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
In short: Conditions were tough but the support on the course was awesome! In full: I wanted to run another marathon after London, and this ticked all my boxes! Nice course, although challenging in places. Hot summers day didn't really help and I did personally struggle with only having water every 3 miles - I guess I was used to every mile at London. The locals impressed me with their support and the amount of people shouting my name kept me going, as did the lady at around 19 miles who gave me her water. She even found me afterwards to check I made it bless her. She was a life saver! This is definitely one I would recommend. Lovely finish in the stadium which was very uplifting after a 26 mile slog. I didn't quite get the time I was after, but got a great medal and sense of satisfaction. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Unacceptable to run out of water bottles! In full: Now I can safely say I had undertrained but nothing could have prepared for the mini heatwave. The race was ok in itself but a few things that really let it down:
At the start of the race found it hard to hear anything, some speakers further back are required.
It is unacceptable on such a hot day and with the knowledge of it to run out of bottled water at not 1 but 2 consecutive water stations. This really made it not pleasant & dangerous for runners who found themselves dehydrated. This needs to be looked into.
Finally obviously the support en route is great but having women with pushchairs blocking the route or children walking across your path should have been dealt with better. Had one child kick a football at my feet then attempt to tackle it off me as if i wanted an improptu kick about.
Would do another marathon, just not this one sadly! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Like wine it just gets better and better In full: My home town Marathon, did it last year in the wet and the support was fantastic then, but this year all I can say is wow, all the little things that needed changing from the year before, thought about and ironed out, and the support on course and from other runners was amazing. Very proud of our Marathon and a massive thank you to the organisers. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: One of the best organised events I've been to and out of the 5 marathons I've done (including London and Edinburgh), the best so far! Hopefully this event will take off in the coming years as the organisers gear everything to the runner. In full: This was a memorable event and perfect for all types of runner, including those running their first marathon. The level of support was first class, so lucky to have the base at MK Dons stadium. The volunteers were superb and the drinks stations were many with sports drinks and gels too. The support in the stadium and particularly at 16 miles near the lake rivalled anything a tired runner could ask for. The city is surprisingly green and so the scenery was mostly pleasant. Although the course was largely flat there were a lot of small undulations over bridges and through underpasses. Overall, I'd definitely run it again! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Loved the stadium finish In full: My 2nd marathon ever and I loved this race - excellent organisation from start to finish, great crowds (am sure the glorious sunshine encouraged many out to cheer us on), and a decent route (not the most scenic but some lovely parts). Ample drinks stations and I loved the stadium finish. Hope to be there next year. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: well organised with a great stadium finish In full: parking for this event was easy.parked up in an industrial estate 5 mins walk from the stadium.organisation at the stadium was excellent with well laid out baggage drop areas.only complaint about the start was the congestion in the starting area.the race was well marshalled and after a loop round the city centre we ran through plenty of scenic parks and woods.whilst there were no serious hills I was surprised by the amount of undulations in the second half of the race.drink stations were frequent enough (just)given the heat.support from everyone on the way round was phenomenal and definetly gave us a much needed lift in the latter stages when I was really struggling.thanks to the marshalls as well who were encouraging and one even gave me his personal water when I was desperate between drinks stations.The stadium finish was great and the medal was good.shame the t shirt was only in large though.i would do this race again and recommend to others including first timers. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Great support In full: I really appreciated all the support along the route. Don't know if most marathons are like that as it was my first one but it definitely kept my buoyed up. That was my favourite part of the day. Slick baggage facilities, changing areas and loads of water, energy drinks etc along the route. There's hardly any cover on the route, so with my pale skin I'm feeling a bit burned now. Last thing. I don't suppose anyone had a garmin on something and couldpost the total ascent/decent please? Mine froze at the start. Chhers.
In short: Fantastic race with a superb stadium finish! In full: This really was a fantastic event made even more special by the stadium finish.
Seeing as though we were running through so much woodland, I was surprised at just how much support there was throughout the whole route. You really never ran more than a few hundred yards without seeing somebody cheer you on - yes it may have just be one bloke, but to have a constant stream of support was uplifting and the people of Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas can be proud of the support they gave.
This was really well organsied and marshalled throughout. Only a handful of places towards the end where there wasn't a marshall - meant pretty much the whole race was laid out clearly.
The baggage drop-off and collection was speedy, the race results at the finish line were instant and the goody bag was great: non-technical T-Shirt, a really good medal, banana and Mars bar.
There were far more hills and slopes than I was expecting. The profile is classed as flat/undulating, but I would just say undulating. The run took you under and over roads and canals constantly, so there was always a down bit followed by an up bit... and a few more up bits than down it seemed! By 20+ miles this becomes hard.
I understand the weather last year wasn't great and this time round it was glorious. A little too hot for a marathon I reckon, especially when all the training has gone on in cold conditions - but it did mean that the crowds came out and the support was there.
A superb race and great value for money... and The Beatles 1 album was playing from 9am in the stadium until the race start, so that was all good too!! :-)
There were only a few very minor points which could be improved on, just by way of feedback:
- race beginning: have a separate entry for the sub 3:30 runners and have a few feet gap between the green. There wasn't enough room for the red starters and people were having to climb over the barricades to get into their "pen"
- T-shirt. Although it's good quality cotton, the Large is far too big. Hopefully they'll be some Mediums next year!
- Parking. I missed out on the VIP parking so ended up sneaking into the Ikea car park. It would have been nice to have some signposted and suggested alternative parking. The Asda/Ikea car park is big enough, I'm sure borrowing a few hundred spaces at £3 or £4day would have been easy enough to do. Date of review: May 6, 2013
In short: Well organised race. Not the cheapest, but stadium hire and road closures probably don't come cheap. In full: The start and finish were in the football stadium. Plenty of WCs and well-organised baggage store. Plenty of water, gels and energy drinks en-route. Well marshalled. A couple of mild hills towards the end, with some slightly steep bridges over the canal, but really nothing to complain about. I would probably do this again. Date of review: May 6, 2013