In short: Baggage a big prob but lets not let it spoil a great race In full: Let's deal with obvious first. Baggage was a massive cock up, but they have acknowledged it, apologised and promised it'll be sorted for next year. Yes, it could have rained, yes it could have been freezing and we could have had a Manc Mara on our hands. But it didn't and we didn't. This is the third time I've run this course and this has never happened before. Let's see what happens next year.
Park and ride is back after a couple of years off, which was excellent. The support along the course was great and the water stations very well managed. Its a beautiful run, much prefer it to Wilmslow and a definite PB due to the massive downhill towards the end.
In short: PB potential half marathon but organisation let it down! In full: Fast half marathon, would be good for beginners as is it pretty flat. It was a good idea to park a couple of miles away and get the free shuttle bus in (which was 2 miles away, ish) in an attempt to ease congestion at the event. Was relatively easy to get out of the grounds as a friend had parked at the event and gave me a lift to the car. The massive downside was the bag storage, absolutely hopeless. A bunch of kids trying to organise giving everyone their bags back, we queued for around 45 minutes and that was only in a relatively manageable queue, god knows how long it took the people at the back to get their bags, must have been an hour and some. And because nothing particular stood out for me at the race, for example, it wasn't any better than the Congleton or Wilmslow half marathons I would be very hesitant to do it again, I finished the race at 12.20 and we didn't get in our car and start driving home until 2... medal is different though in a plastic casing...but when i got it at the finish it was already scratched quite a lot...oh well... Date of review: January 19, 2014
In short: Baggage issues spoilt an otherwise good day In full: Day started off well. The park and ride was well signposted and we'll managed. The weather couldn't have been any better. No wind, no rain, sunny and around 5 degrees. The course itself was well marshelled and also had a nice level of local support. The end was a little chaotic, people seemed to end up with all sorts of bags, not sure if the contents were all the same but for those with green carrier bags it was a disappointing haul. No medal (even though the event specified there was) and lots of other people didn't have medals in their bags either. One person seemed to have a medal and said it was someone seperate handing them out but most finishers around me didn't have one. Then after what had been a nice couple of hours in the country turned into a shambles when it was time to collect the bags. All the bags had a sticker on them with your race number, most of them had fallen off which meant you had to describe your bag and they had to try and find it in the piles of bags in the room. 75 minuted to get your bag is not fun. If it had been raining all he'll would have broken loose. Date of review: January 19, 2014
In short: Great for a PB or for newbies In full: This was the first time I've done this event, and it will now be a regular on my race calendar.
Two minor grumbles: firstly the PA system at the start was poor, those towards the back could not hear the countdown to the race. Secondly (and it's probably very picky) but I hate having to take on water at the hydration stations in cups. The only way you can get a good slurp is if you stop, which isn't great if you are after a PB.
Now the good things. Great organisation, great atmosphere, lovely scenic course, and your gun and chip times sent straight to your mobile withing minutes of finishing, nice touch!
The best thing about this race is the course itself. It would be wrong to call it flat, it isn't, but most of the uphill is long and gentle. There is a bit of killer hill around mile 10, but once you are up it, it's all downhill or flat. If you are a beginner then knowing that youve got the worst over just as its getting tough is brilliant. As for those going for a PB, downhill for the last few miles is awesome. I knocked 2 minutes of my previous PB. Love it, love it, love it.
Thanks for a great race. See there next year. Chris Date of review: January 29, 2012
In short: Tough race in tough wind conditions In full: Excellent organisation before the event. Excellent, plentiful toilet provision. This isnt an easy course, its hilly and undulates and the wind this year didnt make it any easier but its a good race to start the year with. However, the organisers really do need to sort out the start, which has been in three different places in the last three years and was chaotic this year to say the least, not helped by too many slower runners starting too near the front Date of review: January 27, 2012
In short: Always well organised and a great race in the windy conditions this year. In full: Always well organised and a great race in the windy conditions this year. The start wasn't bad considering the restrictions they have to deal with.
My only suggestion is to hold the presentations much earlier say 1pm latest. Date of review: January 27, 2012
In short: Excellent as ever. Great start to the year In full: This is the January race to help motivate your training over Xmas. Brilliant course with enough downs to match the ups. Strong wind took a minute off last years time but weather could be a whole lot worse in January! The only suggested improvement is usually concerning the start position. Better than last year, but going back to starting on the road out of the Tesco junction would be my suggestion. Great job Helsby! Date of review: January 26, 2012