In short: Killer! In full: This was my first half marathon in preparation for this years London marathon, not the best training run I could have chosen! I was that person at the back and I was in trouble. If it hadn't been for a fabulous chap who caught me up, I'd probably still be out there now! For the sake of repeating everyone else, the water situation was shocking!
The initial information (for what there was of it) led me to believe that all sorts of abilities were catered for. Sadly this wasn't the case.....and don't get me started on the sour faced marshals!!? Date of review: March 12, 2012
In short: Undulating, dehyradated farce. In full: This was a ridiculously tough undulating course. The worst part was the additional one and a half miles, which was quite demoralising. The only thing keeping me jogging on at points was the thought of the final drinks station on the last killer hill, but when I reached it someone was washing their face in it and drinking cups had gone. The massive number of races makes me think the organisers got a little greedy here. I did get a t-shirt which I had forgotten about, but with naked strength on it, I might risk being mistaken for an activist naturist. The stewards were worse than useless I'm afraid, with barely a word of encouragement. Not sure how a medical emergency would have been dealt with, as parts of the course were a long way from support. Strangely I think would consider doing it again, but with my own drinks/food supply and less expectation of it being an actual half marathon. If this was your first race, don't be put off. Lots of people walked much of it, me included. Date of review: March 12, 2012
In short: badly organised In full: I did the half marathon, some advice, do not attempt this if you have not done this distance before, as i hadnt. badly organised, no signage on any roads, anywhere. got lost looking for the car park. got mini bus ok getting to the venue but vague return instructions - we were told we had to turn right out of the venue and then wait for the minibus down the road. when we managed to flag a minibus down we were asked why were we going that way? Most questions seem to be met with 'urrrm, not sure'. considering this was a festval of running and there were so many events, there not many stalls or facilities - nothing to interest anyones 'support crew'. really large queue at registration. At the very least there were good toilets thanks to the fact that it was held in a campsite. The goody bags werent - in mine i got a cereal bar and a load of adverts - waste of a plastic bag if you ask me, no medal, nothing, i know collecting medals itsnt the be all and end all but something to mark the fact that you had finished would be nice. I wasnt the last across the line, there were 7 people behind me, but when i got there i got given only a plastic cup of water (not even a bottle), and all the medal giving had finished (apart from the 50k runners) I felt that this was a clicky event, for serious runners only and you were made to think that those at the back werent worth the bother. Not enough water stations given the heat. marshalls not close enough together - at one point i was slogging my way across a long section, all by myself and could only just make out a yellow jacket in the distance. not enough signage, no distance markers either. Didnt seem to be any back runners, just a guy on a bike going round afterwards picking up what signs there were - could have been someone at the back in trouble, maybe gotten lost, and no-one would have known. wouldnt do this again unless they get their act together. Date of review: March 12, 2012
In short: Missed Opportunity In full: Originally booked for the 10K in October with a few other running pals. Unfortunately due to the time change after it wasn't possible to do the 10k for me as my son and partner upgraded to half marathon and the times were just not feasible. 3 of the 8 of us who entered had to pull out because of the time change and originally for Help for Heros? This was my sons first half marathon and his girlfriends second one, and I really hope they are not put off. The long walk to the start the lack of route map and water big issue, 2 very disheartened runners who didn't expect to be running the additional distance. I hear the 10k was very successful, maybe too many events on the same day?
In short: Poor organisation In full: To sum this up I would say the organisation seemed to be lacking in a few areas - I ran the 20 mile route (which was further than 20 miles), there was not enough water on the course available. There was not an advertised place to wait for the bus back to the car park and as such was just a free for all when the bus turned up. Coming into the finish at the end of a long hot run you had to dodge cars and spectators who had little consideration for keeping a route clear so runners could finish. Date of review: March 12, 2012
In short: Lovely scenery but miserable marshals and not enough water In full: I did the 20 miles, 2 laps of a scenic albeit undulating course. The water stations were in very odd locations - 2, 9, 12 and 19 miles - it was nice to have a drink at 19 miles but a water station between 12 and 19 miles would have been nice, especially on such a warm day and when many runners doing to longer distance want to take a gel which requires water. The marshals were terrible - they did not smile or shout any encouragement and the ones at the water stations weren't ready to hand out water and seem somewhat surprised when you stopped running and asked for some water!! The organiser on the bike was an exception to this as he was very friendly and encouraging. It would have been useful to have some more information about the race at the start and on the website - when I asked if there was a map of the course available I was told that there was only one which they couldn't find. Perhaps a bit ambitious to try and organise 5/6 races on the same day - hopefully the organisers will learn from their experiences and next year will be better organised. Date of review: March 12, 2012
In short: Probably the worst race I have ever done... In full: I ran the 'half-marathon' route although I measured it at 14.16miles (Garmin 305). I am aware that there was a change of route as an area of the course flooded earlier in the week, but I think this is a fundamental part of any race. I think it is disrespectful to racers to get the distance wrong by such a margin. The 15-min walk to get to the start (it just seemed to be an arbitrary point at the top of a hill) was farcical.
