In short: What a farce In full: I am basing this review on the previous 14 marathons, I have completed. The shambles started at the Expo. I got there 12.30 on the Friday to find that many of the stands were not set up or had no staff available. I arrived on race day at the race village to find the male changing tent full with everyone keeping out of the rain, even non runners, I was therefore left with changing under a tree. When depositing my bag at the baggage tent at about 8.15 my bag was thrown onto a pile of other bags without any attempt to sort them into any order. There were no anouncements to keep runners informed (hence many runners arriving at the start late, some due to a 'warm up' taking place far too late in the proceedings).At the start the signage was very poor, a complete lack of marshalls. Members of the public/non runners were mixed in with the runners, even after the start gun went. The first half of the course was fine, however the second half was not, in fact dangerous in parts. Half way down the lane with the mud, I slipped and fell into the fence, luckly I was not injured (not simply due to the weather conditions, this narrow lane situation was easy to predict problems). The good thing about the course were the marshalls and staff at the water stations, they were all fantastic. Due to the weather the crowds were not as large as they might have been but those who were there were also fantastic. During the latter part of the race I saw many runners struggling with the very adverse weather to the extent that their health was at risk. The farce at the baggage tent was completely beyond belief. It took over one hour for me to get my bag back, I found it outside the tent covered in mud. We were keep outside the tent by the police with no explanations given. Many runners were showing signs of hypothermia. We were all standing there very cold, in wet running kit with some runners shacking uncontrolably. NO action was taken by the organisers to try and help the runners,hot drinks may have helped,served to those runners in the freezing cold. At the end of the Loch Ness marathon (usually October) every runner is given a cup of hot soup served in a massive WARM marquee with ample seats for all runners to rest. With some forethought, research and common sense a lot of these problems could have been avoided, forseen prior to the event (bad ather was predicted). The organisers may have got a lot of money for charity, but a little bit more money spent on the runners would ensure that this marathon would grow to be a success in coming years, raising far more money for charity, however due to this farce many runners will now not return. Remember no runners means no marathon, and no money for charity. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: Disorganised, course needs imroving, could have had contingency plans for the weather which had been forecasted all week In full: Well, terrible weather conditions aside:
The local people were amazing with their support. It was incredibly emotional having people cheering my name willing me to the finish & they are the reason I finished.
I waited in the baggage queue before the race but quickly realised we would miss the start if we waited so dropped our bags in a charity tent....best idea we could have had as we managed to get them easily at the end.
I think the course needs to be changed....a road race should not run through somewhere like Dunham Massey even in good weather. It was really hard for spectators following a runner to get round to the second half due to the lack of public transport. It would have been better to run the loop the other way round so that most of the support was at the end when you really need it. I felt so lonely at times.
Water stations and marshalls were great, they were always ready with drinks to hand you and were so supportive. I think there was a distinct lack of first aid available at some points though, especially in the more remote areas. The mile markers were hard to spot in places.
Times should have been ready immediately with chip times not just gun times....other half marathons I've run have sent me a text within seconds of crossing the finish line with gun & chip time.
Longford Park was just a swamp even at the beginning - there should have been matting down, the rain was forecasted for a week or more in advance. Additional tents for shelter should also have been priority. The finishers Tshirt & medal were good quality.
In short: Not much fun In full: My first Marathon; got talked into by a friend Expensive and not great organization.
The start PA didn't get turned on til about 5 mins before 9.00....and then they blabbed on and started late.
Dull route round Trafford Park, OK through the suburbs, and great crowds. Muddy into and through Dunham Park, then dull roads to Partington, Irlam and back to Stretford...and through a fecking underpass with half a mile to go ! I tired a lot after 16 miles...wanted to do 3.45 but did 4.00.??. Never saw the 4.00 pace maker...but he /she could have passed me just near the end
I didn't have to use the luggage sysytem, so no comment on that.
In short: Good course, sort aggage next year or your rubbish. In full: Good route, I was nearer front so did not see any bottle necks, cross country section may not have been a problem in the dry as it was a lane. I enjoyed it but I like off road running. Crowds and marshals great considering the weather. Drinks stations seemed to be good to may, plenty of them and those bags things worked for water. Not sure about the expo idea in general, this was my first marathon so not experienced this sort of thing before but it just seemed to be a way of increasing commercial opportunity but this is not a dig at this event as I guess the vlm is this same. BAD STUFF Baggage, enough said. I would consider doing this race again but consider the baggage storage area to be on probation, improve this or give up go home home. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: So much wasted potential... In full: Any new race is bound to have teething problems. Add this to the truly appalling weather on the day and some things are forgiveable. But the baggage pickup? Bordering the criminally negligent, as others have said.
No one could help the weather. As it happens I had a very good race with a massive PB and achieved my GFA target. A very flat course with just one hill (straight up, straight down again) has the potential for a very good time.
Unfortunately, the very narrow section from 14-16 on a narrow road- then a track- then a path- then cobbles- then a muddy stream (which must have been a path once) was unacceptable for a race of this size. I was very near the front- God knows what it was like in the middle of the field.
Given the wind and rain, the support from spectators was superb, particularly the truly uplifting 'wall of noise' in the centre of Altrincham. Well done too to the marshalls and the drinks stations, well stocked when I came through at least!
