In short: Great experience for my second HM! In full: good organisation, c.2000, lovely people to run with! Echo points made on muddy HQ , I went so far as to spend 40 mins walking a back to my car to change socks and shoes. Ended up having a v brief warm up which I regretted at mile 11 with cramping legs - self inflicted I know. Would love to have had bottle water and would pay extra, 3 half cups didn't cut it. Would buy a small camel back for the next time. Thanks to the spectators and fellow runner encouraging me to drag my carcass up the final hill !
Race announcer's stand up routine raised a pre-race smile.
Only my second HM though I preferred Watford to Luton HM (even though Luton had the bottled water!!).
In short: Great atmosphere but challenging hills In full: This is a lovely scenic course, once you get out of the housing estate, with fantastic marshals all along the route and some supportive locals too. There's a friendly atmosphere among the runners despite it being quite a clubby event, and the bag drop off and pick up was friendly and quick. I liked the t-shirt at the end. On the negative side: as others have said, I would much rather pay an extra £1 and have packs sent out beforehand. I wore my road shoes and they ended up the muddiest they've been this year, not from the actual course but from sludging about in and around the tent before and after. Number pick up didn't take too long, although there was a long queue, but it was another thing to worry about before the race. Similarly the queue for the portaloos moved quickly. I hung back a bit at the start as I didn't want to go off too fast, but then regretted it as the first mile was congested. So I would advise starting ahead of your predicted finish time. And the hills! They weren't as steep as at Berkhamsted but there were an awful lot of them. Not one for a pb in my opinion. Overall, I think Watford Harriers put on an excellent race, a good one to do as part of Spring marathon training. Date of review: February 10, 2016
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