In short: Horribly corporate feel. Far too expensive. In full: Easy to tell that this is an event organised by an events company for profit, rather than by runners. No real understanding of the elements that make for a good race. In fact, it is not a race; it is a mass participation event. There is no focus on the winners, the prizes or the times.
One example is the insistence that everyone runs in the official t-shirt. All this does is suck the individuality out of the race and turn it into one big advert for the sponsor. The crowd are such a big part of making the atmosphere in a race, but by uniforming the runners it makes it very hard to cheer for any individual by running club, name, charity etc since everyone looks the same.
The Great Run series is very similar in the heavy marketing budget that enables them to target far more beginners than regular runners. Encouraging newcomers to the sport is undeniably a good thing, but it's such a shame the masses are unaware that there are many smaller and better organised events organised by running clubs, which offer significantly better value for money. Date of review: October 31, 2012
In short: 2012 Race Review - They need to think about what they want this race to be In full: Firstly, I live in Greenwich so by walking to the start I was able to bypass a lot of the queuing/bag drop issues that would have affected most of the runners. Therefore I have given the low organisation mark in line with what others have been saying as it definitely sounds like work needs to be done here. I've done the Reading Half a few times which is a similar size and that seems to function quite well so maybe they need to have a look at how that works.
I like the route. It's generally wide and open and for an intermediate runner like myself quite fast - the uphill bits are in the first part of the race with the downhill where you want it most i.e. near the end! I managed to knock 3 minutes off my PB.
I think the biggest problem that RTTB has is that it is confused about it's identity. Events can be set up as serious races with well laid out courses, chip timing and efficient logistics to get runners in and out quickly. Or they can be built around the novelty/party angle with unique features that make them appeal to more than just pure runners. These may be less well organised, busier and potentially more expensive but make up for it because it is the "experience" of the whole day rather than just the run that matters.
Run to the Beat seems to be trying to do both but hasn't quite got it right. Serious runners get frustrated with the poor logistics, timing chip issues, questionable course length and high cost. At the same time the fun run element hasn't quite worked because I don't think the music is inclusive enough, plus it was so damn cold this year! Last year the event was held in September on a lovely warm day. I don't think it was any coincidence that there were less complaints!
Until they decide which option to go with: 1). Serious organised race: cheaper, better logistics, fewer runners.
2). Novelty run: more music & activities, summer.
I think this event will continue to receive dodgy reviews. Date of review: October 31, 2012
In short: C- Could do better In full: Pros - I personally like the course, not always exactly scenic but definitely interesting - I preferred it to Royal Parks which I did last year. Am from the local area which is also a bonus. Atmosphere amongst runners and supporters was very good. I got a PB!
Cons - Main con for me is my chip time was out by 20 minutes! Timed myself using GPS App from start to finish, crossed the mats, so I KNOW what time I should have got, but official time has me down 20 minutes slower. Not sure how this happened (chips mixed up?) but it makes me look like a fool or a liar, which I don't like. Especially annoying as I was really pleased with my performance on this run.
Other gripes - same as other runners. Goody bag was poor, have been on smaller runs where there were some nice freebies at the end but this was a bit rubbish. Also very crowded, almost impossible to go to the loo, baggage took a while. Mile markers were useless, I hardly saw any!
I will probably be doing this again because I like the course and it's local, but overall the organisation is much poorer than other runs I've been on, and I'll make sure I time the run again myself as they can't be trusted to get that part right... Date of review: October 30, 2012
In short: Poor value In full: Overpriced race & one i'll give a miss in future, ran Cardiff a fortnight ago & it was in a different league for value & organisation.Music was awful & not a band in sight just a repetetive electronic din, dreadfull.Quite enjoyed the course but a few of the mile markers were all over the place, two 5 mile markers 500 metres apart, what was that all about? Potentially it could be a very good race but they need to give far better value for money than this, sort out some better music & get some half tidy bands just to give the music some variety, at the finish there was some dross being blasted out f-ing & blinding, great for families waiting. Date of review: October 30, 2012
In short: Did the First, which was dire. This was confirmation. In full: My feeling after doing the first one, was that profit was being put before all else. Although I have to admit I enjoyed elements of this race, (to be specific, going sub 1.40 and a smart t-shirt)there is little to mark this race out. This has to be one of the few major events that can't be bothered to put mile markers out. For 46 squids you would expect some kind of goodiebag, although I do remember the hilarity of the comments of the first goodie bag; which contained a teabag, sample shower gel and a tonne of leaflets. This race stinks from start to finish of people who know little about running but lots about marketing and profiteering. For those reading this, look around. check out some of the smaller races. thanet coastal marathon etc. cheap as chips, seamlessly organised, goodies, amazing marshalls. However, I am local. I knew the organisation was going to be incompetent at best, so responded appropriately. I brought my bike (unlike some who were stuck at charlton wondering what happened to the bus!) Also, baggage people were lovely and marshalls en route and water station bods were all stars. (as was amazing dj on sainsburys roundabout corner (one between asda and sainsburys) your music was stunning, could have stayed there post race for the rest of day. Final note: someone mentioned inappropriate music. I am guessing this is the dj on the finishing line, playing 'fuck you, i'm going to do what i want to' surrounded by heaps of kids and young families. Date of review: October 29, 2012
In short: 2012 Review - a mixed bag... In full: Its not all bad...
