In short: Enough with the hills! In full: The Good: Fantastic organisation, lively atmosphere, road closures, lots of water stations and loo stations along the route (yey for someone who over-hydrated slightly!), great marshalling, good support, big runners village area, great for warm-up and warm-down, central to town, plenty parking and Starbucks nearby. Great park nearby for supporters and families. Corralling worked nicely, very clear. Lucozade after. T-shirt good. Finish times sent by text within minutes! V impressed.
The Bad: Humongous queue for loos before race (why can no one ever get this right?) A dozen or so loos for 3000-odd runners? Hmmm. Good job they had lots of loos on the course (tho if I'd been chasing a PB I'd have been scuppered). Queuing meant I didn't get chance to look round the runners village - there were sponsors stalls and trainer shops. Didn't get a banana. :-( Needed a banana. Don't be giving me your ice lolly (grump).
The Ugly: The hills and my poor knees. This was my first HM (2h22m). None of the hills was that steep but some were loooooong and they just kept coming for 13 miles. You're always either going up or you're going down. Both hurty hurty.
In short: Rain and hills but good In full: The start was delayed 20 mins, which in the pouring rain wasn't ideal. When we did set off through the park, thousands of runners were all herded onto the footpath through the park, so jams inevitable. Meanwhile, the wide open spaces of Verulam Park were empty. That was just slightly annoying. No more moans, though - the course is good; closed roads, golf course, country lanes. The marshals were chirpy for the weather, there were loads of water stations and the downhill into the park at the end gives great momentum for the finish. So despite rain and hills, managed to take a whole 1.5 minutes off my PB - yeah! Date of review: July 1, 2011
In short: I actually did this in 2011 In full: I did this race yesterday. The only real hick up was that the start of the race was delayed by 20mins. Which may not seem so bad how ever it was pouring with rain!! The rain did not stop for a single second. Despite this I enjoyed the race. It is challenging and the hills are evil. I found it hard to get a steady pace going. The race marshalls where fantastic I was very impressed by them considering the weather. Plenty of drink stations through out. Would possibly like to do it again next year with better weather, although it didn't stop me from enjoying my ice lolly at the end! Date of review: June 13, 2011
In short: Think I must have run a different race to most reviewers In full: Apart from getting a PB not sure I can say many good things about this race - but let's try
Good medal + tshirt + lolly + drink at the end Lots of water stations Good parking Really good facilities in the park for the kids to play while watching
and now the cons
You can't get 2.5k people down a path 3 foot wide The walkers coming back along the course has to fight there way through crowds of runners The water stations were chaotic and could do with bottle rather than cups I found the marshalling awful - there were one or 2 good ones but mainly they seemed to interfere (no running on the grass or on the pavement in the shade) rather than when needed (i.e. when a car was heading towards us as we ran) Date of review: June 15, 2010
In short: Good race - some small things need tightening In full: This is the first time I have competed in my local half marathon - I have just considered it too hot, hilly and therefore scary before!
It is hilly - no absolute monsters, but lots of rolling inclines, and it was quite warm as well, but beyond that it is a fun race. The final mile and a half downhill suddenly brings the PBs back into contention.
A couple of basics in the organisation just knock it down a bit - whilst there were not that many in the half marathon (2.5k) the 5k, walking half and fun run all add to the numbers, and a dozen loos is simply not enough - the queue was massive. Fortunately, the park has a river running through it...
Similarly the bag collection was well intentioned, but overrun and therefore slow.
Enough of the winges - good scenery, well marshalled, lots of water stops and a challenging course. A medal, t-shirt and ice lolly means a reasonable number of goodies as well Date of review: June 15, 2010
In short: Hilly race, however guaranteed dry weather and great organisation In full: 2nd year running I have run this race and forgot how many hills there were the last time, however quickly reminded. great atmosphere and very well organised with friendly marshals and lolly at the end is great touch Date of review: June 14, 2010
In short: well organised race, with a good atmosphere In full: This was my second time running the St Albans Half Marathon and it is indeed hilly. If anyone has done Berkhamsted then you will understand that there is not one hill in St Albans as big or steep as any in Berkhamsted, but the berko half has 4 hills and St Albans has a couple of dozen! Lots of undulation means that it is hard to a get a rhythm. However the weather was good, cloudy and not to warm; the marshals very friendly and supportive and what felt like at least 10 drinks stations. The lolly at the end is good, and I now fit into a T Shirt a size smaller than last year! Date of review: June 14, 2010
In short: Very hilly for a beginner - I wished I had checked this out before I entered !! In full: Lovely location and atmosphere, a really enjoyable day out. However, as a beginner (11min per mile) runner on 3rd half marathon I found the course really hard due to the number of hills. Not too hot on the day and shade from trees on country paths welcomed. Not one if you don't like hills throughout the course (apart from mile 12 - 13 !) Date of review: June 14, 2010
In short: Excellent race. Just gets better. In full: This is my favourite road half marathon. Starts in a large picturesque park with good facilities then moves off into rural country roads. There are some serious hills on this run which stops you ever getting into a comfortable pace. I thought this year it might be cooler but the sun came out just before the race on a 22 degree day. Plenty of water stations (and I mean a lot). Would have liked orange squash as well. Parking issues seem to be resolved now that we've found the office parking near the supermarket. Medal, T-shirt, drink and ice lolly collection much much better than last year. The kids loved the fun run and the play area/bouncey castles. We will be back again and again. Date of review: June 14, 2010