In short: Flat, mixed terrain marathon. Nice change from road marathons. In full: There were no signs directing us where at the pyramids the number pick up was and there weren't enough toilets for the amount of entrants. Other than that the course was good and nowhere near as muddy as I feared. Although my shoe did come off in the boggy beach 2 and half miles in, (thank you to the bloke that stopped me from stacking it there). A few bottle necks, but if anyone had watched the route videos on the site beforehand, they should of expected it. Although I managed a PB, I wouldn't say it was a PB course. The headwind in the last 2 miles was brutal. Loved the shin deep paddle before the home straight. No other marathon you can say you have had a dip in the English channel whilst running it. Date of review: December 23, 2013
In short: Could be challenging but thoroughly enyoyable In full: The rain at the beginning of the race was horrific but didn't dampen anyone's spirits once we got going. The drums at the start line got the heart pumping as the rain fell.
I really enjoyed the multi-terrain, it definately added to the experience. The water stations were well stocked of water, juice, mulled wine and brandy, gels, mince pies, sweets, jaffa cakes and bananas.
A friend of mine who raced in front of me mentioned he ran the shingle on the return and it was almost knee deep.
When i came to this section, a diversion had been put in place. This was my only gripe for the race and in my opinion, should be looked at for the future. I can only assume i was first on the diversion and i was told to follow the yellow triangles. They were spaced too far from each other, and i can only assume the turning point was marked well enough. Me and few runners had to find our own way back to the promenade and rejoin the race. There weren't any marshals on this part of the course and i think it could have been organised better. This resulted in covering an additional third of a mile. Not a huge amount but a few minutes worth at least.
I did however, really enjoy this race and did score a marathon PB. I'll definitely be booking a place next year Date of review: December 23, 2013
In short: Muddy, challenging, scenic and.. enjoyable!! In full: This is a great event raising funds for the RNLI. The route is great, a good mix of trails, single path tracks, muddy foreshore and some tarmac paths. Overall it's a tough one - don't expect a PB; I ran about 30 mins slower than my Autumn city marathon and found it harder to maintain a fast pace. That said, the field for this race is overall fairly fast. Organisation was OK, I read the advice from Rob and picked up my number on Saturday, used the *free* parking, and enjoyed a friendly festive event. Date of review: December 23, 2013
In short: Please more loos!! In full: Great race, really enjoyed the mud and the wind and rain - loved the blue sky when it arrived! The Marshall's we're encouraging at the feed stations and the course had plenty of hippo bags for rubbish. I didn't use the bag drop off so I can't comment on that, the start was efficient, poss 1 minute early but I wasn't complaining as it was hammering down with rain!! I would pay more to see extra loos at the feed stops, had to wait 10 minutes at 13 miles(turn point) to find a full to the brim porta loo (really really disgusting). Overall it was good fun - challenging due to weather and mud but that was the fun part! Date of review: December 23, 2013
In short: Brilliantly organised race which can withstand all weathers In full: The organisation and friendliness of this race are absolutely first-rate. It's always a pleasure to take part in any of the organiser's races - the Santa Run, 10k, 8 miler, Half-Marathon and this Marathon.
The course is advertised as "very multi-terrain" and it's held at the end of December along a coast.
Given that it's usually cold, wet and windy in December then that's what you can reasonably expect here. I can't believe anybody is surprised to find such conditions at a "very multi-terrain" course in December! It is the luck of the drawer with weather as the course was bone-dry and zero wind in 2010 and 2011, but has been wet now for two years.
The Race HQ was too busy, but this was exacerbated by so many runners wishing to shelter from the weather inside the building, which then inhibited access to the bag drop and number collection. Maybe a marquee for runners to shelter in next year?
The accusations of the unexpectedly early race start seem to have gotten a bit out of hand. I was ready on the start line with 10 minutes to go, and we got the gun at 08:58:06. Admittedly early, but I would have thought most people would be lined up with less than two minutes to spare?
