In short: Good race spoilt by problems getting there by car. In full: Why were the roads to the stadium car parks closed, they could have been kept open till 8:30'ish without affecting the start. As they were closed where was the signage for alternative access. Like many others I wasted time, petrol and money on prepaid Old Trafford parking because I failed to find a way in after 45 mins. Instead of having a nice relaxed 90 mins to enjoy the atmosphere and prepare for the race it left a stressful 30 mins. to get everything done. Fortunately baggage drop off was very quick and queues for urinals very small. The race itself was actually quite good, the crowds and marshals were excellent and very encouraging. Certainly lived up to claims of being flattest, friendliest marathon. I personally didn't like all the switchbacks in the first half, especially first one after less than a mile, but it does make it easier for spectators, marshaling and reducing road closures in the city. Baggage collection not as efficient as drop off, 1 tent not enough for up to 10000 bags but cadets were brilliant and did their best in the confined space. Overall would recommend for flat, friendly course, just don't try and get there by car.
In full: Fast but boring course, well supported on course. Getting there was a bit of a nightmare with poor diversion signs and 'dodgy' car park attendants trying to charge you twice. The starting pens where also disorganized. Probably worth doing once for the pb but wouldn't do it again. Date of review: April 7, 2014
In short: not convinced by this one In full: I was really looking forward to this race but was overall dissapointed. Thought the organisation at the start was poor. Initially the gate to the athlete area was not fully opened making it difficult to get both in or out! No good signposting to the start and then the pens I felt were badly highlighted. However, the marshalls on the course were excellent and very encouraging. Many water stations though I wasnt overly keen on the water packets. The course was obviously through town and I found it really mundane (though this was clearly what I should have expected). Road flat with only a few inclines and found myself hoping for more. I wouldnt do this again but could see why others would. Date of review: April 7, 2014
In short: Marvellous united Manchester city! In full: I didn't get into to London so was looking for an alternative. "Flat & Fast" caught my eye - and since I really wanted a sub-4 - I signed up for Manchester. Communication was excellent on the build up and throughout; a downloadable race brief explained everything. The day and race itself was perfect for me personally. Very impressed and very enjoyable. Oh, 3.57.59 thank you very much! Date of review: April 7, 2014
In short: Fast,well organised and great support In full: This was my second Marathon so only London to compare with and really enjoyed it. The only negative was getting there with the road closures maybe I didn't look into this enough. The parking was great I had prebooked and ended up within 200 metres of the finish just next to the race village and was away with no hold ups at all. All instructions were clear, with fantastic support on route. Its not the most scenic of runs but that wasn't my aim other than a couple of very slight inclines its flat all the way and the large crowd, with bands more than make up for it. The water pouches are a good idea much better than bottles, a couple weren't quite open enough but easily resolved on the move. Other than the route in by car would find it hard to suggest any improvements, as for PB if you are fit enough then you won't have any problems achieving one on this course. Date of review: April 7, 2014
In short: Overall well organised and very well supported In full: My first marathon, so nothing to compare with. I appreciated the flat course, and the loop-backs, as I could swap encouragement with fellow club members. The marshalls were excellent and the support loud. I enjoyed the 'Run like somebody called you a jogger' banner. Generally the organisation was pretty smooth, with just a few niggles: - Water pouches took some getting used to and we could have done with some instructions for them in the race pack - I was relying on a gel from a water station around the 20-mile mark as advertised, but didn't see any (possibly my fault) - Didn't see any water at the finish line, and once through the finish area there was no going back, which meant I had to wait until I'd got my bag to get a drink, but... - Baggage retrieval was a bit slow (and I don't think I was there at the busiest time). Notwithstanding these gripes, I thoroughly enjoyed the race, and the only reason I've said I'd only 'maybe' do it again is because I'm not sure I'll want to do a marathon again. Maybe when I'm a bit less stiff... Date of review: April 7, 2014
In short: PB potential and terrific support In full: Firstly, a big thanks to all the supporters who were fantastic for the entire course offering huge encouragement and seemingly endless supply of jelly babies. Best marathon crowd and support I've ever experienced.
The course is fast and virtually flat, if a little dull, so great PB potential.
Liked the water pouches, once opening/drinking technique had been mastered. Easy to carry and little wasteage. Plenty of water stops. Seemed to be plenty of energy blocks but carried my own gels.
Parking was a complete fiasco. Being non-local I booked into the Old Trafford car park but roads were closed. There was only 1 diversion sign then got completely lost in maze of roads. Eventually paid another £10 to park in nearby office car park, so money and time wasted. Many others appeared to do the same with a big queue of cars going into this "unofficial" car park and handing over their £10. The race instructions advised to take account of road closures, but if promoting the Man Utd car park then explicit instructions on how to get to it to it when the roads are closed should have been given. This is the only negative I have, albeit a very big one, on what otherwise was a very well organised event. Date of review: April 7, 2014
In short: Flat, fast and fun (up to a point!) In full: As others have said this is definite PB territory (and I nailed one by all of 15 seconds). The organisation was pretty good overall and the spectators really gave it a fantastic atmosphere, calling your name and shouting support along almost all of the course. I know I'm in the minority here but I liked the water pouches, never used them before but thought they were really convenient - didn't spill all over me and when I wanted a big gulp I just bit the top off! The scenery is perhaps a little tame compared to the Sea to Sky Highway but it's not hideous. I have a soft spot for Manchester, having lived there until 10 years ago and I'm really glad that I ran this race! Date of review: April 7, 2014