In short: Second time, same result, great day out. In full: I don't like Abingdon. But I grew up there, so that's mandatory. The marathon, on the other hand, I love. I ran it first in 2010 and this review could equally apply to that race; my experiences this time round were nigh-on identical.
The course is flat as anything, giving huge PB potential and the marshalls do a great job of directing traffic around some tricky junctions. The start and finish in Tilsley Park has more atmosphere than many events that finish in big stadia (I'm looking at you Milton Keynes) and the support on route is great (bearing in mind the field is less than a thousand and many travel a fair distance for the race).
The flatness of the course makes it a magnet for PB hunters, leading to a field that is frighteningly competitive. Yet everyone is friendly and respectful to one another through the tighter sections of the course.
The only recommendation I'd make is for the organisers to sort out the marking around miles 15/16 and also 23. Because there is a loop in the course you get pairs of mile markers cropping up, but while 6 was a short distance before 15, 7 was after 16. Also, judging by my pace (which was very consistent) mile 23 was a bit late putting in an appearance. I recall similar issues from two years ago.
This doesn't take the sheen off a great race that I'm sure I'll be back for next year. Both times I've run this I've knocked 11 minutes off my PB, so at this rate I'll have the world record in a few years time.
In short: Fabulous marshalls In full: All the marshalls and officials were brilliant - amazingly friendly, helpful and genuinely supportive despite having to be out in the cold for hours and hours. You get long stretches without any spectators on the rural bits but the spectators that were out there were great. Date of review: October 22, 2012
In short: A very fast marathon! In full: A great race with some good support in places. Not the most interesting of routes at times, but if you're looking for a fast course this is one of the quickest. Special thanks to the marshals who did an amazing job keeping the runners safe and offering support. Nice t-shirt, and a very shiny medal! Many thanks. Date of review: October 22, 2012
In short: A Flat and maybe fast, but not easy course - In full: I hate to be critical as I can only imagine the huge amount of effort that must go into organising any road race; let alone a marathon that has adequate toilets at the start, showers (although they were too scaldingly hot to use) which doesn’t involve running 6 laps of a trading estate. But I found the Abingdon course to be a bit too narrow in too many places (and this was near the front end of the field), with footpaths that you couldn’t overtake on and pavements that were both narrow and interrupted with driveways every few meters. The section through the town was also quite twisty and on the way out (at 5 miles) with the number of runners around there were a few too many bollards to negotiate. Support was good through the town and at a couple of patches on the course, but the run into the finish was quite lonely – I guess everyone was waiting in the stadium. On the plus side: the marshals were copious, friendly and helpful – advising on rough patches of pavement and aforementioned bollards, as well as offering general cheer and encouragement. Water stations every 3 miles were great – meant you didn’t have to worry about missing your mouth with the contents of the cup. Toilet queues some of the shorter I’ve encountered – although One final point, that I’m sure many will think if not greedy, just churlish – but a small prize (vouchers from a sponsor would suffice) would be much appreciated for what was literally a marathon effort. – Oh and maybe be a bit more realistic in the race day timetable about when the prize presentation will happen. I missed having a much needed massage as I thought the presentation was imminent.
In short: Great marshals, great support, and flat! In full: Had a really enjoyable run.... This race is flat and greatly organised. It had a lovely atmosphere and everyone was very encouraging. Great PB and I achieved mine... Would recommend this enough runners that you don't spend miles on your own. Date of review: October 21, 2012
In short: Twisty bendy route flattish In full: Well organized run. Course is ok varied route and is flat but still feels like you running slightly up. lots of crossing of roads and some of the surfaces very hard on calfs. Great support from locals and great marshals with well organized water stations. Nice medal and excellent t shirt. Nice cryotherapy showers at the end.my third marathon of the month so fell short of a PB but well worth it. Date of review: October 21, 2012
In short: Fast, flat, PB potential. Slick organisation and a varied rural route. In full: Flat as a flat thing! Definite PB potential. Very well organised with good support and excellent marshallers. I did hear a few pre-race grumbles about having to run through and up an underground walkway!?! Alright, any incline after 25 miles isn't the best but please people...I don't think you could find a flatter race if you tried. It did feel a little bit 'clubby' but don't be put off by all those club colours, they were all very friendly which helped make the atmosphere almost like one great big group run with a lot of mates. If you want an end of year PB then book a place...although be quick this one fills up quickly, and obviously so. Date of review: November 21, 2011
In short: Fast & Flat. Great Organisation. In full: Have than this race twice gained a PB both times. Great marshals, track finish is great but the little weave around the park before hand is a little unwelcome - more of a gripe than a moan. Good feed stations this year - chocolate most welcome. Can I PB next time - back next year to find out. Date of review: November 15, 2011