In short: Dangerously poor organisation In full: What could have been a good day out, despite the weather, turned into a complete farce by the lack of organisation. Took me 3, yes, 3 hours to get my bag from the baggage tent. It probably would have been longer had the police not had to turn up to try and manage the situation. That length of time in the cold in wet running kit was horrendous. Took all the shine off a day when I'd managed a PB. I have been to many races and have never seen such poor planning. There was clearly a woeful lack of space and people to manage the bags. The organisers are lucky that nearly half of the entrants didn;t turn up or I dread to think how long it would take to find my bag. Only postives from the day were the crowd - fantastic support despite the horrid weather and the water stations were good. Will NEVER enter an event organised by Xtra mile events. The situation they put the runners in was dangerous Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: I was very glad I knew the area, or I would have got lost, started late and got hyperthermia! In full: This was my first mararthon, but even I could say this was very badly managed.
There was absolutely no signage and the runners village area was very confusing. I would have really struggled to find the start line if i hadnt of known the area. I didnt see one marshall until the start line!
The start line was really confusing too. We had to join the start group in front of us because our time group had no marshall and no one knew what they were doing.
The weather was really really bad! I seem to remember horizontal hail at the 13 mile marker! The organisers couldn't help this but I was running through calf high puddles at one point (!) - this should have been sorted. A bit of hay at least should have been put down.
We didn't drop our bags off, but I can't imagine how the hunderds of people felt that had to wait over an hour for thier dry clothes. I was shivering uncontrolably and I was into dry stuff after 5 minutes of finishing. For £40, I think this terrible.
That all said, I had a laugh. The supporters were amazing, the bands were good (although I'm sure the pre race info said there would be more than there were). They made my day at mile 25 and I couldn't have done it without them. My boyfriend raced in a 118 costume and we got so much support, it was great.
I had a ball, but I think this was because of the supporters, not the race organisers. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: Frost bitten fingers!!! In full: The baggage area was a shambles. People could of dies from hyperthomia waiting for their bags. I was back in the top 300, so the majority of bags were stacked in a nice big pile. Luckily, after about 15mins, someone moved a bag and I spotted mine under it. I know they couldn't control the weather, but it was expected, and better provisions should of been made. However, the crowds were fantastic considering the appalling conditions, altho running the route the other way round would of been better, and lets cross the road, instead of going under the subway. Think I'll still prob sign up for next year, as it was a nice course, loveley and flat. I still set a new pb. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: First ever would do it again In full: Wow, Wow, Wow, I did it!!!!!!!! 26.2 miles in 4 hours 53 minutes and 45 seconds. Not a record by any scope of the imagination, but I’m so proud and happy. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face at the finish line, I could see the clock in the distance ticking down to 5 hours and I thought, No way am I doing it in more than that and got a sprint on. The crowds cheering made me feel like an Olympian winning gold! The weather was rubbish, severe gales and rain too, but for the first time ever I ran with no music and it was amazing. All thanks to the amazing spectators who lined the route for hours on end, handing out sweets and drinks and much needed words of encouragement. The laughing and whooping of the runners was fantastic and the kids giving high fives as we passed. At the beginning as I ran through a set of lights at Stretford, I heard a man yell “You’ve just run a red light!” I laughed not knowing that it was amazing husband Frankie – think a good few other runners laughed too. As we made our way through Sale and Timperley the crowds increased as the rain poured down and I found myself thanking them for their support. Then as I rounded a corner into Altrincham town centre, there was Frankie camera in hand. He’d stood there for at least an hour waiting in the rain to take a few pics. Love him so much?. From Altrincham there was a huge hill to the half way point and then came Dunham Massey, or Dunham Messy as I will forever now think of it, howling wind, freezing temperatures, streams and ankle deep muddy puddles. The cold kept me going, I began to fantasize about phoning Frankie and asking him to pick me up, but where was I somewhere on a dirt track between, Altrincham and Partington. It