I can't ignore the baggage shambles. I won't describe it as others have done so very well already. My points would be these: - when I saw on friday that runner numbers had been allocated by expected finish time, I thought 'I hope they've got the baggage sorted out' - when I arrived on Sunday and saw the one small tent for baggage, I couldn't believe it. It was obviously not nearly big enough. - As I was on my own I had no choice but to leave my bag. They promised it would be sorted by the end of the race. - So- if I could see these issues at a glance, why did the organisers not see them? - Worst of all, mistakes can and do happen, but no one was available or prepared to take responsibility for sorting the situation out, which in my view is the most damning charge against the race organisers.
I will remember the race fondly for my PB, but it was badly spoilt on the day by the most disastrous situation I have ever encountered at a race. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: First Marathon so enjoyed it from that aspect In full: Well, I thought the pre race organisation was very good, the E mail updates and thorough booklet. I did not know what to expect as I had never run a Marathon and chose this one as it was flat.The people of Manchester were fantastic, especially the guy who offerred me chocolate and then saw I wore a Vegan runners T shirt so got me a biscuit, and the people who were playing Morrissey full belt, heaven knows I'm miserable now was so appropriate at that point.I truly think that it would have been fantastic had the weather not been so bad.I did not enjoy climbing along a fence in the country park as the path was now not passable, still I gotto talk to the cows who were looking on in amusement. I also felt very isolated out in the countryside and a little scared as I could no longer feel my hands ( and still have numb fingers now) I also passed a bloke that looked as though he had hypothermia and I wanted to stop and cuddle him but I was just as cold so would not have been much help.I thought there was a distinct lack of first aid on view and I'm sure many people must have needed it.I thought the subway at the end was a little bizarre but by then I didn't really care and I had no feeling from the next down. My hubby had my bag for me and also sorted out a shower for me at the nearby leisure centre which was a bonus. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: A complete mess up from start to finish In full: I had to drop out this race at mile 21 due to a back spasm there was medical back up but nowhere near enough for the conditions the people that dropped out spent some time at a kind ladies house as the st johns could not cope this lady gave us heating, hot drinks and chocolate she deserves a medal there was no way of communicating to the people waiting at the finish that you had dropped out and eventually we were dropped of by bus at the leisure centre but this was nearly a mile form Longford Park and consider I had an injury took my nearly an hour. This Xtramile events should be banned from organising such events and its a wonder no one has made criminal proceedings against them they are a shambles and a disgrace to the running community Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: GLAD I HAD A RED BAG! AND CROWD SUPPORT WAS AMAZING! In full: LETS HOPE EVERYONE IS OK AFTER THAT!CRAMMING 8000 BAGS INTO A 4 MAN TENT ISN'T THE BEST IDEA. HOW CAN THEY GET THINGS SO WRONG FOR SUCH A MASSIVE EVENT? Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: Horrendous weather, route needs re-thinking in places In full: I live around the corner from this one and so am unbiased in regard to the baggage situation, as I was able to go straight home from the finish line.
The conditions were terrible, no control over this. Miles 13 - 21 ish are extremely exposed countryside,which with howling on coming gales and horizontal rain, combined with a total lack of any martials/supporters/shelter from buildings made this very hard going.
The route through Dunham park wasn't really suitable for a road race even without the weather. The underpass under Chester Road just before mile 26 was just criminal - you had to claim steps on the other side. The absolute low point, though full marks to the martials either side of the underpass who kept you going.
The park was totally waterlogged at the end and there must have been a good number of hypothermia cases, it was that bad.
The instructive at the start were unclear - no countdown, just a gun whilst they were still doing PA announcements, and then a "NO, NO, NO" over the speaker... apparently this translates to "GO GO GO" - not a great start. I still don't know whether we were meant to go or not, but go we did.
The real time tracking didn't work well, with many missing times.
The most positive point is the water stations - plenty of them with plenty of water/gatorade/energy gels. I was in the top 300, so not sure what the situation was like for later runners. As other comments, everything could have been signed much better.
In short: Dangerous, Lack of organisation, and shocking baggage drop off/pick up In full: Worst weather conditions ever, however hats off to the crowds for coming out and supporting... It was much appreciated. The organisation was a total disgrace, the baggage drop off wasn't planned and the queues to drop off the bags where crazy, more volunteers needed, the course was good right up to the point running through a muddy, cobbled, water logged lane, then at 25.5 miles an underpass with steps up the other side?? Onto the finish and the lack of volunteers and organisation surrounding the baggage collection point, queued for 45 mins, in those weather conditions, , no-one was there to help bags where Being thrown around everywhere the frustration from everyone was clear to be seen, yet still no help or assistance from the organisers, 8000 white bags where being thrown around in a free for all.... Luckily I found mine however I was border line suffering with hyperthermia, and needed to be helped and assisted back to the tram... Which was warm !!! It took me 4 hours to finally warm up and stop shaking like a sh*tting dog... I feel for those runners who didn't get there bags and lost there property, it is also extremely disappointing that no one from the organisers have commented yet, on what was an overpriced, disgracefully organised Marathon, maybe try in another 10 years ?? Date of review: April 30, 2012