In short: Excellent course, excellent support In full: This year went very well, the runners village one way entry/exit system was very good, maybe a few more signs were needed for those who weren't regulars. Drinks stations and marshalls were excellent, thank you to the cadets and scouts and cubs/brownies etc etc. I finished towards the sharp end so didn't have any problems with crowding at the finnish. A few people have mentioned the cones to separate the faster/slower runners as being a problem and I agree, were they really needed all the way round? The support most of the way around the course was excellent. I've got a pb every year for 5 years at this course I'll be back next year looking for another. Date of review: March 9, 2010
In short: Haven't enjoyed an event this much since FLM in 2007 In full: First the bad stuff / gripes:
The price. Â£34 to run a half marathon in these straitened times? Not steep enough to put people off though, obviously.
The transport to and from Swindon was a nightmare, nowhere near enough trains laid on. But that's not the race organisers' fault.
Really too many runners given the course but it's an extremely big city event so what do you expect?
The start and finish. Took too long to get to the start and get through the funnel at the end but at least they aren't trying to cram everyone into Great Pulteney Street any more. And why weren't the foils given out at the finish instead of just before the baggage tents?!
Nothing to eat in the goodie bag apart from flaxseed, whatever the hell that is. Where were the lovely chocolate biscuits we had two years ago? :)
The course. Dull as ditchwater best describes the scenery, but it fits the purpose in so far as it is a flat, fast course suitable for newcomers and PB-hunters.
But the positives more than make up for the negatives in my view, which would be:
The crowd support. Probably the best supported event outside of the capital and as I was carrying an injury I decided to run with friends and soak up the atmosphere rather than go for a time. The weather was perfect given the time of year, and I haven't had as much in a race since my first FLM in 2007. A huge thank you to everyone who came along to support and made this event so special.
The drinks stations. If you dehydrate in this event, it's your own fault. Well stocked and well staffed. I do wonder why there's one in the last mile however?
PB potential. The only place I've got a faster half marathon time since Bath three years ago has been at Chippenham about 18 months later.
Medal and t-shirt. The poor quality of the goodie bag notwithstanding, you do get a lovely medal and a quality t-shirt.
Did anyone mention the event takes place in Bath, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe? You might not see many of the sights during the race, but there's nothing to stop you exploring the city before or after the race.
As I say, I do have a problem with the cost of the event but I had such a great day it probably won't put me off returning next year.
And if anyone is interested in seeing what this serial reviewer actually looks like, I'm in the pictures on the bbc bristol website, the chap in the green vest next to the clown who looks like he should be on a rugby field instead of in a distance race. Date of review: March 9, 2010
In short: Good event. Really enjoyed myself. In full: First time I had done Bath Half. Was towards the front so did not have any problems at the end as mentioned by others, although the filtering did making passing other runners difficult at times. The atmosphere was great and so a big thank you to all the spectators who turned out - it made that last mile a lot easier! Date of review: March 9, 2010
In short: Getting better In full: The Positives: 1. The residents of Bath and supporters for creating such a great atmoshphere. Certainly noticed through the quieter stretches. 2. Ease of bag collection/drop off. 3. A flat course. 4. The water stations - thanks to the volunteers. 5. The finishing straight! 6. A two minute PB.
The Negatives: 1. Too many runners (2007 was the ideal number with about 8000 finishers) 2. No waved start. i didn't know how fast the person in front of me was looking to run so it is difficult to blame the runners for me having to check my pace in the first 2 miles. 3. Poor goody bag - something to eat other than flaxseed would have been appreciated!!!
Enjoyed the day and clocked 1:32 but was slightly disapointed not to have a bit more space to run in due to the excessive numbers. Will do it again because it is so close to home.
In short: Good atmosphere with defininte PB potential In full: The race had a really good atmosphere with big crowds lining most of the route. The course was 2 laps which were mostly flat with some nice downhill sections. The runner's village was well organised with good facilities. Nice medal and goody bag at the end. The only downside was the gathering of runners at the start was slightly disorganised and there seemed to be some very authoritarian/jobsworth marshalls that were on a powertrip. Other than that great day out. Date of review: March 9, 2010
In short: The race has out grown itself. To many runners for the organisation to cope with. In full: Been going to the Bath half since mis 1900's. was a great race encouraging fast times. Now too large for the organisation. Points 45 minute walk to the start because of numbers. 30 minute wait to get through th efinish process. It was cold and runners really suffered. Why not give foil blankets with medals. Over bearing security staff stopping non runners from going to restaurants/cafes. Felt sorry for business near the race start. Why have a drink station in the last 800 metres?
A great race that is now over ambitious. There are better races this time of year. But that would not be difficult Date of review: March 8, 2010
In short: Not a bad big-city race but perhaps a bit too big In full: Most of the organisation I thought was pretty good - the marshals were great, especially in keeping the first and second lap runners separated and warning us of the kerb as we started the first of the two loops, and the extra drink stations on the right for the second lap were much appreciated. Crowd support was good for most of the course, and especially towards the end. The course isn't hilly, but not quite as flat as I was expecting, and the cold wind made it hard to go for a PB.
There were a couple of points where I felt the organisation could have been better. First of all, the arrangements for the White start seemed different from the others. When people were being called to the start, we weren't allowed to go through until about 30 minutes before the race began; not a problem if you know. We had the chance to warm-up on the first bit of the course, which was great; I'm not sure if there was a warm-up area for the other starts, it would be nice to know about this sort of thing beforehand, as warming up in the runners' village was difficult. The final point is the race results - the website was unusable until the early hours of this morning, even now it's slow and with limited search functionality. Surely they get the same sort of demand every year, I would have thought they would have a site that could cope, as London does.
I agree with some of the other comments: runners should line up in time order, not all club runners at the front (start time boards would have helped too), chocolate or similar would have been nice in the goody bag, and if you say you're going to ban iPods, then do so. Date of review: March 8, 2010
In short: A good race with a PB at the end but organisation could be better In full: Dont blame the runners for where they started. I am a 2hr30 half marathon runner and was put in the white start. Why? Was this because I am an affiliated club runner, I stated quite cleary in my application my estimated time and expected to be in the last pen as is usual for me. It puts a lot of pressure on me knowing there are 12000 runners behind me, many of which will be frustrated by my pace. Please, organisers, use estimated times when allocating start pens.
Finish a disaster! over 25 minutes from finish line to leaving the medal/goodie bag funnel, and I didn't even see any blankets so got very cold.
No where near enough toilets in the runners village, or maybe there were but they were too well hidden.
Why were the no MP3 rules not envoked? What is the point of a rule if you are not going to uphold it?
Good crowd support and marshalls around the course, nice medal and T Shirt and always pleased to get a PB! :-) Date of review: March 8, 2010