In short: My hometown race and next years will be superb In full: I live in Oxford and know the city well but have not run around some of those areas before, especially miles 1-3. the start was a bit congested and maybe pens needed for expected finishing times but once past the start line the road opened up allowing you to get into your stride easily. Once you headed towards the city proper the route was fantastic and the road closures made it a pleasure to run. The meadow and river section was great and that led on to the toughest bit, which was about half a mile of uphill roads after about mile 10. The stadium was a brilliant finish area as well. The downsides that people have mentioned I think are mainly down to how new the event is. This is the first proper oxford half after the pilot last year, and by all accounts it has come on leaps and bounds since 2011. The organisers are listening to feedback and I am very confident that any bag issues and parking issues that people had will be eradicated before the 2013 race. Also, the bands on route were great, the support from the public was excellent and the coverage that I've seen by BBC radio and in the Oxford Mail was great. Finally the pacemakers who ran with the runners were great and encouraged the runners as well as keep their racepace. With their help I took 15mins off my previous best! Roll on 2013. Date of review: October 15, 2012
In short: Nice course, great marshals - good race! In full: I thoroughly enjoyed this race. The course fairly was varied & especially lovely running through Christ Church Meadow & along the river. The marshals were wonderful & there were some good crowds in places, plus various bands providing musical inspiration. It was very special to have the legendary Sir Roger Bannister starting the race & lovely to run past the Iffley Road track where he made history.
Having pacers was excellent - & I managed to get a 'comeback PB' of sub 2:15 after knee surgery. My only slight disappointment was that the small size tee shirts had run out by the time I finished.
Overall - well organised & a pleasure to run. Date of review: October 15, 2012
In short: An excellent race but with lessons to learn In full: Great course - mostly flat with a bit of an uphill stratch between 10 and 11. Picturesque views and the stretch through the Mini plant was unusual but good fun. Some good cheering along the way from supporters, marshalls and water stations. Bands were great too. Ok, the bad stuff - luckily i didn't have to stand in the long queues for the bags. There was plenty of parking at the Kassam but there were pinch points on the way in that could have been better managed, and the way out crossed the race, making it impossible to get out until there were big gaps between race finishers. All worthwhile though as got a massive pb :) will definately be back! Date of review: October 15, 2012
In short: A great day out, nice course and atmosphere but the organisation could be improved. In full: Ridiculous queues to get into the car parks - 45 minutes to go half a mile. And poor signage, there were hundreds if marshals in the science park car park who could have been better utilised on the road outside. The start was a bit of a non event, due to parking issues arrived late as did many others, lots of people wandering around aimlessly. I missed the mile markers from 3 to 7, and it was a real scrum at the finish to get medals and t shirts. The course went through varied scenery, the Mini car plant car park not as exciting as it the pre event literature had made out. From 7 miles onwards the course went through parks and along the river, and whilst narrow in places there were some great pockets of support. And the atmosphere generally couldn't be faulted and the bands playing along the course was a great touch. Overall it felt like a new event, with lots of rough edges but if the organisers take note of what makes some of the established races a success they have all the ingredients in Oxford for a great half. .
In short: Fun fun fun In full: I had a great time in this race. It was lovely to start and finish at the stadium, and the atmosphere along the route was excellent - lots of people clapping etc. (Top marks to the bloke with the sign saying "Run like you've stolen something"). The eight bands along the route just added to the fun and really encouraged you to run faster. It was also a nice flattish route which allowed me to get a PB. The run through Christchurch Meadows and along the river was very scenic as well. The bag drop queue was, as other people have mentioned, epic, but I expect this will be improved next year. My suggestion for general organisation: have the signs to toilets, info, bag drop etc. that can be seen above the crowd. I think this would help people to organise themselves a bit better. But over all, I had a fabulous time and would like to return next year. Date of review: October 14, 2012
In short: My 1st half and it wont be the last ! In full: A good races with the chance to see the some of the nicer side of oxford and good PB potential. Start section was quite narrow, but the stretch along the Thames tow path was lovely (all be it narrow in places if in a big group) and a great atmosphere along the way. I was very glad i did not have to use the bag storage with long queues at both drop off & collection, but overall organisation very good, with good marhalls and water points; Could have had slighty better marshalling of arriving traffic before the race to speed time to park (at Kassam), but not enough to dissuade entering again next year. Date of review: October 14, 2012
In short: Fun and Friendly. Narrow in places so get to the front early if you want to set a time. Great for a first In full: Right lets get the bad stuff out of the way: 1. Getting there by car was awful. Plenty of parking, but my god the queues. 2. Baggage collection was appalling both before and after. The queue for took almost as long as the race! 3. At places it was really narrow with traffic going past inches away, not unsafe but hard to pass. Right good bits: 1. Very friendly, lots of chatting before the start. 2. Reasonably picturesque with nice stuff to look at. 3. Pace runners were brilliant and were really helping before I got injured. 4. Lots of medics! 5. Plenty of drinks stations. 6. A great goody bag with recovery gel and some walnutty cake thingy was very welcome. 7. Massage tents that looked great, but as it took so long to get my wallet back I wasn't able to use it!
All in all a pretty good showing for the second event and I think it will only get better, well worth a punt next year!
In short: lovely route from mile 6 In full: I travelled up from London for this one and will do again next year. I stayed at the holiday inn which is RIGHT BY the kassam stadium and they kindly locked my case in their store room so i didn't have to endure what looked like a very long queue afterwards!
Route - flat, gorgeous from mile 6 and the reason i'd coma again. I kind of enjoyed the dual carriageway bit to be honest, kind of cool having your own lane ;)
Loved having the Cliff bar to eat at the end. Was a shame we couldn't get our times becaue they put the chip timer tent too close to the finish and it caused a bottleneck, but that's minor.
I'm not fussed about the technical t shirt though it was a nice addition, shame the medal had a mini on it but i guess that's how they were paid for...
I was sad i couldn't hear sir roger bannister at the start cos the speakers were rubbish! :(
In short: organisation was great for the parking and run, let down by ridiculous wait for bags In full: Really enjoyed the run and it was great to have support on the route. Lovely to run by the river and see a glimpse of scenic Oxford. Really need to sort baggage collection as waiting was almost as long as the race itself and allowed the post race chill to set in Date of review: October 14, 2012