In short: Beginner friendly with excellent local support, encouraging marshalls and generally a great feel. In full: I had a very good race in spite of a painful injury around the 10 mile mark that left me hobbling to the finish. Agree wholeheartedly with the reviews I've seen here and read many of them before the race to see what I was letting myself in for, and I would encourage anyone else to give Bristol a go!
Only downsides were the lack of enough gels for all the competitors and the attitude of some of the runners. While the gel stations were empty by the time my group came through, there were full sachets of gel dropped on the floor over a mile and a half after the stations, hundreds of them. People had seemingly grabbed a handful and tossed what they didn't want, and it's not safe to go rooting around on the ground for one for obvious reasons. Fortunately my wife and I had brought our own, but anyone who was relying on them having been provided may well have suffered as a result.
Also - the sheer number of water bottles tossed on the ground in the middle of the road was disappointing. I kicked many of them to the gutter to keep people from tripping. Perhaps reiterating the point about being considerate might help?
One of the day's highlights was undoubtedly the army cadets who came to help out. They were cheering, passing out water and gels, high-fiving people and genuinely helping us slower, less experienced people get through. By and large they were a credit to their uniforms.
I'll definitely be back, but the gel issue in particular really does need looking at by the sponsors. Date of review: September 17, 2013
In short: Excellent big city half In full: Did this in 2009 for the first time and back this year for another go. Organisation this year was excellent - the wave start worked a treat. I remember bottle necks in 2009 but there were none this time. Support was fantastic, particularly in the city centre but also in the Avon Gorge. Really nice medal and tee shirt.The last few miles were a bit cruel - you kept on being shown the finish area and then being sent away from it. Had to rely on inspiration from watching a recent Ironman event to grind them out. Aim to be back in 2014 though! Date of review: September 16, 2013
In short: Fast and Friendly In full: Loved this race. Course was near flat and on wide roads so plenty of space to overtake/be overtaken. Even a few Oggy Oggy Oggys through the tunnel as well. Excellent marshalls and manned water stops. Technical T and nice medal (25 year anniversary). I stayed at a nearby Hotel so cant comment on loos/parking/traffic. A personal gripe was gels rather than e.g. Lucozade Sport but I can understand others may prefer that. They had run our of gels at the second stop which was a little badly planned (I did 2 hrs 15 mins so there were still plenty of people behind me who also missed out). Luckily I had already arranged to pick up a sports drink from other half at mile 9. The sinnage at the start/end could also have been better - I could not find where to drop my chip for example. However these are minor things - the fundamentals - organisation/crowd/scenery were superb. A very big thank you to the organisers/volunteers and good people of Bristol who were kind enough to shout my name on the way around! Date of review: September 16, 2013
In short: Highlight of the year In full: This is such a good race, it has everything you could want. The course is almost flat, just four inclines, all very modest; scenic, with the Avon Gorge and suspension bridge to admire both ways. The out and back section allows you to see the elites and give them applause as they go past. Then the route changes to a tour of the old historic city.
The race planning is better than any other city centre half-marathon in the area; the race starts on wide streets and only narrows when the field has spread out. The phased starts and pens are clearly labelled, so very few really slow people were blocking the way. This is a major gripe with so many events, but Bristol has that problem completely sorted. If you are looking for a pb this is a good race to do it. But the experience is just as good for beginners; the marshalling always friendly and helpful, and people who want to plod around slowly, or walk, or wear ridiculous costumes and collect money for charity; all are equally welcome, and nobody gets in anyone else's way.
The local people always turn out in droves and cheer you on, by name if you write it on your shirt. There was a lady with a tray of very welcome jelly babies, a jazz band; the kind of fantastic atmosphere that makes you feel great.
I run this race every year now, and it's a definite highlight; something to look forward to. So congratulations to everyone involved in making this race so good, every year. Date of review: September 16, 2013
In short: Good race In full: The race was good, very expensive and field getting smaller every year.Good organisation, getting out of Bristol was awful even from out of town parking spot. Finish felt a bit of an anticlimax after crossing line the walk for water etc was a fair distance on. Spectators missing from long dull road section. Worth doing oncebut preferred bath hm Date of review: September 15, 2013
In short: Good race. Take out dull a-road section and this will be a great race. In full: Flat with a few short uphills. Section of cobbles. Twists and turns in last 3 miles. People of Bristol did well in cheering us on. Numbers were down again. 20000 limit but only 11000 runners. Many races are getting too expensive for what they really are. Miles 2 - 6 are on a dull a-road with few spectators. Sure they could put those 4 miles back round the centre somewhere. Suspension Bridge is beautiful. Gels and water were regular. Having two waves is a bit pointless as there were slow runners in the first wave. The fast runners will turn up earlier and nearer the front of the start line anyway. Date of review: September 15, 2013
In short: Good for first half marathon In full: The race was friendly and well-organised, and I enjoyed the course - in particular the Portway section, which I found better than the City Centre section which doubled back on itself too many times for my liking. My only minor gripe was that they had run out of of small or even medium t-shirts when I arrived at the finish at 2hr20 (I ended up with a large which swamps me)!! I'm not sure why they bothered asking your size on registration really. Other than that I can't fault it. Date of review: January 6, 2013