In short: In at the steep end! In full: I had run my first ever half 2 weeks before (Brighton) which wasn't without issues so signed up for this one at the last minute.
I was told about 'the hill'. After having hill trained I felt quite cocky about the hill but for the first time in my life I found myself walking during a run (although not for as long as I thought I had according to my GPS watch) as I had severely underestimated it. I could see my chances of a PB disappear but as I bombed down the hill on the other side I reclaimed every second back that I needed to stay on track.
The weather was terrible and blustery off the coast, through no fault of the organisers. I got a PB of 1:44:54 which I was pleased with (has set a target of 1:45:00!).
The people of Eastbourne were lovely in supporting us and so were the marshals. It wasn't as big or 'atmospheric' as Brighton but I actually enjoyed the support more as the locals made an effort to come out and clap on such a horrid day. Presumably the girls on the 11 mile (roughly) mark were the famous ones I'd read about from previous years. Very enthusiastic, was tempted to stop and hug them but decided it was inappropriate!
The only downers for me: A bit bottle necked at the start. I ran about 50 metres then had to stop again. It doesn't eat into your time much and considering that a lot of races have their bottle necks it wasn't too bad, but just frustrating that it wasn't BEFORE the chip time was started.
The last 50m back into the field were very churned up and I had no footing at all. Was a bit gutted as my team mates were cheering me on and I felt a burst of energy but all I could do was slowly skid to the finish. It cost me about 5 seconds probably (so nothing to worry about) but a shame about the glory of darting over the line!
I would recommend this race to people as one to 'tick off' the list, but I'm not sure I'd do it again just because I found this extremely gruelling with the hill and the weather (which I acknowledge might be lovely in future years!). If I don't do it again, it won't be as a result of any criticisms of the organisation or the cost though. Date of review: March 6, 2012
In short: My first half marathon. Enough has been said about the organisation at the start - delayed by 20 minutes whilst cold and windchilled - not good. Medal is pretty poor, as a native, I feel let down by the event - contrast to Hastings couldnt be bigger. Date of review: March 6, 2012
In short: Lovely day for it.... In full: 2nd year of doing this and 2nd year of far from ideal conditions - same for everyone though. The hill seemed longer than last year for some reason, maybe because it was into the wind?
The rest of the race was fine. Support was excellent considering the weather. Perhaps could have done with a few more marshalls - nearly went wrong at a couple of points. The finish wasn't the best either, maybe some sort of matting could be used if it's wet in the future? Date of review: March 5, 2012
In short: The course was 13.22 miles Long In full: The Girls on the bridges were great, the race itself was ok but not the most interesting. My only downer is that 3 of us measured as too long which was a little gutting as according to my watch I had just run my second fastest half ever but the results show it 45 seconds slower. I would do it again but not for another few years. Date of review: March 5, 2012
In short: Has improved since the last time I ran but could do a lot more still In full: I last ran this in 2009 and thought then it was over-priced and generally not the best of races. Thought I would try again this year and found some improvements but still a long way to go...
Negatives: Toilets - how hard is this to organise? Nearly 1,500 runners and just a dozen or so loos plus some int he changing rooms that had no water connected. The queue with 12 mins to go must have been the best part of 80 yards. Location - can't help the weather but it is a road-race but we both started and finished on grass which turned quickly to mud. Had to slow down on the finish as it was so slippery. As the road outside of the park was closed surely another couple of hundred yards can be found on the course to prevent running on the mud? Water: OK for most of the stops but the last one was unmanned meaning you had to grab it from the table. Finish: I finished relatively early and there was a banana and chocolate but this soon ran out - surely if you all pay the (high) entry fee there should be supplies for all. Medal: I don't run these races for the medals but when presented with this poor attempt at one I wished that the 10pence or so it must have cost could have been spent on something else.
