In short: My experience was not as bad as other posts. This is my 9th Bath Half and I will be back. In full: I enjoy the Bath half every year, mainly because of the exceptional crowds the event attracts. Well done the people of Bath.
After running the event 9 times I know you need to get to the start earlier than most events and when it is wet, to avoid the runners village and baggage area. I am surprised after so many years the organisers cannot improve the long wait for warm clothes and putting down more temp walkways on the rec when wet. It was obvious after a very wet couple of months that the rec was going to be an issue with so many people. Saying that I have seen it worse.
I started in the white E pen which was too packed. I think the organisers could look at how many people they pack in each pen and try to make the experience more comfortable.
The speaker system at the start was poor. I could not hear a thing. Normally a lot better.
I am not too sure the organisers can do too much about the ridiculous number of people who have put unrealistic times down to get further forward at the start. All I would say is that their actions are selfish and dangerous. May be the organisers need to start a wave system to make the experience of the first mile or two more comfortable.
Final small gripe is the T-shirts are not as good as what we get from other events.
A nice touch for such events but I am guessing unrealistic is that special gold t-shirts are given to those runners who have run the event 10 or more times, so that they can wear the t-shirt with pride in future years. Of course I'm just after a nicer t-shirt :-)
Overall I will be back for next year, great event, but organisers need to keep looking for improvements. The people of Bath do their bit, the organisers need to step up a bit more. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Good if you like dodgy and weaving In full: My issues with this race in order of annoyance 1) Spent the first four miles dodgy and weaving among slower runners, killing any hope of a decent time; 2) roadblocks and diversions meant it was impossible to find anywhere to park, no clue what to do beforehand except dump the car miles from the start and run in 3) race itself was basically through 60s suburbs and industrial estates 4) queue for bags after race. Crowds were awesome tho, and if weather had been better I might have had a better day, but not sure I'll return. I honestly don't think the course is really set up for a 11,000 person race. Date of review: March 2, 2014
In short: Enjoyable, atmospheric race In full: Fortunate to be close to the front at the start, but organisers can't be held responsible if runners predict unrealistic finishing times! Baggage retrieval could have been improved post race with one huge queue for 1-1500 with all the other folk behind the tables twitching their thumbs! Good course & fantastic support. First time I've said this of a race, but my Garmin has the distance at 13.25 & I know that I wasn't alone. Being just outside the top 100 I had a pretty good racing line. Having said that, thanks to all involved in todays race. Look forward to returning next year :-) Date of review: March 2, 2014
In short: Weather didn't help and questionable value for money In full: Every year we hope that the organisers learn from previous mistakes. In the main they do but a new problem always seems to occur. The starting pens were pretty crammed and the route to them always seems to be so congested that many runners miss the official start.Also (not blaming organisers here), why do so many fun runners end up in the front pens? The first mile is spent dodging these 2hr runners. The first section of the baggage tent was ridiculous. Covering a wider number range than any other, it seemed we were all 1:20 - 1:40 runners so collecting at the end took at least 20 mins and hypothermia almost set in as the queue stretched across the field. My other gripe was the goody bag. For the cost of £42 a cheap cotton tshirt which looks very shrinkable and a few bits and pieces is poor return. I know we are paying for the race to 'happen' but I've never been convinced that the Bath Half has put the runner first. Other priorities prevail. Having moaned about all that, it is my local half so I will do it again and maybe on a sunnier day I will feel more positive about the experience. As ever, the support on route was excellent despite the rain and the last mile is always very atmospheric. Date of review: March 2, 2014
In short: Great crowds, but awful start as always and expensive In full: The start was horrible as too many people crammed in and people were seemingly coming from all angles. If you weren't there very early then you'd be stuck behind slower runners for a while I imagine. Learning from previous disasters at Bath I got to the pens very early, but still not early enough. Difficult access at the venue I guess and perhaps too many runners for that access? Took a long time to get going and a slow first mile. After that the crowds were great and the run was really nice.
Bag drop and collection was good, apart from the ridiculous very first section, which covered 3 X the numbers of the other number categories and subsequently had a huge queue. My brother who is a top 100 runner was close to missing the start because of this.
Good marshalling, fluids and support and a pretty swift exit after some initial queues. Decent goody bag, but pretty punchy price-wise and a pants t-shirt for the money.
Enjoyed the atmosphere on the course. My local race so I will be back, but I probably wouldn't travel for it if I lived elsewhere. Date of review: March 2, 2014
In short: Far too many runners In full: I have not run Bath half for a few years because I was disappointed the last time i ran it, This time was was actually worse.
There were just far too many people, the queue to get to the start was ridiculous, by the time I actually reached the start line, the clock had been running for 12 minutes!
I was shoulder to shoulder with other runners the whole way round making it extremely difficult (dangerous in some cases) to pass slower runners. The road was divided in half and on the first lap we were told to keep left of the cones, because the front runners were coming through. Why they needed half of the road I dont know, the road should have been divided 60/40 or 70/30 to give the mass runners more room.
At the finish there was another ridiculous queue for medals, de-chipping and T-shirts. I was freezing cold by the time I reached the runners village, why wasn't there anyone handing out foil blankets?
And a cheap cotton T-shirt at the end, don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a cotton T-shirt from a race that costs say £15-20, but Bath is £42! Unbelievable!
In summary, poorly thought out route to the start, poorly though out course, poorly thought out finish. Either sort it out or stop being greedy and accept that the course isn't big enough to support this many runners! Sorry Bath, but this was the last time for me. Date of review: March 2, 2014
In short: Too Expensive; Not Flat In full: Firstly, although there is good organisation at the beginning of the day, I found having to be at the gate for the start pens an hour before actually running very tedious. Toilets were certainly abundant though!
Does there really need to be a drink station at mile 2? - and an age old issue..why are people never realistic about expected finishing times.
It is quite crowded as you would expect with so many participants at the start line but no more than any other city event. Certainly not a flat route, much more undulating - undulating being the word....
I am not a fan of loops but understand that there isnt much of an alternative for this city.
Good support along the route but once over the finish line, it seemed rather chaotic with long queues due to narrow exits.
The price for this event is very steep and not worth that much in my humble opinion; especially when compared to the cost of some of the big city marathons.
Its one to tick off the list but I wont be back. Date of review: March 2, 2014