In short: Chaos on the tube didn't help. Bag drop, starter pens etc badly labelled. Long queue for toilets at the start. Also spent the 1st 3 miles weaving through those who clearly weren't in the right pace category Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: As usual Londons finest (transport) never seems to disappoint In full: Getting to this race was hard enough once you hear of the cancellations and 30 minute wait for the next tube. So it was nice to hear the race delayed as i would have missed it. once there it looked a total mess trying to find where to go and how to get there. i managed to find pen 4 and followed the masses only to wait for nearly 40 minutes before finally starting. The course was great as this was my first half marathon along with a friend of mine and we were determine to do well, which we did but at the end of the race we just managed to get a bottle of water from one of the staff before it was all finished. i remember seeing boxes of cereal bars and other stuff at the start but figured this would be given out but seeing the piles and piles of empty boxes we just kept thinking how they could be finished that quick. only now reading other post i now know why. would i run here again is a maybe. a well marshalled post race. Maybe a goody bag and better transportation. so maybe in 2012 straight after the olympics. If they get it right then they can't fail. MAYBE Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: Still many issues that need addressing by the organisers In full: I have run this in 2009 and 2010. I heard about the problems in 2008 but decided to try this half because it was in London. My recollection is 2009 was better organised, with more (and better) music on the course. 'The Beat' part is a gimmick though, nothing more. If you want music take your ipod.
There were a lot of problems on the day. Firstly there was no apparent need to delay the start. The tube was slow, but it was still running. In the meantime runners were standing around in pens shivering. At the end of the day everyone has a chip so runners coming late are inconvenienced but that's it. The organisers should have arranged to keep the roads closed longer the late comers, but kept the start time at 9:45 for the many who were there in good time.
When the race started it was a crawl to get out of the pens and onto the course. This was frustrating, especially after the delayed start. This needs to be fixed.
The course is good, with some challenging hills. The first part is very boring, but that is to be expected running such a distance through a major city. Most of the race has good scenery.
At the end there was no support getting your timing chips off which was very unhelpful. Organisers seem not to understand that runners at the end of a race are very tired and little things matter. Making runners unlace their shoes to give back a chip is very poor organising. Most races have people to assist.
I was lucky to have my wife with me supporting so I did not need to use the bag drop so I cannot comment on that service. The free-for-all on drinks/food at the end I thought was very poor, and for the cost I am surprised there was no organised goody bag (with shirt) included.
My garmin recorded me running ~400m further than a half marathon distance. I suppose though there is a margin for error in these things, but I saw other runners also recorded longer distances.
As I said above, at the end of a long run little things matter to runners. From reading these comments it seems the organisers of this race just don't seem to understand that. I doubt I will be running this event again. Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: Good route but the organisation was a bit of a mess... In full: Alright, first up I have to admit to this being my local half marathon, so it's one I am always likely to do, and I know many parts of the course well thanks to training in the same area. It's got some really nice bits in it (Woolwich Arsenal, Greenwich Park) and some fairly dull dual carriageway where you can just about see the Thames. As a route it's actually pretty good and one that has the potential for a PB as the hills aren't too tortuous. But the route isn't the be all and end all of everything.
Various parts of the course had a fair few spectators. Okay, it wasn't the London Marathon, but given the lack of spectators on other runs, it wasn't bad!
It's not that cheap as a race, and the organisation left a lot to be desired. Being informed at 9.30 that the race start had been put back to 10.30 due to issues with the tube was a big mess. There were many runners hanging around in the participants arena desperately trying to keep warm, and once they started giving out the Space Blankets, that was it. It wasn't made clear that they had to keep enough for the end of the race, so there were people with 3 or 4 wrapped up around themselves and others with none. Not very clever.
Then there was the end of the race. Water, Gatorade, snacks and shower gel were all on offer, but if you weren't in the first 5,000 you probably didn't get anything. I saw a couple of people walk off with unopened, full boxes of treats, and no stewards trying to stop them. So much for letting later finishers get anything. An incentive to run faster I suppose... Go back to a goody bag next year. People are often selfish.
FInally the timing chips. It's always nice to have timing chips, but it's a pain in the butt when you tie them to the laces and then have to unless your shoe after the race. What happened to tie tags? I found this unbelievably annoying!
Finally, music, "scientifically designed to be at the correct BPM for the stage of the race". Not that you could hear it much beyond the 4 speakers and van that was playing it in most areas.
So, although those are the gripes, and the same as many others, it's not a bad race and there were plenty of people en route to gee you up and get you going. I most remember the kid with the saucepan and wooden spoon down by the church on Trafalgar Road. It was just a pity that the wind was cold and the tube screwed up. Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: Good run - but disorganised In full: This was my first 1/2 marathon, but I've run many shorter distance races in the past.
Made no sense to delay the start if everyone had a timing chip. TFL's performance makes me think the Olympics is set up for a massive fall. I work in the Eastend. Think I'll be working from home that month.
Bag collection at the end made no sense either. If race numbers were given by expected finish time and bag drop is by race number - surprise surprise, everyone in each section wants their bag at the same time.
That said - why do so many runners choose to overestimate their running abilities so badly? It just means everyone else has to run around them, especially on a course with plenty of steep hills. Perhaps the entry form should have given some kind of indication of what time to expect. I overtook some runners with sub 1:20 race numbers who were struggling early on and looked like they wouldn't manage a 10k in that time.
