In short: One of the best In full: I've long admired the organisation of the Reading Half Marathon, but this is equal to it on a much smaller scale. Everything like clockwork, great spirit, great volunteers. The course is mildly undulating but without any sharp hills. The last three miles are NOT all downhill, so save a bit for some slight climbs that are pretty painful at the end. Then in the last mile you can let yourself go. Terrific. Date of review: September 13, 2009
In short: Fantastic! In full: A fantastic event. Thanks to the organisers, sponsors, volunteers, supporters, the local residents and runners for an enjoyable morning. Date of review: September 13, 2009
In short: Well organised, great marshals & support along route In full: Thanks to all water station crews, those giving out jelly babies and the family with the hose pipe around 12.5 miles - so refreshing ! Well organised, good communication a big event feel without all the hassels of tens of thousand runners. Feel great now home, had food and a bath and in PJ's. Date of review: September 13, 2009
In short: An event designed by runners for runners. Nice one, Chippers! In full: Having run the Bristol Half last weekend, and not quite being fully recovered, I knew that any failings in the organisation of the Chippenham Half would most likely make me wish I had not turned up. Everything would have to go really well for me to take away a positive experience from the day. So, how did it turn out?
Pre-race organisation was very good indeed. The website was very professionally maintained, with regularly updated lists of entrants, fresh announcements as relevant and even a countdown timer to the start of the race a la London Marathon. The race pack came in good time (local industrial action by the Post Office caused problems for some runners, but the organisers devised a sensible contingency plan for this). The A4 information sheet seemed to have everything one could possibly need, from directions to Chippenham right down to a map of the course. Everything looked promising ahead of the event itself …
And so to the day itself. Signage from the edge of Chippenham was excellent and marshals were present in abundance from the car park entrance onwards. This event benefits from an excellent location, with acres of car parking close to the race HQ and start/finish. It was a nice early Autumn morning – some sunshine, enough cloud to prevent it from being too hot, and a cool light breeze – and there was a great atmosphere at the Sports Club ground where the run would start and finish. Good race “village” complete with sports shop, refreshments, baggage drop, changing area and plenty of portaloos. (In fact there were more portaloos here than there had been at College Green the previous week – perhaps Chippenham got their booking in first!)
And so to the start. This included the *best* pen divisions I have ever seen, with estimated finish times *and* minutes per mile figures posted. What a good idea! And it worked, because I found that I pretty much held my position throughout the race. Kudos to the organisers for getting the town council (?) on side and closing the roads, because the first couple of miles through the centre of Chippenham were very enjoyable. Then out onto country roads for most of the run. As the course unrolled, it was pretty level, with a few gentle undulations up to about mile 3, then level roads all the way through to the end of mile 10. It was looking like a PB day.
On course, there were thousands and thousands of marshals, universally cheerful and friendly. Nice job, guys and girls!! Water stops were well spaced. My one serious recommendation for improvement would be a move away from open beakers to “sports” bottles – it is almost impossible to take on enough water from beakers while on the run.
Somewhere after mile 10, we crossed a river bridge and turned right. Er, a river bridge? We’re going to be climbing out of a valley, then? Miles 11 and 12 were tough, with a gentle but persistent uphill gradient which blew away my PB aspirations and just slowed me by about 30 seconds per mile. Nothing steep or particularly vicious, just enough to be challenging. Mile 13, by contrast, was a long downhill coast into town and to the finish. Excellent finishing area, with the route designed for maximum crowd visibility, and the supporters were, as they had been throughout the morning, noisy and encouraging.
The finishing area was fine – water, bananas and a goody bag. And by the time I got to the Sports Club, all of 50 yards away, my result was up on the notice board. Wow!
In conclusion, a really nice event. Massive congratulations and thanks to Chippenham Harriers for a job well done! Even though I missed out on the PB, I was very pleased to have taken part in this one.
In full: Very well organised, excellent goody bag (especially the T-shirt), and a fantastic crowd along many parts of the route. But I wouldn't call this flat. Okay, so there are no real hills and neither is it exactly undulating all the way, but I found it a long hard slog from the 10 mile marker to just beyond the 12th. (And I do usually train on hills, do trail runs etc. so it's not just a case of not being used to hills. Or that I'm bitter on missing out on a PB!) But really enjoyable. Well done, Chippenham. Date of review: September 13, 2009
In short: Fast, flat course. Great 'goody bag' at the finnish. Lots of helpful marshalls. In full: Weather was almost perfect: 14C no wind. Sun made you sweat a bit in places!
Flat along rural roads and part of Chippenham town. Nice that they closed the first 2.5 Miles from Traffic. the rest of the course is quiet roads that doesn't need closures!
Lots of helpful marshalls - thanks to all of them!
Good start although the air horn didn't work to begin with! Sligh delay to start as no all runners there. Their fault, not the race organisers.
Number arrived with plenty of time in the post.
Excellent value: Chip timing and got a bag and wicking T-shirt (not just a cheap cotton on!), big race atmosphere and all for £17. Would definitely do again and at that price instead of other big HMs around like Bristol the week before.
One thing I would say is as its a 'bigger' even people certainly won't mind paying an extra quid for water bottles instead of cups as you just can't drink from them unless you slow right down!
Well done Chippenham Harriers: An excellent race! Date of review: September 13, 2009
In short: Fabulous marshalling, a well organised race. I hope that it is back again next year! In full: Easily my favourite half. There were loads of marshall on the course, all doing an excellent job. Thanks too for all the locals who came out to support & put up with road closures/waited even though the roads weren't closed. My first race with a Hogweed Trotters t-shirt on & being offered encouragement as a 'Hoggy' was great. Thanks to everyone who gave up their Sunday to help. Date of review: September 13, 2009