In short: So easy to make right, yet it was all so wrong In full: I'll not repeat ad nauseum the previous reviews: SHOCKING organisation, poor travel (why not lay on shuttle buses?), no adjective for the aftermath. BUT.....truth be told, the runners weren't particularly uplifting (yes we were cold and fed up but come on, camarderie??) and who do the sub 2s think they are for taking all of the water, energy bars and gels. I saw many a peep walking off with boxes. I was a 2hour girl and crawled under a table to find water and couldn't be bothered to argue for anything else. I was 15 minutes from home and we had post run snacks in our bags. Crowds were great considering the cold, wind and rain and the ladies in greenwich park holding out jelly babies was a lovely thought. Enough of the balanced view, since RTTB I've had a real comedown that I've never known. This was my first HM, in my hometown of Greenwich, in an orange tutu for charity and this ought to have been as close to perfect as possible for a virgin HM. I even hit 2 hours which was a goal I didn't think i would achieve due to the injuries I'd had as well as the two epi fits I'd had in the previous 5 days. Yet the problems were so avoidable. There is no excuse for not putting goods in a bag instead of a scram, no excuse for the delayed start, no excuse for hurdling us in like cattle in lamentable conditions and no excuse for the crap communication on the day. Even the ''helpers'' and marshals left so much to be desired. I finished and I felt nothing but flat. No, not post race come down but the simple things that make your day were not there and could and should have been there. NEVER AGAIN. Date of review: October 5, 2010
In short: More like Run to the Bleat In full: Start of the race was delayed by 45 minutes due to Jubilee line suspension. There was a strong wind that made it feel quite cold and there were foil blankets galore on display as people wrapped during the delay. The weather held out well though with just some light drizzle for a few minutes which was actually quite refreshing. This course is undulating and whilst I thought it would ease off after the 7 mile marker, there were still enough gradients to prevent a quicker pace and in the end, despite pacing at 9 minute miles all the way, I just failed to beat the 2 hour mark by a mere 17 seconds! The crowd support was energetic in places, but the big disappointment was the music, which was supposed to be the whole point of the run. It seems the spectators benefitted from the bands and recorded music more than the runners. Not a race I would recommend due to its undulation and the lack of good scenery. Nice medal and a free for all with energy drinks, shower gel and energy bars at the end. Date of review: October 5, 2010
In short: Worst Half Marathon I've ever run! In full: The organisation was terrible. I only made one Gatorade station as they closed the second one down, no sports gels left left for slower runners, after crossing the finish line no goddies left as all been taken, just about managed to get a drink! Very poor value for money, not even a t-shirt! Date of review: October 5, 2010
In short: Worst event I've taken part in In full: The start was terrible, a few hundred runners trying to find the pens as they weren't signposted from anywhere at all except at the pens themselves, pen 2,3,4 and 5 was one pen - sorry organiser ppl but what is the point in having more than 2 pens in that case? Thank you to the lovely Italian guy that directed me in the right direction, and to the 6 other people who asked me if I knew where they were when I had no idea either, I hope you all found them in the end too. The event is advertised with mile markers every mile....There were 3, 4 counting the half way mark, throughout, not helpful during the last 6 miles. Then after all the fun of that, you finish the race andif you ask you are reluctantly handed a bottle of water by some grumpy people, and then you get to be stuck in the gridlock from hell which led to the one and only exit which was blocked by the thousands of runners queueing for the toilets in queues you in no way could get through. Having had to argue my way through some fencing by the only "volunteer/guard/help" (apart from the grumpy waterbearer) I had come across in the entire event, I was finally let out, to then find i had have missed the 2 small timing chip buckets next to the only exit, and therefore had to find a way back into the event. Then got to spend 2 hours trying to get out of Greenwich. Plus the ppl who were supposedly taking photos did't. Not even worth it for the goody bag - There wasn't one.
If you're looking for your first half-marathon, this is not the one, there's no enjoyment or satisfaction here at all. Wish I had read last years reviews before signing up. Date of review: October 4, 2010
In short: Unfulfilled website promises of Live music, shambolic runners area. In full: No one seemed to be in charge, as you arrived it was unclear who to ask for directions. There were insufficient toilts, the queues where 50+ deep. The start was delayed, but of course the roads reopened on schedule, so if you had a late start you would not be able to run the distance, as you were prevented from running even on the pavement. Volunteers helped as much as they could but with very poor direction. Crouds were great, specially the "Just one more mile to go!" lady. As for the "goody bag", the organizers went for "ecological" which meant hoard what you want if there is something left when you get to the help yourself table. A mountain of debris by the time I got there. We paid in advance for the parking as was suggested in the running pack, and on the day it was a free for all. Should I lie about my expected time so I get into a pen that at least has the chance to run the whole 13M? I'd rather avoid events organized by Challenger World. Date of review: October 3, 2010
In short: Over subscribed and very poor management to get to the race In full: This was the first and last time I will be running this race. Hugely oversubscribed meant it took over 40 minutes to get over the start line and the worst organisation to get there in the first place 2 tubes an hour which were horrible over crowded. Good atmosphere for begginers. A vast ammount of money to enter for a poorly organised event. Date of review: October 2, 2010
In short: Nice big mass participation race in London In full: My seventh half this year so used to this distance. Enjoyed it although the tube delays were interesting - I expect half the runners got caught up with the broken trains - -to cap it all there were problems after the race so walked back to Greenwich. I ended up sharing a mini cab with fellow runners from London Bridge. I did get cold as the wind was high and from the north. The O2 venue carpark is a souless place and did lack atmosphre. I put a new runner at ease. When finally got going enjoyed it and was surprised at the number of hills. The barracks were good and of course the last few miles going through the Greenwich Park. Overall enjoyable and the crowds were out - I enjoyed it but have reservations about it. Date of review: October 1, 2010
In short: I love it! In full: I like big running events, especially London ones, and there are not that many so this is a welcome addition to the calendar. The route covers some interesting ground, including Greenwich Park, Royal Artillery Barracks and the Royal Arsenal, and quite a chunk of London is blocked off for most of the day, so the entry fee is good value, especially when even an event doing laps in the local municipal park costs £15 these days. Energy drinks and packs are given out, though as sometimes happens in running events, these ran out so the tail enders got nothing. This has occurred even in IAAF Gold Label events, so is not unusual - I think it may be because some runners take more than one drink or energy pack.
I ran this in 2008 when it was wet and cold and there was hardly any crowd support. It was much better this time. There was decent support for most of the course, and at times it was really uplifting, with crowds screaming and cheering. The end was particularly good - a real wall of noise.
The organisation at the start/finish was much better than in 2008, and it is encouraging that the organisers are making improvements, but could be improved further. Clear and obvious signage to direct people along a single route to the pens, and at the end to the exit, would be really helpful. The idea that tired and confused people wandering aimlessly in a crowd would be able to sort out their own goodie bags was a mistake, and the organisers should take responsibility for assembling the contents themselves, and ensuring that every competitor gets a bag (and only one bag! Some races put a line through your number when you've been given your bag). I think part of the goodie bag problem was that the start was delayed, so some people starting handing out foil blankets and cereal bars at the start in order to keep those waiting warm and happy.
I take part in this because I like big events in big cities, and I like the course (both for the location, and that it goes up and then down - a profile that suits me), so I'm not fussed about the music, but it does seem ironic that an event that is promoted as a music and running event has fewer live bands than at a number of half marathons and marathons I've done.
Overall I really enjoyed this and will be back. And I expect that it will be better organised next year. Yes, it's not perfect, but the majority of running events are not. Date of review: October 1, 2010