In short: Great route but disorganised and expensive In full: This is for the 2012 race on 28/10/2012
Pros: The route it great - interesting and the crowds are fantastic. Of course they gathered most at the music stations but there were a plenty along the streets too. The music was OK - it was live this year and there were some ethnic drummers (sorry, don't know how to describe them more than this!), not just hip hop and dance this year - although you only hear them for a minute or so! Mind you I took my iPod as the distance between music stations was a good mile or so. Good, friendly marshals along the course. I take my hats off to the team and marshals for putting up with such a difficult job and trying to be as helpful as possible given the chaotic situation! Sorry to the one I accidently threw my cup of water at!! The course is undulating with some hills but I got a PB on this so there is potential! No tube/transport issues this time and good weather – not planned by RTTB but a bonus compared to the last few year’s reviews! Getting too/from the O2 was fine – no worse than any other busy period. I liked my race tee-shirt a lot – very comfy and fine for autumn running – it will get plenty of use in the future. Sadly I could not wear my charity vest though as the number is printed on the race shirt – I saved the charity top for the journey home instead and will wear it on training runs. If you really wanted to wear your own or charity top you could queue for a traditional number bib instead on the day, but the queue for that was far too long.
Cons: Hmm where to start...! Way too overcrowded - just a sea of people before the start, signage was useless, no'one seems to know where to go. Queues were horrendous - if you want to do anything other than go to the loo and run to your pen then get there a good 2 hours early! I always felt either in a rush or lost. They seemed to have everything you’d expect from a big race in place (numbered pens, covered, secure baggage drop organised by race number, pacers, changing areas, but somehow it all seemed to be in vain. As above – if you wanted to wear your own top instead of the supplied t-shirt with the number, you needed to queue for a bib. I wouldn’t recommend that due to the long wait! If you really want to wear your own top, get there even earlier, or try to pin your charity top in a way to the race number is still visible. The race started at 9.45am and marshals kept yelling to people still in the baggage queue that they were going to be late! I was in such a rush I almost considered running with my backpack! Bottlenecks everywhere. With people from all finishing time-groups/pens getting to the pens late, I was starting the race 30 minutes after the official start with people from all finishing-time groups. Of course, it took ages to actually cross the line, so there was actually no point in rushing to drop the bags off! I missed getting anywhere near the pacer I hoped to follow (but got my target time anyway). For a price tag of £46 you would expect something decent at the end. I don’t do races just for the freebies, but after 13.1 miles you need something to eat and to keep warm and recover. I got a Powerade bottle , water and a medal at the end (nice medal by the way). But no food or goodie bag. Saved one year’s problem of people taking too many snacks I suppose. And there were no foil space blankets – which were vital on such a cold day. We were also given a silly design of timing chip which needed to be laced into the shoes (not the ones you fix with cable wire that can be easily snapped/pulled off after the race) creating more faffing at the end for runners who were too achy to bend down easily. The queue to retrieve baggage was chaos - there were about 10 queues for the different sections all muddled up and no tape/barriers to guide people into orderly lines. Plus we were very cold and shivering waiting all that time! Overall it was worth doing once for the good course, and the chance to do a big London race in front of massive crowds, but I’ll be giving it a miss next year to do the Great South Run instead. Date of review: October 29, 2012
In short: Overpriced Overcrowded and Overrated! In full: REVIEW IS FOR 2012 RACE HELD ON 28/10/2012
As this website does not have 2012 this rating will be listed under 2011 but it IS for the 2012 event.
