In short: Was pleasantly surprised with the route around Stevenage as I had only ever visited the trading estates before. The underpasses weren't too arduous and I took minutes off my PB. Excellently organised and marshaled will be back next year. Date of review: November 5, 2012
In short: An excellently organised half marathon which minimised the problems with the awful weather In full: The organisation at the start of the race was absolutely fantastic, the weather was truly awful but there were no problems staying dry and warm at the stadium before the race. The race director's did a fantastic job keeping everyone undercover until the race was ready to start then got everyone into position promptly and off to a smooth start.
The course itself was flat and so great for PB's, I managed to take 40 seconds off my previous best.
Special mention to the marshalls as well who were plentiful and very encouraging.
Will definitely do this again next year. Date of review: November 5, 2012
In short: Nice two-lap course with a track finish In full: My first half-marathon and it began in the pouring rain waiting for the coach to take us from the car park near the football stadium to the athletics stadium. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about the weather! It was great with the start and finish at the stadium as we all sheltered from the cold and rain, changing rooms etc., with a few laps of the track for a good warm up. The organisation was excellent and a special mention to the marshals - they were numerous and very encouraging, and although the rain thankfully relented shortly after the start, deserve all the congratulations for braving the weather. The course itself was good: two laps starting from the athletics stadium, then a finish with a lap of the track. Mostly run on cycle paths which meant a little up-and-down as we negotiate the various underpasses, with the rest taking in the Fairlands Valley Park, which was certainly the most pleasant section: as it was two laps, we went round the park twice. As this was my first half, a PB was guaranteed but the up-and-downs were mild; there were perhaps a few sharp turns, but all in all, I think a good course for a PB. Thank you Spartans! Date of review: November 5, 2012
In short: Quick, friendly and traffic free. Enjoyed the race despite the November rain! In full: Excellent on course marshaling with every ambiguous point covered off and generally a bit of encouragement too. The organistation at beginning and end was slick too. Date of review: November 5, 2012
In short: Excellent organisation with a track finish! In full: Despite the dreadful weather, it was a very good half-marathon. My only gripe was standing the rain waiting for the shuttle bus at the show ground! The course is undulating due to the underpasses but it saves crossing roads, but as it is a two lap course you know what you're in for on the second lap! Running through Fairlands Valley was lovely and gave some respite from the cycle paths. My favourite part was the track finish in front of the grandstand - brilliant! The marshalls should be congratulated for their support and standing in the rain all morning - thanks guys! Overall, a well organised race with good PB potential. Date of review: November 5, 2012
In short: Brilliantly organised race In full: Really enjoyed this race even though it was the worst conditions I've raced in! Very wet and cold, but hey, it's November in the UK. A mostly flat course with just the underpasses to mix things up a bit so good for a PB. You do 2 laps of the course through Fairlands Valley park twice which is a nice scenic area to run in. Great organisation and the marshals were very encouraging. Good facilities with changing rooms and showers and I did not have to wait at all for loos or baggage. Only slight gripe was the long wait for a coach with enough spaces on it to take us from the car park to the start - it was very cold and wet waiting around and meant my feet were wet before I'd even started the race! I really love the medal too. Thanks FVS running club!
In short: Enjoyable race in spite of the weather In full: I'll get my gripe out of the way first. Having arrived in Stevenage nice and early I was near to where the parking had been allocated. Perhaps I came in from an odd direction, but I saw absolutely no helpful signs to the location of the parking, nor to the "Showground". I then made my way to the town centre and found the Swimming pool. Again, no signs to direct to the carpark that was being used. Fortunately there were a couple of coaches parked up and I guessed they would be for the runners. I would have been happier if I hadn't had to guess. Just a simple sign would suffice.
That aside, the organisation of the race was very good and the marshals did a fantastic job of directing and encouraging the runners around the course. In weather like we had today I would rather be running than marshalling for sure!
Good facilities at the start, including changing rooms and a stand near to the start line so that we didn't have to wait around in the heavy rain for too long. Water was in cups, probably half-filled with rainwater :)
The course is a good one for a PB. The inclines are not too challenging and the section around the lake allows some recuperation (twice - since it is a two-lap course). According to my garmin, the overall elevation gain was about 400ft.
The bus transfer to and from the venue was well organised and I didn't have to wait around very long at all.
I would happily run this event again. Hopefully the parking won't be moved again and I'll know where to go next time. Date of review: November 4, 2012
In short: Well done Fairlands Valley Spartans In full: Despite heavy rain at the start, organisation was still very slick and the marshals were amazing, really cheerful and encouraging in horrible conditions.
Excellent organisation too, there was a mix up with my race number but the RD put that right within minutes of me being in touch.
Not as easy as you would expect, the course defines "rolling" but still pretty quick and good use of underpasses to avoid major road crossings. Plenty of water stations (cups are perfectly fine in this sort of race and limit rubbish, just get used to getting most of it down your front or up your nose!), well signed, good car parking, showers in the changing room, accurate timing, fast finish on the track. How they manage all that for this price is remarkable. Date of review: November 4, 2012