In short: A Subura of a race! Build for speed and not pleasure In full: First review so let's make it good! Well that is my intention
Let's start with the positives i) Get there early and parking is fine
ii) Opportunity to pick up lots of lucozade sport for free was appreciated (Although running with 23 bottles ina rucksack would have been very stressful - SO WHY DID I SEE SO MANY PEOPLE PLAYING "DOUBLE OR DROP" WITH AS MANY AS THEY COULD CARRY! Perhaps they knew what was in store
iii) Flat course on the whole - Good for a PB and probably the main reason to return
iv) Free massage afterwards - but if the queueing system for that was akin to the rest of the day then I am sure that there are still a few waiting around
NOW FOR THE FUN i) Once the car was parked it became a little less clear where the baggage area was - No system to it once you arrived in the hall. I just hope nobody who is looking to open a second hand sports equipment shop is reading this. It may give them ideas!
ii) The start seemed chaotic - even the announcer was apologising before the start saying "I am sorry to all of you over number 3000 -I haven't a clue who you are as they have yet to tell me!"
iii) I was uncertain as to whether the 20-30 people in the middle of the runners, wrapped in duffle coats, wearing "sensible" shoes and a Tom Baker like scarves were participating - No, they were clearly there just to make us feel cold and ensuring that we didnt start too quickly - Please get them out of the way for next year. It is nice to support but do from the side and not on the course
iv) Start line - I am sure there was one. Just as I am sure there was a starter pistol etc etc but given the mass of people (Please note the re-emphasis on people rather than competitors), it was all lost on me
v) Mile markers - Most seemed pretty good although I did in theory chuck in a very fast 2nd mile and very slow 3rd mile so I either got distracted or something went awry there. Both are possible given my current standard of fitness!
vi) I ran with my wife - only because she was injured and decided it more sensible not to sprint off and leave me for dust! She had a football kicked at her by some kids - was tempted to go back and take their ball from them but decided against it on 2 accounts - (i) I was getting tired and thought I couldn't outrun them & (ii) When they inevitably caught me the 6 year old with the baseball cap looked a little handy
vii) FINISH!!!! AAARRRRRGGGGG To arrive nearly at the finishing line and meet a queue before you get over the line is a tad disappointing - To have to stand there for upwards of 10 minutes and have a steward getting very animated about us all staying in line was rather annoying - than to have your number taken in a "random number generator" like fashion once your line was given "clearance" was somewhat demoralising. I had worked VERY (A stronger word can be substituted) hard to outsprint the 3 poeple I had been tracking for 2 hours - to get put in a different line to them and see them disappear off to the changing room before I had helped myself to one of the entangled medals was a bitter pill to swallow. BUT THERE WAS OF COURSE TIME TO DOUBLE UP ON LUCOZADE SPORT IF THE FIRST 20 BOTTLES HAD BEEN USED.
Finally - back to the baggage facilities to chose a bag - I decided on this occasion to go for the one I had brought with me. Keys being the only reason of choice as there were a number of fine alternatives that had been very well looked after by the invisible men.
It does justice to the average runners honesty that this was the case but I would not be at all surprised to hear that there were a few tales of woe.
Yes I agree that you should only take things with you that you can afford to lose. Wife / spare tyre round belly / Empty Lucozade bottle being 3 good examples (Until the wife reads this and actually decides to leave me!), but an event, very much like a story, is only as good as it finishes......Both can end up a little disappointing after promising so much at the start.
All that aside - knocked 6 1/2 minutes off my PB - roll on London. I just hope there won't be to many people there to get in the way ;)
In short: Who knew Milton Keynes was pretty? In full: Fun race - lovely atmosphere, and as far as I could tell, well organised. Shame about the finish though - hanging around in the cold at the finish line whilst we were counted in seemed a bit cruel. Not sure it will do much for my official time either - but the race was good, and I went home happy with a pb in my pocket :-) Date of review: March 13, 2006
In short: I liked it!! In full: Judging my some of the other comments, I think I was lucky at the finish. Maybe because I was among the slower runners the crowds at the finish had disappeared by the time I got there. Overall, I would say a race well worth doing, I found the organisation pretty good and the marshalls very enthusiastic and encouraging (they must have been freezing so I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their time and cheerfulness.) Lots of little inclines which seemed more challenging the more you tired. I agree that championchip timing would have been nice but generally I was happy with the day and would definitely do it again. Date of review: March 13, 2006
In short: Crowded, great atmosphere, hard, cold, but an excellent race in all In full: Seemed very cold waiting at the start, but warmed up as i went along as turned out sunny. Verry hilly course, but worst of it in the 1st half. Managed target of 1.50, despite the usual walkers being in the wrong place at the start, and had to do lots of dodging in first few miles (the one bad point). Fantatsically supported race and would do it again. Splits showed the 1st half toughness, taking 57.16 for the 1st half and 51.59 for the 2nd. A good halfmarathon though, and would recommend it to people who like a well supported and crowded race. PB potential small, unless its your 1st one Date of review: March 13, 2006
In short: Exceeded every expectation In full: Only 2nd h/m I have run (the first being the hideous Roding 2 weeks ago). Chalk and cheese. Tough hill but managed not to walk so even though I'm a plodder was reeling people in from mile 7 onwards (which was nice). First time under 2:30 so delighted! Date of review: March 13, 2006
In short: Some really nice villages on the way, with not too much road. Marshalls did not organise traffic flow as well as they could do where cars and runners shared the road (bit of a free for all) Date of review: March 13, 2006
In short: Generally nice fast race, however not very scenic and left a bad taste in the mouth when you get stuck at the finish for 10/15 mins in the cold getting shouted at by a rather grumpy race marshal - however I will probably do it again! Date of review: March 13, 2006
In short: Brilliant day!!!!! Finish a bit disorganised though In full: I didn't have any problems at the start with parking/toilets, but then i turned up at 9.30. Hubby even managed to get back out, wave to me on the course (twice) and get back to greet me at the finish!!!!
Loved every minute of it, and will do it again next year. Date of review: March 13, 2006
In short: Excellent training run for the London Marathon. Not keen on tackling those hills four times in a row, but good preparation nonetheless! Well organised and good start time. Date of review: March 13, 2006
In short: Scenery was pretty dull (but what do you expect for Ruislip?), but otherwise a good race. Marshalls and police were excellent, nice goody bag at the end. And a course that was described as undulating that really was undulating - and not himalayan! Date of review: March 13, 2006
In short: Cold and windy, but very very flat In full: Had a bit of problem with race pack not arriving, but sorted oit with no worries by the race sec. I was stretching and missed the start by a few minutes, but this gave me the rewarding chance to run down a lot of the back markers which kept motivation up. Finished in 50m 4s , a PB by near 9 minutes so I can hardly complain! The last km into the wind and snow wasn't that pleasant and the medal reward was very poor - c.f. Tamworth! However, with a PB like that I can't complain and I will be back next year to break that 50 minute barrier!