In short: The delay at the start ruined it. In full: It wasn't the organisers' fault that there was an October heatwave, nor that lots of runners were delayed in traffic (although I managed to get there from London on time). However the decision to delay the start at the very last minute was frankly irresponsible. In the 30 minutes spent frying with all the other poor souls who had made it on time, I drank all the liquid I had with me and felt ready to drop before I'd even started. As a result of overloading with liquid I also needed a pee as soon as I was able to. The delay also meant that we were running in a very exposed part of the course during the hottest part of the day. This was my ninth half marathon and I've never stopped once until this one - simply because I was over-heating. It's also the only half I've not enjoyed. I take pride in running the full 13.1 miles and I'm pretty sure I'd have been ok without the unnecessary sunstroke session. People shouldn't complain about hills - if you aren't fit enough to run one of these things you shouldn't enter. Or if you need a flat course enter a flat race. Date of review: November 18, 2012
In short: Great Course need to work on organisation In full: Really enjoyed the race itself, picturesque for a charity road race and some good views of the palace and grounds. Quite challenging for a charity race.
the 2 announcers need to be coordinated. one saying get to the start, the other saying start delayed. With the heat needed to say how long it would be delayed for so that people could get into shade. Also was describing which pen to get in by the way he was faced (towards the palace) and not the way we were coming in (away from the palace) so left & rights were round the wrong way.
Toilets need to be better signed, particularly the ones in the palace itself. Date of review: October 20, 2011
In short: great grounds, challenging route, but enjoyed it In full: Great surroundings for the run, lots of encouragement for the runners. Not sure the Km markers were accurate. Very hot day but good run none the less Date of review: October 13, 2011
In short: Beautiful setting slightly let down by some poor planning In full: Positive sides: 1. Beautiful park setting. Very enjoyable on the run. 2. Good family atmosphere. The 2km fun run is more family friendly for members with no training. -------------------------------------
Down sides that need to improve...
1. More toilets were needed. 2. Awful medal. Half marathon and Fun run share the same design, no date on the medal either. 3. Delay meant that we were cooked for 20 minutes (on concrete!) before the race started . 4. (Some of the)Staff need to be more friendly. The woman who was guarding the race entrance seemed deaf to my question "Is there any toilet inside?" Come on woman! You were not even busy! Stop chatting while at work! Date of review: October 9, 2011
In short: Needs a Running Club to organise it. 20 minute delay in full sun was not acceptable In full: Budget medal & pointless goody bag, sum up most runners feelings, notwithstanding that we do not do it for these reasons. Bearing in mind that the race booklet said that if you turned up late you would be allowed to still "start up to 10.40" Why did we have to stand 20 minutes in blazing sunshine. This is criminal. This race needs organising by a Running Club as the Cardiff ½ (Another, even larger, charity race) eventually was. Description as "flat & undulating" violated the trade descriptions act. 2 water stations within a few hundred meters of each other, after 4 miles without one, was also "cruelty to runners" and could have had serious consquences in that heat. This race has potential but someone must take a grip and bring it up to Gold BARR standard. Date of review: October 7, 2011
In short: Good but could do with improvements In full: There appeared to be a great deal of confusion at the event. On arriving at Blenheim (on foot) we found it difficult obtain any information and direction from the marshalls - not even knowing where the start line was.
The marshalls were reasonably good & the show ws a nice touch on such a hot day. However the marshalls didn't seem over enamoured towards the later stages in the race and infact at one point a rather large volunteer was happily blocking half of the pathway & smoking a large cigarette exhaling directly into the path of the runners. A number of people around me seemed to be equally afronted at his behaviour.
I was very disappointed at the medal - which was a generic BHF medal I would expect from any 10k run. I thought that they should at least have made an effort to mark the race.
