In short: Shame about the Organisation at start and finish In full: Firstly the massive positives - Marshalls were brilliant out in that foul weather as for crowds well what more can be said - seeing wetaher in morning I expected limited people to brave it and come out to cheer how wrong could I be they were there in their numbers and were awesome, the noise of the crowd as you went through Altrincham was unbelievable - so massive thanks to Crowd and Marshalls. the course was very good and quick as well yes there were issues through Dunham massey butn this was due the weather and would have been fine otherwise.
Now for negatives and these were major. No time had been taken to think what might happen if we had had inclement weather so both the at the start and the finish the organisation in the village was appalling and actually that is all I have to say as otherwise I could be here all day. Date of review: May 1, 2012
In short: Organisation from start to finish was borderline negligent and some serious safety issues. In full: There are lots of horror stories already but for the sake of history and reporting here's ours (wife & I ran together, our 1st marathon).
Greater Manchester Marathon, after about 14 miles, the route out around the countryside and Dunham Massey really wasn't what I'd have expected and the quagmire path around mile 15 with ankle deep mud and water and people shimmying along a fence was also a pretty unexpected sight!
I honestly thought Manchester would be a big enough city not to have what was a truly lonely 8 mile stretch through country roads where there were no spectators (due to location and roads being closed) but I don't know Manchester well enough to know if a "city" marathon was possible.
Marshals/drinks/energy bars on course
The marshals were all wonderful and despite the horrible conditions they also faced standing around offered us encouragement the whole way around. I have to say again with the stretch in the countryside where many people at our pace were struggling left me deeply concerned that if someone had collapsed/fallen then they wouldn't be picked up for a significant amount of time. Extremely dangerous.
Had there not been so many kind supporters on the course including the man and his wife around 20/21 miles who were handing out big clear bags to distressed runners (ourselves included) we wouldn't have finished and we heard many stories of people being picked up and put in spectators cars and houses to warm up.
As we struggled with my wife's injury our 20 mile time of 4.10 meant we were on for just over 5 hours, in the end it was closer to 6 and when we got to the finish it felt the like the officials had packed up and gone home a long time ago.
There was nobody to check we were ok, no sign of medics or space blankets/hot drinks. We were lucky to have arranged to have parents cheer us over the line because without that we'd have no doubt joined the chaos of the bag tent fiasco....
.... a fiasco we didn't get a chance to join because despite arriving at 7am and getting to the course start before 8, all the tents had signs at floor level instead of on top so we only assumed bag drop was the one with hundreds of people queueing. Again, thank you parents for keeping hold of our gear.
From start to finish this event felt massively under staffed. I'm not sure if people didn't turn up but I'm honestly amazed I've not seen reports of tragedy either during or after the race and frankly an email apology about bags really isn't enough.
The organisation in these conditions needed to be excellent. Even on a good day the things that happened at start/finish along with being very understaffed in the remote middle part of the race were frankly dangerous and I'd be tempted to officially request (however you do that) that the people responsible for running this event are not allowed to do so again.
Some of the mistakes and problems wouldn't even be made by an average person having a go at running an event, let alone a professional company charging £40 a pop for entry. Date of review: May 1, 2012
In short: Great support and on course marshals- thumbs up to you! Poor organisation, thumbs down to organisers. In full: Yeah!!! On course marshals and supporters: considering the weather, standing around to help runners and give support must have been a feat in itself! Without this who knows how I and many others would have got round. Hmm... Overall the organisation was poor. I was expecting to receive my race number by post- I was told I was informed of the requirement for pick up from the 'Expo' in my registration email- this was not the case. I had not received the email to tell me of the postal option so had to travel to the expo, which I had not planned to do. Also then being told you could collect on the morning when race info said this was not an option (though would have involved me leaving home at stupid o'clock)- never like moving goalposts, smacks of making it up as you go along. Expo- not exactly unmissable- though if having to collect your number it was! A few stalls in a badminton hall in the local sports centre- I imagine it is not quite like that at London, which was the price we paid! Deferment- think you should be able to defer pretty much up to race day, with valid and proven illness or injury- otherwise you are pushing people into running when ill or injured. Route questionable, with some cross country sections- muddy and flooded, probably down to the horrendous weather conditions on the day, but also seemed very narrow and certainly could not run at the pace I wanted at times. Did not see many signs- may have been blown away by the wind and rain, eventually looked out for the spray painted mileage on the road. No countdown mileage at the end that I saw- e.g. 1 mile to go! It struck me at times during the run that if a runner was injured or worse we were in the middle of nowhere with no marshals, or prospect of rapid help- with some relatively isolated sections of the course. I had borderline hypothermia at the end- thank goodness for space blankets being available when I got there- though think they ran out later!- and for the kind volunteers who helped me with it as my hands did not work due to cold at the finish. Thankfully missed the baggage debacle at both start and finish. Think there should have been more in place in the finish area, e.g. matting given that the weather was predicted. Little signage at the end and few marshals to direct tired and cold runners, though most were probably occupied trying to keep freezing runners alive!
Would need serious reassurance on organisation if I were going to do it again, so at is a very qualified maybe.
In short: Great race but concerns over organisation In full: A runner died at London Marathon which was no ones fault, someone could have died here and the organisers would have been to blame, I know they have now said sorrybut thats easy afterwards. I had already paid to enter another xtra mile race and I now want my money back Date of review: May 1, 2012
In full: I was one of the brave marshals at around 17 miles and have massive respect for all you runners. Having done London the week before and training with many who were running I thought I would put a bit back. All I got was constant abuse from disgruntled locals who could not get where they wanted to go. I even had to block the road section myself and be the only Marshall for about 1/2 a mile around no info to help anybody did my best and cheered and encouraged you all for 5+ hours with out a thank you from the organisers or drink just a crap sandwich and a t-shirt won't be doing this again. Thank you for all the positive comments about the marshals we really were lions led by profit hungary lions. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: Great race - organisation could have killed someone though. In full: Race very good - nice route with a good mix of suburban crowds to cheer us on and rural lanes to add a bit of scenery. THIS RACE WAS MADE A GREAT EXPERIENCE FOR ME BY THE AMAZING CROWDS OF MANCHESTER - THEY MADE ME PROWD TO COME FROM THIS GREAT CITY. Then to the finish - how somebody didn't die due to a total lack of organisation i do not know - 4-5000 cold wet runners trying to get their bags from a tiny little tent with absolutely no system of what should be where. I got lucky about 30 mins into my wait i saw my bag get passed out of the tent and dumped into a puddle - not great as half my dry gear was now wet - but i got my gear and managed to escape to the gents to get out of my sodden running gear. This level of poor organisation should be criminal. Date of review: April 30, 2012