In short: How could they get it so wrong? In full: Queuing to get through the first couple of hundred yards is poor. To have to queue to get across the Finishing line is criminal! I ight as well have thrown the timing chip away. Luckily for me, my personal stop watch s reliable and accurate, but there were finishers around me who had no way of knowing their time. There were too many runners for the width of the roads for much of the course. The allocation of starting gates is pretty suspect too. I had given my best time when entering the race, and didn't expect to be in the rearmost gate. I spent most of the race trying to get past slower runners and, worst of all, "fun walkers". Frustrating doesn't really sum it up. The facilities around the course were adequate (water, lucozade, marshalls, toilets, etc) and if you like suburban areas, you'll like this race. Not enough highlights and too many bad points for me. Why was the run-through at the Finish not longer? Handing out those infuriating foil capes slowed everything down and probably caused the log-jam. Why not put everthing like that in the "goody bag" and let the runners run through the Finish to pick up their prize a couple of hundred yards down the road? I'll be somewhere else next year. Bad show, Birmingham!!!! Date of review: October 26, 2010
In short: Eveything about the cramped start and finish has already been said. It's a shame that wouljd couljd be a really good race is blighted by massive squash at the start and finish. Date of review: October 26, 2010
In short: Think we all know where the problems were - shame Birmingham Council don't! In full: I don't need to mention the start as plenty have previously commented on this and can't believe what I've read about the finish for what appears to be a lot of competitors. Why they can't use the entire length of broad st for the start is beyond me, its closed from 5 ways island for traffic so why not start the runners from further back rather than at the start of the bottleneck? This could give more oppurtunity for quicker runners to get away, possibly only use the one side of the road for the starting pens with the other side for access to them & make it that only runners can get into this area. We all love the spectators as they make events so much better but we just need to keep them from the starting pens. Did see a quote from brum council on a local newspaper website claiming the start time was brought forward to 9 from 10 am after feedback from last year! As I recall there were issues getting to the city centre by bus/tram/train as they don't run early enough so where did the council get their info? I'd also like to mention the local village idiot who decided to cross the road near new street station just as the first of 11'000 runners were coming past, i certainly told him what i thought of him & hope others did too. Apart from him the supporters round brum were superb & that takes a lot for me to say coming from the Black Country! Unlikely I'll be back unless the council acknowledges the problems & assure that they are sorted. Date of review: October 26, 2010
In short: Third time NOT lucky! In full: This is the third time I've done this race, and I have to agree with a lot of the criticisms on here.. The irony of a race for climate change being virtually inaccessible by public transport was made even worse than previous years by the ridiculously early start. I only live four miles from the start, but still had a struggle to get there in time-just made it on the first bus! No trains, no shuttle buses, nothing. No idea why they moved the start from the previous years location, people were dangerously crammed in with no signage as to who should be where, or even how to get in! The course was generally fine-yes the hills at mile 10 were hideous but Brum's a hilly city, so they've got to be somewhere.. At least this time there was time to recover for your sprint to the finish.. or maybe not! I was lucky and got over straightaway, but for people to be hanging around for 10 mins losing all chance of a PB is totally unacceptable. This could be such a great event, and the will (and certainly support) is there, but I do think that this year there were just far more runners than the infrastucture could cope with. Let's hope BCC learn their lesson and make this an event for us Brummies to be proud of and not embarassed by! Date of review: October 26, 2010
In short: This could and should be a fantastic race, but a large number of runners requires better planning In full: This is the closest I've got to a home town half-marathon and I would love it to be a regular feature in the racing calendar. Plenty has been said about the negatives but there are also some positives: 1. The supporters were great - lots of enthusiastic people were out despite the early start 2. The entertainment was great - both the organised and ad hoc (eg the garden DJ near mile 10)
Building on the psoitives I would love this race to continue but to do that there do need to be some developments: 1) Immediately after crossing the start line the road narrowed and went around several corners, there was also an awful lot of street furniture, road cones etc. As a result it could only be expected that the race would immediately slow as all these obstacles were negotiated. Ideally the race would start with a long wide section - resolving it could be as simple as starting in the other direction down Broad Street and heading off down Hagley Road? 2) To compound the "obstacle" course at the start the pens were chaotic - for the benefit of doubt I think most runners were trying to get into the right place to start but were unable to due to the general congestion in Broad Street. Introducing a runners only area around the starter pens would also allow for better policing of the pens - not sure where Birmingham would find room for this in the town centre, but if they're going to close off the inner ring road anyway they could start just off Fiveways and head out of town on it. 3) The finish area was located in exactly the same place as last year but had been significantly compressed - last year there seemed to be a much better flow. Surely it wouldn't be difficult to move everything back and have a few marshalls encouraging everyone to move along?
None of the problems are insurmountable, and if they can be solved this will be a great race. Even though I was in the black pen and crossed the line within a minute of the start I found the start worryingly dangerous and if these problems cannot be solved I will not be back. I have done all 3 of these and this seemed to have the most problems.
In short: Birmingham City Council - for crying out loud get some experienced runners to help you organise this race next year In full: What does "Race Against Climate Change" even mean if you can't get a train to the start? I'm afraid it's difficult not to believe that the council simply want to gobble up as much in entry fees as possible without the hassle of planning properly. Organising events of this calibre requires relevant experience. There are numerous running clubs in this region with that experience, but very little evidence that any of them were consulted.
Notwithstanding all of this, I did a PB in what was my 11th half, but I am very disappointed for all those affected by the logjam at the finish. I've never seen the like before.
This is my home race and I desperately want it to become a successful event, but Birmingham needs to think about capping numbers next year so that they can focus on logistics - talk of 20,000 is sheer lunacy based on what I saw on Sunday. Date of review: October 26, 2010
In short: Very poor organisation, dismal start and finish. In full: Second time I've ran this race and this year seemed far worst than last. Firstly, it started one hour earlier than last year and later in October. Most spectators were either still in bed or on half-term holidays, therefore the route was lined with far fewer people. Baggage storage was good, but the start was terrible. This year it started in front of the Reporatory Theatre, so runners had to squeeze through the pre-start spectators and crowd fencing - unbelievable! I was black coded (first group to start) and I was still dodging elderly fun-runners and fancy dress contestants after the first mile! Where was the marshalling at the start? The route is fairly good for Birmingham and it doesn't verge into the more undesirable areas too much. Yes, between mile 10 - 12 is a bit of an uphill drag, but it adds a bit of spice to an otherwise flat course. I didn't experience the problems at the end as I came in before the crowds, but I could see chaos forming as I finished. The exit was crowded with volunteers handing out blankets etc. This should have been done further way from the finish line. And Broad Street is just too narrow! Near the finish line the pavement narrows to about 2 metres, trying to get to my Wife and Son, who were in Centenary Square was a nightmare. I still can't see why it can't start and finish in Canon Hill Park. Great open place, plenty of room to start and more importantly to disperse at the finish. There could be stalls for spectators/runners to buy food/drinks/goodies etc. And it would allow far better, more relaxed experience. All in all, another example of poor organisation and a missed opportunity by this country's largest council. Date of review: October 26, 2010