There's no point giving out huge bottles of sports drink during the race. People take one gulp and throw the rest away. What a waste. I saw bins that must have contained literally thousands of pounds worth... Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: Poor organisation and too much hype In full: I was really excited about this race and let down in just about every way. From the delayed start, lack of goodies and terrible music, it was clear that this was a money making exercise for the organisers. Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: Not a race I would get excited about In full: I have mixed views about this race. There were bits that made it good...running through the royal artillery barracks and the down hill after the royal observatory. However, I couldn't help coming away feeling a little flat and disappointed. The organisation seemed poor. I know it's not the fault of the organisers about the delayed start, but it was frustrating queuing for ages to go to the loo just before the planned start of the race and then being told it's been delayed by 45mins and then to be asked to go to our pens way in advance of the start time. This meant that I started desperate for the loo and needed to stop after a mile to go...something I would never normally do. I do have a couple more niggles...the water being given out in cups and having to collect it from the tables as there was often no one holding it out and the disorganisation at the finish line (including the lack of goody bags). I didn't really like the mad dash for cereal bars and shower gel...it all seemed a bit lazy on the organisers part and I've heard that many of the slower runners came away with nothing, but their medal. Final note...it's a music half marathon which I feel is a little misleading as you are often running in silence.
My husband said that as a spectator he felt their wasn't a great deal of atmosphere and music and he's very disappointed by me not getting a t shirt for him to steal.
Well done to those of you that enjoyed the day and came away with a super time. Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: Great event - tube as always unreliable, but well done for putting the start back to allow all to take part In full: I really enjoyed this event and the atmosphere on the run. The roads that were supposed to be closed were closed, not just one way and you felt safe all of the way round. The atmosphere was excellent with many spectators along almost all of the course. Didnt get to see/hear most of the bands due to concentrating on running. The finish line was not too congested when I got back, and managed to get to the bags, and other stuff fairly easily. I would definately do this race again as felt well organised and run. In terms of some of the other posts I have read I cant beleive the moans some people have - thought running and racing was about testing yourself and having fun - not freebies at the end. if thats all you are interested in then go to a book launch !! And as for the people not knowing where to go and which pen then I would think that the organisers thought most involved were adults and able to organise themselves. Anyway - good day, new PB and will definately sign up for next year. Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: GOODNESS, GRACIOUS NO GOODY BAG !! In full: I done this race last year and had such a good time, signed up for this year staright away. To my horror saw some transport bloke writing on a noticeboard that the Jubilee Line was suspended, l nearly hyperventilated and then asked him an alternative route to the O2, he told me bus 108 and it would take about 20 mins to get there. A bus did go past packed to the brim with runners and myself and many others waited patiently for the next bus, all voicing our thoughts of why don't they put on EXTRA buses to get us to the O2. However l did get on the next bus it was standing room only and we reached the O2 by 9am. Just in time to hear someone announce that the race will be delayed and the new start time will be 10.30. I was okay with that as l hadn't put my bag in the baggage bit yet and l also thought it was unusual but nice of the organisers to consider those that were affected by the jubilee line. However it was cold and many runners had to be given foil blankets because of the delay, l sat on the kerb with many others just trying to stay warm. I queued for about 20 mins to use the toilet and then queued up for a while to put my bag in the baggage tent. As l made my way to start pen 4 l noticed lots of goodies stacked up and realised these were for when we finished as the brochure had mentioned no goody bag but that we could help ourselves to goodies after the race. I and many others were in pen 4 and were eager to start our race l had already mentioned how good the race was last year !! l could feel myself shivering but kept telling myself it won't be long now, it took approx 30 mins to cross the start line but once l did l felt okay. The course is a bit challenging in places something l hardly noticed last year but l saw the diagram in the brochure showing the course to be undulating !! and as l ran saw THE HILL with my own eyes l did get up and over. Crowd support FANTASTIC as always and drink stations were good, many of the marshalls were encouraging and l was ENJOYING myself. I crossed the FINISH LINE feeling very HAPPY and received my MEDAL which was a very nice one, engraved on the back. I heard a marshall say photos were being taken but the crowd was so thick l couldn't be bothered to push my way through, the BAGGAGE queues were horrendous and was very congested near the entrance to walk through,l saw a stack of gatorade by chance and took 1 bottle and when l reached my baggage queue according to my race no it was almost empty OR l was just very lucky. I then wandered off to find somewhere to change into warm , dry clothes and was reminded by the support team to remove my timing chip . I found myself near the goodies section l had spotted before the start of the race, HOWEVER there was not a goody in sight and l felt really ANNOYED that myself and hundreds of other runners were NOT going to get anything at all. The organisers made a huge mistake and l hope they learn for the next time, put GOODIES in the bag along with the MEDAL and a DRINK and everyone that took part in this quite EXPENSIVE race will be HAPPY. What a bl**dy fiasco !! Trying to get home was a NIGHTMARE , the jubilee line was still not working and bus 108 was not ever going to get us away from the O2 anytime soon, only 1 packed bus went past and now l was feeling tired, hungry and very cold after queuing for a bus for 45 minutes l and many others once again tried our luck on the severely disrupted jubilee line and when l finally reached home some 9 hours after leaving home and l live 4 miles away !! l felt relieved. I don't think l will do this race again, UNLESS the organisers, ORGANISE it properly. THE END Date of review: September 27, 2010