In short: Well organised and lots of encouragement In full: Still not sure if this is a better course. Managed a PB which is always good news but that may have been down to excellent weather rather than the race or the course. The finish area not very exciting and with a cold wind chilled down quickly at the end of the race - so headed back to the car park. With race HQ so dar away there was no point in hanging around. The course itself is challenging (recognise bits from the Beacon 10K) and the last hill you know will be tough on the last leg. Like lots of runners don't like laps but could be a lot worse. Well done to Gloucester AC and the marshal for their support. Date of review: March 9, 2010
In short: Hope this helps my marathon prep! In full: Enjoyed the races, have to say the marshalls were excellent, understood my finger pointing from a long way out towards the end of the race to stop me setting off on a 4th lap. Maybe more people on the water stations would help, a few times they were overwhelmed and tubs of jelly babies perhaps? Date of review: March 8, 2010
In short: An excellent opportunity for a long pre-Spring marathon training run. Some elements were better than in 2009 and some not so good â€¦ In full: The 2009 Gloucester 20 was my first ever 20-mile run and proved to be a very positive event, so the 2010 event went into the diary as a "must do" as soon as the date was published. It soon turned out that the 2010 event was to be held on a new course, so how did it compare?
Firstly, that new course. Yes, it is a shame that the Race HQ, the main car park and the start/finish were all in different locations, but the pre-race instructions made the arrangements clear enough. There were also split locations in 2009, so this isn't a feature of this course specifically. The Gloucester 10 and the Gloucester Marathon are organised in a similar way too. Personally, I am hugely impressed with the way that Gloucester AC keep all these road events running against all the odds. I can't imagine that they won't have looked at lots of alternatives and done the best under the circumstances (which include some pretty NIMBY-ish villagers in Longney and Epney, by all accounts, as well as a Sports Centre that is in the middle of a whole network of busy residential roads). I would just say "well done" to the organisers and congratulate them on not having given up running these events long ago.
As for the course, it was three laps instead of two, which really is not an issue. Quite similar terrain to last year, although there was of necessity a stretch with steady traffic on the B4008. There were a couple of inclines, probably similar overall to the previous course, although I found the second one (at miles 6.5, 12 and 17.5) to be increasingly nasty each time I came to it. Good compensation afterwards, though, in the form of a long fast gentle descent down to the railway bridge and beyond. Although I prefer the Longney/Epney loop, I would happily run this course again.
And what about the rest of the event? Advance information was quite late in appearing on the website, although this may have had something to do with the planning necessary for the new course. Pre-race instructions and the running number arrived in good time and the directions were perfectly adequate. It was a shame that there was nothing other than a row of portaloos at the main car park. I shouldn't think many people would have gone to the Race HQ before the event and it would have been really nice just to have a garden marquee with a tea urn in the corner of the car park. Maybe next year ...
The distance to the start was fine - a good opportunity for a warm up jog. The start itself took me completely by surprise! (Note to Results Officer: please deduct half a minute from the finishing time of every Westbury Harriers runner - we were all standing around at the back chatting when we became aware that the stampede had started!)
On course, the marshalling was excellent and the marshals were visible and clear in their instructions at every junction and blind bend. Well done! Drinks stations were well-spaced too and the helpers invariably friendly and efficient - thanks to you all too!
The finish was a little disappointing, and one or two reviewers have already commented on this. Yes, a Mars Bar or a banana would have been hugely welcome to provide some energy for the return to the car park or the Race HQ. (I did see a table set up in the car park with drinks etc - perhaps that could have been at the finish instead, unless it was a private club arrangement?) I was disappointed with the mug (I don't like commemorative mugs, but maybe others do?), but in contrast I really liked the 2009 Gloucester Old Spot T-shirt. Finally, the Race HQ is well tried and tested and the hot showers very welcome. It was well worth the short drive in order to get a shower, a cup of tea and a piece of cake.
In conclusion, a competently organised and marshalled event which is an essential part of the Spring marathon calendar. A few niggles, some of which are down to personal taste, but overall a big thank you to the organisers for another good day out!
