In short: Excellent organisation, very good route (although dull in a few places) In full: My first marathon after many years and I was please with the level of organisation, very good route (although I hate loops and there were dull bits), water statiosn were well planned, marshalls were excellent and plenty of them, good support from locals and especially the Fetch table. Well done! Date of review: October 19, 2009
In short: Well run and great support from masses of the Abingdon locals In full: A perfect event for the autumn season with a course that combines both picture postcard villages scenes with country tracks through woodland. Date of review: October 19, 2009
In short: Brilliant race- and 21 min off my pb and joined the sub 4 club!! In full: Fantastic race and well organised. Loved starting/ending in the stadium. Just like the Olympics! Traffic well controlled and good crowd support! Recommend to anyone. Date of review: October 19, 2009
In short: A very welcoming and friendly “small town” event on a flat and fast course. In full: I had been looking forward to this marathon ever since I put in my application back in the Spring. The entry list was closed in May, over four months before the actual race, so it is obviously an extremely popular event. On Sunday, it became quite clear why this is the case.
After a very early start from Bristol (with the ice warning light coming on a couple of times on the A34!), I arrived at Abingdon College at 7.00am and parked the car. There was a ten minute walk to the sports centre in Tilsley Park, which was a nice loosener after the journey, but I wondered whether I would have done better in one of the residential side roads opposite the Park in order to reduce the walk back to the car at the end. (In fact, it wasn’t a problem, because the return walk was on the route of the final mile of the run and so it gave a good opportunity to cheer on the runners who were coming up towards the finish.)
The location and organisation for the start was excellent – refreshment stands were setting up, there were the usual sports centre vending machines, plenty of space to stay warm in the cold air and an opportunity to study the course map. The course consisted of a five mile outward run, two nine-mile loops and three miles back to base. It was very flat indeed. There must have been one or two gentle inclines in there somewhere, but I must say that I didn’t notice them. So much so, that when the route went through a pedestrian underpass in the town centre with about two miles to go, the ramp back to the surface (which must have involved an ascent of all of five metres) came as a real surprise.
The scenery was very mixed – dull suburbs and commercial estates mixed with farmland, bits of old railway line, some pretty parts of the town centre and glimpses of the Thames. Overall, lots of variety to hold the interest.
Race organisation was really good. Plenty of drinks stations (including a Lucozade stop on each lap of the loop section), cheerful dispensing teams and even a bonus sponge station. The marshals were fabulous. On open roads, they needed to be decisive and certain about their instructions and directions and they did this superbly. There was no room for doubt about car movements at any junction or road crossing and so you could run on with confidence. Thanks, guys and girls, for a job professionally done!
I ran 20 miles according to plan and it all drifted away a bit in the last six, with the legs feeling very heavy and the PB slipping inexorably out of reach. There was a smattering of support in the last couple of miles, but the killer was what felt like an interminable fenced run around the grounds of Tilsley Park. It was probably only 400 yards, but it felt like one of those nightmares where you aren’t going anywhere – I could see one of the floodlights in the stadium, but it never seemed to get any closer as the route wound round bushes and shrubs!!
The stadium start and finish was a great feature. The commentators were slightly quieter than they might have been, particularly at the finish. The finishing funnel was well planned – medal, goody bag, drink and T-shirt. Top marks for the nice shiny medal and also for a good technical T-shirt. Excellent hot showers and changing facilities too.
All in all, a great day out. Thanks to all those involved in organising it and long may it continue to feature in the calendar. Note to self: get entry in early again next year!
In short: A great race, exceptional organisation, great course, great start/finish location. The weather was great and the post race facilities were good. A real treat of a race. Date of review: October 19, 2009
In short: All been said below. A great race. In full: Pretty much everything you'd want in a marathon. A big shout in particular to the marshalls who were excellent at some quite tricky crossings and the enthusiastic supporters who traversed the course to give warm and vocal support. Super! Date of review: October 19, 2009