In short: Brilliant day out! In full: Ok so I'm biased it's my home town but I loved every minute. I don't mind running in the heat unlike some, so that was no hindrance to a pb for me on my fourth attempt at 26.2. Great venue, great course and fantastic organisation and crowd support. Well done MK! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Bare-bones organisation but a great experience In full: Good points: Frequent water stations, Mostly flat course, Good crowd support Slick organisation in bag drop & finish.
Average points: The start seemed strangely congested even though there weren't that many runners, it needs to be in timed corrals like every other race out there (not just red/green!). As others have mentioned the inclines of underpasses in the last 6 miles were pretty tough (my garmin says 181m of elevation gain, not 118 like the online map!?) but as it was my first it was always going to be a PB! The goody bad was pretty average and that t-shirt will never be worn by most of us... it's already in the rag bin. The organisers need to state in advance which gels/energy drinks will be on course (not just 'High5 and gatorade' as each of those brands make a number of different products. I know it sounds picky, but so are runners tummies! There needed to be more signage in general (ie. "to the start" when I arrived at the stadium it wasn't at all clear where everything was) There was no 'race village' to speak of apart from a few charity tents.
Bad points: Couldn't hear announcements at the start at all or find the pacers. (Take a leaf out of Runners World pacers book and have flags/signs that rise above the runners please) The 'gatorade' stations needed to have water too (especially that last one!!) and I'm shocked that some other reviewers said some stations ran out! Where were the bands en-route!? The website promised bands and warned against brining iPods but there was no music at all!!
Sorry there are more 'bad' points than good overall I really enjoyed almost all of it, perhaps in a few years with a few more tweaks people will be raving about it! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: A good effort, more work required to make this worth coming back to. In full: I guess my opinions might be influenced by a poor run (I blame the heat) but I think there is a lot of work to do with this one in the future.
Good points: Stadium facilities and finish. Really nice support, decent value for money, plenty of water/drinks, 'big' event atmosphere chip timing etc.
Bad points: The start was a shambles, too narrow and there were some very fast runners in the green pen stuck behind a lot of slower runners in the red pen for the first 1/2 mile. Noone could hear anything and the pacers were invisible. Where were the toilets on the way round!? They needs signs and lots of people were using bushes. Public ambling onto the course were a pain and the route was too easy to short cut with grassy corners and in one place towards the end a totally unnecessary 100m or so down a side road instead of following the path. Too hilly to be a real pb course but not hilly enough to be a proper challenge, a largely uninspiring course scenery wise. And my goody bag didn't have a mars bar!
Sounds terrible, but it was ok overall. I'll pick another one next year to try and avoid one as hot as this. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Another Great Race In full: I have done this twice now and I think its a great race. The course was obviously different this year, I think it made it slightly slower but also cut out the flood zones around caldecotte lake. The gel, sports drink and water stations were well planned out and at just the right distances. The stadium finish is awesome and we all benefited for the use of all of its facilities this year.. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: It's no substitute for London but a nice local Marathon. In full: The event ran like clockwork and the course would of been fast for me had it not been for the heat. I did get quiet in parts but the support was generally good. My only grip was at about 24 miles (the last water station) there was no water only gatorade. Gatorade at that time in the race is not really of benefit. I would probably do it again next year but as this year it wouldn't be my main focus (I did London two weeks before). Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Outstanding organisation In full: May I first say a huge thanks to our pacer, Trinity, for keeping us regular for the 3.45 finish; and to Tim who I didn't finish with, but hope you're not disappointed - you did really well and should be proud to run all the way :-) The race was fabulous, after last years teething problems - baggage especially was immaculate. The water stations were more than adequate for me, and whilst some of the public strayed I don't think its part of the marathon remit to order kids and bikes off the route - be serious! The stadium was uplifting, and "yes" the weather made this memorable, hats off to the organisers for making the changes to put this race on the map! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Who needs London! In full: What I like about this event is that the organisers have the right attitude. They clearly have listened to the criticisms raised after the inaugural event last year and have acted on them. In this case the bag drop ran like clockwork, there were plenty of available loos and the whole thing had a very professional feel to it.
