In short: Hell is made of hills! In full: Beginners need to be aware of the hills in this, as I think quite a few people may find it very difficult as a first race. I would say four notable hills not just a mild incline, where two of them are manageable for all, one for most and one totally ridiculous. Heartbreak hill at 11.5 miles is unbelievable.
Aside from this the only other real things that could be improved would be the lining up of people and taking in more of the surrounding countryside (if possible) as part of the route.
When lining up for the horn, most people are trying to get to the front because of the time-based medals, as it is based on gun time not chip time. Luckily I wasn't one of the few people who received a bronze medal based on their gun time, but would have received silver if based on chip time. It would have really annoyed me! The route goes through all of the different estates and townships of Stoke which in parts are nice, but mostly not nice to look at, so going out in the countryside, like Stafford half marathon does, would be welcomed by most, I would imagine.
These are only minor things to help improve a decent race. There was a good amount of people for the course - not squashed like with some of the larger field races. The organisation was good and no real issues.
The major issue, I found, was with water stations, as I did not see/there was no warning of it coming up, so people had to cut each other up. Also, only 3 are advertised, which for a potentially warm June HM is a bit silly. Water stations did not seem to be where they were stated to be. This made it difficult to gauge when to pick up a drink and when not to.
Lovely supporting and cheering locals were out in force and made the run more interesting. They were giving out sweets and drinks as well.
Parking and facilities were easy to find, although the attendant in the shopping centre toilet was moaning about all these runners using the toilets continuously which I thought was unfair. People weren't causing hassle or nuisance to him and he made himself look like a miserable jobsworth.
The goody bag was brilliant - one of the best I have had, receiving a t-shirt, fancy time-based medal, commemorative plate and some food and drink. Date of review: June 28, 2015
In short: Excellent organisation. A challenging course. Loads of crowd support around the course. Medal, Tech T Shirt and Pottery plate for completing the race at a bargain price. A great city half marathon. Date of review: June 15, 2015
In short: great arf well worth doing In full: first time doing this race crowd support is second to none good route with lots of changes of direction the best half i have done. Date of review: June 15, 2015
In short: Well organised, fantastic local support, undulating with two tough hills In full: Not the most pretty of courses, but more than made up for by the enthusiasm and support of local people. Really well organised, and lovely city centre finish. Undulating throughout, there are two tough hills - one long climb early on, and "heartbreak hill" close to the finish. HH is certainly steep, but not as long as I was expecting (fortunately).
Nice touch to have different medals for different time finishes to create/reward new targets, good t-shirt and a really nice souvenir plate. Thanks to everyone involved in a fantastic event! Date of review: June 15, 2015
In short: My first Potters Arf (or any half for that matter), unlikely to be my last In full: This one is never going to get top marks for scenery but to be honest as I live in Stoke the lack of stunning vistas came as no surprise to me.
It was my first half so I did PB but the course does not really lend itself to such achievements. There are 2 notable climbs which are sapping in the extreme.
Any lost marks for scenery are readily recovered in the atmosphere section. I'd have given a 6 if allowed. I am very slow and was a late, late finisher but the noise and numbers on the final stretch were inspiring. The residents en route have clearly taken this event to their hearts and were out in their thousands offering support all along the route.
No qualms about the organisation either. I missed several mile markers but I'd imagine that was down to my inattention rather than down to any failure on the part of the organisers. Also, despite my finish after 1 o'clock there were still plenty of medals and plates around. Great (tech) tee-shirt, by the way, will be worn with pride.
Good value, again I've no issues with what I paid and what was laid on. More than fair in my view.
Not the most beginner friendly race but only because of the mountainous terrain. All other aspects seemed perfectly beginner friendly to me and I am, relatively speaking, a beginner myself. Date of review: June 10, 2014
In short: Poor organization, should contact the Chester Half to learn how to arrange a good race, In full: Traffic was all over us long before the last car, no porta loo on the route, mile markers nowhere to be seen, some of us went the wrong way and the no medal or T shirt at the finish. Date of review: June 10, 2014