In short: Fantastic & Dreadfull - all in one day In full: I couldn't agree more about the parking. FYI to all - the race director personally emailed me after last years parking debacle and promised me that they had sacked the previous Traffic "Management" company and 2009 would be better - Hmmmm !?!?!? Just in case, this year I parked outside the main field and walked to the car park - it took 10 mins to get back to the car (with 2 children under 5), but I was on the road within 2 mins from reaching the car). Alternatively, get the train or if you live locally, get a friend, neighbour or relative to drop you off.
Apart from the parking, I found the race to be fantastic. The weather was stunning again, the marshalls (the Cadets/Scouts etc..) were amazing. The crowd was awesome and the scenery was beautiful. The family had a great day.
BTW - they aren't going to change the starting time, so in reference to the dehydration, all I can say is be better prepared. I didn't suffer at all and I only took two drinks from the tables. One I drank, one went on my head/neck. Buy one of the hand-held water bottles and make sure you're properly hydrated before the race. Don't forget, despite this year being hot and 2008's race being even hotter, this type of weather is not typical of late September, so I can't believe it will be the same next year. They're due a wet race.
I'm definately planning to run next year and I'm definately not parking in the car park again.
In short: Good but some faults... In full: I've run lots of half marathons and there are never enough toilets, but this was particularly awful - a 30 minute queue before the race. Some warm up at the start would have been good and it should definitely start at an earlier time - 1.00pm is too late. Also, at the end I was only "allowed" one plastic cup of water - I don't want to drink sugary Lucozade after a race; I want H20 and lots of it! Date of review: September 30, 2009
In short: Very nice environment, fantastic runner mates. Kind help on every metres from the beginning to the end! In full: Of course it is not easy, bit hilly but real picturesque 'country side'. If you know this area a bit deeper you can enjoy it deeper during running as well. Valley Gardens, Virginia Water lots of experience and very useful hills for prepare yourself to the Race. And during that you will be surprised: sharp ache in the carf, slow down, suffering, mate comes and tells you: 'staying on focus' 'but my leg!' 'I see, just staying on focus' 'Thanks for it'. And really I am very grateful for him, simply saved me, recovered my fight, belief on myself and at the end I was in Heaven. Simply I did it! Thank you again! It was the first and will be more, much more! Date of review: September 29, 2009
In short: Not for the faint hearted... In full: The help around the course was great, though on as hot a day as it was, I couldn't understand why runners didn't walk through the drinks stations to load up, especially those doing 2hrs+ like myself.
If I do this again, it will only be because the start time has changed to a sensible time. Date of review: September 29, 2009
In short: Dreadful organisation In full: I trained all year for this, my first half marathon. What a bitter, bitter disappointment.
In training I managed 2.18, over undulating terrain.
In the race, I struggled to do 2.45, having to walk at least 3 miles. I've spent the last 36 hours recovering from dehydration.
* Too hot. The start time is in urgent need of reviewing - just look at the number of casualties during the race. * Too hilly. I never *ever* stop and walk because I can't get going again. When I did stop, I realised that everyone round me was walking, and that they were walking faster than I was able to either walk or run! * Not enough toilets in the arena, at the start, or around the course. * Not enough drink stations, especially on such a hot day. * Water cups difficult to drink from, not big enough and unpleasant taste from whatever's been added to make it hygenic. Use bottles! * Too slow to cross start: 7 minutes from where I stood at 2hr20 area. Stage the start, like other, bigger races. * Don't delay the start: we're warmed up and ready to run. You're never going to get the race on the TV if it doesn't start on time. * No organised warmups. Just standing in the midday sun. * Don't mention exiting the car park.
Wonderul location though.
Hopefully the extent of the casualty list will encourgage the blinkered organisers to consider the runners next year. Date of review: September 29, 2009
In full: travelled from gloucester to do this one.thought it was great.only my 2nd half marathon,and i found the course very hilly and tough.the long stretch after 7 miles with the sun beating down was torture!great crowds at the finish spurred me on and i felt a real buzz finishing this one. Date of review: September 29, 2009
In short: Amazing scenery, great crowds, enthusiastic marshalls. In full: We parked in town and walked to the start, thus avoiding the post race parking problems, would suggest that in future having read other reviews. The start needs reviewing, proper time pens and a staggered start are required for such a large field. Once on the course the scenery is beautiful and I thought the course was fairly flat, unlike many other reviews, and did a PB. Large crowds at the finish are a great buzz. I thought there was plenty of water stations and toilets, though I thought the athletes village could have been laid out better. The medal was very nice, as was the Mars bar. Date of review: September 29, 2009
In short: Tough on a warm day In full: I have competed in this race on and off for more than 10 years so I know what to expect. I run it because it is a special venue but the race itself it very much designed for the charity motivated and corporate runner. That said, I did think the people helping on the course were great, very enthusiastic. Special mention to the girl with the hose. Probably saved me from passing out - I'm not kidding! Great finish through the crowds as well.
My tips to enjoy the day (for future participants)
1. Get there early - very early 2. Get to the start line in plenty of time or you are going to have to pass a lot of shufflers 3. If its sunny take something to cover your head on the start line. The start will be late - always some delay on the M3/M4/M25. 4. When you have crossed the finish line don't stop! Keep running and head straight to your car and get out of the car park - I got out in a couple of minutes (very important this one). I probably ran this section faster than any part of the course.