This year posed a whole new set of problems with blazing sunshine replacing wind and rain. Thankfully there were plenty of water and sports drinks being distributed on route. I liked the water bottles, a practical size and easy to drink from. The Mars bar and banana in the goody bag at the end was also very welcome!
The course is a real mixture. The first third was on closed roads and reasonably flat before heading onto paths around woodlands, lakes and residential areas. As others have pointed out it did become quite undulating towards the end with seemingly endless bridges and underpasses. They are the kind of hills that you would barely notice if you were running 5k but after 20 miles it was hard work.
One thing that was a really nice surprise was the number of people out cheering on the runners. It does make a difference, especially when you are struggling. The marshals too were always cheerful and helpful.
Overall I think this is a great race. For anyone who didn't get into London but who wants the experience of running in a well organised, friendly event I would definitely consider this a worthy alternative.
In short: TREMENDOUSLY WELL ORGANISED EVENT - PARTICULARLY THE USE OF THE STADIUM AT THE START AND TO FINISH IN!! In full: Really nice event and a credit to the organisers. The level of support was first class and we were all very lucky to have the base at MK Dons stadium.
The volunteers were superb and the drinks stations were adequate with sports drinks and gels too. Given the 'heatwave' an additional few stations in between would have been advisable.
The support in the stadium and particularly at 16 miles near the lake rivalled anything a tired runner could ask for.
As somebody who likes T-Shirts, I would sooner have paid a little more and received the 'good quality' shirt that was available to purchase. The fact that I couldn't find where to buy on the day - meant I went without.
Only negative for me was tha car parking. Tried to buy the VIP parking but it was sold out and the marshals had no idea were to send me and many other runners.
Asda were 'manning' their car park and enforcing a 2 hour limit and many runners like me ended up in the Ikea Car Park and hoping for the best. Thank you Ikea for being sensible and not issuing tickets!
In short: Brutal weather but a very well organised marathon In full: Ignoring my own horrendous run, which I'm going to lay at the door of the weather after training in sub freezing temperatures I thought this (a few minor squabbles aside) was a superbly well organised event.
Start was a little bit too narrow and there were a couple of occasions when it was a bit too easy for people to get onto the course - and the mindset of people is sometimes oblivious to a marathon runner trying to get by them - but the stadium organisation was amongst the best I've ever come across.
Support was great, the weather no doubt helped but it was vastly superior to any race of a similar size I've done before. Marshals and water stops too. Free t-shirt not so, one-size only Large and heavy cotton but the medal is the same no matter what time you do and at least there was water and a Mars bar too!
I blew up at about 10 miles, meaning I had over two hours of torture on the day but I remember thinking at about mile 18 that it was quite a quick course but then at miles 22/23 there were a couple of nasty little inclines which might have hurt if I were actually running by then.
They've been unfortunate with the weather, monsoon last year, heat-wave this but I'd recommend MK Marathon I think, although not sure I'll return due to the danger of another heat-wave, early spring for me next time! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: A Definite Improvement On Last Year In full: This year's race was largely excellent and well organised - a definite improvement on last year. Particular highlights were the stadium finish, superb medal and on-course support. It's also worth mentioning the goody bag because it realy was a cut above what you get at most events, containing: a bottle of water, banana, Mars Bar and distinctive, high quality commorative t-shirt.
On the downside: more frequent water stations were required, particularly in the prevailing hot conditions (the bottles had run out by the time I reached one station, although they did have little cups of water).
I also felt that in (a very few places) better provison should have been made to separate runners from the public (I had to dodge little kids on bikes while running through a park).
So far the organisers have not had an easy ride with this event: monsoon coditions last year and a heatwave this year. They have however learned a lot of lessons and I am convinced that with a couple more minor tweaks the MK Marathon could be truly superb. Date of review: May 7, 2013