PROS - very local (for me!), some nice scenery in parts, and a nice level of challenge for the beginner runner. Also, and I suspect I am in the minority, I liked the t-shirt...
CONS - pricey! No goodie bag/banana/space blanket, inexperienced marshals, poor baggage organisation and a long delay getting to the start and no text with results....oh and cups of water rather than bottles(!?!)
Ok, this event gets a lot of flak for poor organisation and not improving on previous years. Some of this beyond the organisers control, for example TFL issues, but it would help considerably if they made sure the race information gave more information about the possible delays getting there and more importantly the difficulties getting out of Greenwich....
However, there are some elements that the organisers need to get right in future. The baggage drop off / pick up in particular. The marshals seemed inexperienced and poorly briefed, but I cannot fault them on their courtesy and how they worked in really cold weather. The cups of water were bizarre and I was relieved I bought my own bottle.
For me, there were issues but you got to roll with the punches sometimes and the pros outweigh the cons, but I benefit from living very close to the start line (20mins walk) and this off-sets many of the negatives (price, baggage, transport issues) and I understand why others would give this a wide berth. I think this has the potential to be a much better event if they iron out some of the issues - but I will enter again next year.
Oh and the music is ok, but lower your expectations! Its just the occasional DJ which is cool enough but I think many were disappointed. Date of review: October 29, 2012
In short: 2012 Race - Not worth the entry fee - my local 10 miler was better organised!! In full: Expect a very long wait to get through the starting point. Nothing at all to fuel you at the end which was very disappointing considering the entry price (not even a banana). Cups of water on the route - really??? Make sure your younger supporters have ear plugs in - extremely inappropriate music. Too many men in the toilet queue who were unaware that there were urinals available due to no signage. Think again before you spend your money on this one. Date of review: October 29, 2012
In short: Review of 2012 Race - Good Race but Not Again In full: I enjoyed the 2012 race, the course and the many people who turned out to give encouragement. I did not enjoy paying £46 for the race and another £12.50 to park; getting there very early to get a race number so that I could run in my own charity shirt; and getting no goody bag (or even a banana) at the end. The blaring music was a marketing point, presumably justifying the high cost - but it was the spectators who really urged us on. They were the stars. Date of review: October 29, 2012
In short: Great route but disorganised and expensive In full: This is for the 2012 race on 28/10/2012
Pros: The route it great - interesting and the crowds are fantastic. Of course they gathered most at the music stations but there were a plenty along the streets too. The music was OK - it was live this year and there were some ethnic drummers (sorry, don't know how to describe them more than this!), not just hip hop and dance this year - although you only hear them for a minute or so! Mind you I took my iPod as the distance between music stations was a good mile or so. Good, friendly marshals along the course. I take my hats off to the team and marshals for putting up with such a difficult job and trying to be as helpful as possible given the chaotic situation! Sorry to the one I accidently threw my cup of water at!! The course is undulating with some hills but I got a PB on this so there is potential! No tube/transport issues this time and good weather – not planned by RTTB but a bonus compared to the last few year’s reviews! Getting too/from the O2 was fine – no worse than any other busy period. I liked my race tee-shirt a lot – very comfy and fine for autumn running – it will get plenty of use in the future. Sadly I could not wear my charity vest though as the number is printed on the race shirt – I saved the charity top for the journey home instead and will wear it on training runs. If you really wanted to wear your own or charity top you could queue for a traditional number bib instead on the day, but the queue for that was far too long.
Cons: Hmm where to start...! Way too overcrowded - just a sea of people before the start, signage was useless, no'one seems to know where to go. Queues were horrendous - if you want to do anything other than go to the loo and run to your pen then get there a good 2 hours early! I always felt either in a rush or lost. They seemed to have everything you’d expect from a big race in place (numbered pens, covered, secure baggage drop organised by race number, pacers, changing areas, but somehow it all seemed to be in vain. As above – if you wanted to wear your own top instead of the supplied t-shirt with the number, you needed to queue for a bib. I wouldn’t recommend that due to the long wait! If you really want to wear your own top, get there even earlier, or try to pin your charity top in a way to the race number is still visible. The race started at 9.45am and marshals kept yelling to people still in the baggage queue that they were going to be late! I was in such a rush I almost considered running with my backpack! Bottlenecks everywhere. With people from all finishing time-groups/pens getting to the pens late, I was starting the race 30 minutes after the official start with people from all finishing-time groups. Of course, it took ages to actually cross the line, so there was actually no point in rushing to drop the bags off! I missed getting anywhere near the pacer I hoped to follow (but got my target time anyway). For a price tag of £46 you would expect something decent at the end. I don’t do races just for the freebies, but after 13.1 miles you need something to eat and to keep warm and recover. I got a Powerade bottle , water and a medal at the end (nice medal by the way). But no food or goodie bag. Saved one year’s problem of people taking too many snacks I suppose. And there were no foil space blankets – which were vital on such a cold day. We were also given a silly design of timing chip which needed to be laced into the shoes (not the ones you fix with cable wire that can be easily snapped/pulled off after the race) creating more faffing at the end for runners who were too achy to bend down easily. The queue to retrieve baggage was chaos - there were about 10 queues for the different sections all muddled up and no tape/barriers to guide people into orderly lines. Plus we were very cold and shivering waiting all that time! Overall it was worth doing once for the good course, and the chance to do a big London race in front of massive crowds, but I’ll be giving it a miss next year to do the Great South Run instead. Date of review: October 29, 2012