seemed like an eternity, I was suffering from the cold and put my hands in my jacket sleeves to try and keep them warm. Others were suffering worse and as we finally hit Partington, an ambulance was giving people first aid for the cold. People were coming out of their houses with bin bags and plastic sheets, cutting holes in the tops and handing them out to the shivering runners. It’s people like these who make Britain great. As I hit the 18 mile mark, I let out a little cheer, 8 and a bit miles to go – You can do this Rebekah! Not even my words, but those of a small child at the roadside, standing in her rain mack with a huge smile, I wanted to cry. I started clapping the spectators from then on. They must have been freezing, but their enthusiasm was like a warm blanket, every time I stopped to walk for a minute, somebody would shout ‘Go on you can do it !’ and off I’d go again. At 22 miles we ran towards Flixton over the windiest road ever and all thoughts of my celebratory bottle of wine, turned to hot cups of tea. Please something warm, every drinks station was pain in my hands as I took them out of my coat. My fingers were numb and I decided that unless it was tea, I wasn’t having any more liquid till I finished. 24 miles – 2 miles to go, the end is in sight, the crowds are getting bigger, the cheers are getting louder.
25 miles – Oh I’m going to cry, I’ve nearly done it, the emotion is overwhelming, a mile seems such a long way now, but I’m going to do it, this is it, I am NOT walking across the finish line. Then there it is the final approach, I can hear people shouting quarter of a mile to go and suddenly my legs belong to somebody else, they’re sprinting! My heart is bursting, the crowds are on both sides and I know that Frankie is there somewhere. I raise my arms in the air and yell “YES!” as I pass the finish line. I’ve done it. Somebody wraps me in a foil blanket and throws a medal around my neck. Somebody else passes me water and a banana and there he is, camera in hand, smiling at me. The best husband in the world. As I walk towards him somebody asks me if I’m alright and I turn with the biggest smile and say “Oh yes, I want to do it again” and I mean every word.
In short: First ever, Want to do it again In full: Thanks so much to all the supporters who stood in the freezing rain handing out sweets, drinks and much needed words of encouragement. Manchester people are the best! Shame about the awful mud through dunham MESSY!! Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: Hoping there are lessons learned for 2013 In full: Will start with the positives: The crowds watching were simply brilliant. To have the hideous weather, each of them deserved a medal! Water stations (staffed by local running clubs and organisations I think) were brilliant, plenty of encouragement along the way Having a marathon in my hometown is great, saves having to travel, stay over etc. Marshalls out on the route - again. Deserve medals for dealing with the conditions - huge thanks due
The things to do better next time: Route - Dunham Park was a nightmare, I walk my dog there, it's never dry, not a place for events like this. Also, an underpass? Really? Who the hell thought that idea up? If you can't close the road for long enough, find another route!!! Baggage - all said before, I was lucky, found mine by sheer fluke. Ended up helping others find theirs. An email apology has been sent but this is unforgivable. Shelter - Given the weather forecast, rain was going to happen plus as I run from Longford Park every week, it's been soggy underfoot for months. More should have been done
Overall - being 'well insulated' in build (ahem) I coped with the cold ok, but there were some truly worrying sights of people shivering and falling ill on the course. Whilst some people really need to think about what they wear to run in (5c with rain and strong winds is NOT the day for shorts and vests - take responsibility), the organisation really did leave a lot to be desired. That said I think Manchester deserves a marathon. The weather was truly hideous but not a lot can be done about that. Here's hoping the team read these reviews, make improvements for 2013 and give our city an event to be proud of next year. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: Fast route, great support, good for first Marathon Event in City In full: I have heard all the bad reports about the baggage problems, and thankfully (living locally) I did not have this problem, but did see many many runners queuing up, freezing cold, wet, etc. It was a shame that the baggage problem seems to be the main talking point, as I felt the rest of the race organisation was good, considering it was the first Marathon in 10 years. The route was mostly flat (so a chance to get a PB), lovely support all the way round from spectators and all the wonderful volunteers who stood out in the rain. The weather was a huge problem, but that's just the way it goes really. It wasn't the best race I've ever done, but considering the problems with the weather, and teething problems with organisation, on the whole I thought it was good. I think I may have felt differently if I had suffered the baggage problem, but hopefully next year it will be sorted. Thank you to everyone who cheered us all on in that awful weather - it was much appreciated! Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: My first marathon & race, weather didn't spoil it just another challenged. course was flat. family looked after my baggage so i didn't have to deal with that fiasco. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: What a farce In full: I am basing this review on the previous 14 marathons, I have completed. The shambles started at the Expo. I got there 12.30 on the Friday to find that many of the stands were not set up or had no staff available. I arrived on race day at the race village to find the male changing tent full with everyone keeping out of the rain, even non runners, I was therefore left with changing under a tree. When depositing my bag at the baggage tent at about 8.15 my bag was thrown onto a pile of other bags without any attempt to sort them into any order. There were no anouncements to keep runners informed (hence many runners arriving at the start late, some due to a 'warm up' taking place far too late in the proceedings).At the start the signage was very poor, a complete lack of marshalls. Members of the public/non runners were mixed in with the runners, even after the start gun went. The first half of the course was fine, however the second half was not, in fact dangerous in parts. Half way down the lane with the mud, I slipped and fell into the fence, luckly I was not injured (not simply due to the weather conditions, this narrow lane situation was easy to predict problems). The good thing about the course were the marshalls and staff at the water stations, they were all fantastic. Due to the weather the crowds were not as large as they might have been but those who were there were also fantastic. During the latter part of the race I saw many runners struggling with the very adverse weather to the extent that their health was at risk. The farce at the baggage tent was completely beyond belief. It took over one hour for me to get my bag back, I found it outside the tent covered in mud. We were keep outside the tent by the police with no explanations given. Many runners were showing signs of hypothermia. We were all standing there very cold, in wet running kit with some runners shacking uncontrolably. NO action was taken by the organisers to try and help the runners,hot drinks may have helped,served to those runners in the freezing cold. At the end of the Loch Ness marathon (usually October) every runner is given a cup of hot soup served in a massive WARM marquee with ample seats for all runners to rest. With some forethought, research and common sense a lot of these problems could have been avoided, forseen prior to the event (bad ather was predicted). The organisers may have got a lot of money for charity, but a little bit more money spent on the runners would ensure that this marathon would grow to be a success in coming years, raising far more money for charity, however due to this farce many runners will now not return. Remember no runners means no marathon, and no money for charity. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: Disorganised, course needs imroving, could have had contingency plans for the weather which had been forecasted all week In full: Well, terrible weather conditions aside:
The local people were amazing with their support. It was incredibly emotional having people cheering my name willing me to the finish & they are the reason I finished.
I waited in the baggage queue before the race but quickly realised we would miss the start if we waited so dropped our bags in a charity tent....best idea we could have had as we managed to get them easily at the end.
I think the course needs to be changed....a road race should not run through somewhere like Dunham Massey even in good weather. It was really hard for spectators following a runner to get round to the second half due to the lack of public transport. It would have been better to run the loop the other way round so that most of the support was at the end when you really need it. I felt so lonely at times.
Water stations and marshalls were great, they were always ready with drinks to hand you and were so supportive. I think there was a distinct lack of first aid available at some points though, especially in the more remote areas. The mile markers were hard to spot in places.
Times should have been ready immediately with chip times not just gun times....other half marathons I've run have sent me a text within seconds of crossing the finish line with gun & chip time.
Longford Park was just a swamp even at the beginning - there should have been matting down, the rain was forecasted for a week or more in advance. Additional tents for shelter should also have been priority. The finishers Tshirt & medal were good quality.