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
In short: Pretty good In full: This was my first ever race so I can't compare but certainly TFL messed things up on the tubes, my girlfriend didn't even make it as a spectator, saying that this was not the organiser's fault. However it did seem very un-organised. I was surpised how many people were in the wrong pens, some people did not even seem to realise. A lot of people have mentioned the music or lack of it but I think when you are in the zone and running past it's hard to appreciate it. I have to say the crowd were amazing, they certainly carried me along. I would consider doing Run to the Beat again but I think they need to sort the transport out because I have heard this has happened before!
In short: Ok(isH) In full: First Half marathon, - so had no idea what to expect.. Found the delayed start annoying as had only a cotton shirt to keep me warm and waiting the extra 45minutes almost froze me..
Liked the route as it varied will hills, residential and through a park.. kept me quite entertained.. Had ipod on so couldnt comment on the *beat* side of the run...
Felt that they probably didnt think a few things through and went with the first thought with regards to handing out Energy drinks by the bottle as its was a waste of 3/4 of it (!)... Free for all was a pity as i saw a guy had 3 boxes of energy bars on the tube on the way home greedy bugger( sorry for the slower runners who didnt get any..(!)
weather ruined it for most but if you put that aside i thought it was good and enjoyed the racing aspect and the crowds cheering you on. HOWEVER, £35 to get an energy bar and a gatorade is flippen criminal - and the ugliest shirts for £20- must be joking?? so wont do it again as I cnt justify the price.. Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: Poorly organised, expensive, mostly uninspiring event In full: There was no need to delay the start of the race, we have timimg chips and there were plenty of people who had managed to get there on time. It was VERY cold on the Greenwich peninsular. I didn't cross the starting line until 11.10 am, well after the scheduled start.
The route was average, the music over amplified and distorted and the atmosphere flat.
The finish was chaotic, long queues for baggage, and no cereal bars left at the end.
In short: Actual race - fine, rest of it - woeful In full: The race itself was fine - course is flat enough, with a couple of decent hills, and water stations were plentiful.
However, the race will be remembered for the organisational chaos that started with the problems on the Jubilee Line. This obviously is not the fault of the organisers, but, like others, I don't see why this necessitates a delayed start. Those arriving later can just start later, as chip timing would allow for the late start.
The start itself was really slow if you were at the back - I was over the line quite quickly, but my wife started in Pen 5 (she was being honest about her forecast time, unlike many others), and took around 45 mins to cross the start. At Reading earlier this year, she also started near the back, and crossed in 18 mins....and Reading has around twice the number of runners.
After the race, it was ludicrous to have 100's of people queuing in 1 line for the bag-drop, with other lines being empty. Is it rocket science to work out that bag-drops should be arranged alphabetically, or indeed pretty much any method other than by finishing time?
Finally, I see a number of people didn't receive any goodies, and I can see why...(a) because earlier finishers were indeed walking off with whole boxes of cereal bars etc, and (b) because half of the space blankets had been given out before the start. I also saw one runner help himself to a bottle of Gatorade before the start - the marshall told him that they were for AFTER the race, but he simply looked at her and walked off with his bottle. Then another runner took a bottle, then another, and soon the whole pallet of Gatorade had disappeared. So it is not all the fault of the marshalls - the arrogance of that first runner had to be seen to be believed.
So, as ever, many thanks to the marshalls for helping, but after 3 years, the organisers desperately need to learn some lessons:-
1) Transport issues WILL occur in London (good luck for the Olympics!) There must be a plan B, or just start later. An interesting aside - in the pre-race bumph, it said that roads would be closed for 3.5 hours. When running, I think I saw road-signs saying that roads would re-open at 2:00pm....ie 3.5 hours after the delayed start time of 10:30. Was there ever an intention to start at 9:45? 2) Start / Finish area must be better signposted, bag-drop must be staggered somehow. 3) One goodie-bag per entrant - give it out at the same time as the medal.
