In short: Very enjoyable, lovely views, scenery etc, poor pre race organisation. In full: I completely agree with most of the comments - lovely scenery, particularly in the sunshine but only toilets in the clubhouse. I never thought I would pine for portaloos. This was really shambolic and several people missed the start as a result.
I spent ages trying to find out about the route beforehand but as there was no pre race info or website, it was impossible.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed it - it is a lovely, definitely undulating route and I got a massive PB!! Date of review: March 5, 2006
In short: Lovely run let down by poor organisation In full: Beautiful run and a challenging course which I welcomed.
However - toilet facilities were useless. There was a massive bottleneck at the start which meant I walked over the start line. The drinks were really poorly organised - there was a queue at the first one (which was too late anyway). There was no half way marker that I could see. The village around the half way point with a single width road was dangerous - with all the runners, and cars coming both ways - I saw people nearly hit, others being forced up the steep banks of the roads and everyone having their pace interrupted.
The pre-race information was non-existant - no course/route information, no directions (although being fairly local that was not a major problem for me), no information on number of water stations or when they were. Absolutely nothing to help you prepare for the race.
Struck me that it was an event organised by non-runners. Date of review: March 5, 2006
In short: The course deserves a better event In full: This is a tough half - on a par with watford and windsor. The hills in the first half are really hard climbs and after the first 2 miles there don't seem to be many downhill sections until the last gloriously fast mile. The scenery is terrific though, especially in the wonderful sunshine we had this year, and for those who like a tough challenge this is a perfect course.
The only downside is that the civilised start time (11.30) means there are a lot of cars out on the roads and this led to one or two close scrapes with some impatient drivers. Crossing a busy road at one point was especially hairy. Starting 15 minutes after the fun runners is a good idea though - great to catch up with several people in fancy dress after a few miles and wish them good luck.
Have to agree with the other comments about the organisation. Pre-race pack was hopeless, just a number with no race information at all. I know people always complain about the toilet facilities - there are NEVER going to be enough to keep everyone happy - but this time they really were shambolic. Water stations are poorly organised, and the first one is too late in the race. Signposting is excellent but marshalling is no more than adequate.
In sum, great fun while running but obvious limitations when not. Date of review: March 5, 2006
In short: Fantastic weather (apart from the strong wind in places) made this an enjoyable route. First race I have enjoyed in ages. In full: Well organised friendly race. Supporters along the route were a welcome boost too. Only downside was the shortage of toilets, but apart from that, no complaints and will be back next year to try and take another few minutes off my time from this year! Date of review: March 5, 2006
In short: Challenging training run; let down by poor organisation In full: No directions to the start. Long wait for the loos. Clubhouse too small for ~1000 starters in the cold. Lovely route Date of review: March 5, 2006
In short: Larger field caused organisational problems In full: Last year I really enjoyed this race; I think about 400 did the half, it was full without being packed in the clubhouse beforehand, and the toilet queues were bearable.
This year, according to the starter, 1000 started. The clubhouse was packed solid (and with the cold, standing outside wasn't much of an option) and the queues for the toilet ridiculous; in fact they had to open a back door because runners leaving for the start couldn't get through the main doors because of the toilet queues. I think if this race is to go on with such numbers, thought must be given how better to accomodate them all before the race, especially with the cold weather to be expected at this time of year.
The only other comment I have about the race is that I can't remember less enthusiasm from the marshals anywhere; I think one of them muttered well done as I staggered past, but all the others stood there stone-faced and mute. This may seem a small point, but it really makes a difference when you have the sort of enthusiastic, cheerful and encouraging banter that you get at, say, the Watford Half every year.
Other than that, a good tough test with some very nice scenery, although I swear those hills get bigger each year... Date of review: March 5, 2006