In short: Really enjoy this one In full: 2014 was my third outing on this course. I didn't get a PB but still ran my best half time in nearly 3 years on the flat / hilly course in lovely conditions. Well supported and organised, friendly atmosphere. I saw the queues for the baggage and I am sure lessons will be learned for the future, but it's sad that some have allowed this to overshadow their overall experience. I hope those awaiting their bags took advantage of the free hot drinks and biscuits put on. This is a mass participation event put on by volunteers at a relatively low cost. Thank you Helsby and friends, I'll be back! Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: Good but tough race . In full: I have done this race many times and always find it to be one of the toughest half marathons around . How people can describe it as flat is beyond me . Saying that it is a really good race and normally we'll organised . The start has been moved several times over the years but this years starting area was a bit of a shambles , and the finish area was organised chaos . I parked at the club , so baggage was not a problem for me , but did see the long queues . Getting out of the car park did look chaotic early on , but had cleared after a " pint " in the clubhouse . Overall a good day out . Thanks Helsby running club , sorry if I sound a bit critical . Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: Baggage disaster In full: Having done this event a good few years ago and with it being cancelled last year because of snow, thought I would give it a go this year, everything was OK and as the organises had requested I made use of the park and ride, this was my first mistake, arrived nice and early and got from the car park to the race start with 90minutes before the start, I was amazed at how many people had ignored the race organises and just turned up and parked at the start. Race run and all OK but when it came time to collect the bags from the baggage area, there was over 1 hour wait with the queue stretching all the way back to the road, just what you want when you have run a half marathon, the organises seemed not to care and did nothing to help because they had the awards for first place to give out, no explanation was given as to why it was so bad and when you finally did get to the front of the queue you had to describe your bag so they could try and find it Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: Great course in scenic undulating countryside In full: First time at 4 Villages and will certainly come back again. It is a shame that the baggage drop was so poorly organised and unfair that very young, inexperienced volunteers had to deal with the mess. Other than that, the organisation was pretty good - for example, the park and ride was like clockwork. I did ignore the marshal (sorry) who tried to stop us from warming up on the road when the 'track' he directed us to use was a wet, grass perimeter around a sports field. By contrast, there was a safe pavement heading towards and over the motorway that few runners were using. This particular policy should be reviewed. The route was both interesting and challenging, well sign-posted and marshaled. Thanks Helsby RC for a good day out. Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: A fabulous race In full: This is one of my favourite races; it is local to me, I run for the club and I know the graft which my fellow friends and club runners, put on, for free, to get this off the ground. It has a lovely atmosphere, great course, it brings in top athletes as well as the lovely fun runners. Course is perfect, has a mix of flat, hills and then a fast finish. Yes, we had a few issues with baggage but apologies were given out but I was on the receiving end, whilst trying to help with a huge smile on my face, of some extreme rudeness. We are only human, so was sad to find fellow runners, being rude to myself and fellow club runners. Shame for us, who gave our time for free but we all understood that people were queueing and we did our utmost to sort the problem out. Lessons learned. Won't happen again! This race has been going for 32 years and the people who do respect the work involved, will be back. Those who don't, well, there are other races. Thanks to everyone who was kind and gracious yesterday, made a huge difference. Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: Excellent post Christmas half In full: A great race to do at the start of the year. Challenging in parts, but a fabulous dowhill to finish. Loads of marshals and lots of support out on the course. A goody bag, medal and then free tea and biscuits.£18 for club runners . A couple of areas for improvement, namely the finish area and baggage, but all in all an excellent race. Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: Nice route and weather. Terrible organisation (and a disappointing "medal") In full: I wanted to do this race because I'd heard it was a friendly well-organised race, plus I was intrigued by the boxed commemorative medal.
Well. At the start, long toilet queues (why never any urinals!) and a dodgy bag-drop (even I could tell that label was never going to stick) and a disorganised start funnel.
Then a nice race in the sunshine on quiet lanes, with some support (although not that busy or friendly - no high-fiving kids, pubs with beer stations, etc).
But the end was where it really fell apart. The layout meant it was tricky to get around from watching friends finish, past the congested finish, across a muddy field and a busy road to the hellish bag-drop queue. The bag-drop itself was a disorganised nightmare. Not only had the label come off my bag, but after I described it everyone looking ignored my bag because someone else's label (and race number) had stuck to it! Eventually I had to come around the desk and find it myself. Real p-up-in-a-brewery-stuff. The organisers were VERY lucky the weather was mild and sunny, or a queue of that length could have been a real disaster.
Oh, and the "medal"? Well in my book, a medal has a ribbon, or at least a hole for a ribbon. This was an (undated) coin in a cheap plastic holder.
Definitely does not justify the sell-out reputation. I won't be doing this race again. Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: does what it says on the tin In full: knowing the car park isn't the biggest I set off in plenty of time and so got in with no problems. race start was fine to in my opinion because I had used my noggin and decided to start in the appropriate place so wasn't hindered or hindering any other runners progress. bagged another London qualifying time :-) of 1:14:39 and race went smoothly for me. finish area was fine to because fastest runners seemed to clear out of finish area swiftish. FREE tea an biscuits in club house. then drove home. Happy days. good local race I think :-) HELSBY WELL DONE. Date of review: January 20, 2014