In short: Northerners know best In full: Class race, class organisation, hats off to the RAF boys. Anyone moaning about the slight uphill bits in the first couple of miles needs to get a grip!! There was about 6 miles of downhills after that!! Great race, definite PB potential, and us northerners show these lot down south how to put on a race, forget your London this and that, Warrington, September 2014 is where you want to be. Date of review: September 8, 2013
In short: Smaller-scale event racing at its very best, but some food for thought In full: I got my time text and placing info at 12.26, and seeing as though I finished in 2:03 (and I'm guessing it wasn't a spot-on 9am start - although I'm not sure), that's pretty efficient.
Proper event feel to that race. Great little village on the park, registration and bag drop was impeccably done. Short queues for toilets, and plenty of bushes to relieve yourself if you didn't fancy the wait.
The parachute display from the RAF lads, which I'd read about beforehand and rolled my eyes at somewhat, was actually bloody brilliant. I genuinely had goosebumps when I realised it was more than just a man with a parachute. Seriously epic way of kicking things off - would love to hear how they got on in the race.
On the course, water stations were brilliantly efficient. Great that there were four as well - most welcome on a warm morning. All bottles too. Haribo offered shortly before the last climb was a nice touch (I declined as I already had cola bottles in hand).
Were the advertised gels offered anywhere? I wasn't interested in them, as I can't stand Hi-Five's stuff, but I didn't see them getting handed out anywhere.
Lovely, lovely course too. I'm maybe less fond of the Cantilever Bridge than I had been prior to the race, given the climb up it towards the end, but from there and many other points there were utterly wonderful views.
Quality bling and goodie bag too. Alas I heard of beer on offer in the village too late to get involved myself (announced late last night on their FB page), but I'm sure that topped off a great morning's work for some people.
Only slight niggles I'd have, because I'm a meanie moo:
No track finish. This gutted me particularly as I entered about an hour before they announced this. Mainly a shame for me as it used to be my home track, and I'm got some great memories there. Hope it's just a one-off without it.
No official elevation published. Even though I'm originally from the town, there's a lot of the course I wasn't familiar with from a pedestrian or runner perspective, and I couldn't believe how much of the first two-thirds of the course was uphill. Granted, if I'd bothered with some hill training it would have been less of an issue, but I imagine some proper newbies suffered hard there.
Lack of staggered start based on time, which was particularly a shame because there were a few bottlenecks in the first couple of miles (particularly from the bridge off Ackers Road for a while) resulting in enforced slow going. Might have screwed a few PB attempts quite early on there.
Also, and this is badly nit-picking, but some (and I do mean a small minority) of the marshalls were a bit lacking in interactivity. Pockets of public around a handful of these put them to shame a bit on the enthusiasm front. Clapping runners through at the very least should surely be the base minimum for such things.
Could have lived without the queue after the finish for bling as well. It was really starting to stack backwards when I finished, and it looked very much like it was creeping back dangerously close to the finish line. Would certainly have benefitted from being a bit further along, and with a few more hands.
Finally, the PA system was tragically poor. I and many others missed Adrian Derbyshire starting his attempt on the hand-trike half world record (sadly thwarted by a puncture after 6 miles) as well as the group warm-up, which one group around me were particularly gutted about. With people so scattered at the start, announcements really needed to be relayed via speakers at all corners of the playing fields. It was horrendously directional, and unfortunately this meant most sound was going where the fewest people were gathered.
Make absolutely no mistake however, it was brilliant. I didn't even get the time I wanted and I loved it.
One thing I have noted is that the event director has stated that his ultimate aim is to have the race finish at the Golden Gates. Personally, track finish all day long would be my preference.
Incorporating the Gates would undeniably be a superb touch, but why not get the best of both worlds and start there, ferry bags and supporters by coach, and finish on the track in Victoria Park? I'm guessing the swing bridges are a non-starter for a race route, but surely a route past Bank Quay Station, over Bridge Foot, up Wilderspool Causeway, going out up Loushers Lane towards the Cantilever Bridge could work?
Then come back over the bridge and either go back towards the park the same way we left it today, or else turn right and go left under the bridge to head through Latchford Village towards the park entrance.
Seriously, fella, track finish all day long *taps nose* Date of review: September 8, 2013
In short: Husband & Wife PB! In full: The husband has done a few Warrington's and finally convinced me to take part. Glad I did! The course is great, there's enough toilets, parking is fine if you know where to go, bottled water at the stops and the goodie bag is just what you need (food!)The little race village is lovely and the Parachutists were great! I managed to shave just over 6 minutes from my PB and the husband shaved another minute from his. I'll be back next year definitely! Date of review: September 8, 2013
In short: Excellent event with some easy hills In full: Been doing this since the first one as it's my home town and can't fault it. There are some hills but nothing to worry about and support is good whilst you amble around the countryside. Highly recommend it! Date of review: November 6, 2012
In short: First half marathon and a great introduction! Well-organised and friendly In full: The course is either uphill or level for the first 6 miles - but there are no really challenging hills, just a couple of long slow climbs. From halfway it is either level or downhill, so great for tired legs apart from one small climb at about mile 11. All road except for some short sections through parks, which were on good paths and made a nice change. It was a hot day but I got the time I was looking for (first time half-marathoner!) so I think a good PB course. Good water stations and plenty of marshals. On the weeks leading up to the race I got regular newsletters by email, and organisation on the day was excellent - efficient without being bureaucratic. Date of review: September 11, 2012
In short: Undulating - I hate that word In full: I don't think my head was right for this one. I was going for a PB but the uphill first 7 miles put paid to that. A lot of countryside running with scattered packs of local support, which was nice. Had stomach 'issues' and approached a marshall to ask where the nearest toilet was. Unfortunately, he didn't know. Fortunately, there was a lot of countryside (and nettles - ouch). Had to do this twice, so can I now apologise to the family who nearly caught me out - and the dog walker who did :( As mentioned in other reports, the stadium finish was good and well supported and the goody bag was ok (Freddo Frog! haven't had one of them in years :O) ) If you haven't run it before and you're trying to beat a PB set on a flat course, then it may not be for you but as a Half it was worth doing. I may well return to complete it without stopping Date of review: September 10, 2012
In short: Great Race with great support In full: This race is extremely well organised. 7 minute PB means it def has PB potential. I would recommend this to everyone. I will be back next year. Date of review: September 10, 2012
In short: Well run, friendly race with excellent personal best potential. In full: I am a 'Gold Runner' for this event having enjoyed it in 2010 - I paid approximatly £100 to run for life. The organisers allowed me to run the last mile with my 4 year old son, made both his and my day! Support was shouted for him. Wonderful day Date of review: September 10, 2012
In short: Well Organised and quality event In full: This is the second time I have run this race and again found it superb even though I was 8 mins slower this time around - not enough training!! The course is a gentle incline for the first 6 miles and then a gentle decline to the finish - apart from the bridge at mile 11. The whole experience is just easy - from parking across the road at the enviroment agency offices, collecting the chip on the day and the finish within the arena. Will be back again next year. Date of review: September 10, 2012
In full: Briliantly organised from start to finish with really good contact and communication throughout especially via email and twitter (loving the re-tweets). All water stations manned well and very friendly. Unfortunately i did have to ask a marshall for directions as i ran to him as not all being very vocal or animated in directions. Sadly thought the support on the way was one of the worst i have encountered :(. Only really disappointment though is still the lack of official race time coming to me (now over 24h) only ever had to wait this time once before all my other times are with me in a matter of hours so if anything i'd say thats the only thing that really needs working on. Date of review: September 10, 2012