In short: A simply wonderful race In full: It is hard to fault this race. It has two laps for the marathon, which can be a drag for some people. It can also get a bit quiet on the country lanes, but that's inevitable with a smallish field once the half-marathoners have disappeared. However, it is excellently-organised and the marshals are the warmest and most supportive you'll find anywhere; the Stratford-upon-Avon and other local Rotary associations seem to have got their members out in force. Some of the local villages also showed a lot of enthusiasm. The toilets at regular intervals were a great touch and the finish in the recreation ground is blissful. Despite being fabulously efficient it retains the warm glow of a charity-run event. Even the race announcer (who was also calling in the finishers) was first-rate, making a point of naming individual runners and getting the crowd to cheer. It almost brings tears of gratitude (perhaps mingled with relief that I finished?) typing this. Top-class, basically. Date of review: May 9, 2011
In short: Enjoyable day In full: 2nd time running this marathon and having learned my lessons from last year thoroughly enjoyed myself. It is a busy start, but I guess trying to get 3,000 runners round the course start will always be an issue. The route is a mixture of road and track with a cheeky little hill that you do twice (tis worth doing a little hill work). Loads of support at start and end. Pockets of support dotted along the course (it is mainly rural) but it does hurt when you see them having the cream teas in the old railway carriages as you go by!!!! Excellent finishing stage, finishing in the park, greeted by the Dignatories was great. Refreshment tent right next to the finish as well. Able to sit and watch fellow competitors complete was great. Entered early for this year and will enter early for next year as well!! Great Marshalling, finishing area and route. Lessons I picked up: * Bring your own gels / supplements (only water provided) best to work on your cup strategy. * Be prepared for that last 6 miles on the "greenway" it's long, straight and if hot and sunny - very dusty. (I used sunglasses even though sun is on your back - the path starts to "glare" after a while).
In short: Another great Shakespeare Marathon In full: This was my fourth consecutive time doing this marathon. It is now my default spring marathon. Love the course, the support and the marshalls. Some people have commented about goodie bags - let's be honest here - most of the stuff in them gets binned! This event is a charity fund raiser, and I for one have no objection to buying my t-shirt. The idea about stating pens is good in theory, but they rarely make a lot of difference, as there will always be runners who over-estimate their ability. See you again next year. Date of review: May 9, 2011
In short: Another great marathon In full: My second time doing the full marathon, and again, I can only speak highly of the course, the organisation and the atmosphere along the way. Support can be sparse along the greenway (miles 20-25 for the full marathon), but the finish alongside the RSC theatre and the picturesque banks of the River Avon makes for a great ending! Another excellent medal this year, which - and I always find this nice - was presented to runners by the mayor/members of the Rotary club, rather than being stuffed into a goody bag. Well done Stratford, I look forward to next year! Date of review: May 9, 2011
In short: Nevermind the greenway what about the hills! In full: I really enjoyed the day! very friendly crowd runners and supporters. Had applied for the full but glad I converted to the half as the thought of going around that loop again would have killed me!... Hadn't had the best training run up to the half as dogged by injury but it was suprisingly hilly with a few long pulls. I'm sure if you are an experienced runner (or really fit of which I'm neither)it's no problem but for a part timer like me yikes it was tough! I would def go again it's a challange.. I train on a very similar place to the greenway and found it peaceful and enjoyable to run fab finish made it all worth while! Date of review: May 9, 2011
In short: lovely challenging run In full: my second year at Stratford and learnt some valuable lessons i.e if you run the first half to fast by mile 20 your legs will feel like jelly and you might fall over. Despite this well organised,challenging and rewarding race with a lovely run in to the line. Be back next with better training and tactics Date of review: May 9, 2011
In short: Beautiful tough rural marathon with wonderful atmosphere and friendly feel. In full: I love this marathon. I have done the half twice and vowed I would return to do the full, knowing how unforgiving the "undulating" course might be. I had a blast. The organization is fine, the spectators are truly friendly and supportive and the sense of cameraderie amongst the marathoners different from other marathons I have done (this was my sixth). I'll definately do it again. Water in cups is not a problem, just one piece of advice to prospective runners. GELS. There arent any sports drinks on offer. But I took 6 gels and did fine. Well done Stratford! Date of review: May 9, 2011
In short: I did the half marathon and it was a great route very scenic and thoroughly enjoyable, however I do have some criticisms. In full: - The start of the race was very overcrowded with no pens and no clear signage where to go. - The water stations were brilliant and those manning them were very supportive. Unfortunately some of the marshalls looked extremely bored less than an hour into the race! - I was disappointed that there was no goody bag for the entrance fee, however I really liked the medal. - The signage for baggage and changing facilities could also be greatly improved. - A final comment on the marshalls. My friend was doing the full marathon and was run/walking towards the end. She did not welcome a marshall telling her at mile 25 that she was 38th in the walkathon! Not funny! However most of the marshalls were great, it was just a few who made my wonder why they'd volunteered!