In short: Outstanding organisation In full: May I first say a huge thanks to our pacer, Trinity, for keeping us regular for the 3.45 finish; and to Tim who I didn't finish with, but hope you're not disappointed - you did really well and should be proud to run all the way :-) The race was fabulous, after last years teething problems - baggage especially was immaculate. The water stations were more than adequate for me, and whilst some of the public strayed I don't think its part of the marathon remit to order kids and bikes off the route - be serious! The stadium was uplifting, and "yes" the weather made this memorable, hats off to the organisers for making the changes to put this race on the map! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Who needs London! In full: What I like about this event is that the organisers have the right attitude. They clearly have listened to the criticisms raised after the inaugural event last year and have acted on them. In this case the bag drop ran like clockwork, there were plenty of available loos and the whole thing had a very professional feel to it.
This year posed a whole new set of problems with blazing sunshine replacing wind and rain. Thankfully there were plenty of water and sports drinks being distributed on route. I liked the water bottles, a practical size and easy to drink from. The Mars bar and banana in the goody bag at the end was also very welcome!
The course is a real mixture. The first third was on closed roads and reasonably flat before heading onto paths around woodlands, lakes and residential areas. As others have pointed out it did become quite undulating towards the end with seemingly endless bridges and underpasses. They are the kind of hills that you would barely notice if you were running 5k but after 20 miles it was hard work.
One thing that was a really nice surprise was the number of people out cheering on the runners. It does make a difference, especially when you are struggling. The marshals too were always cheerful and helpful.
Overall I think this is a great race. For anyone who didn't get into London but who wants the experience of running in a well organised, friendly event I would definitely consider this a worthy alternative.
In short: TREMENDOUSLY WELL ORGANISED EVENT - PARTICULARLY THE USE OF THE STADIUM AT THE START AND TO FINISH IN!! In full: Really nice event and a credit to the organisers. The level of support was first class and we were all very lucky to have the base at MK Dons stadium.
The volunteers were superb and the drinks stations were adequate with sports drinks and gels too. Given the 'heatwave' an additional few stations in between would have been advisable.
The support in the stadium and particularly at 16 miles near the lake rivalled anything a tired runner could ask for.
As somebody who likes T-Shirts, I would sooner have paid a little more and received the 'good quality' shirt that was available to purchase. The fact that I couldn't find where to buy on the day - meant I went without.
Only negative for me was tha car parking. Tried to buy the VIP parking but it was sold out and the marshals had no idea were to send me and many other runners.
Asda were 'manning' their car park and enforcing a 2 hour limit and many runners like me ended up in the Ikea Car Park and hoping for the best. Thank you Ikea for being sensible and not issuing tickets!
In short: Brutal weather but a very well organised marathon In full: Ignoring my own horrendous run, which I'm going to lay at the door of the weather after training in sub freezing temperatures I thought this (a few minor squabbles aside) was a superbly well organised event.
Start was a little bit too narrow and there were a couple of occasions when it was a bit too easy for people to get onto the course - and the mindset of people is sometimes oblivious to a marathon runner trying to get by them - but the stadium organisation was amongst the best I've ever come across.
Support was great, the weather no doubt helped but it was vastly superior to any race of a similar size I've done before. Marshals and water stops too. Free t-shirt not so, one-size only Large and heavy cotton but the medal is the same no matter what time you do and at least there was water and a Mars bar too!
I blew up at about 10 miles, meaning I had over two hours of torture on the day but I remember thinking at about mile 18 that it was quite a quick course but then at miles 22/23 there were a couple of nasty little inclines which might have hurt if I were actually running by then.
They've been unfortunate with the weather, monsoon last year, heat-wave this but I'd recommend MK Marathon I think, although not sure I'll return due to the danger of another heat-wave, early spring for me next time! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: A Definite Improvement On Last Year In full: This year's race was largely excellent and well organised - a definite improvement on last year. Particular highlights were the stadium finish, superb medal and on-course support. It's also worth mentioning the goody bag because it realy was a cut above what you get at most events, containing: a bottle of water, banana, Mars Bar and distinctive, high quality commorative t-shirt.
On the downside: more frequent water stations were required, particularly in the prevailing hot conditions (the bottles had run out by the time I reached one station, although they did have little cups of water).
I also felt that in (a very few places) better provison should have been made to separate runners from the public (I had to dodge little kids on bikes while running through a park).
So far the organisers have not had an easy ride with this event: monsoon coditions last year and a heatwave this year. They have however learned a lot of lessons and I am convinced that with a couple more minor tweaks the MK Marathon could be truly superb. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Conditions were tough but the support on the course was awesome! In full: I wanted to run another marathon after London, and this ticked all my boxes! Nice course, although challenging in places. Hot summers day didn't really help and I did personally struggle with only having water every 3 miles - I guess I was used to every mile at London. The locals impressed me with their support and the amount of people shouting my name kept me going, as did the lady at around 19 miles who gave me her water. She even found me afterwards to check I made it bless her. She was a life saver! This is definitely one I would recommend. Lovely finish in the stadium which was very uplifting after a 26 mile slog. I didn't quite get the time I was after, but got a great medal and sense of satisfaction. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Unacceptable to run out of water bottles! In full: Now I can safely say I had undertrained but nothing could have prepared for the mini heatwave. The race was ok in itself but a few things that really let it down:
At the start of the race found it hard to hear anything, some speakers further back are required.
It is unacceptable on such a hot day and with the knowledge of it to run out of bottled water at not 1 but 2 consecutive water stations. This really made it not pleasant & dangerous for runners who found themselves dehydrated. This needs to be looked into.
Finally obviously the support en route is great but having women with pushchairs blocking the route or children walking across your path should have been dealt with better. Had one child kick a football at my feet then attempt to tackle it off me as if i wanted an improptu kick about.
Would do another marathon, just not this one sadly! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Like wine it just gets better and better In full: My home town Marathon, did it last year in the wet and the support was fantastic then, but this year all I can say is wow, all the little things that needed changing from the year before, thought about and ironed out, and the support on course and from other runners was amazing. Very proud of our Marathon and a massive thank you to the organisers. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: One of the best organised events I've been to and out of the 5 marathons I've done (including London and Edinburgh), the best so far! Hopefully this event will take off in the coming years as the organisers gear everything to the runner. In full: This was a memorable event and perfect for all types of runner, including those running their first marathon. The level of support was first class, so lucky to have the base at MK Dons stadium. The volunteers were superb and the drinks stations were many with sports drinks and gels too. The support in the stadium and particularly at 16 miles near the lake rivalled anything a tired runner could ask for. The city is surprisingly green and so the scenery was mostly pleasant. Although the course was largely flat there were a lot of small undulations over bridges and through underpasses. Overall, I'd definitely run it again! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Loved the stadium finish In full: My 2nd marathon ever and I loved this race - excellent organisation from start to finish, great crowds (am sure the glorious sunshine encouraged many out to cheer us on), and a decent route (not the most scenic but some lovely parts). Ample drinks stations and I loved the stadium finish. Hope to be there next year. Date of review: May 7, 2013