In short: It's not easy organising a 10k on this scale and Bristol can be proud of a job well done! In full: I had run two 10k races before this one and both had fewer than 500 entrants. I was therefore interested to see how this event would work with over ten times the field. If city centre events go wrong, they can go very wrong! (See for example the comments on the recent Edinburgh 10k.) I need not have worried. The organisers obviously drew on their substantial experience of running a successful Half Marathon in the same part of the city and it was a joy to be a part of this event.
The start and finish location is great, with plenty of space. Two particular reasons for this, as far as I could tell. Firstly the wave start helped immensely in keeping the start from getting too crowded (and in spreading the field out during the race). Secondly, there was a long receiving area on Anchor Road beyond the finish line before the various zones (medal, drink, space blanket, de-chipping, goody bag) actually began, which meant that there was no tendency for runners to loiter just beyond the line. Having said that, I loitered in order to congratulate my daughter, who was running her first 10k and who crossed the line only a couple of minutes after me. (Next time, I expect her to be waiting to congratulate me!)
Those familiar with the Half Marathon will know the course and in many ways this 10k simply includes the best bits. There's a shorter run along the Portway, a more direct route to the start (no-one who ran in the 2008 HM will forget that side road before the Cumberland Basin with that builder's skip strategically positioned!), a simple "up and over" to get back across the Cumberland Basin without twists and turns on the ramps and a direct final route through the centre without the labyrinthine route around Queen's Square. A fantstically flat course and therefore offering excellent PB potential.
The pre-race atmosphere was great - I really enjoy the buzz and anticipation as the runners and supporters gather for an event like this. The sunny weather helped too! Pre-race instructions etc were fine and arrangements were clear.
So, what could have been better? Very little. A few more portaloos would have been welcomed by many, I know. If the organisers could find a brass band or drumming group or similar to perform at the turn-point on the Portway, that would be fantastic too! I say this because the support on the Portway was a little thin. I know this is a newish event still, but with the turn being below Sea Walls, the big HM crowds from Shirehampton, Sea Mills, Stoke Bishop etc simply didn't seem to have made it! One other point that I'll mention, although I am by no means convinced that this is necessary - I started the race intending to bypass the drinks station altogether. When the time came, I was more than ready to take on some water and a second station on Cumberland Road would have been very welcome too! That probably sounds excessive for a 10k though and perhaps it was just me!
All in all, a very enjoyable event. Well done, Bristol! Thanks to all the marshalls and volunteers too! Date of review: May 11, 2009
In short: Well organised In full: Good race, flat and fast, well organised and cheery marshalls, shame it was such a hot day - could have done with another water station on the route. Date of review: May 11, 2009
In short: A fast leg stretcher with great PB potential In full: I did a PB in this race and could imagine going a lot faster. The organizers utilise the widened Anchor road to good effect, the zoning approach is excellent. No complaints about the set up. I'll be doing this one again. Great support from those Great Western Runners not taking part. Date of review: May 11, 2009
In short: Good but not great city centre race In full: Queues at the start didn't affect me but I saw them affecting others. I understand that the elite wheelchairs started 15 mins before the race and 15 mins obviously wasn't enough to get 8,000 runners into place: they'd want to think that through for next year. Queues at the end for bags were a bit tedious but not by any means terrible.
I could only jog the race (pesky achilles last week) but had a great time. Lovely day, good atmosphere, very flat course and great scenery. Overpriced, yes, but with the start only a mile from my house I'll definitely be back next year. Date of review: May 10, 2009
In short: I got a PB so can't and don't want to complain about any of it! In full: As far as I'm concerned it was a success and would recommend it to anyone new to running. A bit expensive compared to others but I'm local so will be back again next year. A big big thank you to all spectators and marshalls for their support on a very warm day...I hope there were no casualties! Date of review: May 10, 2009
In short: Great route, great support, superb organisation - worth driving 120 miles to do! In full: I got talked into doing this even though it is only 2 weeks since doing FLM and I'm really glad I did - excellent organisation, good route, support from crowd patchy but noisy!, excellent marshalling - thanks for the support from you all - nice medal and t-shirt. Will definitely try to do this one again. Date of review: May 10, 2009
In short: Pretty slick In full: I haven't missed any Bristol 10K or HM event since 2006, they are always well organised and this was no exception.
I have only one minor reservation - I had a white number and I tried to get to the start with a little over 10 minutes to go but there was a big slow moving queue, and that was because they were funneling people slowly and not allowing anyone but white numbers through.
A few poor people with yellow numbers queued for ages and then got turned away with almost no time left to the start - but it wasn't totally clear that they couldn't get into the event that way. It was slightly confusing. Date of review: May 10, 2009