I have done every one of these bar the first one and enjoyed them-Not this year though!-previously there were around 15000 runners-This year they upped it to i think 18000 and the course just could not cope with the extra runners. In previous years water on the course was provided in bottles this year it was in plastic cups, Although the volunteers did their best they were never going to fill the cups up quick enough for the amount of people taking part!-The toilets at the start were too near the baggage drop which meant people queuing for the toilets were also queuing to get out of baggage drop tent causing a bottlneck. There was also a bottleneck on the course at the royal artillary barracks as the thousands of runners tried to get through 2 2 foot wide gaps to exit-Although well done to the marshal for pointing out the bollard in the middle of the gaps-not an easy job with thousands of runners coming towards her-so fair play to her. The championchips we were supplied with had to be threaded through your laces-which caused a bottleneck at the finish-Why could they not have supplied championchips with velcro straps like they do at Southend is beyond me-It would have made the chips a lot easier to remove and prevented bottlenecking as it is not easy to bend down and untie your laces after 13 miles (I had to help a woman get her chip off as she could not bend down at the finish)-Talking of the finish this year we did not even get a goody bag and the medals were just handed to you in their wrappers-which seems a bit impersonal-Although at least you knew you were getting a medal that was unscratched from clanking with other medals. The bands on the course are good but i think that the spectators benfit more from them as you only hear them for aprrox 400 yards as you run. Also in previous years your time was sent by text shortly after you crossed the finish line-not this year though (Even though i think when i signed up they stated you would get your time sent by text?) Also the baggage queue this year was horrendous, 25 mis to queue for your bag after running was ridiculous, Although i am not blaming the baggage volunteers they did a good job i think they were simply overwhelmed with the extra runners and extra baggage people were carrying due to this years event being held a month later due to olympics and the cold weather. Finally i think the course was long and as it has not been measured by runbritain it does not qualify towards your ranking. I have enjoyed this race in the past but will not be doing it again, As although it has always been a "Commercial" race it has always had a "personal feel" to it-Not this year though-It was obvious that the only thing the organisers were interested in is profit-Frankly for £46 i expected better.
In short: Great atmosphere and the music gives you a real lift. challenging route for a beginner. well organized. Nike T shirt is a nice touch but no one likes running in sleeves! nice medal, but way over priced! In full: I did run to the beat in 2011 and was my first half. The atmosphere was fantastic with loads of support and even some celebs making appearances. All the music was great! As a beginner I found the route challenging and there are some really hilly areas and over heard many others discussing how hard some parts were. Some lovely bits through the park and the military barracks and a fab finishing stretch. Powerade was awful and clearly no one else liked it either because there were full bottles strewn all over the route in the immediate few hundred yards after the drinks stop which was lethal! The medal was really hefty and good quality but the t shirt was a let down, very high neck and uncomfortable to run in so i made mine into a vest pre race i dont know anyone who would choose to run in sleeves! I would have preferred a goody bag instead! I see that they have put up the price for this year and although the atmosphere was good, you could get the same elsewhere for less. This has to be one of the most expensive events out there and I just dont think its worth it. Parking was a doddle and organization was great and despite the efforts made with the entertainment the price puts me off doing it again Date of review: April 25, 2012
In full: 'Run to the Beat' sounds promising and fun but running through industrial estates (Woolwich) for almost half of the race is dull. Lots of spectators along the way to cheer you up - great. The music stations were 2-3 live bands (which was nice), most of the sporadically placed 'music stations' were deserted stages where they played Ministry of Sound tunes and it felt like they are playing the same songs over and over again.
Quite hilly. First half goes up, second half goes down. You start and return to the O2 and will pass Greenwich Park (you skip the steep climb). It gets much nicer after the first half.
There were a lot of runners and spectators – commuting to The O2 was a nightmare (as always). Tubes (jubilee line) were running every 30minutes and when they came, they were so packed, people started to faint and cry. This is not the ideal start for a 13mile race. My friends who made the effort on a Sunday morning even got stuck on the tube for 45minutes. Well, this is TFL not the actual event.
We luckily kept our bags in our car, the bag drop was a mission on its own, pre and post race.
There was not much space to properly warm up and find a quiet area to focus, the race got delayed due to tube issues. It was quite cold and windy and we had to wait a good while in our waves until we got going. All the warm up effort was gone. No goody bags but nice medals and silver blankets after the race. Your time is recorded via time chip.
