In short: Easy on the eye, hard on the legs and lungs In full: Having done the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon for the last couple of years, I thought I’d give Berkhamsted a try as it’s nearer to home and the two races seem comparable in terms of size of event and the type of course.
Just like Tunbridge Wells, the course is very picturesque – probably more so as you’ve also got the tree-lined lanes to add to the rolling fields and pretty villages.
And just like Tunbridge Wells, the course is undulating to say the least. Actually found Berkhamsted harder as it’s undulating throughout whereas most of the climb at TW is concentrated on two hills which are out of the way by the eight mile mark. Berkhamsted had few flat sections and saved a nasty little climb for just before the twelve mile mark, although with a welcome downhill last mile.
Getting to/from the race was very easy as the start/finish area is a five-minute walk from the station, which also offered plenty of free parking.
Organisation at the start/finish was pretty good. Comparison here with TW probably less favourable though, as TW benefits from the use of a large sports hall meaning there’s plenty of shelter if the weather isn’t great. TW also has a very efficient bag drop (in the same sports hall) and a brilliantly organised toilet queue.
At Berkhamsted the queue for the bag drop got quite long with 15 minutes to go, but actually moved quite quickly. Plenty of toilets, but they’re scattered about meaning the queues are disorganised.
Start area was a quite congested and virtually non-existent timing pens made for a slow get away as runners of different paces were all jumbled-up.
Once out on the course the marshalling was excellent – I don’t think I’ve seen more marshals at a race, and all friendly and encouraging. Although the roads along the route aren’t closed, there didn’t seem to be too many cars and what traffic there was behaved considerately (and was well controlled by the marshals).
All-in-all, a really great race. Friendly atmosphere, good organisation and great support from spectators and marshals alike, along a beautiful course with some leg-sapping undulations. Date of review: March 2, 2015
In full: first time in running event, was quietly impressed with the organisation baggage drop off was smooth and pick up the same did not have to wait for bag the course was as described as undulating which it was, plenty of water stops, the marshals were great as usual, parking plenty at the rail station which was free and only a few mins away from start, the down side which is very minor the medal was a little plain and could not hear the announcement from towards the back Date of review: March 1, 2015
In short: Actual run is good, nice route - venue & organisation, could be better In full: My first time at Berkhamsted, but as I've run numerous Gade Valley training runs I know the course backwards (literally), so enjoyed the actual run - log hills but nothing too severe.
Venue - reminded me of a local park/fun run, i.e. not much there, no proper changing facilities, showers etc, shelter if it had been worse weather. And as a note to organisers, if you send out numbers, give us a baggage label at the same time; would have saved a long, pointless queue!
Value - its a rotary run so I don't expect much for my money, hope they raised lots for their good cause.
So - nice enough run, but I did same course the week before as a Marathon Training run with Gade Valley Harriers as a 17 miler for £5, with better facilities, so may stick to their runs in future. Date of review: March 1, 2015
In short: My first time at this race.I must say what a lovely day, from start to finish.The course is a true test,not a pb course,but made up for by the lovely scenery and the wonderful support you receive from the Marshalls and crowd.Top race. Date of review: March 1, 2015
In short: Don't know why I forget to review this immediately In full: ... oh yes, I did a rubbish time and was absolutely knackered. But that's no-one's fault but my own. Re a comment below about the goodie bag - I was so pleased to see the banana and the energy bar I could have burst into tears. Compare Watford = no food at all. Keep it up Berko! Date of review: April 29, 2014
In short: Lovely scenery, hills not as bad as I'd remembered ... In full: My second time running the Berko Half. Good points: I enjoyed the scenery,the hills were not as tough as I'd remembered, and there's a welcome downhill stretch to the finish. Friendly atmosphere on the race, marshals excellent. Less good: seemed a bit disorganised at the start. When I arrived the organisers had run out of safety pins and were quite rude and unhelpful when I asked for some. Next year I won't forget my own! Date of review: April 6, 2014