Positives: Course, apart from the mud, fairly good. Hill a bit testing but the run through Eastbourne and the seafront was nice. The harbour was boring - like running through a housing estate. The finish was a bit annoying as you run past the finish out again to an underpass. Piper and band: both were nice touches - the piper must have been soaked poor chap. Marshalls/Support: Much more support than in 2009 so this was much appreciated Girls at the harbour bridge: Thank you! great encouragement and I bet they both had sore throats from cheering on everyone, great stuff!
Hope to see some improvements next year. Date of review: March 5, 2012
In short: Fast course ..............once you've negotiated the hill ! In full: Excellent event overall. Yes the hill is challenging but if you can maintain your pace it's over quicker than you expect and the descent back down brings you up to a nice pace for the seafront stretch that follows. The water stations could have been a bit better managed but the marshalling generally was excellent and the girls at mile 11 helped me to make a final push. Thanks to the piper....brave man....saw him 3 times and he looked colder each time. Despite the wind and rain I got a PB and will definately be back next year. Date of review: March 5, 2012
In short: What goes up must come down! In full: The hill was huge and went on for what seemed like a very long time,however the downhill section made up for it, and by the time you get back down to sea level I had a strong feeling the worst was over! I really enjoyed the course and if the weather had not been so awful it would have been fabulous. My only negative comment was the finish, I was soooo cold and soaked and had to wait for my other half to finish. There was no where warm or dry to wait other than the baggage tent and I was desperate to sit down and stretch. Also considering the weather I think space blankets would have been a good idea to stave of the hypothermia! Date of review: March 5, 2012
In short: A good course with plenty of potential In full: This was my second half marathon having completed the Hastings Half Marathon last year. I'm aware that Hastings is considered to be one of the best half marathons in the UK calendar and is now in its 28th year, whereas Eastbourne is just 7 years old, so it would probably be unfair to compare the two.
- Despite the awful rain and wind, the course is pretty fast except for one daunting hill about three miles in. Best approach is to just get your head down, grit your teeth and get on with it. That was my approach and it was over with sooner than expected! Once you reach seafront level again the rest of the course is flat.
- The amazing marshals at mile 11. I'd read about these very animated and enthusiastic ladies on this website prior to the race, and sure enough, there they were. By this stage in the race I was really struggling, so this was a welcome boost to my morale! Special mention must also go to the bagpiper who braved the elements to play some tunes.
- Decent medal, plus a chocolate bar, banana and water at the end of the race. I was also given a sachet of aloe vera heat rub, which was nice.
- The queue for the toilets before the race was massive. I counted just 12 portaloos. For an event with 1,400+ runners, that doesn't really feel like enough.
- I know the weather was terrible, but by the time I reached the final 100 metres, the grass in Princes Park was very muddy and slippery. My time was 1hr 46mins so I felt sorry for the still-to-finish runners behind me who had to contend with the deteriorating running surface.
In summary, I'd say that this race has great potential. And in decent weather with a bit more support around the course, it could be really great. Don't let the hill put you off!
One more point - did anyone else's GPS watch measure the course as 13.23 miles? Date of review: March 5, 2012
In short: A great race, just needs some tweeking! In full: As I first timer is Eastbourne I generally enjoyed the race. Having done a lot of local half marathons, I was looking forward to what Eastbourne had to offer.
The baggage area wasn't secure which was a shame, luckily I had a friend to hold my bag. The warm up and the atmosphere at the start was great!
The course itself was good despite the weather, the incline and length of the hill between miles 2-4 what longer and steeper than expected, I managed most of it and I run hills!
Despite the weather the crowds cheering and the marshalls were fab. The water stations were crowded, could have done with another table and a few more helpers at each station and I believe this was the first half marathon I've done that didn't have energy drinks around the course and I've done plenty but there was plenty of water and jelly babies at miles 6 and 8.
Good medal, a glass of water, a banana and chocolate at the end was just what the doctor ordered! Date of review: March 5, 2012