Getting away from there was the biggest issue. If you weren't departing immediately you were stuck like forever at The O2. Tube closed, no cabs coming, you had to wait for the boat approx. 2hrs. Finding a place to eat or just to sit was impossible. Food is (well-known) quite pricy there. We returned home in the early evening.
The T-Shirt was a joke. Felt like plastic, the print was cheap and I wished I had know this when I ticked the box to purchase it.
But I would recommend it with barring the above in mind. It's good to know what to expect and how to prepare yourself for it. It's a half marathon for all abilities and it takes place in London, quite easy to get a place and this years (2011) race sounds very promising because NIKE is sponsoring it. So definitely better shirts with a decent print. Well, I hope so. Date of review: August 9, 2011
In short: To long waiting around in pens . Didn't get over start line until37 mins cold and damp!! In full: The transport was very poor had to walk 6 miles to nearest tube as they closed all nearby for reasons of croud control!!! Date of review: October 20, 2010
In short: A nice course, great for a first 13miler In full: An opportunity came up to grab a place in this race so I took it.
Getting to the event was tricky due to London Underground engineering works over-running and only 1 way in, but thankfully the organisers postponed the race for 45mins to allow people to get there.
Sadly the weather wasn't with us, but that didn't dampen our spirits.
The organisation was sufficent, but the toilet area was a little chaotic and queue jumping was rife. :-/
The route was well marshalled and took in plenty of Greenwich.
I was disappointed with the music aspect of the run, particularly as this was what appeared to be the driving force behind the run! There were a couple of live acts, but the rest was a few vans dotted about with some speakers and I definitely didn't feel empowered to run any faster at any point round the route.
I was presented with a nice medal at the finish, but the other goodies were energy bars and smellies in big boxes and no bags to carry anything. Needless to say, it was sad to see some runners walking off with entire boxes of stuff which meant that runners coming in late were probably going to be short-changed.
Overall, it was a good run, but I felt let down that the hype surrounding the music around the route failed to deliver and if I had taken my iPod I would have probably got more from that! Date of review: October 19, 2010
In short: Hopeless organisation In full: OK so there was nothing they could do about the delayed start as even TfL don't appear to be responsible for TfL so it seems unfair to blame the race organisers. However, that doesn't excuse not properly labelling or sign-posting the pens, not putting out the mile-markers or making spurious "eco" claims and leaving the contents of the goodie-bags as a free-for-all. At 2 hours I was hardly a 'tail-ender' but there was not one single bottle of water or cereal bar left, absolutely nothing. Although there were plenty of sub-2 hours folks happily wandering round with arms full of goodies - I even saw one bloke with a box of the cereal bars! Pure greed and meanness by the runners, but rubbish on behalf of the organisers not to at least supervise if they weren't going to be sensible enough to hand out individual bags. Having battled into the finish area to collect my bag (which fortunately I'd left my own bottle of water and snack in) it then took ages to battle back out of the single exit where the one miserable marshall was making no effort at all to move people on and keep the exit clear. Overall left feeling very defalted and let down. Date of review: October 7, 2010
In short: lots of problems - but if you were in charge what would you have done? In full: So let's clear a few things up. The Jubilee line is THE transport method for most people, and the line was clearly screwed due to faults meaning that at 9:45 start time, very few of the entrants were actually there - so they delayed the race start and yes it was cold but the O2 was open to shelter in. if they hadn't delayed then most people would have missed the start - meaning more complaints yet it's not the organisers fault.
There were plenty of toilets near the baggage drop and I waited near there the whole time from 9:15 to race start and didn't see queues of 50+ as one person has said.
the problem with the roads re-opening is clearly an issue but London marathon copes so perhaps the organisers could look at that.
the course is decent and the medal is good. I did this last year and it was good then. A few issues but there always are with mass races like this. If you don't like crowds, enter one of the many great running club races. I like both so will be back again next year.