In short: Scenic, friendly and well organised. In full: Did this race for the first time, and loved it despite the weather. Car parking and race HQ really well organised. As a slow (2+hr) runner, I had to work my way back through the whole field from the start line to get to my start position, but that was no big hassle. The course was great; the hill at the start not as steep as I'd feared, and then it's level for 10 miles and certainly conducive to a good time. Bottled water every three miles, and a medal & cotton t-shirt at the finish. Lots of home made cakes were very welcome. All in all, an excellent race, and I'll definitely be doing it every year from now on. Date of review: September 18, 2013
In short: Wet but wonderful In full: This is a fantastic race and, in my opinion, one of the best races in Britain. Yes, the start is a bit of an issue but it is easy enough for the good runners to get themselves in front of the pack at the start. The route is just perfect - a couple of kms up to the dam and then 10 wonderful flat miles round the reservoir, before the downhill run to the finish. There is little scope for spectators on the course because the road is quite narrow and the general area sparsely populated but the scenery makes up for this. This is more than compensated at the end where the locals seem to turn out in force. Car parking is well organised and marshals friendly. I drive up from Reading for this race every year and will continue to do so. The weather this year was rubbish but the whole experience was as uplifting as ever. In a word, brilliant. Date of review: September 17, 2013
In short: If only the weather was as nice as the scenery! In full: Lovely location for a half marathon. Shame about the rain and the horrible headwind for the second half. Massive thanks to the volunteers who stood out in that weather for hours on end. It's a pretty quick course only really one notable hill up to the dam in the 1st mile which you also come back down at the end. My only gripe comes down to the start and the complete lack of common-sense on the part of a lot of runners. It's quite a narrow lane and it appears that the majority of the field ignore the markers for estimated finish times. With chip timing you don't get any benefit from starting at the front if you are a slower runner! It's dangerous for yourself and for the people who have started from the correct pace zone. Maybe more obvious markers at the start or more announcements could help with this or colour-coded numbers based on PB's or recent results? I guess this would take costs up though. Think it really just comes down to runners using a bit of common-sense though. Great event but the start still needs improving. Date of review: September 16, 2013
In short: Serious PB Potential In full: Probably the most beautiful half marathon in the UK. The views of the lake and the small waterfalls dropping into the lake were gorgeous.
Small steady incline up to the dam in the first mile, not that noticeable really and super speedy when you come back through from mile 12-13. The route is all on roads lined by trees on the first half so totally shaded, a little more exposed on the second half. If its sunny this could cost you. Nice touch was having water in bottles at the three water stops. I had a cracking race and will definitely be back next year to see if I can PB, as the course is almost as flat as you can get between miles 1 and 12.
The only thing that can be improved is the start. I believe chip timing would take away 90% of the issues at the start because regardless of whether your running 1:20 or 2:20, there will always be some people who aren't prepared to have time added on by having to wait to get to the line after the gun goes. Chip timing would take this away and I am sure most people would happily pay a few extra quid for chip timing. The expected finishing times should be high up on the fence so that short people can see them when the start area is full, I couldn't see where they were until my other half pointed them out. If chip timing was introduced a barrier could be placed down the lefthandside creating a very small walkway allowing people to get into their correct pens just before the start. This would make the start slightly narrower and slower but then as it would widen out as you crossed the line everyone would start to flow straight onto the course but this system would only be an advantage with chip timing.
This is definitely a fantastic event, with great organisation, wonderful scenery and a real chance of bagging yourself a PB. I have scored this as elitey because there are a lot of very quick club runners, the atmosphere was great and everybody was very friendly, but if you are a beginner looking for a GNR Fun Run type event this may not be the one for you!!! Date of review: September 12, 2012
In short: A good fast course and very pretty too! In full: A fast flat course after the first uphill mile to the dam, with a downhill finish. A race this size with a fairly narrow start would really benefit from chip timing. As a 2.10 runner I made sure I started in the correct pen and it took 2 minutes to cross the start line which would have scuppered any PB attempt. Overtook quite a few people in the first half of the race suggesting lots had started in the wrong area. The signs for the start pens need to be bigger please. Other than that accurate mile markers,plenty of water stations, enough toilets and a T-shirt and medal too. Thaks and well done to all the volunteers involved for giving us a great day out. Date of review: September 12, 2012
In short: As flat as you're ever going to get In full: Second time running this race and despite it being such a warm day I thoroughly enjoyed it and ran a surprsingly good time. Apart from being pancake-flat (or as close as a half-marathon is ever going to get to it in the UK) they had BOTTLED WATER at the water stations! Other organisers take note, runners can't drink from paper cups! Organistaion of the car parks was excellent and toilet queues were not too bad. Only minor gripe was the start and the rather obscure starting pen signs. This needs to be policed more effectively as such a narrow start can be rendered lethal by selfish, thoughtless people starting too close to the front. Sure enough, one poor guy took a tumble leading to a nasty gash on his head. Hope he was OK. Date of review: September 12, 2012
In short: Really enjoyable and fast course In full: I really enjoyed this Race, it was the 5th time I've entered, but the first time that I've actually managed to get there.
The only thing I would change is the Start ~ that road is too narrow for that amount of runners, also with people having to go through the start to get to their "timing pen" they were just stopping by the Start line, so there were an awful lot of slow runners too close to the start. I was surprised to only see 1 guy take a fall... Date of review: September 10, 2012