In short: They tried hard In full: Parking organisation hard obviously gone wrong early morning, and they struggled to get everybody in. This led to a 20 minute delay to the start, during which all the runners were left standing in the increasing heat. The announcer on the PA should have had better information - he didn't even know how far the half-marathon distance was. The course was certainly more undulating than flat/undulating - if there were any flat parts I don't remember them! The course was in general well-marked, although the split for 1st/2nd lap could have been better. There were plenty of marshals but none of them seemed to have any information, or be at all interested in the race they were marshalling. I assume they were BHF volunteers rather than running volunteers. Gels at the 8km water station were good, although the marshal who I was about to grab a bottle from suddenly bent down to get a gel for somebody else, and he was the last marshal so I had to double back to grab water - a bit amateur. There was also then a big gap in water stations between about 12km and then one at about 16km and another just after that, at what was a pretty hot time of day. The shower at 17km was nice. The last 2 km was tough - 1km downhill, and 1km uphill to the line. The finish time display seemed to be lagging about 20 seconds behind the chip time. I started pretty close to the front - probably only 2-3 seconds from the gun but my chip time was 14 seconds slower than the gun time showing on the screen, which was a bit odd. Finally the medal and goody bag were a total letdown. The medal was the worst I've ever received, and the goody bag was a cheap chocolate and some shampoo samples, what a waste of time. Date of review: October 5, 2011
In short: I recorded a PB - It was my first race! In full: (This is copied from Begineer forum) Hi, well I certainly picked a freak week for my first event, having booked a 10k taking place in October I was expecting a nice cool autumn day .... well, barring snow I couldn't have got it more wrong!
My story is in an earlier message, but having only started running in June and a foot problem hampering training I went into this 10k never having run more than 5k. However, I had my 10yr old son for company, a very fit Banbury Harrier junior, but also never having run this distance.
So we got to Blenheim early, with wife and son no. 2 in support and my Sister and a friend also running, had a good look around which was handy as we found the 'proper' toilets in the courtyard which saved a long queue for the portaloos (quite handy as we were drinking loads and suffering the obvious consequencies).
We hung back at the start, Sis went off ahead keeping her own pace as she's got a marathon to do next week (mad!) and Charlie (the boy) and me hung back and enjoyed a very steady pace which was just as well as the course soon commenced a climb which seemed to go on forever. We kept plodding on, fortunately with a water bottle each as it was officially 'Stupid Hot', we'd heard on the PA there was water every 2k, which wasn't the case. But, we kept on plodding up, and up, asked a couple of marshalls where the water was, and it always seemed to be "not far now", eventually we could see a red gazebo on top of another hill at about 5k, but couldn't believe it when it was empty, being told the water is in another 1k. At this point my body cried enough, and we walked the loop, which took us 1k back to the point where the chap said the water was 1k away - but he was right, water had arrived!! So we grabbed a bottle each, drank half and ran on, only to see more water about 600m away, so we poured what we had over our heads and carried on, picking up more of the precious liquid further on.
Shortly after this, around 7k, Charlie (still a 10 year old!) asked if he could kick on and left me standing as he shot off into the distance - I can still hear people moaning about being overtaken by a child. We were getting near the car park and house by this time and starting getting some speactators, who's encouragement really helped, so I kept on plodding, finding wife and Son 2 just before the finish barriers and then it was head down and go to the end.
So, to the point of this beginners tale, Charlie clocked 1:10.20 and me, 1:14.47. Can't quite understand how the winner managed 38mins, but I was chuffed to get the end without the need for an ambulance and walked away ready for 'a cold one' and looking forward to training to get the time down to 1 hour.
Finally, Charlie took 4 minutes off me in 3k, and so could easily have beaten his time, so whilst I'm pretty sure 10k times for 10 year olds aren't officially recorded, I'd love to know how this compares with any others known about?
In short: Lessons to be learnt, will be a great half marathon In full: Lots of confusion with information boards about what route your taking, especially with a board near finish line, that had a turn open but it wasn't part of the course, some runners turned right - wrong way. Also just have one line for start and finish, not 2 20 metres apart. Date of review: October 3, 2011
In full: Lovely scenary,a bit hot for running fast.Could have done with more water stations concidering the weather.I am sure with a few lessons to learn this could become a special race. Date of review: October 3, 2011
In short: Gorgeous scenery and even more glorious weather (certainly not for running though!!) In full: Again, yer some negative reviews but it was a huge race in very unusual (impossible to predict at this time of year) weather conditions.
Positives: I think BHF did a grand job and although there are many complaints on here I had a great day. Although the course was what I would call VERY undulating (the BHF website described it as flat/undulating), this is something BHF should look to amend next year. A welcomed massage by the excellent Oxford School of Sports Massage did me wonders, they were very professional and pleasant. Also marshals handing out gels - a grateful surprise at 10 miles! A shower from the marshal on both laps near the cross point also pulled me through!
Negative: Getting out of Blenheim Palace at the end of the day was a complete joke! I grew so impatient after 25 mins sitting in stationary traffic waiting for people to siphon into 1 lane .... I ran to the exit where my partner picked me up .... picked my car up 2 hours later! Date of review: October 3, 2011
In short: Decent organisation and hillier than expected. In full: Some harsh reviews here. For me decent organisation in advance and on the day. Course was much more undulating/hilly than I expected so not really PB territory but no major batter your legs climbs either and course rolls around very nicely.
Yes the medal was a big budget and goody bag nothing memorable but it is a charity event and every penny saved is back in the charity. Guessing for some reason they could get Tunnocks wafers cheap/free hence in the bag. Would help to show a bit more running knowledge though e.g. less broad start timing pens, bit more to eat at finish and more enthusiastic marshalls. I'm not bothered about a medal though and don't think a start delay is the end of the world. Good luck BHF for next year.
In full: The delay at the start on a very hot day was unforgivable, as it meant we ended up running during the peak temperature of the day. Lovely uncrowded course, completely apathetic marshalls. Date of review: October 3, 2011
In short: very scenic In full: a nice coarse in a beautiful setting, with some great history. only downside is the fact that where taking money from supporters entering the grounds. other than than all ok, oh and yes the sun shone, which is great but doest make for great running conditions. Date of review: October 3, 2011
In short: Beautiful setting but felt surprisingly amateur in organisation In full: Pros - great setting which to be honest just about outweighed all the negatives on the day although would have been less relevant had the weather not been so nice - large field but never really felt 'crowded' - fairly nice t-shirt
Cons - lack of water (yes it was unusually hot but the forecast had been saying 25+ for a few days so could have been anticipated - marshals were non-existent and the ones I did speak to were unfriendly and unhelpful (apart from the ones at 4k who told us were nearly there (just a mere 17k to go ....) - lack of toilets - goody bag was a let down - medal was poor (no date or even reference to the specific race - just a standard BHF one) - We were hurried to the start line at 0915 but they still delayed the start from 1000 to 1020 which made a difference in the heat
Overall - I am sure if they fix some of the organisation and cheer up the marshals a bit this could be a great run in the future Date of review: October 3, 2011