In full: Only managed 400m or so before i was tripped up! Ended up in mk hospital with a dislocated shoulder and displaced fracture of my humerus. Marshal and St John's ambulance guys were a credit.
The start however was chaos. Terrible idea to start the 10km so soon before the half marathon, lead to panic and lots of weaving in and out of runners. I have entered many events of this distance and not encountered a start like this before. Any event of this size should really have a method of segregating the start into runners of equal speed. Hopefully lessons from this year will be learned so that accidents like this can't happen. Date of review: March 8, 2010
In short: They could learn from organisers of the July NSPCC MK Half In full: Pros: Don't get a much flatter course than Milton Keynes so good PB potential. Nice, quality t-shirt if you wanted to pay Â£16 for it - same as you'd pay in a Nike store but good and personal to the race. Medal was nice too.
Cons: Chaos at the start (better signage and announcements that people can hear please), don't hide the course route within the website so supporters can't print it off and better marshaling needed! Poor value for money considering no goody bag and we only got water around the course (four stations of it - what, no energy drink? Not even at the end?!)
The organisers of the NSPCC half marathon in July have been getting it right for years. Would it hurt Nike's pride too much to take a leaf out of their book with regards to the course and organisation? Date of review: March 7, 2010
In short: A Race With Great Potential But Needs to Get the Basics Right In full: Xscape is fundamentally a good place to host the race - plenty of parking and easy access.The baggage drop looked awful. Portaloos were great but had to hunt to find them as nothing was signposted. Tannoy information was inaudible until you were pretty much at the start line.
To the race itself. Very curious decision to start the 10k just ahead of the main half marathon race. As one of the front runners it was somewhat difficult to make my way through the 10k field - kudos though to the marshal at the roundabout imploring the 10k runners to keep to the left to allow us through - a pity though there were some IPlodders meandering across from one side of the road to the other in blissful ignorance....
The first three miles of the course are a big improvement on last year's course. The course as a whole is enjoyable - although near the front, the use of footpaths means it does feel a bit like a training run for the most part, with little in the way of crowd support except for a few pockets.
My biggest problem with race is, like last year, marshalling and signposting of directions. Majority of marshals were great, some though were simply standing at 'junctions' where I literally had to shout at them to ask which way I was meant to go.
Worse still is that there were several points on the course where footpaths forked off in different directions and there was nothing but a little arrow on the ground indicating which way to go. On one corner there were arrows on signposts (From a different event, perhaps) which pointed in a different direction. The worst though was at just before 10 miles (?) when on the ground was a left arrow, then a right arrow, then a left arrow, then a cross. The winning lady went the wrong way here briefly. I know she did because she was limpet stuck to me and followed me in the wrong direction before thankfully some sixth sense directed me the right way. Basically the race needs more marshals and definitely at least one at every single turn where there is a possibility where you can go the wrong way (There was another at 12 miles when a team mate went straight on briefly instead of sharp right (There was at least 3 paths you could take).
No goodie bag is a bit rubbish too. As was the hilly final mile, which made the PB 30 seconds worse than it could have been (But I won't hold the organisers responsible for this!)
This has the ingredients to be a cracking special race. As it is it falls distinctly in the 'average, could do better' category. Which is a shame, frankly. Date of review: March 7, 2010
In short: Great for PBs, shoddy organisation In full: Our club achieved some fantastic PBs, so definitely great for PBs. Course was fairly flat bar the bridge incline near the end, but I wont grumble about that. What I will grumble about is:
1) Baggage - some people were waiting over an hour for their baggae, what a fiasco. 2) Marshalling was poor a few time I had to ask which wasy to go because marshllers were incompetently standing still being unsupportive and not very helpful. 3) The 10k start - I felt for the slower 10k people who go hounded down by us half marathon runners. 4) Lack of a goodie bag - some food would not have gone a miss.
I achieved a PB which is what I wanted from the race, so that's he main thing, but I think the organisers have a lot to learn. Date of review: March 7, 2010
In short: Could be improved In full: I preferred the new start and finish location and so did the supporters who came with us.
I liked the idea of the running fesitval and I opted for the 10k and my partner the 1/2.
It seemed crazy for me to start only a few minutes ahead. There wasn't much room and I'd agree with the comment from another reviewer that it the organisation for starting times did not suit the 10k runners or the 1/2 marathoners. I faced a similar problem when I encountered 5k participants near a hill up to the finish. But on the positive side I ran with my other half as he over took me for about 50m, and we both got pbs.
Liked: Getting a pb, parking was easy and start location had places to eat and drink for supporters. Plenty of toilets at start.