There are long sections of smooth tarmac, sections of slightly less smooth tarmac, the old Hayling railway line which is high quality trail. The sections of mud were limited to less than a mile in each direction. For sure there were slippy, but I just slowed down on them and then made time up on the tarmac parts.
Wonderful bespoke medal, and a nice good bag with a huge box of breakfast cereal, salty snacks, coffee chocolates, free soup and bread, a free race mug, CLIF Bar, drawstring bag. That's a lot of stuff for such a modest entry fee.
Not only do we get all that stuff, but the race also donates to the RNLI too. Pretty generous by the organisers I would say.
If you don't like poor weather then I wouldn't recommend a coastal marathon in England in December. If you're up for a bit of a "you versus the conditions" event then you'll love this.
PS There are thousands of free car park spaces in Southsea, as the race organiser told us many times in advance. Date of review: December 23, 2013
In short: Run it before and would do it again for sea views and Christmas feel In full: Downs: yes I missed start also (I was a wimp sheltering inside expecting an announcement!), and do agree that probably was too many runners now for the start facilities and several narrow points on course.
But outweighed by positives of coastal views at most times, Christmas / fun feel, good marshalling, fair amount of support, well stocked aid stations, nice medal, tasty hot soup and French bread plus mince pie at finish. I'd say that is value for £20 entry, and anything in a goody bag on top is a bonus (and was).
I was around 4 hour mark and was over ankle deep in the sea, but my feet were sodden by then already and I'd be disappointed if they dropped the beach sections - they make it for a largely off road marathon. If you want PBs go for a big city marathon in Spring! Date of review: December 23, 2013
In short: Great way to start the Christmas week In full: My fourth time so perhaps I knew what to expect, picked up my number early and was ready to go 30 minutes before hand so missed all the adventure of the loos and the bag drop. Overall I think this is great race for December in the UK, and when you sign up you know the elements are going to be unpredictable .. which is what makes it special. Personally I think this was really well orgnised. Date of review: December 23, 2013
In short: Didnt love it I'm afraid In full: whilst it was a nice enough race, and the chip timing was a good touch, i found the course uninspiring. too used to offroad running perhaps. not the organisers fault of course, and good use was made of available paths but didnt do a lot for me. number pick up was good, but i didnt hear the start and only realised it had started when i saw everyone running. Aid stations good, marshalls good. probably interesting if you are used to just tarmac running, and probably a bit nicer in better weather. I would encourage people to give it a try, but i for one won't be repeating it. I will stress this is just a personal opinion/choice and nothing against the organisers! Date of review: December 23, 2013
In short: Chaotic in the baggage drop hall In full: I started late for this one as I couldn't drop my bag and pick up my number even turning up 30 minutes before the start. The course was something different which was nice. Mud is fine but did they get the tide times wrong? I was under 4 hours but went though the sea upto my ankles. I was thinking anyone close to the cut off of 6 hours would be swimming. Date of review: December 23, 2013
In short: Feet dry in December? In full: I do wonder sometimes at the expectations that have for these races Parking - the fee is not charged by the organiser, there was free parking (as stated in the race pack) but it was further away. Goody bag, it was a bag it had goodies in it, was there a free pair of trainers or a new running kit - no, but then then race entry didn't cost £200. Getting wet, it's a race in December, in England - guess what it's going to be wet. Getting feet wet in the sea - I'm sure they were wet already, now you have a tail to tell. Toilets, queue, quite possibly, but I did hear people coming back inside saying there wasn't a queue outside. Baggage area, now this was a little strange - I've never seen it done this way before, handing out raffle tickets? So room for improvement there. However, in the organisers defence, there were several announcements well before race start to hand bags in early. No organiser can cope with several 100 runners wanting to hand in their bags at 5 minutes to race start. Good, well stocked aid stations, friendly atmosphere, a little bit difference, sort of a trail/road race. Third year of running this, and the weather always has a big impact, always a good start to the Christmas festivities, means I won't feel guilty about having second helpings of Christmas pudding.