In short: Excellent course, very flat, great for 1st timers (like me!) In full: The course ends in the Milton Keynes Stadium which is a great finish! The start however was a complete shambles! There didn't seem to be any marshalls even directing people to the start so runners and spectators were clambering over verges and breaking barriers to get through. Perhaps because the weather was so poor there was also a lack of marshalling on route. That said the en-route entertainment still turned out and lots of local supporters also lined the route which was outstanding and really helped me round. Date of review: October 25, 2012
In short: Some teething problems, but very good race. Nice job organisers In full: Starting a race is never goign to be easy. This year there were some major issues, which mainly revolved around awful weather, leading to hypothermia at the end of a few people! Saying that though the course is mostly straight (not too twisty), and surprisingly pretty. The underpasses do get to you after a bit (they are hard come 20 miles), but it isn't the end of the world.
Comes with a positive review from me therefore. Not a dream race (Boston, London), but you coudl do a lot worse! Date of review: September 3, 2012
In short: Really enjoyable first marathon. In full: I really, really enjoyed the race. The weather was absolutely crazy, and at one point I ran through a puddle to discover in the middle it was as high as my knee! Completely out of control of the organisers though!
Good points: 1) This will make for a beautiful course in good weather as we ran round several lakes, cycle paths and along the outskirts of nice estates. 2) Nutrition and drinks stations positioned frequently and in all the right places. 3) Support was excellent despite the poor weather.
Points to consider for next year: 1) Minimal toilets around the course. I was desperate at about 6.5 miles and managed to hang on until mile 10 where I queued 10 mins for a portaloo. (I was worried I would have sunk in the mud if I had squatted behind a bush!) 2) Allegedly some spectators had to help unload the baggage lorry upon finishing. 3) I wasn't really sure where the finish was, and found out later that several people had stopped too early, when they first entered the stadium. 4) Unsure if I could have parked without paying, as nobody checked my booking when I arrived...?! Date of review: June 26, 2012
In short: Great Race in Challenging Conditions In full: I think the weather was a challenge, but I actually enjoyed running in the rain. It would have been much worse for me if the sun had been out and dehydrating temperatures.
The water, lucozade and gels were also perfectly timed (at london it feels they are too often so you forget to take them) at just the right points in the race.
I've done quite a few marathons now and I've only had a space blanket at London, so I didn't expect to have one at the finish. I was quite impressed with the goody bag, but was more happy to have finished.
I was towards the front so was lucky enough to have a lead bike, (this wasn't just for the leader - the first few got them) which was a great help.
Marshalls were great and lots of supporters took refuge under the underpasses. The course profile did show the hill up to the centre, but I thought the way the course navigated it was superb and allowed for a fast downhill finish.
Looking forward to doing this race again.. Date of review: June 22, 2012
In short: Congratulations on putting on an excellent race In full: Congratulations on putting on an excellent race despite the most horrendous weather. I really enjoyed the day. The organisation, marshals and feed stations were all good. I loved the course as it didn't have any mind numbing long straights.
Stadium finish was great and a real plus that my fan base could follow me round the course and see me finish.
Well done all...can't wait for 2013... Date of review: May 22, 2012
In short: Weather couldn't be helped, thank you to the course marshalls In full: As others have said this was not a flat course too many short sharp inclines and turns. Weather was atrocious and large parts of course flooded, meaning you then had to run on slippery grass/mud - I know not the organisers fault. Start area was nice and wide but went onto the redways to soon which in turn caused congestion. Hats off to all the volunteers around the course and local residents out giving support. Was it me? but there didn't seem to be any medical resources around the course i.e. St Johns / 1st Aiders. The finish area what an anti-climax that was, "an electric atmosphere at the finish" is how the official site was describing it pre-race. Would have been nice to actualy have known where the finish was! Goodybag was rubbish and baggage retrieval was an absolute joke even not taking into account the horrendous weather, no good having 1000+ bags on each truck and 1or 2 people trying to hand them out.
Then I get an e-mail 2 days ago asking to me to give feedback - sorry 5 or 6 tick boxes do not constitute feedback. Hopefully the organisers will read all the reviews on this site and take onboard the comments, then I may do it again in 2014 after reading reviews for 2013! Date of review: May 11, 2012
In short: Terrible conditions, great support, ordinary organisation In full: Undoubtedly, the marshalling on the course and general support was absolutely fantastic. A huge thank you to those that gave up their time to help, a truly unbelieveable effort in biblical rain and cold wind.
The course was perhaps more undulating then the organisers suggested (mainly due to the underpasses and the surprise hill at mile 24 - thanks guys!). Underpasses also meant some sharp 90 degree turns.
The need to adapt the course, which increased the distance by 0.23 miles, was unsurprising given the widespread flooding, but still not sure why they couldn't have moved the start line, or perhaps adjusted our finish times to compensate - after all, a marathon is meant to be 26.2 miles - I guess that technically means we all ran an ultra instead!!
The finish in the stadium was oddly underwhelming - no big finish marking - nearly stopped in the wrong place!
Goodie bag was really disappointing - where was the mars bar or fruit? No t-shirt? For the money it did seem pretty light. Also, would have been nice to have awarded people their medals rather than being in plastic bag in the goodie bag (small point, but for some, particularly those completing their first marathon, it might have been a bit of a shame).
Worst thing, and certainly the most dangerous, was the queue for our bags (and dry clothes) after the finish. Standing in the driving rain and wind for half an hour with nothing worth eating in the goodie bag and no foil blanket was excruitiating. I didn't stop shaking with cold for at least an hour after the race.
Car park was flooded, but stewards on hand to push me in and then out (big thank you to those guys) and the bus was on time for me both going and coming back, but I've heard stories from others that they had very long waits.
All in all, unbelievable support and marshalling (thanks again), very unfortunate weather, I'm sure next year will be better, but I certainly won't be risking it again. Date of review: May 10, 2012