In short: After a while this becomes a picturesque half marathon In full: This is a very enjoyable half marathon. Apart from the first 5km set in a local Watford estate, the overall course is extremely enjoyable. It's one of the first HM of the year, which is why I have entered this race before.
I feared that the course was going to be a muddy, wet, puddled mess, but surprisingly it was set among beautiful countryside, with some hills that weren't too bad or too long. Very much appreciated the marshals on hand who supported you along the route.
My only gripe about this race is the strong 'no headphone' rule. I fully understand if there are road crossings but this is a gentle race along blocked off country lanes, so can't see what the issue is.
Also - the media is identical to that of 2014. It would be nice to look at a change of medal design for each year (just saying) Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: Enjoyable and well-organised (mostly) In full: I'll start with my only negative comment (which someone pointed out already). The layout inside race HQ tent was poor. The mud underfoot didn't help but there has to be a better way to lay out the area to allow people to move around more freely while getting prepared especially as there was quite a bit of prep to do (pick up pack, attach number and foot strap, check in bag etc). If pack had been posted then it's less of an issue. Everything else about the race was great. Pretty scenery, cheery marshalls, pacers etc. Got lucky with the weather despite initial discouraging signs. Yes there are some hills but as previously described they don't last long and in some ways keeps your interest. Thanks Watford Harriers. Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: Got to love those hills In full: Great course. 3 miles around the suburbs and then into the country lanes climbing and descending steep hills. A really challenging one this. Superb marshaling with some shouts of support. Some homes blasting out tunes.
I continue to moan about all races that don't post numbers/chips. I'd rather pay the postage than have the stress of number collection, especially when there is a car park lottery like in Watford. Having said that, it was parking and collection very easy. Parkopedia recommendation helped and we arrived earlier so plenty of spaces this year. Toilets at the leisure centre and the subway going into the town centre can help anyone avoid the queues for the portaloos at the park and are a lot more pleasant!
The start is cluttered and narrow in places (and slippery this year) so make sure you are in the correct estimated finish time (which is certainly slower than PB).
It is a very good race this one. Easy to get to and a top notch challenging course. Date of review: February 9, 2016
In short: Excellent on course organisation with excellent marshals In full: Exceptional on course organisation, loads of marshals and a great atmosphere. Yes the hills were a challenge but I found them sharp but short with some good downhills to compensate. I too found Watford quite picturesque - who knew?
Excellent value for money, medal and t-shirt as well as closed roads. Thanks to marshals and the police for supporting.
Only minor gripes were parking, the instructions weren't clear, I am not local so don't know where this roundabout to park is! So had to park in the surrounding streets! Also, I would happily pay extra for bottled water as cups for a half marathon just don't cut it.
Well done Watford harriers - great race and so lucky with the weather! Date of review: February 8, 2016
In short: Tough Hills, Great support on Course. In full: Marshalls were great. Well I am a member of the club that supplies the marshals so I could expect to get a lot of support. Not run this course on this new route but it is harder now. New hills at dead mans ash and fir tree hill as well as grove mill lane made this hard going. Possibly harder than Berko now? Would have liked something to eat (banana?) at the end after a tough run and had to settle for the burger stall. Inside the marquee was nice and the changing areas with built in heating were nice but due to the crowds and layout of the seating it was difficult to get to baggage drop off so this would benefit different layout next year. On course I started well back due (as I wanted to warm up slowly) but then found that that packs of runners had formed around the pacers making it difficult to overtake on the narrow lanes that the course is run on. Great support on course from the locals. Toilets looked back but as there was a urinal (which took some locating) I didn't have issues. Large queues noticeable. Date of review: February 8, 2016
In short: The hills are as good as they are bad In full: Did this race for the first time yesterday. Expected it to be tough because of the warnings about hills but it wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated. Yes there are some very tough uphills but there are also lots of lovely downhills.
Marshalling & cheering was fantastic - thank you to you all. Particularly liked the locals who played music for us all.
I never knew Watford was so picturesque.
If I had to choose a downside it would be the the pre-race stuff. There weren't all that many portaloos for the number of runners and to get to them & in/out of the marquee was very, very muddy & crowded - reminded me of tough mudder!
Overall though I enjoyed it & would definitely do it again. Date of review: February 8, 2016
In short: Excellent, well-organised challenge In full: This is an excellent race. The hills are numerous but none were so long as to become huge slogs like in the St Albans half. The second half of the course had some lovely sweeping descents, though still a couple of climbs, and I just found the whole race to be a pleasure and very rewarding.
The race HQ was very well-organised, and friendly, the marshals were good, and the atmosphere amongst runners was jovial.
My one gripe is that there should have been someone at the toilets directing people to toilets that were free, and signs to show people that there was a urinal.
Overall, however, this race was a brilliant way to start the year, and as you can tell, I'm still on my runner's high 24 hours later. Date of review: February 8, 2016
In short: Very enjoyable event! In full: It was my first time doing the Watford half even though I'm a local but I will def do it again. Really enjoyed the course (despite a few brutal hills) and was surprised by the number of locals cheering on from their driveways, some even playing music from their sound systems. The marshals were many and all very enthusiastic & encouraging. I was dreading picking up our race packs from HQ before the race but it was very well organised & no waiting around. Nice medal & tech t-shirt for finishing. Overall great atmosphere & very enjoyable race. Well done Watford Harriers! Date of review: February 7, 2016
In short: Lots of hills and lots of fun In full: Great organisation,good value for money, liked the vibe a lot, really up and down hills that seems like when you've had enough another hill pops up to test you once more, good for character building. Loved the loud, enthusiastic marshals, I reckon they knew what running was all about. Well done to Watford Harriers for putting on a great event that promoted the true spirit of running. Will come again and I knew it was a bit hilly but that's the challenge that makes it more rewarding. Date of review: February 7, 2016
In short: Expected hills, underestimated hills! In full: This is seriously challenging, never had so many long steep hills in a race before! I can't fault the organisation and plentiful positive marshals, inside the HQ was amongst the most efficient and friendliest atmosphere I've experienced from organisers and fellow runners alike. But I can't say I enjoyed it due to the toughness of the course, and would have liked another water stop. Date of review: February 7, 2016