In short: Shockingly bad organisation In full: They call it The Race for Climate Change, yet the start is so early that few can get there on public transport. 13000 runners arriving by car, armed with a postcode and no map. The roads are all closed and there are NO SIGNS to tell you how to get to the car park. Actually that worked in my favour since the car parks were apparently extortionate. After 30 mins of driving in circles I gave up and parked on a side street about 1km away. It was free.
The start was chaos. I had a black number and was aiming for 1.30 - 1.35. I positioned myself towards the back of the black section (which was supposed to be for 1.15 - 1.30). On noticing many other coloured numbers around me and hearing the predicted times of the other runners I shuffled forwards until I was at the front of the black section. It took over a minute and a half to cross the line, then 10 seconds later we came to a complete standstill. There were probably 200 slower runners in front of me, even orange numbers(2hrs plus). I couldn't get moved and it was infuriating. Even as the field thinned out later on I had to weave around a lot as the route was very narrow in places.
I also twice turned my foot in potholes.
The carnage at the finish line hadn't yet occurred when I arrived and that part went smoothly for me, though I was surprised to receive a cotton goody bag given the current cotton shortage caused by the floods in India, Pakistan and China (due to Climate Change!).
In short: poorly organised, too congested, slow runners in front pens In full: Never had to pass so many people at the beginning of a race or had such narrow lanes. Hard to get a PB due to lack of passing places through slow runners. Just got over finish line before the wall of people built up. What was that about! Water points not clearly signed. Need to start outside of city centre for that amount of people. Poor viewing for spectators. On the plus side, enjoyed the route and good goodie bag. Organisers listen and make it better next year. Date of review: October 24, 2010
In short: Birimingham - How could you get it so wrong?? In full: Minus Points:- 1. Despite getting to Bham at 6.30am all the roads were closed and it took us 45 minutes to find a parking space - not cheap at £12.50. A friend who arrived at 8am got straight onto the NIA carpark - road now open!!!!!!! 2. Starting pens not marked clearly so slower runners at the beginning. No announcements and too many pedestrians with buggys going against the flow of people. 3. Course rather narrow in places. 4. The FINISH! I have NEVER seen such chaos!
Plus Points 1. Amazingly I got a PB by 7 minutes due to the largly flat course. 2. Nice goody bag (although Tshirts rather small). 3. Much improved route and fabulous local support. 4. Plenty of water stations.
Was thrilled to get a PB but the problems driving round Bham for 45 minutes at 6.30am in the morning unfortunately have spoiled what would have been a fabulous day. Have done this race 3 times and this was the worst organised. Not sure if I will be back! Date of review: October 24, 2010
In short: OMG ! What was that finish all about ! In full: This had the potential of a great race , firstly got to the start with seconds to spare as all the diversions in the city sent me on one big loop to find anywhere to park , course was congested , and as i did a sprint finish at the end with all the energy i could muster i hit a wall of people , poorly organised .On a more positive note i got a good time , the support was fantastic , and the medal was probably the nicest one i own . Date of review: October 24, 2010
In short: Thankfully quick enough to avoid the congestion at the end In full: I've never heard of a race being congested at the end before. The start was chaotic with spectators standing in the way preventing runners getting into their pens. And then when I did eventually get into the starting area (black start, quite near the front of it which I felt was too far forward to me, but as I had to jump the barrier I just went with it) and was surprised by how the dominant colour was not black. In fact I could not tell you the dominant colour as everyone was mixed up. A bit of a farce really. I only saw the mile 11 marker (as I was going really slow at this point - hill anyone?). The drinks stations appeared from nowhere, these could be indicated more clearly.
I don't know if I will do it again next year. Hopefully the start will be in a different place and they will sort out the finish (and move that hill).
Goody bag could do with more chocolate.
Supporters were ace, apart from those getting in the way at the start.
Got a pb but it could have been better. Weather was lovely but I don't think Birmingham can have the credit for organising this. Date of review: October 24, 2010
In short: Clearly inexperienced organisers! Bring back the team who put 2009 race together. In full: I have never experienced such a poorly organised race. Birmingham Council should be ashamed of the fact they have given runners such a poor experience. Do they realise runners find it important to log accurate times and some rely on the chip for that? Such a pity for any first timers. Please be assured it is not like this at other races. Try Bristol or Reading instead - very slick!! The best bits - the encouragement from the people of Birmingham, the hilly challenge at the end and a quality goody bag. Getting out of Birmingham by car was a lengthy process too but that I can deal with - the fact my run was not taken seriously by the organisers I cannot deal with. Date of review: October 24, 2010
In short: Shambolic organisation In full: Enjoyed last year but this time I was bitterly dissapointed with the organisation. Battled my way around walkers and congestion for 13.3 miles! to find I could not cross the finish line!!!! Organisers, This simply is not good enough. Date of review: October 24, 2010
In short: bad organisation In full: forgot another thing, now water station ahead signs, made water stations dangerous with people pulling up quickly. On the plus side loved the music and the weather was great ;-) Date of review: October 24, 2010
In short: Should have been a great race but very poor organisation In full: Too many runners, start very poorly organised and first 4 miles very congested. Very difficult to run a consistent pace and had to constantly weave in and out. Beautiful weather, great support from the people of Birmingham and I enjoyed the bands. The finish was a massive disappointment, had picked up the pace really well to make up for the slow first third of the race and couldn't believe it when I met a wall of stationary runners at the end. Took about 3 mins to shuffle the last 2 metres over the line. Goody bag and medal great. Had been directed to park in a council car park but this had been locked for the race & didn't open until 4pm, well after the roads re-opened - the signs explaining this didn't go up until the morning of the race when many people who'd booked a hotel had parked the night before. Overall a potentially great race let down by poor organisation. Date of review: October 24, 2010
In short: Complete and utter shambles but good value! In full: The worse organised half marathon I have ever competed in, and I've done a lot. Not enough toilets, no clear signs to start, or pens, people not using pens correctly, I had to start right at the back, when eventually reached the start ran a few yards on to be hearded into and really narrow lane and had to walk again. around 4 miles very narrow, and because i was at the back had to fight my way past slower runners, then to cap it all at the finish had to queue to cross the finish line, never had to do that before. Marshalls should have kept people moving down, massive queue for goodie bag, which, and this is the only good thing about the race, was very good, good tee-shirt and medal, good value for money. May do it again if the organisers get their act together. If it's going to be that big why not start outside the city? Don't like to critise organisers because I know from experience how hard it is, but sorry had to voice my views .... Date of review: October 24, 2010