In short: Better than last year In full: I found the pre-race instructions and directions perfectly clear, so I'm not sure why others didn't.
The fabulous weather on the day doubtless helped, but I thought 2010 was a big overall improvement on 2009 - i.e. better parking, shorter walk at the start & end, I preferred the new 3 lap course to the old 2 lap course, less concerns about road safety (which soured the atmosphere last year, hence the big drop in numbers this year).
Well marshalled by friendly folk who appeared to know what they were doing in terms of traffic control at the junctions.
Quite expensive for a few cups of water and a mug, but otherwise no complaints from me. Date of review: March 8, 2010
In full: It came as a surprise when everyone begun to run, as there was no indication that the race had started!! For someone who hates laping, I really enjoyed the course. The laps were varied enough not to seem repetative and couldnt have asked for better weather. The marshalls were really friendly and supportive throughout. My Garmin clocked a slightly longer course of 20.15 miles and it wasnt obvious that mugs were being given out at the end (I had to go back for mine!!). Apart from the few organisation issues, a great race. Thanks Glouc AC. Date of review: March 8, 2010
In short: Perfect marathon training - the marshalls made it! In full: My first 20 miler for my first marathon so it acheived what I needed. Some people complained about not finding the start, but as long as you parked in the park n ride as per instructions and followed the crowds, it was fine - although I admit there wasn't any signs to the start and from the finish. Once out of the industrial estate, the course was really pretty. As one of the girls at the back, can I say a massive thanks to the marshalls as you were absolutely fantastic - full of encouragement and cheering us through. And also to the St John's Ambulance on bikes who came and chatted with us on the way round and checked we were ok at regular points. I know I was running it as a slow training run rather than a race, but I was surprised to be running most of the race at the back; it's a fast club race. After the posts on last years race I wasn't really looking forward to this, but I did - well done Gloucester AC. Date of review: March 8, 2010
In short: Not up to the usual standard of the Gloucester 20 In full: Organisation seemed a bit muddled compared to previous years. OH and I received two numbers with no indication of which was which, the distance from the car park / start to the Race HQ meant that most people didn't bother going. Couldn't hear the start and with no clock at the finish line am still not sure how long I took. Finish was very flat [in terms of atmosphere] - I even missed getting my mug as there was nobody handing them out or at least directing you to where they were. Previous years have had chip timing and I must confess to hating the three lap format, I always used to find that two was one too many -although I can see the convenience from the point of view of water stops etc. Date of review: March 8, 2010
In short: Some organisational problems but generally a good race. In full: Wasn't very impressed with the organisation at the start and finish but once on the course it wasn't too bad. Surprisingly quick despite the 3 small hills. Date of review: March 8, 2010
In short: Great timing for marathon training.....quick course to build your confidence In full: Helpful marshals. Flat course with a couple of easy hills to provide a bit of a test. 3 laps (first for me but perhaps shows my inexperience at these events!) provided structure to a quick and scenic course. If you are doing a marathon in the next couple of months for the first time like me, it will help you get a feel for the distance and make you go faster than you ever would on a training run. I was glad to have the opportunity to participate in this race. Thanks Glos for putting this event on. Date of review: March 7, 2010
In short: Badly orgainsed with over complicated starting/parking instructions In full: The starting details were over complicated with 2 different start points. We waited in the Severndale Sports Centre wondering where everybody was and then had to nearly sprint to the Park ' N 'Ride. OK so it was in the instructions but, even so, there should have been an announcement at the school reminding everyone to make their way to the start. When we did make our way, we had no idea of where we were going.It was a pure fluke that we found it. Not the ideal start to such a distance! And what an anti climax at the finish. Why oh why can't they start and finish at the same place?? Whilst I wasn't expecting a fanfare, a 'well done' would have been nice at the end!And surely they could have reached to a Mars Bar. All in all, poorly organised for such a demanding distance. I will find a different pre-marathon warm up run next year. Date of review: March 7, 2010