In short: Fantastic event, fast, flat and fantastic support In full: A great flat fast PB course, well marshalled and plenty of drinks/gels. Crowd are AMAZING even on a VERY VERY cold wet day. Baggage issue but didnt use it anyway. Will be back next year for sure, cant wait. Date of review: May 1, 2012
In short: Bad organisation and not an inspiring course! In full: Most of what I thought has been said here before so I'll be brief: (the weather being the least of the problems) 1) a muddy track doesn't belong in a road marathon (and it's muddy all through the year that bit!) 2) The baggage tent fiasco was appalling and organiser were very lucky a serious incident didn't occur 3) the route - apart from Old Trafford stadium - was dull. 4) the start was ridiculous with no distinction betwen fast and slower runners, and spectators mingling throughout.
I've run in over 50 marathons and ultras - this was the worst yet, with the possible exception of Hull - at least the course was the right distance and there were mile markers, it was also one of the most expensive. It was my Mother's first and even the pride in her finishing didn't detract from the feeling of regret for this being her first. See blog for full write-up: www.runningandbaking.com Date of review: May 1, 2012
In short: Great Race / Event (Aside from Baggage-gate) In full: This was my second Mara (Lpool Oct 2011 being my first). Aside from the delayed start last Oct, the organisation for that Mara was sensational - which may have blurred my expectations for organisation.
However, reading some people's stories on this thread is incredibly disheartening, especially those first timers. I feel for them the most.
All in all though, I really do feel that the thread as whole and the review section on this site has suffered something of a knee-jerk reaction. That is clear because the tone has dramatically changed from Sunday through to today.
I completely agree that the baggage situation was a nightmare - no excuses. I am one of the competitors waiting for it to be delivered in the post. However, that aside, I can't complain about the organisation too much. All of the other real complaints seem to stem, or be fuelled by, the horrific weather conditions, which no organiser can control and aside from a few extra tents (which there wasn't a great amount of room for) there isn't a great deal they could have done to make it more pleasant.
Dunham "Messy" would have been bloody glorious to run through in decent weather and the bottlenecking was only due to the quagmires. Again, not Xtra Mile Events fault really.
I agree that the underpass was a little odd and I did nearly pop my hip twisting and turning around that section as I was pushing hard for my sub 3.30. But that aside, I really think the course was fine and some parts of it offered fantastic support and gradient to run a quick time (again, save for the weather).
I'm not having a go at anyone who has complained on here. We all feel slightly aggrieved by the organisation but I think now we've all taken a deep breath, we can see it for what it was - a complete wash out. In some respects I feel for the organisers.
I want to end on a high, so many many congratulations to all those who got to the start line, got to 10 miles, 13 miles, 20 miles or to the bitter end. I think anyone who started that race and it was their first deserve bigger, gold medals! Well done.
Finally, to those that helped on the day, the marshals, the volunteers, the local resident, the supporter or family member - you made that day bearable for everyone - from first to last place, your clapping, cheering and assistance from the off was phenomenal (far better than Lpool).
With better weather (and baggage addressed), this event would be rightly scoring in the 90% mark. Let's give the organisers a shot a redemption. This event has incredible potential for all involved.
Just my POV. Well done again everyone!
Dan (3:29.26...a close call). Date of review: May 1, 2012
In short: memorable for lots of reasons In full: My first marathon and memorable for good and bad reasons. The supporter in the street were fantastic, turning out on such awful weather was really appreciated.
Can't blame the organisers for the dreadful weather, but the lack of organisation was very poor as the weather had been predicted for days. I got an energy gel at 5 miles then the next at mile 25, I assume they had all gone by the time I got there, maybe that'll teach me to be quicker;) I made do with PowerAid and water. As for the ridiculous set up for the baggage tent, words fail me. My bag is hopefully on the way to me by post now, so the organisers say! Thank god my other half put the car keys in his running belt. It sounds dramatic but there was a real risk of hypothermia waiting around for lots of people, heads should roll over this. Date of review: May 1, 2012
In short: Has potential to be a great race In full: The Weather - had it not been quite so cold and wet this would have been a more pleasurable experience. Some logistical problems (flooded sections of course, sodden race village field, dangerously cold runners) should have been anticipated, that said, we all knew it was going to be wet and cold so enough said about that. The Location - living an hour from Mcr and having local family & friends I was keen to run this knowing many of the districts. A city like Manchester deserves a big race and I hope that it continues. Good local transport links made it convenient for some spectators - no need for buses back to the start as at GNR or Edinburgh for example. The Course - Good idea to snake the route through suburbs served by the Met, made for good crowds at places like Sale and Altrincham. I could imagine Dunham Massey on a clear day being a great point on the course. Second half had some very lonely sections; obvious solution would be to switch it to anti-clockwise. Pre-Race organisation I was non-plussed at having to collect my race number the day before, this would not be convenient for someone travelling on the morning of the race. I didn't feel the Expo offered much of an incentive to make that trip. Some concerns about the start of the race....should spectators be really be milling in with runners? There should have been some attempt at a pen. In-Race organisation. I found it difficult to find mile markers, especially in th initial 5 miles which are quite crucial for setting your pace. Not everyone has a GPS watch. It might have been helpful to have more barriers at busy corners: there were big crowds at some of the Met stations and it was daunting to be running through crowds that were spilling off the pavements/crossing the roads. I wasn't too bothered about country lanes but an *underpass* at 26 miles is ridiculous (who can descend and climb steps at that point?!). Close the road or don't bother. Post-Race Organisation. I won't labour the points already made about the baggage, except to say this reduced me to tears of despair at what should have been an ecstatic and proud moment. Thank goodness for being with friends and family who could lend me warm clothes and go back afterwards to track down my bag. There didn't seem to be the capacity to deal with large numbers of cold/hypothermic runners which was concerning. The Spectators & Marshals. I know Mancunians are used to rain but I didn't expect half as many people to turn up in those atrocious conditions. And then to exude such enthusiasm and support. THANK YOU! These people got me round the course. This is one big reason why this race should continue, I can see the support being at GNR levels given better weather.
