In short: Excellent organisation, wonderful race In full: Slightly different course from last year avoided potential floods. Organisation was like clockwork - thanks to all of the marshals who kept me going. Lots of support turned out, which was needed given the hot weather. The heat made the slopes and ramps that take the paths under the main roads feel steeper than last year. Date of review: May 8, 2013
In full: Very well organised - frequent water stations - the second hslf was very undulating- up and down, twist and turns - not great when you are very tired and trying to go at a steady pace - but overall a great race. Date of review: May 8, 2013
In short: Nice course, good support In full: This is one of the best I have done in the UK. Organisation was good. Printing your name on your number was an excellent idea. Spectators shouting encouragement using your name helps when it is getting hard. The support was very good and the marshals were very encouraging as well. It probably helped with the hot weather but there were loads of people cheering the runners on. There water stop were good but I have seen others say that it ran out. Probably could do with smaller energy drinks because it looked like most had just had a couple of sips out of them and then they were discarded. Using the stadium was great because it had good toilet facilities so no big queues beforehand and a great place to finish. Only bit to improve would be sign-post the industrial estate parking as I had to guess where to go and I'm not sure I should have parked where I did as I just followed other runners. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: My first marathon! In full: Not a good start. Website suggested parking at nearby industrial estate which turned out to be coned off! Apart from that I had a brilliant day. The organisation was great & support fantastic. It was my first marathon & the finish in the stadium was the icing on the cake. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: The lakes are beautiful. In full: Pleasantly surprised by the beautiful lakeside parts of the run, although there were some less inspiring parts most of it was green and the stadium finish was electric. I managed a good time despite the heat and a garmin malfunction. Couldn't face the Mars Bar at the end but the banana was welcome! Would definitely come back. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Brilliant day out! In full: Ok so I'm biased it's my home town but I loved every minute. I don't mind running in the heat unlike some, so that was no hindrance to a pb for me on my fourth attempt at 26.2. Great venue, great course and fantastic organisation and crowd support. Well done MK! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Bare-bones organisation but a great experience In full: Good points: Frequent water stations, Mostly flat course, Good crowd support Slick organisation in bag drop & finish.
Average points: The start seemed strangely congested even though there weren't that many runners, it needs to be in timed corrals like every other race out there (not just red/green!). As others have mentioned the inclines of underpasses in the last 6 miles were pretty tough (my garmin says 181m of elevation gain, not 118 like the online map!?) but as it was my first it was always going to be a PB! The goody bad was pretty average and that t-shirt will never be worn by most of us... it's already in the rag bin. The organisers need to state in advance which gels/energy drinks will be on course (not just 'High5 and gatorade' as each of those brands make a number of different products. I know it sounds picky, but so are runners tummies! There needed to be more signage in general (ie. "to the start" when I arrived at the stadium it wasn't at all clear where everything was) There was no 'race village' to speak of apart from a few charity tents.
Bad points: Couldn't hear announcements at the start at all or find the pacers. (Take a leaf out of Runners World pacers book and have flags/signs that rise above the runners please) The 'gatorade' stations needed to have water too (especially that last one!!) and I'm shocked that some other reviewers said some stations ran out! Where were the bands en-route!? The website promised bands and warned against brining iPods but there was no music at all!!
Sorry there are more 'bad' points than good overall I really enjoyed almost all of it, perhaps in a few years with a few more tweaks people will be raving about it! Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: A good effort, more work required to make this worth coming back to. In full: I guess my opinions might be influenced by a poor run (I blame the heat) but I think there is a lot of work to do with this one in the future.
Good points: Stadium facilities and finish. Really nice support, decent value for money, plenty of water/drinks, 'big' event atmosphere chip timing etc.
Bad points: The start was a shambles, too narrow and there were some very fast runners in the green pen stuck behind a lot of slower runners in the red pen for the first 1/2 mile. Noone could hear anything and the pacers were invisible. Where were the toilets on the way round!? They needs signs and lots of people were using bushes. Public ambling onto the course were a pain and the route was too easy to short cut with grassy corners and in one place towards the end a totally unnecessary 100m or so down a side road instead of following the path. Too hilly to be a real pb course but not hilly enough to be a proper challenge, a largely uninspiring course scenery wise. And my goody bag didn't have a mars bar!
Sounds terrible, but it was ok overall. I'll pick another one next year to try and avoid one as hot as this. Date of review: May 7, 2013