In short: A great course, organisers could improve some details to deliver an excellent race for all runners. In full: It’s a great course but the organisers don’t seem to have experienced runners involved in setting it up, although none of the downsides really spoil what is a very good event - particularly for those of us towards the front end. However there aren’t enough loos to cope with the pre-start nerves. The start is cramped and a bit chaotic - there's no audible countdown. The distance markers on the course are barely visible. Water stations offer 500ml bottles - great to have bottles but much too large for most runners to make good use of and clearly too few of them to cater for slower participants. Having said that, the course is set in some of the best scenery I have ever raced in, the pre-race information and parking were good and the race photos are good value. If they could get the start organised better, some good distance markers in place, the right number and type of water bottles and stock up with enough medals and T shirts I’m sure most runners wouldn’t mind paying a little more for an even better experience.
In short: lovely location, terrible organisation In full: This was my first half marathon and found the location stunning. Sadly the organisation of the race was very disappointing. The water stations ran out of water by the time we got there. We had to make do with bottles that had already been opened and drunk from. There was no choice other than to take them because it was a warm day. The marshalls and volunteers were really supportive and helpful. When we finally finished the race (just under 3 hours) we discovered there were no t-shirts or medals left. Nobody seemed to know what to do about it. It was extremely disappointing. We also discovered the photographer had stopped taking photos too. As a first timer, I found this really insulting. I really struggled to finish and felt that my effort (and others) were not acknowledged or even important. This will probably be my first and last half marathon and apart from the elation and sense of achievement of actually finishing it, I was left feeling really cheated. Hopefully I will get my medal and t shirt in the post but not holding my breath! Date of review: September 19, 2014
In short: Great race In full: Having done this race before. I knew what to expect. It’s one of the most picturesque races I've ever competed in, with other good points being that it is one of the quickest half marathons in Wales. The bad points in this year’s race was the start, as it seemed a little disorganised, as no one really knew what was going on. There were pens (time signs at the side of the road), which most people ignored and most of us couldn’t really hear the start. If they could only find a better way to start, then this race would be almost perfect. Date of review: September 17, 2014
In short: Avoid like the plague if you are a slow runner In full: I found it very difficult to rate this race. If you are a fast/average runner it was probably good. As a slower runner I was rather upset to reach the first water station to find they had run out of water. To reach the second and, again, no water was extremely bad. By mile nine I was starting to feel the effects of dehydration. Muzzy head etc. It was a warm day and water was very much needed. At the second water station the marshals were starting to pick up the discarded bottles and tipping half empty bottles into each other to make full ones and handing them out. I do not blame the marshals, in fact I sympathised with them very much. They were obviously, highly embarrassed, when it really wasn't their fault. I felt so bad by mile nine, that I vowed when I reached the final water station that if they were handing out second hand bottles I would have to take one and risk whatever. Fortunately, there were some left. I wasn't the last by any means, so there were plenty behind me, as well as some in front that did 10 miles on a warm day with no water. When finally, I crossed the line I was looking around for the medals and tee shirts. I heard mumbling about 'medals/post/extra cost', but it went over my head. Then I asked someone at a table where the medals and tee shirts were. I was informed that they had run out of those and I would have to go into the hall to register to have them sent to me. in the hall, despite asking several people where the organisers were I found no one. By this time, I had had enough and left. On the way out I overheard two women who must have had the same experience. They too left without registering. I have since been informed that they know the last person to receive medal and shirt and anyone after that will receive theirs in the post. We will see. It really is a shame because the scenery is nice. The marshals were very friendly (I was fortunate enough not to come into contact with the one that was berating the ones walking). They do say not to expect a slick GNR type race. This for me was part of the attraction. However, to not have nearly enough water was negligence in the extreme. Overall it had the potential to be good but failed on the most important thing - Water! Date of review: September 16, 2014
In short: Mainly flat, beautiful route but little support around the course In full: Very well organised, beautiful views , mainly flat course. Little spectator support around the course and not even that many marshals to cheer you on as route is pretty straight forward. Date of review: September 14, 2014
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