In short: They tried hard In full: Parking organisation hard obviously gone wrong early morning, and they struggled to get everybody in. This led to a 20 minute delay to the start, during which all the runners were left standing in the increasing heat. The announcer on the PA should have had better information - he didn't even know how far the half-marathon distance was. The course was certainly more undulating than flat/undulating - if there were any flat parts I don't remember them! The course was in general well-marked, although the split for 1st/2nd lap could have been better. There were plenty of marshals but none of them seemed to have any information, or be at all interested in the race they were marshalling. I assume they were BHF volunteers rather than running volunteers. Gels at the 8km water station were good, although the marshal who I was about to grab a bottle from suddenly bent down to get a gel for somebody else, and he was the last marshal so I had to double back to grab water - a bit amateur. There was also then a big gap in water stations between about 12km and then one at about 16km and another just after that, at what was a pretty hot time of day. The shower at 17km was nice. The last 2 km was tough - 1km downhill, and 1km uphill to the line. The finish time display seemed to be lagging about 20 seconds behind the chip time. I started pretty close to the front - probably only 2-3 seconds from the gun but my chip time was 14 seconds slower than the gun time showing on the screen, which was a bit odd. Finally the medal and goody bag were a total letdown. The medal was the worst I've ever received, and the goody bag was a cheap chocolate and some shampoo samples, what a waste of time. Date of review: October 5, 2011
In short: I recorded a PB - It was my first race! In full: (This is copied from Begineer forum) Hi, well I certainly picked a freak week for my first event, having booked a 10k taking place in October I was expecting a nice cool autumn day .... well, barring snow I couldn't have got it more wrong!
My story is in an earlier message, but having only started running in June and a foot problem hampering training I went into this 10k never having run more than 5k. However, I had my 10yr old son for company, a very fit Banbury Harrier junior, but also never having run this distance.
So we got to Blenheim early, with wife and son no. 2 in support and my Sister and a friend also running, had a good look around which was handy as we found the 'proper' toilets in the courtyard which saved a long queue for the portaloos (quite handy as we were drinking loads and suffering the obvious consequencies).
We hung back at the start, Sis went off ahead keeping her own pace as she's got a marathon to do next week (mad!) and Charlie (the boy) and me hung back and enjoyed a very steady pace which was just as well as the course soon commenced a climb which seemed to go on forever. We kept plodding on, fortunately with a water bottle each as it was officially 'Stupid Hot', we'd heard on the PA there was water every 2k, which wasn't the case. But, we kept on plodding up, and up, asked a couple of marshalls where the water was, and it always seemed to be "not far now", eventually we could see a red gazebo on top of another hill at about 5k, but couldn't believe it when it was empty, being told the water is in another 1k. At this point my body cried enough, and we walked the loop, which took us 1k back to the point where the chap said the water was 1k away - but he was right, water had arrived!! So we grabbed a bottle each, drank half and ran on, only to see more water about 600m away, so we poured what we had over our heads and carried on, picking up more of the precious liquid further on.
Shortly after this, around 7k, Charlie (still a 10 year old!) asked if he could kick on and left me standing as he shot off into the distance - I can still hear people moaning about being overtaken by a child. We were getting near the car park and house by this time and starting getting some speactators, who's encouragement really helped, so I kept on plodding, finding wife and Son 2 just before the finish barriers and then it was head down and go to the end.
So, to the point of this beginners tale, Charlie clocked 1:10.20 and me, 1:14.47. Can't quite understand how the winner managed 38mins, but I was chuffed to get the end without the need for an ambulance and walked away ready for 'a cold one' and looking forward to training to get the time down to 1 hour.
Finally, Charlie took 4 minutes off me in 3k, and so could easily have beaten his time, so whilst I'm pretty sure 10k times for 10 year olds aren't officially recorded, I'd love to know how this compares with any others known about?
In short: Lessons to be learnt, will be a great half marathon In full: Lots of confusion with information boards about what route your taking, especially with a board near finish line, that had a turn open but it wasn't part of the course, some runners turned right - wrong way. Also just have one line for start and finish, not 2 20 metres apart. Date of review: October 3, 2011