In short: Cold and wet but I think I enjoyed it! In full: This was my first half marathon and it was definitely a challenging course. Shame about the weather as I think the views would have been really motivational. Still finished 5 minutes faster than I predicted. Thought collecting numbers and chips on the day was going to be chaotic but was very impressed with how smooth the organisation was. But why does the T shirt say 2009? I wasn't affected by the headphones saga as I never wear them, but do think the information could have been in the instruction sheet sent out before the event. A big thankyou to the very friendly marshalls who could still cheer me on after standing in the cold and wet for over 2 hours. You probably deserve the medals more than us runners! Date of review: December 5, 2008
In short: Toughest conditions I have ever run in, but the scenery and friendsly faces were worth it!r In full: The weather was bitterly cold and even two layers of clothing did not help much! Still it was enough motivation to keep going in the (vain) hope of warming up. Struggled with a painful hip and knee from mile 3 so ended up 6 minutes outside my PB. The course is challenging with a few hills but will definitely return. The scenery is beautiful and a special thanks to the marshalls who braved the cold! The New Forest ponies were a special treat, couldn't keep up with them! Travelled to Downton on my own and found everyone very friendly. Even made a few friends along the route and enjoyed a chat over a warm cup of coffee and bun after the race. Showers at the leisure centre were not great though... Other than that, hope to return next year. Date of review: December 4, 2008
In short: Still my favourite, despite one or two minor issues In full: This is comfortably my favourite half marathon for the simple reason that it boasts the best scenery I have ever seen in a race and the nice touches (a cup of tea and a bun at the end, and that's on top of the t-shirt and medal).
I was intent on just enjoying the event as much as possible this year instead of worrying about my time, but I know people who have managed a PB here so there is some potential.
I was a bit bemused by the fact that the t-shirt says 2009, does this mean I can regale my friends with stories of time travel? Will next year's have 2008 on it? I was also a tad disappointed that they had run out of the large sizes, surely there can't be that many runners needing a large?
Not sure what all the fuss is about with people being disqualified for wearing headphones, the rules expressly state this is forbidden which is quite normal from my experience, not to mention dangerous if the roads are not closed to traffic.
Wonderfully friendly marshals, thanks to all of you for braving the elements, especially the young lady at mile 10 who cheered me on just as I was starting to feel the chill!
One small quibble would be that a loud-hailer is needed for the pre-race briefing as I couldn't hear a thing and the crowd wasn't that big.
No reflection on the event, but do all the idiots decamp to Downton on the day of the race? A few drivers gave me some rude gestures, and I know some of the locals abused several of the runners last year. There are some sad people out there aren't there?
That notwithstanding, I plan to return and return. Date of review: December 3, 2008
In short: Challenging! In full: I enjoyed this race and even achieved a PB! I would recommend taking it easy on the first half as it is very hilly - I went off to fast and never really felt totally comfortable. Overall a testing course but certainly one not to be missed! Date of review: December 1, 2008
In short: Challenging and well organised half marathon In full: Stood in the cold before the start realising that we are all mad, still a friendly group of runners and an interesting and challenging course soon took my mind off the freezing rain.Appeared well organised but could not hear the warnings on IPODs at the start so was supprised to check the results and see people DQed for using them, shame.I will be back next year. Date of review: December 1, 2008
In short: Lonely race could do with headphones for company In full: Seemed a lot of opposition with the rule no headphones or you will be disqualified, and some were. The course had many marshals and they were needed but could have done with some near the end by the bridge where the cars were attacking the runners, I am surprised no one was injured. I fully understand the reasons for safety but this was not made that adequately clear and the start brief was a complete waste of time because you couldn’t hear anything. No one new where the start was I even passed it and didn’t see it, maybe that’s why people complained hence my comment lonely race could do with headphones for company Date of review: December 1, 2008
In short: Excellent scenery despite the weather! In full: Really enjoyable despite the rain and cold. Good organisation and a wonderful setting once you got into the Forest. Date of review: December 1, 2008
In short: A really cold start, the rain then came with a particularly aggressive wind, this made going quite tough, but I didn't allow this is dampen my spirits. The hills were steeper than I remembered from driving the course, but with keen spirit kept going In full: A really cold start, the rain then came with a particularly aggressive wind, this made going quite tough, but I didn't allow this is dampen my spirits. The hills were steeper than I remembered from driving the course, but with keen spirit kept going up all of them. Tea and hot cross bun after was a lovely touch, waiting in line for the tea was tough when we were all so cold. Showers at the Leisure Centre were cold which didn't help to defrost the outer extremeties but cleaned all of the mud off! Would definitely run this again, but hope for slightly better weather. Date of review: December 1, 2008