In short: Great scenery, hard race, poor organisation In full: I can only comment on the Wales Half Marathon, not the other events over the weekend (it was run in conjunction with a long course triathlon). It was hard race in a fantastic part of the country. Hilly, not undulating as the organisers claimed, so no good for PBs. Organisation left a lot to be desired. At the start, I collided with an official photographer who was trying to get off the course after the gun had gone. There were no mile markers at all for the half marathon, and it was confusing given that the marathon was run on a slightly different course. At the finish, there was a nasty 180 degree turn round a crash barrier to get to the finish line itself, which wasn't clear. I'd actually stopped running until a marshall came up and told me to keep going, which cost me a place in the top 10. Never mind, I found out about 5 days later when the results were published that I'd won a vets category (though the prize wasn't presented at the awards ceremony): 2 weeks later and I'm still waiting for it. Ho hum.
So if you want a better half marathon in South Wales (i.e. flat, fast and certainly better organised), run the Cardiff half in October. Date of review: June 17, 2011
In short: The weather and location made the event. In full: After twenty previous marathons, including a couple of hilly ones, this ranks as my most challenging; definitely more than 'undulating'. My first negative point would be the unreliability of the mile markers. Then, I was diappointed not to see the Half distance marked. Some of the water stations were less than organised, and it was unhelpful to be given such a large bottle of water (unopened), in Pembroke, so that I had to hand it to a spectator! Thankfully I still had a drop of my own drink left. Passing the Half Marathon runners as they made their way to the start was not as easy as it should have been, but they were encouraging when they realised what was happening. When it came to the final mile; running past the Finish area and climbing round the castle like a mountain goat, it was hard to take it seriously. Crossing the line just after 4:08 I knew that I'd had a good day...but it could have been a great day. The area and provisions in the enclosure beyond the finish line were extremely limited, but I approved of the smaller bottle size! But there were some positives. The direction signs were mainly helpful, and the marshals and volunteers were cheerful and friendly. The post-race massage was top class, and very reasonably priced. Date of review: June 12, 2011
In short: Great organisation, incredibly friendly marshals & spectators...just very hilly! In full: I loved this race. Yes, it was very hilly - not "undulating" as I was originally told - just plain hilly! But once you reach the top of the steepest hill around mile 5 it is glorious. The view totally makes up for pain of the hills. The marshals were encouraging and friendly, and the local spectators were absolutely angels. I ran into difficulty due to dehydration (the plastic cup idea is the only complaint I have) but never before have I experienced such kindness and encouragement from strangers - thank you to all the runners who stopped or slowed down to offer a bit of advice! Date of review: June 8, 2011
In short: By far the steepest hills I've ever tackled, definitely one to be proud of. In full: For my first half marathon, this was definitely a tough one, luckily I had done some hill training, but definitely not enough to properly prepare for this. I managed my target of sub two hours and the difficulty factor just makes me all the more proud. Date of review: June 7, 2011
In short: Badly organised with crazy hills In full: As a regular half marathon runner, I was finally on course to go under 2 hours on an undulating course. I managed to struggle over the finish line at 2hrs30 mins!
The organisers sent a 32 page info booklet that wouldnt download properly and had many of us totally confused.
The 2011 run was during a particularly hot weekend and we had very few water stops with them just handing out small cups and not proper bottles we could carry. There's very little support on the extremely hilly course, due to it mainly being through the countryside. The scerery is amazing and the medal and tshirts were good, but there was very little marshalling, drink stops and medics on the route, despite a hefty entrance fee.
Given the male winner finished in 1hr25 it shows how difficult the course is.
Unless you're very familiar with hill running then i would not reccomend this run. Most people i spoke to running the course hated it too.
I wont be doing it again but will instead be attempting the Cardiff Half for a good run in Wales. Date of review: June 7, 2011
In short: Hilly, hot, scenic with a demoralising finish. In full: This race is hard! After 2 miles you start the first climb which would be difficult in a car! This lasts for about 2 miles until a reprieve of beautiful scenery and some much needed downhill. In the middle are another three miles of climbing which are very tough. a reasonably tough but scenic second half overall. I can't blame the organisers but don't expect a pb. Glorious weather didn't help but again this is no fault of the organisers. The stewards out on the course were great and more plentiful than you may think, however the water stations were quite poorly thought out. 750ml bottles of water are too big and the alternative half full cups are not enough on a hot hilly marathon. The end of this marathon is slightly absurd, you pass the finishing line in the opposite direction through the hundreds of crowds thinking you've nearly finished and then get ushered around a further half a mile of 'making up the distance' route around tenby through small paths, quite demoralising to say the least! Overall the marathon is worth doing if you fancy a challenge and the scenery on the second half is amazing, I do think it could be organized a little better however and you don't get a lot for your entry fee. Date of review: June 7, 2011
In short: What a toughy, it was definitely hilly especially in first half. Definitely worth a go. In full: For all those who like a hilly marathon you have to do the Wales marathon: Tenby to Pembroke dock and back again. I knew it was meant to be hilly but crumbs.... Amazing views though, I've never experienced such breathtaking views, would definitely recommend. Very sore now! Date of review: June 7, 2011
In short: Lovely in every way, apart from the hill between 20 and 21.5 miles In full: Was having a great time in this, my first marathon, for the first 19 or so miles (my time to half way would have been a comfortable half-marathon PB), but then the sun and the big hill out of Manorbier started to opress, so I died badly at the end. Still, beautiful scenery and very friendly with better support than many less remote runs I've done. I would do it again, but I need some more practice with easier routes first! Date of review: June 6, 2011
In short: Hot, hilly and got a telling off at the registration desk. In full: Was planning on a nice scenic half on a mild day but got rather more than I'd bargained for. Firstly my friend and I were "told off" at the reception desk for missing the race briefing. Give me a break if it is well posted and well marshalled why do you need a briefing? Then at the strat line we realised the marathoners (we were doing the half) were going to have to run through us at the start. There was no lane cordoned off for the marathoners so they had to make their way through the crowd of half marathoners. Not fair! So the organisation was a bit average. The course itself was quite hilly. Made worse by the heat. More water stations were needed for such a hot day and some ice wouldn't have gone amiss. Not a pb day at all. The race has potential to be better. Date of review: June 6, 2011