Overall, I'm pleased I did this race for the positives I've mentioned (plus I made a PB) and only list the negatives as pointers where this event can improve for next time. We need a Manchester Marathon but we need it to be better than this. The Spectators & Marshalls. I didn't expect anyone to Date of review: May 1, 2012
In short: Can't stop the weather, but you can plan for it In full: Well done and thank you to the amazing people of Trafford. The organisers need to raise their game for next year. 1)Bags 2)Course rethink - would have been congested at DM even in good weather Date of review: May 1, 2012
In short: Terrible conditions, but got that PB In full: Ok i know there have been a lot of negative comments here, but i'll review this based on my experiences. Pre Race: I know the area so had no problems locating start etc. The baggage area & changing facilities were way too small and the announcer could not be heard unless you were stood around 100m from him. I got my baggage into the tent half an hour before the start and had no problems there. The Course: A bit bizarre from urban to cross-country back to urban with a trip through a subway in the last mile. I wouldn't like to have been in distress around Dunham Massey as you felt very isolated there. Stewards/Supporters: EXCELLENT these guys were the heroes, the stewards for standing out there in the dreadful weather still with encouraging comments, and the size of the crowds amazed me, Altrincham was a particular high point. Post Race: I was fortunate to finish 44th and so my chip worked (i know many people finished and have not had their finish time logged on the results), i received a "space" blanket then i waded my way over to the baggage tent, which was just starting to desend into chaos (and thats after just 44 finishers!!). It took me 20 mins to get my bag, which at the time i thought was too long especially in those conditions, but after hearing some of the horror stories afterwards i'm just glad i got it with its contents in tact, my house keys were in there and i would've been unable to return home without it. This was never going to be a "Big City" marathon, but i think Xtra Mile events will have learnt a lot from the experience, i really hope the race continues although after reading about peoples experiences i doubt that will happen. I ran a London Marathon good for age time and so will put that application in for next year, but so long as the dates dont clash i will come back and do this race again if its on. One other thing i will say is dont allow this to cloud your view of Xtra Mile Events, i have done a number of their races before namely the Oulton Park Duathlon and found them to be extremely well organised (in all weather conditions), they stuck their necks out to organise a marathon (near) Manchester which has been needed for some time. Hopefully they will have learnt many lessons here. PS: I'm going to indicate this as one of my all time favourite races, but only because it was my first sub 3hr race (first of many hopefully) Date of review: May 1, 2012
In short: Fantastic kind-hearted locals prevent tragedy In full: The positives:- the incredibly hardy and kind locals, whose spontaneous offers of generosity saved people's lives. Oh and I should give Xtra Mile credit coordinating the road closures, with marshals to show you the course.
However really disappointing (this so called "fabulous") course took you away from any centers of population, such that there was no-one to offer any support from 11 miles to 22 (especially as people couldn't travel around with the road closures). If the course had been run in reverse, at least people could have caught the Metrolink to cheer on from Altrincham up (should half of it not been closed for engineering - nice planning that). Xtra Mile prepared for absolute minimum for perfect conditions (infrequent and sparse aid stations) and got thumped by the worst imaginable. There was no concern at all given to the athletes. They won't know (or appear to care about) what happened to some competitors who had to abandon. There was no coordination at all between marshals who (despite their fantastic willing and intent) were completely unprepared on what to do with a single hyperthermia case, yet alone handfuls.
The contrast with well-organised mass events such as London could not have been more stark. Manchester deserves a better course and Xtra Mile should never be allowed near a marathon again.
In short: Good effort to get a Manchester marathon going again. Serious deficiences in organistion, particularly the baggage. Made worse by weather that you might not see again at a Manchester marathon for 20 years Date of review: May 1, 2012