The course itself was extremely undulating; I don't think this was clear enough from the race advertisements.
I know this was the first time this event had been run but I won't be attending in the future to see if they can improve it. Date of review: March 12, 2012
In short: Beautiful scenery but terrible organisation. Wouldn't do another race organised by them. In full: I originally signed up for a 10k in October which was cancelled. I was offered an upgrade to the half marathon for this weekend, with onsite parking and a free t-shirt, which I accepted.
I hadn't had any information about the race, and despite emailing I couldn't find anything on their site about water stations, distance markers or the route, so had to go by the scanty info they did provide, and turned up on the day.
They had no record of my agreed t-shirt at registration (despite an earlier email saying it was all sorted) but did give one to me - although I'm very pleased I didn't actually pay for one since I don't think I'll ever wear it.
The start was a farce, with a 15 minute walk along the road - disrupting traffic, and with no one making sure that the 20 mile runners who were coming through could actually pass - once we realised this was happening we tried to stay out of their way!
The course itself was beautiful - courtesy of the new forest! - but the marshals were the most bored and unmotivated bunch I've ever come across, with the exception of one young lad at a gate near the end of the lap, who I think was the only one who spoke! The water situation has already been written about, but I can't believe they knew about it from earlier and hadn't bothered to do anything about it.
At the finish there was one little cup of water given out, and the implication seemed to be that you should then buy drinks from one of the vendors, as I was given a look for going back to refill my cup.
Finally, the run in to the finish came through the entrance road to the pub, and when we were trying to leave to get home there were still runners trying to finish, with no one directing the traffic to allow them to get down the road - hopeless!
My husband came along to watch with our two small children, but because the start was delayed, and the course was longer than advertised they had a much longer wait than we had bargained for - oh, and no one knew that the two-lap course was going right past the entrance to the campsite so they didn't know to come out and cheer us on as we passed through.
I know this is a long review, but I have done some fantastic races, and this just wasn't one of them. It seemed as though they had no idea of how to organise events, and would have been more suited to sticking with maybe a 5 and 10k and leaving the longer distances to someone more experienced. Date of review: March 12, 2012
In short: Some teething issues but great potential for next year In full: A real challenge to stage an event this complex for the first time. Bad points. Not enough people on registration, I measured the half marathon at 14.2miles!!! Poor water supplies that ran out on a hot challenging day. Hilly and testing route. No medal! Weak goody bags Good points. Venue facilities were good atmosphere good. Great scenery . Hilly and testing route! With improvements this could be a great event next year. I suspect the organisers need to charge more to make it work. Will do it again though Date of review: March 11, 2012
In short: New Forest 20 mile - Terrible organisation particularly with water stops In full: Where do I start. Delayed start because our "race leader" was currently out on the course because he was also the medic !. No announcement or display of number of water stations. Only 2 water stations on each lap, one at about 3 miles and the next at about 10. I was a sub 3 hour 20 mile finisher but by the time I reached the 2nd water station on the first stop they had run out of cups and were fishing the used ones off the ground and swilling them out in the drinking water. Mine tasted as though it had been in soapy liquid so I had to spit it straight out. Very unhygienic and bear in mind this was before the half marathon had even started. Also at 9am inadequate mini bus turned up for transfer to the start and asked for as many people to cram on as possible and announced they would be back in 10 mins. With the length of the queue I thought that we wouldn't all make the start time so I made my own way there and took some others. The 20 mile course was hilly, not undulating and was half a mile longer than advertised. Also after completing one lap I had to weave between the half marathon runners who were spread right across the road walking to the start and I nearly got caught between 2 cars. Beautiful scenery and I didn't mind the hills and the other runners were very friendly but I would not run an event again organized by these people only because of the terrible and very unhygienic water situation. Date of review: March 11, 2012