In short: This is becoming a fixture in my calendar. Love it! In full: My main question this year is: where did the hills go? It definitely didn't seem as tough as last year!
Bizarrly I was on target for a PB during the first 10, uphill, miles and the downhill chute into Bearstead. But somehow I lost that time over the final 2 miles when my legs decided they'd had enough. Still, I was exstatic and amazed to limp over the line and find I'd taken 4 minutes off last year's time.
This is a great race that has become a firm favourite in my calendar - especially that we now have chip timing!
And last but definitely not least - I love the great quality medal. A distinct improvement on 2009.
Thank you Maidstone Harriers. Date of review: November 16, 2010
In short: My first Half Marathon. I did it by myself. Just followed the crowd really. Some of the other racers/beginners were very friendly and the marshals were VERY encouraging. Beautiful scenery too Date of review: November 3, 2010
In short: a great race with a few ups and downs In full: this is a fantastic race with quite a few ups and downs , but still a manageable course, plenty of friendly marshall and spectators all round the course , pilgrims way is very scenic , and the anniversary medal was a nice touch, thanks for a great race maidstone harriers, look forward to next years race Date of review: October 22, 2010
In short: Hilly but with PB potential In full: I thought this race was fairly hilly. At least as much so as this years Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon, but no where near as harsh as the revised route of the 2010 Dartford Half Marathon.
No real issues getting to the event. I followed directions from the race day instructions by car without any problems.
All in all a good race day atmosphere in perfect calm but cool conditions. Nice anniversary medal to remember the day. Date of review: October 19, 2010
In short: Great, many thanks, not that hilly In full: Thanks to Maidstone Harriers for organising this event, the marshals, people manning the water stations and others there on the day who made this, for me, a very good race. Marshals were plentiful and supportive. Other support was variable but much appreciated.
The weather was cool, dry and still. Conditions underfoot were dry, pretty much a perfect day for a race I would guess.
I don't think this is a hilly race, certainly not compared with Tunbridge Wells or Hastings half-marathons. None of the hills were really steep; even Canterbury and Dartford half-marathons have at least one hill which I thought was quite a bit steeper than anything on this half-marathon.
Because the hills are quite moderate, I think this is a great race for a first half-marathon.
The scenery was mixed. Approximately half of the route was fairly urban, and half fairly rural (and beautiful). I had no particular difficulty overtaking even on the urban bits, and certainly others seemed to have no difficulty overtaking me, but maybe I was just lucky. I didn't find the traffic too much to worry about, but I guess others may do.
For people who like such information, my Garmin made the race 21.05km and the gross climb 170m, compared to 131m on the website. Both these numbers seem within the normal range for Garmin error.
The school hall was a nice place to wait on a cool day. It had a running shop which I found very useful. Outside a burger bar was doing brisk trade This was great feature, and very useful afterwards as a source of protein to top-up with. Fortunately I had remembered to bring some money.
As others have commented there was indeed no food at the end, other than that from the burger bar. There was water, however. I would have preferred small bottles from the water stations to the plastic cups provided, but I guess that proves I'm not a proper runner yet. There was no T-shirt, but there was chip timing, which I prefer if costs are to be kept low. I thought the medal was fine; it was specific to the year; not all are.
One point may help future racers who use SatNav to get there. When given ME14 5DT, which is the school's postcode, my SatNav took us to Lombardy Drive Thus is very close to the school, but apparently separated from it by a dead end so we had to drive back to the main road and rouns via the A20. We did not seem to be the only people who made this mistake. The instructions were very clear and correct I think; however they seemed addressed at those approaching from the M20, which we were not.
We arrived early so got into the school car park. Others clearly had problems parking in time and clearly instructions on this would help next year.
In short: Usual great race In full: My 4th year in a row with this one - a firm favourite on my running calendar. Usually part of an autumn marathon training plan - lack of marathon this year explained my slower time than usual. Always well organised and usually medal / goody bag very generous. Obviously times are harder all round at present.
My only gripe this year was the car parking. I got there 50 mins before race time and was directed to the public car park. There was a single pay machine with a 30 min queue as you had to enter car registration on your ticket. Many people must have had a late start - I certainly had an impromtu warm up jog to the start. Most frustratingly there were loads of empty spaces at the school.
However, love this race, especially the 2nd half and will certainly be up for it next year. Thanks again Maidstone Harriers! Date of review: October 18, 2010
In short: If you Love a challenge but want to walk the next day this is the one for you ! In full: Very good well organised race which although taking in a busy road went well so no issues from me. Marshalls were many and all had a smile and words of encouragement to spur you on. Could have done with 1 more water stop through the course but that is being picky. I had read alot about the hills from previous reviews in other years so had put in extra repeats through training, but to be fair there was only 1 that was significantly challenging, with the added horror of a straight down the other side element as well at what seemed an even steeper angle, but all in I will definately be signing to do this one next year. The walk back to the race HQ was great for the warm down and meant not having to worry with laps of the car on return. Well done to all involved in organising this Date of review: October 18, 2010