In short: Well organised city centre race In full: Well organised and quite high-profile in the local area.
Plenty of support (local news quoted 20,000 spectators and 9,000 runners), particularly in the second half of the race when you return to the main city centre after heading out under the Clifton Suspension Bridge in the first half.
The course is flat, with a couple of steep-ish slopes (thankfully quite short!) in the last couple of miles. Lots of water stops and free Lucozade, if that's your thing.
My first half marathon and I would definitely do it again. Date of review: September 12, 2011
In short: Slightly disappointing In full: Course: Didn’t like the first 7 or so miles running on that same stretch of road – feels like you’re never going to get to the turning point. The latter stages seemed to include all the inclines which it’d be nicer to get them out of the way early. On the plus side, loads of water / Lucazade stations with plenty of tables and 200m / 100m signs on approach.
Organization: Asked one of the marshals where the red start was and he didn’t know. Seemed to be a lot of people who were unsure where to go. I liked the 2 wave system but maybe a couple of signs pointing to where the different coloured starts are would help. Think they could segregate it further by having sections within each colour… sub 2 hours at front, then sub 2:10 etc to minimise need for overtaking in the first couple of miles although this wasn’t too bad.
Atmosphere: Strange – hardly anyone for first 7 miles understandably as it’s all on a main road with nothing around. Lots of people watching in the city but I swear at one point there must have been 200 people in one section with less than 10 of them clapping / cheering. I appreciatte they can’t constantly clap / cheer for 3+ hours but that’s ridiculous. On a positive note - Heart FM stations were good and all the charity supporters who cheer on everyone even if your not running for them.
Goodie Bag – as others said – best part was the bag, contents disappointing. Really like the t-shirt although wish I’d got small rather than medium. Bit of a walk after finish line to get medal / goodie bag.
Beat my only previous half marathon times by an incredible… 2 seconds! Still a new PB so pleased with that. Would do again if course was altered (no doubling back on the same road) although I appreciate in a major city this is difficult.
In short: This race continues to improve... as my running declines. In full: I like this race, and now I have done it 5 times- it is local and it fits well into my marathon training schedule. It all seems to work well - not so much queueing, clearly directed and signposted, well marshalled and well-supplied drinks stations. There are admirable efforts to recycle some of the mountains of rubbish that this event generates. It is, as others note, HUGELY expensive. I didn't take a goody bag because it was obviously a plastic bag full of just more recycling. T-shirt and medal are good quality. I like that the race accommodates the two extremes of running - elites to walk/runners, and it is adds a sense of occasion for mediocre plodders like me. Date of review: September 12, 2011
In short: Good route. Well organised. Poor atmosphere compared to other races of this size In full: 1st time at Bristol and there were pros and cons.
Pros: - very well organised (before and after) - 2 wave start got people off and spread out - nice course (basically flat - a couple of short inclines but nothing to speak of) - enough water / energy drink stations that were well organised - excellent quality t-shirt and nice medal
Cons: - for a "big" race the atmosphere was largely no existant, which was very disappointing indeed - both mine and another gents Garmin's measured the course at 13.3miles! - cobbled roads in parts of the latter stages not nice to find - the bag of the 'goodie bag' was the best part of it!
All in all I was glad I took part, and may consider doing the race again as it is well organised and a flat course, but as a charity runner it is important to me that there is lots of vocal support along much of the route, and that was conspicuous by its absence. Date of review: September 12, 2011
In short: Well organisedand for the first 9 miles not to difficult to pass walkers or slower people. The goodie bag was pretty appalling. It was really only worth the bag which will be used for wet clothes after visits to the beach! In full: I've only done two Race Bristol events and the T-Shirts are pretty much useless to me. While I'm not tiny I am a ot smaller than the 'small' size shirts and I would expect a lot of the other femal runners are too. An extra small size is needed. Towards the end of the race on the narrower bits and the small hills it was quite frustrating having to weave in and out of the walkers. Could there be a race ettiquite that walkers move to the side? Date of review: September 12, 2011
In short: Good, but not great. In full: Pro: Pretty flat course. Very well organised, especially the large, well-run, water / drinks sections. Good support in the city centre. Good start/finish. Excellent supportive marshalling.
Cons: Not great three last miles - windy and lonely through the business quarter. The goodies bag is just so silly that they'd be better off without. It costs about £5 too much. It would also be great if they could put in a couple more uplifting sections: the Heart FM stations were really welcome and a New Orleans-style jazz band like they had in the 10k would have gone down very well.
Overall I'll keep on doing it as it's only 10 min walk from me but imo the organisers will need to pick up just a couple of things, or drop the price a little, to stop the decline in numbers. Date of review: September 12, 2011
In short: Well-managed event on improved course In full: The direct approach to the Portway is a huge improvement and the two-wave start worked for me as I was at front of second and straight into race pace. Had a poor race, but that's my fault Date of review: September 12, 2011
In short: A new pb and great t - shirt In full: I really didn't like this course. There are too many twists and turns. Officials were rude and aggressive. Starting pens were very confusing and not clear. Why not swap t - shirt for a better goodie bag. Date of review: September 12, 2011