Stadium. Amazing!
Definitely a race I would do again. Date of review: October 6, 2004
In short: Fantastic race with great views, good marshalling, great support and a nice t-shirt. In full: I found this race very friendly - both in terms of marshalls and fellow runners. The scenery is also great, especially near the beginning around Farley Mount, and there are a few challenging hills for those that like that sort of thing. Probably not a PB course (although I did knock 15 minutes off my best marathon time), but great fun and worth doing none-the-less. Date of review: October 6, 2004
In short: Don't believe the profile - there's only 5 miles of flat and that's at the end! In full: The profile says the first two miles is downhill. Well lets just say the whole course is a leg sappin undulation. The first 1/2 is indeed maily downhill but some downhills are pretty tough and you can feel this when the uphills come along between 17 and 19 miles. After that its pretty flat. The start is breath taking (but it was sunny) and just made you want to run. Drinks stations were enthusiastically manned and there was sporadic support all the way around with welcome cheers in local villages. I really struggled at the end, probably due to an overly keen start and lack of prep (especially downhills). Can't really fault this event, enough competitors to give it a real buzz of a big event but not too many to become overcrowded. As for a first time event, then yes but don't expect to be surrounded by lots of support or fellow runners. I was on my own for a great deal of time. It's a tough course maily along a tree lined road. Not as many views as you'd have thought but when they come they really lift the spirts. This ws my second marathon after Edinburgh 2003. I found it much tougher but the course was far, far better. I'm sure it'll be a while before I find a race that tops this! Date of review: October 6, 2004