In short: What a fantastic day! In full: I ran this race last year and thought then it was a great race, this year I still feel the same. Thank you EDF, Marshalls and locals / supporters. I will return next year!! Date of review: October 25, 2010
In full: Oh Dear Birmingham! Worse than last year. The only positive note is that I found some parts of the course preferable to last year, especially the run in down broad street at the end which gave you a real sense of achievement with all the crowds and the finish line looming.
Poor organisation generally this year with chaotic scenes at the start and finish have really let this race down though. (I don't need to add to what has already been said on these points)
What is really disappointing is that they don't seem to have taken on board any of the comments from last year. I didn't use the baggage this year having been put off by the experience of last year (rude unhelpful staff, long queues, runners being told in no uncertain terms that they could not stay in the building!) and it seems from the previous comments that nothing has changed.
In short: The worst organisation of any half marathon I have ever done - organisers need to do homework to make use of the city's potential In full: This was absolutely awful except for the support and some parts of the course (Canon Hill Park and see point 9)
1. Start at a time when people can get into the city by public transport
2. Use a venue that gives support for runners to be around indoors in a marshalled are at least until 30 minutes before race if holding it post September and stop the pre race stress due to bullying over the tannoy!
3. Have entrances to coloured pens which people can get into easily and are marshalled so that only people with the right colour can go through that entrance - many people were climbing over fences and could not have reached their colour zone if they had tried (many didn't try and should have been kicked out of the race for causing dangerous obstruction for almost all of the first two miles!)
4. Do not go directly into a tight lane after the start causing log jam and in effect two starts! Last year was better.
5. Good idea to have two lanes for runners - by the bull ring, that did help sort out some of the problems.
6. The signage was terrible! There were so many irrelevant signs that were distracting and I saw NONE to say where water stations were, and NO information about where it might be possible to get see point 7.
7. Make sure there are glucose drinks available on course not just loads at the end. Last year the amount of Lucozade was great and a repeat of that would have really helped - half marathons are tough enough as races even with a shot of glucose! Info about availability of sport drinks was not available in pre race info.
8. Too many twists and turns, with the sudden turn onto a hill between 10 and 11 being a cruel joke - at least use one of the noticeboards to give warning!
9. The run-in was so much better than last year and actually could be a great feature of the race if sorted properly - I finished before those who said there were significant problems.
10. The post race atmosphere was much better than last year, having a room for massage was excellent as were the people providing it.
This is not the only half marathon outside London and not the only of 4,000 in Europe. From the shambolic way it was all thrown together you would think there are none to learn from - nearby in Nottingham they have 30 years of experience to offer!
In short: Fiasco In full: Chaotic and dangerous start area, fiasco finish.......run 13 miles and then queue up for 3 minutes to cross the finish line; surly "bouncer " staff at the changing area; stand in the cold for 20 minutes to collect your medal! Goodbye forever big city races. Date of review: October 25, 2010
In short: Total shambollick Event In full: After last years event this was like the Lord Mayors Show. The start was to cramped i was running past walkers after 2 miles as they were in the wrong starting areas but the marshalls did not give a hoot. The course was to narrow for the number of runners and some runners had to run on the wrong side of the course and at one time a runner nearly hit the wheelchair entrant. Due to the narrow course the drinks stations were only on one side of the course and so this caused runners to cross infront of others.I finished in 1.50 and there was no Lucazade left. The finish was a total desaster as there were loads of people trying to cross the line. It took me 35 mins to clear the finish area and was freezing by this time. Last year as the worlds were there we will show the city off but this year we dont care. Date of review: October 25, 2010
In short: Birmingham can not get it right! In full: Start was one hour earlier than last year, so no trains or metro! Staff at NIA (baggage drop off) very rude and arrogant, constantly telling runners to get out (into freezing cold) as instructions said you should leave straight away after dropping bags off, and it was not a changing area, at one time I had three of them trying to eject me but I refused. You were not allowed to use the toilets in a venue able to support 17,500 people! You could not get to start pens through the masses of spectators, I also had to climb over barriers! Finish was better organised than last year. Date of review: October 25, 2010
In short: Disappointing In full: Having entered last year and enjoying the atmosphere I was disappointed to experience a very poorly organised run this year. The delays at the start and in particular the finish were annoying. Birmingham City Council appeared to be more concerned with re-opening the roads rather than allowing space for the competitors to move away from the finish line. We were even told by a marshall to slow down, missed out on a significat PB. Date of review: October 25, 2010
In short: Completely shambolic. I won't be back until they have proven they can get it right. In full: Getting there: I had to drive to the Race Against Climate change because the trains weren't running. Before the start: I've grown accustomed to minimal toilet facilities, so that wasn't a surprise. Looked like 30 portaloos for 15,000 people. Signposting was non-existant. I guess if you're from Birmingham you'll know where the NIA and the ICC are, but as an out-of-towner I didn't have a clue. By following others, I found the official warm-up, thinking that from there it would be easy to get to the start, and do so in time. Alas, no. Not a chance. No signs, no organisers with loudhailers, no map of the pre-start to help you out. Nothing. It was utterly, utterly shambolic. So I jumped the barriers and tried to move back through the course but couldn't, so I ended up starting way ahead of where I should have been. Apologies to anyone whose way I got in. Hopefully you understood the reason, and were happy to overtake someone! The Race: The route was pretty poor. It immediately narrowed into a single carriageway, which obviously didn't work at all. We ran through some fairly grotty derelict industrial areas. The residential areas were OK and people came out to support, which was nice. The hill in the 11th mile was tough (especially after the right-hand corner), but that aside the course wasn't a bad one in terms of terrain. They really need to mark the water stations as you had no notice of them and had to cut over if you were in the wrong place. The Finish: An absolute disaster. I got to the scrum at the finish when the clock read around 2h13m. I think I crossed the line around 2h17ish. FOUR MINUTES TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE. That is not acceptable. The people behind me must have had it worse. I can completely believe what some people were saying about it taking ten minutes. Reasons for the abysmal finish: (1) The Start was a mess so rather than spreading out, the race probably grouped together in places. (2) After the finish, we were still penned in, with no wider space to expand into. It's basic stuff. If people are running into an enclosed area and walking out, sooner or later that area is going to fill up and then overfill, so it needs to be big. (3) It was cold, so everyone wanted their foil blanket. The distribution of these was so close to the finish line that problem (2) was exacerbated. Also, there were no signs as to where these were available. (4) The Start and Finish lines were the same. I'm sure that some people can make this work. however, the two have fundamentally different requirements. For the Start, you need to be able to get people there and give them some room to get organised. For the final straight before the Finish, you want to have a load of spectators, so you need barriers enclosing the course. I've done a handful of races (mara, half, 10k) and I've not seen it done the Birmingham way before. I guess this is the reason. In summary: This race was a bit of a joke. If I had been on form and on for a PB, I would have been gutted at my official time being wrong. On the plus side, the medal is quite weighty. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the organisers were so completely inept that they actually commissioned genuine silver medals, rather than silver-coloured ones. Date of review: October 25, 2010