In short: Got to be the best half in the UK In full: This was my first half, and to be honest if they are all like this then nothing to worry about. This race has got to be a definite for locals / Oxfordshire runners! The course is virtually flat running through scenic country lanes and small villages where the crowd (the few people that live there) turned out to cheer you on. The course was well marshaled with plenty of signs and arrows, mile signs, and a heart warming 400m left to go sign. There were three water stations on the route strategically placed in good locations and well staffed. This event is popular and fills up quickly and I'm not surprised, there were 400+ runners for what is a "village / small running club half marathon"! The race starts and ends in the village, so you have to go to the village, in Oxforshire. So either you drive, get someone to drive, or if you live a distance away you'll need to drive down and stay overnight in Oxford, Wantage or Didcot and drive to Grove the race day. Parking was not a problem. From what I could see of Grove the village comprises 3 pubs and a school (but I could be wrong, 4 pubs??)
So the race for me: The weather was good, not brilliant, but good. A bit blowy and that was evident on the exposed country roads, but it got better and the mild wind cooled you down but it got warmer and calmer. Probably could do with a bottle rather than a cup of water at the end and maybe chipped timing (400+ runners?), charge a bit extra, I'm sure the race will still be full months before hand. Date of review: April 12, 2010
In short: Well organized race with good atmosphere In full: My 4th half but my first time at this race and got a PB :-) Good support along the way for a rural race and the encouragement of marshalls was greatly appreciated. The start was uncongested due partly to the field being around 500 not that that is usually significant at my level! Like the mug and the reasonably priced T-shirt...oh, and the cake stall at the end :-) Date of review: April 12, 2010
In short: Not scenic enough to be my favourite half, but the best value for money In full: Can't really add to my comments from last year. I think what I like about it most is the excellent value for money it offers. Also the option of buying a race t-shirt is good and excellent value at just a fiver.
I would add that I thought the organisation is also faultless, I liked the detailed race pack with a very clear map and nice to give people the option of raising money in aid of prostate cancer. Friendly and encouraging marshals, and good local support - thank you.
Not a good race for me personally, 10 minutes slower than last year due to injuries and lack of training. In fact quite a painful experience and not many happy memories apart from the young man who sprinted across the line with me and put his arm round me at the end.
If that young man is reading, sorry if you didn't manage to beat the fat middle-aged bloke but if it's any consolation he has a PB of 1:43 for this distance and is one of the most prolific reviewers on here.
Definitely see you again next year, hopefully in better shape and warming up for VLM. Date of review: April 12, 2010
In short: A primarily flat 1/2 Marathon with potential for a good time in the right conditions....this years race was very hot! Not that im complaining about the sunshine :o) Date of review: April 12, 2010
In short: fast, well organised, no frills event In full: great event which is well organised with huge PB potential. Plenty of space to run without feeling isolated. Nice support when running through the villages and supportive marshalls. Date of review: April 12, 2010
In short: sunshine, flat, great atmosphere - great way to spend a sunday morning. In full: I love this race, not least because it finishes a mile from my parents' home and a well-earned Sunday roast! The weather was perfect, and the atmosphere was lively - a thoroughly enjoyable race! Date of review: April 12, 2010
In short: Well done, organisers! In full: A well organised event, a course on quiet country lanes, smiling marshalls, enough water stations, ... altogether a great day out! I would definitely do it again, even though the wind was indeed quite annoying on the first 6 miles today. Date of review: April 11, 2010