Disliked: Organisation of the starts and locations of different races, the course didn't really inspire me, I didn't think it was particularly 'flat and fast'. My partner who did the half marathon said that the signs on the course were not always clear although I didn't have any problems.
In short: Potential to be great, but needs more work. In full: I'm not sure who actually organises this, I suspect its the company you sent your entry to. I think this corporate approach has been to maximise profits rather than have a great race.
Good: Water Bottles Chip Timing Location for start
Bad: Too many tight corners. Hard to have a finish line sprint because of the final zig zag 100m before the end. Lack of food at finish. Labelling it as flat and fast. Marshalls did not generally wear anything to identify themselves.
Whoever decided to set the 10k off 2 mins before the half marathon is nuts. The 10k runners couldn't focus on their race and the half marathon runners had to weave in and out. I saw someone take a tumble and its purely down to the organisers incompetence.
There wasn't much of a countdown to the 10k / half marathon split. I saw a runner who missed the split and carried on for another mile or so on the half marathon course. In the heat of a run you don't always see the signs.
Would recommend it becomes less corporate and more enthusiastic and organised by club.
In short: Nice race. Organisational shortcomings. In full: I did this race last year at the Open University and really enjoyed it. Admittedly that was only my second HM and I've got a bit more serious in the last 12 months. That said, an hour waiting to pick up my bag made me seriously think about not coming back next year. I'm sure plenty of others will detail the problems better than I (especially as I was near the front of the queue), but I recommend the organisers talk to the Bedford Harriers about how they organise baggage. I hope the well-meaning volunteers didn't get too much flak from those to the back of the queue. If I come back next year, there is no way that I will be leaving my bag.
My only other gripe was at the start. Any chance we could have pace groupings? The first two or three miles were far too congested. I'm not too sure about the wisdom of starting the 10K just in front of the HM either.
Marshalling was great. Course reasonably quick 5s slower than my PB (doh!) - the footbridge at the end was a bit of a shock though. Date of review: March 7, 2010
In short: Liked the amended course but needs some organisational tweaks In full: As many others have noted already, there was lots to like (good car parking, easy to get to and away from, fast, flat (aside from the last mile but we were warned) PB potential course, great marshalls) but some niggles that if resolved would really bring this race into the 'must do' category.
Chief amongst these is starting the 10K race ahead of the half-marathon. Fine to do so, but give them a bigger head start (10 minutes or so). The back markers in that race were being over whelmed inside of 0.5 miles, as the downhill profile of the first few miles lead to a fast start, and the course was just too narrow to be able to cope with the volume of people.
Also, it was slightly disappointing at the end of the race to only get a medal and the requisite entry forms for future races. For the money I think a goody bag of some description could have been provided, particularly given the aspirations of being a big city running festival.
However, this race now has an improved course so if these peripheral issues are taken note of and addressed this should become a 'must do' race (it isn't that far away), whether you are looking towards the VLM or someone entering your first race. Date of review: March 7, 2010
In short: Good course but some parts of the organisation were not good at all In full: The course itself was fine except the couple of hills that reared their ugly heads towards the end. Mile markers need to be clear, definately could not see one of them. Majority of marshals warned runners of posts. Distances between water stations was good. Glad to have bottles and not cups and fortunately there were plenty of them. Was slow enough at the back! Before the race a few runners asked me if where I was standing was for the Half or 10K, I didn't really know as I just 'followed the crowd'. Therefore signage could have been better. The enquiry area could have been more defined as to 'entries on the day', 'collection / purchase of t-shirts' etc. I queued for a while only to find out, it was in fact the wrong queue. Signs to baggage area from outside Xcape could have been clearer. I had to ask several marshals. A couple didn't know and the other directed me to the start line. The queues for the baggage area and toilets (upstairs) were not clearly defined. A marshal could have been up there to guide. Spent a short time queuing to drop off the bag (please can runners put their numbers on the labels before getting to the front of the queue!) Spent about an hour queuing to pick bag up as there was only one door (which kept on closing) and a handful of people giving out the bags and despite giving our numbers we were still being asked to describe the colour, size and / or shape of it (may be a good idea to 'order' the bags into numerical order next time). Same medal for all runners except for the ribbon. No goody bag which was a shame. Results produced on the website are missing a lot of club runners club names and I definately know that quite a number added their club name when they signed up for the event. Xscape would have been the ideal venue to start the race. Having a large marquee outside in the parking area (near to the portaloos), council permits allowing, would have been a much better place for storing the baggage. Happy that the weather was good for the event.