In short: well organised event In full: This event went smoothly for me last year, and was even more enjoyable this time out. I was concerned the extra numbers might have ased problems but this was not the case. They wave start works very well. A few years ago there were all kinds of organisational issues with Bristol Half Marathon but they have made great improvements. It's good to feel you've been listened to. I have no complaints about the goody bag, much better than the tin of soup a few years back. Date of review: May 14, 2009
In short: A well organised, smooth operation for such a big field In full: I very nearly didn't make this one, having developed cold symptons in the days leading up to it, but having missed last year's event due to my annual May cold I was determined to make it this year and I am so glad that I did. The organisation was very good, with marshalls ensuring the starters were in their correct pens according to seeding, and the staggered start times meant that early congestion on the roads was kept to a minimum. The sudden change in weather was welcomed by me, even if the warm temperatures may have been less than ideal for some of the less experienced runners. Extra water stations on the route would have been a good idea, although I must admit the weather change could hardly have been predicted. The logistics at the finish were great, moving runners through quickly back to the Runners Village. One small moan - for the entry fee the goody bag was not so good, and the race T-shirt was cotton, not the usual wicking sports shirt given out at Bristol Half-Marathons. A bit of cost-cutting by the council? But I really enjoyed the day, even if my time was almost 2 minutes over target - damn that cold! Definitely could have been a PB had I been well. Bring on next year ... Date of review: May 13, 2009
In short: Fast course, good organisation, great support . In full: The wind dropped, the sun shone and my daughter and I posted good times. Congratulations to all, especially the boys from 6 Rifles,running with packs. Date of review: May 13, 2009
In short: The "Great Run" organisers could learn a lot from Bristol. Great race! In full: Having been ill all week, I nearly pulled out of the race but had so set my heart on trialling part of the HM course, I decided to make the effort as it was a nice day.
The start was amazing. I'm not the best runner but was privileged enough to be in the yellow pen and was surprised to see the entry points marshalled and those trying to sneak up from red and green turned back to their correct places. After several years at the Great South Run, I am specifically favouring Bristol HM over GSR purely because I'm tired of forever getting stuck behind walkers. Well done Bristol!
And what a lovely course. Very scenic and very fast. I managed to knock four minutes off my 5k PB but then began to feel unwell at around mile four. Most other races I'd've pulled out but the support in Bristol was excellent with cheering people almost shoulder to shoulder on the last mile.
Will definitely be back in September. Only minor point, like most was the lack of a second water station, although the sunny weather was unexpected so no real issue. And the final water station after the finish could've been a bit closer to the exit (although again on a cool, grey day, I'd probably not have noticed!) Date of review: May 11, 2009
In short: Brilliant race, was my first 10k! In full: Brilliant race, was my first 10k! I live in Bristol so it was easy to reach the start. I found the start a bit slow, took about 60 seconds to reach the start line and i was in a pen with very different running abilities so overtaking at the start of the race was challenging. Weather was really warm but fantastic atmosphere. Water stop just past 5k was hugely appreciated but another one would have been great especially considering the heat of the day. Brilliant organization at the finish line. Water, foil, t-shirt, medal, chip. Quick and efficient. Good value for money and definitely a race from the elite to beginner! Will definitely be doing it next year! Not ideal race to try and achieve a PB due to difficult and quite a slow start, but this probably varies depending on which starting pen you are in. Overall....5* Race except....not enough toilets!!! Date of review: May 11, 2009
In short: It's not easy organising a 10k on this scale and Bristol can be proud of a job well done! In full: I had run two 10k races before this one and both had fewer than 500 entrants. I was therefore interested to see how this event would work with over ten times the field. If city centre events go wrong, they can go very wrong! (See for example the comments on the recent Edinburgh 10k.) I need not have worried. The organisers obviously drew on their substantial experience of running a successful Half Marathon in the same part of the city and it was a joy to be a part of this event.
The start and finish location is great, with plenty of space. Two particular reasons for this, as far as I could tell. Firstly the wave start helped immensely in keeping the start from getting too crowded (and in spreading the field out during the race). Secondly, there was a long receiving area on Anchor Road beyond the finish line before the various zones (medal, drink, space blanket, de-chipping, goody bag) actually began, which meant that there was no tendency for runners to loiter just beyond the line. Having said that, I loitered in order to congratulate my daughter, who was running her first 10k and who crossed the line only a couple of minutes after me. (Next time, I expect her to be waiting to congratulate me!)
Those familiar with the Half Marathon will know the course and in many ways this 10k simply includes the best bits. There's a shorter run along the Portway, a more direct route to the start (no-one who ran in the 2008 HM will forget that side road before the Cumberland Basin with that builder's skip strategically positioned!), a simple "up and over" to get back across the Cumberland Basin without twists and turns on the ramps and a direct final route through the centre without the labyrinthine route around Queen's Square. A fantstically flat course and therefore offering excellent PB potential.
The pre-race atmosphere was great - I really enjoy the buzz and anticipation as the runners and supporters gather for an event like this. The sunny weather helped too! Pre-race instructions etc were fine and arrangements were clear.
So, what could have been better? Very little. A few more portaloos would have been welcomed by many, I know. If the organisers could find a brass band or drumming group or similar to perform at the turn-point on the Portway, that would be fantastic too! I say this because the support on the Portway was a little thin. I know this is a newish event still, but with the turn being below Sea Walls, the big HM crowds from Shirehampton, Sea Mills, Stoke Bishop etc simply didn't seem to have made it! One other point that I'll mention, although I am by no means convinced that this is necessary - I started the race intending to bypass the drinks station altogether. When the time came, I was more than ready to take on some water and a second station on Cumberland Road would have been very welcome too! That probably sounds excessive for a 10k though and perhaps it was just me!
All in all, a very enjoyable event. Well done, Bristol! Thanks to all the marshalls and volunteers too! Date of review: May 11, 2009
In short: Well organised In full: Good race, flat and fast, well organised and cheery marshalls, shame it was such a hot day - could have done with another water station on the route. Date of review: May 11, 2009
In short: A fast leg stretcher with great PB potential In full: I did a PB in this race and could imagine going a lot faster. The organizers utilise the widened Anchor road to good effect, the zoning approach is excellent. No complaints about the set up. I'll be doing this one again. Great support from those Great Western Runners not taking part. Date of review: May 11, 2009