In short: Pleasantly surprised In full: Having read about some issues last year I am pleased to say I can think of nothing to improve on this race. Interesting course with a mix of path, city centre and river. I got a PB despite being challenged by some unexpected hills in the residential part. Great supporters and marshalls, nice t-shirt, medal and bounce balls in the goody bag. Car parks within 5 minutes of start and finish and the leisure centre as HQ so you could have had shelter if it was raining. Well done Newport! Date of review: March 7, 2016
In short: Newport's back; biggger, better (and longer) In full: Few gripes last year but Course much improved; choke points mostly removed, Mile markers; clearer. Medal much better (maybe over compensating it's massive). Chaos at end not so bad although still a bit anarchic (good fun), crowd and stewards really encouraging. Such a good race this year. Date of review: March 6, 2016
In short: No great complaints but not brilliant either In full: I was a bit of a backmarker at the start and for many parts of the course, due to pinch points, it was difficult to work through the field. Should have worn trail shoes and might have coped better on the wetlands/paths/mud. Quite a boring route with too many parts on part closed roads or adjacent to busy roads e.g. M4. Plenty of water, well organised, goody bag at the end as a self assembly could have done with signing/control. Poor medal and good t-shirt Date of review: March 2, 2015
In full: Nice atmosphere, plenty of support. A good range of settings from countryside to city centre kept things interesting. Quite a few narrow points made the first few miles feel harder than they were. Lots of water at water stations - in bottles too, hoorah! T shirt included in fee so decent value. I really enjoyed the "controlled anarchy" at the end where you had to assemble your own goodie bag - more controlled than anarchy to be fair and really nice atmosphere. Thought the medal was rather "generic" no year or "Newport Half Marathon" inscribed on it, our only real gripe, and looking forward to returning. Given this is only their third year I would say well done Newport. Date of review: March 1, 2015
In short: complicated route, crowded pinch points, short course In full: Disappointed in this one. Course was twisting and turning all over the place. Though the narrow paths take you through the wetlands and some scenic places, a lot of it is through dull, rough parts. There is a lot of dodging street furniture, up and down curbs, over garage forecourt, through building site land, up down around dual carriageway slip roads, over grass, over stones, lots of cobbled areas too.
There is also dispute about the accuracy of course measurement (short).
On the plus side, parking was easy, the leisure centre was organised brilliantly, even with free showers and free refreshments. Excellent technical shirt and medal. Other give aways too.
Hard work due to the high winds but that of course is not the organisers' fault. I think they worked hard to put this on as best they could. Date of review: March 1, 2015
In short: Alleyway finish line, chaoic start too muddy in places In full: Unfortunate to put the finish line squeezed between a building and river so supporters couldn't see, a false start with 'Dr Who?' count down then a separate 'on your marks' which created a bit of fun at the start.
For a City marathon, there were too many public footpaths with small gaps to squeeze through, also a few stretches that would be more at home in a trail run and there must be ways to avoid this.
Loved the entertainment, choir, bagpipe and a trumpet player added to the occasion.
Unfortunately I wouldn't do this one again as the route wasn't closed roads as advertised, but partial closures which caused major problems getting into the City an hour before the start.
Mile signage rare, only the first water stop had any notice that it was coming, pre race only stated about every 3 miles, not sure I saw one at mile 9?
Hopefully the teething problems will sort themselves out similar to how Cardiff improved eventually after they decided to go bigger. Date of review: March 1, 2015