4) during the race, pour the Gatorade into cups to hand out at water-stations. Virtually every discarded bottle I saw had barely been touched - nobody seems to drink more than a cupful, so why give out a bottle? 5) The whole Run to the Beat thing was useless - I don't really mind, but don't market yourself as providing scientifically chosen music to get me running at the right pace (how do they know what pace I want to run at?) and then provide a bloke with a pair of speakers and a made-up CD. I wonder how many of the official CD's they sell at £4.99.... Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: no beat, no atmosphere and no organisation... In full: so much was so wrong with this one it's difficult to know where to start. news of the delayed start filtered through like a giant chinese whisper - no tannoy system... then the pens were a disaster - no control at all -why bother? no marshalls at all enroute - saw 2 people go flying over unmarked kerbs and lots of significant corner cutting... handing out gels twice during the race meant lots of newbies being sick after about 11 miles... mile markers placed v randomly... baggage collection badly organised so huge queues... collection of timing chips v random... no goody bag (for £35?!!) and zero control of the few freebies so none left for slower runners... music throughout course still v poor despite the hype..... really a shocker. have tried this twice - never again. Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: An expensive shambles but a good course In full: This was my first ever race so I'm not used to having 12,000 people around me but even so I could see plenty of scope for improvement.
A lot of people seemed to be confused by the route but I thought that was the best part. The fact that there were hills in the middle section was clearly shown on the pre-race information and I changed my strategy accordingly. It appeared to me that everything was well marked, although I saw a large number of runners cut one of the corners in the park as it was probably too tempting to resist. Only one short section (near the end of the park) was too narrow but on the whole there were few problems with over-crowding.
There were plenty of water stations though I realised after the first one that cups are not good for delivering any water whilst running so just stuck with a bottle of lucozade for the remainder. The energy gels were welcome too.
Along the route the marshals/ volunteers were fantastic, two of whom at the 11 mile mark were going mental which was so encouraging going into the home straight. However, i'd like to know while the organisation at the end was so poor. No need for me to go into depth but the drinks, food, bag collection was a shambles.
The less said about the beat the better. I'm sure it was good for the supporters but for the runners it was barely noticable.
I enjoyed the race and got sub 2hrs on a demanding course so am very pleased with myself but I won't be doing this race again as it offers no value for money with just a medal and a time to show for my effort. I'm just happy that I did it charity so some good came out of it.
One other point - the runners who strolled up and grabbed boxes of the free bars and drinks should feel ashamed of themselves. Friends of mine who finished near the end couldn't even get a bottle of water! Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: This needn't be a bad race but.... In full: Unfortunately I agree with most of the comments here that this race was badly organised and not worth doing again. I entered this race for the first time this year after reading similar bad comments from last year and really expected that some lessons would have been learnt.
The 45 minute race delay was chronic. No-one seemed to be taking charge and telling people what was going on. Glad to have a foil blanket to keep out the cold but standing around a cold and extremely windy Greenwich peninsula is not good prep.
Start/finish area is too small and cramped to work properly. Obviously the organisers want to start and finish at the Dome but it's just not practical.
Queuing for bag return at the end was a joke. All the quick runners had the lowest numbers and the fast runners had the highest numbers. When I finished in 1:33 there were hundreds queuing for 0-1000 and no-one queuing on the other stands. That just showed a complete lack of thought.
Route is pretty dull and uninspiring. Only the mile or two through Greenwich park rescues it. Also some killer hills mid-way through.
End on a positive:
The volunteers and drink stands were top-class. Plenty of people, plenty of stands and generally a lot of smiles and encouragement. They were great on the day.
Those complaining about the music should really think about what they were expecting. When you run past something for all of about 10 seconds it was never going to matter what it was or who was playing. Runners should realise that the music is for the spectators, not for them.
In short: Struggled to cope with what Transport for London threw at them. In full: Given the high entry fee a goodie bag would have been nice, as would a t-shirt. Instead, "freebies" became a free for all. I was hoping for a bit more music. Great support from the crowds and a great atmosphere it was just stressful getting to the start thanks to TfL! Date of review: September 27, 2010