In short: Brilliant race In full: A great scenic race over 2 laps of Stratford countryside. The course is quite undulating with a couple of testing hills and a flat former rail road path across the greenway. The race was superbly organised and the organisers were extremely welcoming to first time marathon runners. The finish next to the river was beautiful and the crowd support and marshalling was excellent. Date of review: May 8, 2011
In short: A very scenic and well organised marathon In full: This was my first marathon and I enjoyed every minute of it, rural and very scenic. I did have some trepidation about the race having read previous reviews so if anyone is thinking of doing this don't let the following put you off:
1/ Drinks stations - there are plenty of them. Yes, most of them use plastic cups but that's not a big deal, if you slow down a bit you can get more than enough to hydrate.
2/ It's hilly - no it's not! If you want hilly come to North Staffs where I live and run. There are a couple of "slight" inclines that you have to do twice, no big deal as the rest of the course is flat.
3/ The Greenway - yes it's long and if it's a hot day, yes it could sap your energy. But it's mind over matter and you do know what to expect second time round.
4/ No goodie bag, poor medal etc - So what, it's an achievement just to do complete a marathon, that's enough of a prize. I think it was very good value and if it helps to keep the cost down then I'm not bothered about freebies.
5/ Lack of atmosphere - it's a rural race, you are hardly likely to have thousands of people lining every mile where there are no houses etc. The support in the town, the villages and at the finish was great.
Lastly, if you train and prepare properly you will have no problems with this race and I'd recommend this for a first marathon.
Finally, thanks to the the runners I spoke to and helping to encourage me i.e. Jules and Stewart/Stuart during the final 10 miles.. Date of review: May 8, 2011
In short: Nice run, bt increadibly hot! In full: I have to say the marshalls were excellent. The Greenway second time round in 18c sun was energy sapping and put paid to my PB, at least that's excuse. Nice run through some lovely little villages though. Very picuresque in places. Overall, not a bad race and some very friendly runners and spectators on the way round. I was very priviledged to have run with "Paul" a blind runner whilst his partner went for a comfort break. he was on his 261st marathon. Very humbling. Date of review: May 8, 2011
In short: great weather for a Really good race In full: Really really likes todays race. Good weather for running and some great scenary. The view from top of the hill on mile 8 today was very good today. The clouds and the light made it very atmospheric and worth getting out of bed for alone !!
Very good marshaling too and thanks for the people in the villages. Date of review: May 8, 2011
In full: I had originally got a place in the FLM in 'good for age' and it was to be my 8th time, but was told they had 'lost it' and for that I am thankful as the Stratford Marathon was a far better experience. The scenery was great, the weather was perfect and the support (spectators and marshalls) was also very good. I enjoyed the course, even the 'green-way' at the end, but the best point was the organisation. Not having to go to an 'EXPO' to get numbers, use tubes, be kept waiting etc was great. The prizes & medals were also well received. The only criticism was the cost of parking. When I received the '6 hour pass' I thought it would be free but even a resuction (for runners) would be welcome as we're running for charitable causes. Have already decided NOT to run FLM next year, I'm doing this one again. I did win it though so I may be biased !! Date of review: May 6, 2010
In short: Great event. Not too crowded but still plenty of atmosphere. Who needs London? In full: First ever road marathon and this one was great. After a night of lashing rain the day looked overcast and cold but the sun came out and it became hot and muggy - quite sapping, but then that's what you have to deal with. Don't really understand why people seem unable to read race intructions. They were VERY clear about loos (of which we thought there were ample around the town), water stops and energy drinks so there should have been no surprises at all. Two of us, running together, carried over a litre each of energy drink - and got through the lot. The point about cups is valid but experience tells anyone who has been involved in organising a race event that the majority of on-course provided bottles get thrown to one side with something like 80% of their contents still in them ! 26 miles of plastic rubbish to clear up !! A better way of managing the cup thing is to use paper cups, which can be squeezed together without breaking like a brittle plastic cup, to create a usable dispenser. The water is retained and easily drunk without excess wastage. Paper cups are more environmentally friendly too, and tend to be discarded within easy reach of the water station clear up teams.
It was great to have the sponges, and the locals with the water pistols, hose and music were a treat !
The Greenway was sapping, as others have said - and as you might expect of any last five/six miles of a marathon, isn't that one of the reasons we choose to take up the challenge ? Isn't that why we all do it - the first 20 miles is just 'transport' (in the words of Liz and Martin Yelling)! It hasn't been suggested elsewhere but we would advocate splitting the marathoners from the halfers after the big hill on the first lap - that way the tortuous 'worst' of the Greenway is dealt with sooner (although we thought it was a delightful part of the course - much better than running in the thick of juggernauts and caravans travelling at upwards of 50mph elsewhere on the course). The miles would still be the same, of course, but the pain would have been more evenly distributed, and possibly helped the separation of runners at the end of the first lap.
This was a charity run ... let's remember that and try and benefit charities to the max. There was no mention of a goody bag on the race instructions so why expect one? The medal was nice although we did feel a little cheated by the half/full being the same medal. Finish area was excellent - no probs with the banana and bottle of water and the ladies in the tea tent were charming (the tea was free to runners). There will always be a few moaning minnies but in our view this was a very well organised race with largely very friendly and supportive marshalls, and good roadside support around the course where you would expect it - there was one lady resident in Luddington who was still clapping everyone who passed on our second time around.
In terms of the start, we weren't troubled by the congestion that others have spoken of, but it shouldn't be difficult to set off the halfers 15 minutes earlier should it, and as the event grows in attraction, as it surely will, the organisers might think about that. 30 minutes would put even the slowest runners well over 2 miles ahead, and well spread out along the Luddington Road by the time the leading marathon runners caught them.
The cost of car parking is frankly obscene for an event attracting thousands of visitors to the town (We travelled 150 miles), but there is free car parking a little over half a mile from the start. It's the same at every race, but why do so many runners feel the need to park next to the start ? Date of review: May 4, 2010
In short: Great support along the whole route and great atmosphere In full: as with all mass running events, hard to get into a reasonable rhythm in the crowded first 2 miles. Other than that, great race and I got a PB - but the organisers seem to have steepened and lengthened the hill out of Welford..... Date of review: May 3, 2010
In short: Great event, Well organised but a little hot thisyear. In full: Great event quite a challenging course with several hills that were ok on the first lap but quite draining on the second, I loved this event unfortunately the weather was very hot so I found myself way of my target time and incredibly exhausted at the end.
I may be back next year to give it another go great alternative to LONDON
In full: Pretty good run tho if it wasnt for the great marshalls if could be lonely in places.Shame there was only 1 energy drink on a pretty warm day.2 would have been nice specially for the folks at the back.Really nice feel to the town .Could be back next year!!!!!!!!on Sunday i said this was me last marathon. Date of review: May 2, 2010