In short: Not as bad as people are saying In full: All races have issues, and this was no exception. Saying that, we had no issues with the parking or the buses (used to getting everywhere early) and the goody bag was no worse than others....you do have to wonder why bother with the Lea and Perrins though? After recently running the Great North Run and absolutely hating it....this wasn't too bad at all. Few improvements needed especially in number of toilets at the beginning and starting the race 20 minutes late on quite a chilly day after we had all assembled. Date of review: October 15, 2014
In short: Potentially great but marred by very poor organisation In full: The organisers arranged a park and ride two miles away from the start and finish location. They did nothing else to help people get there - no extra public transport, no trains at all. Inevitably huge queues for the P&R created delays of up to 90 minutes and there were a lot of disgruntled runners, including myself. Date of review: October 15, 2014
In short: Flat and fast but not very scenic in parts In full: Disappointed to be standing around at the start for an extra 20 mins due to problems with the park & ride, I later found out (could not hear announcements as speaker was too far away!). Overall a good race but route narrow in parts so difficult to get past runners. It's getting better so will probably come back next year. Date of review: October 14, 2014
In short: Enjoyable race that needs fine tuning In full: Everything that needs to be said about the park and ride has been said. Personally, i think that the Kassam is a logistically a crap place to start and end a race from. For a city, such as Oxford that is well-served for public transport, it's a definite black-spot. I would urge the organisers to look at start/finish in the city and encouraging runners to use one of the excellent 5 existing P&R that have ample well signed parking. For me the marshalling was ok, definitely got better as the race went on - i remember thinking during the early stages that some of them seemed to not really care about what was going on. Loved the route along Iffley road,the meadows and the Thames Path (which was a tight squeeze at times) but added to the camaraderie. I'm not a fan of headphones during races, i think it's anti-social more than anything, and I think it should be actively discouraged (in bold caps, underlined). Lastly, I really hope that people can see past the issues at this last race, if runners and people of Oxford can get behind it as an event, it could be really great. Date of review: October 13, 2014
In short: New organisers have become greedy - couldn't cope with number of entrants. In full: Let me start by saying how great a job the volunteers did.
What let things down was the poor organisation of transport from the car park at the Mini plant to the Kassam Stadium. There were not enough buses to get everyone to the start in time and I also believe they ran out of space in the car park.
The course was slightly changed from previous years and was very narrow in (additional) places making over-taking difficult. There were also some hair-pin turns in it which weren't particularly safe. Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: Let down by park & ride In full: Like others here, the park & ride was a nightmare - arrived at 08:30 on foot and joined the snakey queue for the bus. Arrived at the stadium at 09:20 and we were told the start had been delayed which was obviously needed as when I looked out the bus window on leaving the P&R at the queue of cars trying to enter, it was clear a lot of people were going to be unhappy.
The parking should have been better organised - marshals were a bit lax; traffic lights stopping cars entering: basic stuff - so needs to be sorted for next time.
The first few miles of the course were a bit boring and the first mile marker at 6m 30sec left me thinking old Roger had a challenger, but alas, no. Not that I could judge mile 2 or 3... or 4 or 5 since the next one I saw was 6!
Good organisation around the course and some nice bits in the town although the long stretch along the river got a bit narrow in places.
I'd definitely do it again and try to start a bit forward to avoid the stretches where it was hard to pass. I'll also look at parking somewhere close to the stadium!
In short: Nice run but a bit chaotic In full: Firstly, great to see Roger Bannister and also to run the Iffley Road track, that was a privilege. Route was pretty good but a bit dull in the first couple of miles, however.....
"Mile" markers that were not every mile! I'm not sure what criteria was used but a Garmin would have helped..... Plus, what was going on at the start? Waiting for ages in the cold with reports of varying start times (we eventually got off 20 mins late). Park and Ride worked for me but had to wait around for ages at the stadium when I arrived.
All in all, it was alright. The best organisation was at the end, medal, water, goody bag, out. Perfect. Needs a bit of work and with this, could be a great half as the support and bands were great. Date of review: October 12, 2014
In short: Shambolic organisation this year, please improve quick! In full: I will try to avoid ranting. Before I start my review of the 2014 race, I want to be clear that OHM charge £32 for (affiliated) entry putting it at mid-high price bracket. It has also been running for 4 years, therefore teething problems should be sorted by now.
Entering through the website was very straight forward, although if you are affiliate athlete make sure you know your number. Entry pack arrive in good time with everything you’d expect. So start day arrived, an early start I arrive in Oxford outside the Kassam Stadium at 7:50. There is an option to park at the stadium for a prior charge. I had not paid the charge, but stupidly put the wrong postcode from the pre-race leaflet in my sat-nav. I re-checked the leaflet, and followed the new directions the 2 miles or so to the Park & Ride. This journey (according to the nav should take no more than 10 minutes). (Not a complaint at this point, my own silly mistake). I got to the ring road and with in ¾ mile of the turning with in about 5 minutes. The rest of the journey took 1 hour 10 minutes. With only one Park & Ride, the majority of runners appeared to be heading for it from 3 different directions converging on one entrance. The obvious result was a huge tail back in all directions. I then joined a massive queue for a bus. I would seem that the buses had to come in the same way of the cars! Thus they were sporadic at best. Hundreds (I am not exaggerating) of runners were still queuing for buses as I finally boarded mine and we set off for the start. We were dropped, not at the advertised drop off but, at a housing estate a short walk away. The time now being 9:35 (scheduled start was 9:30). Rumors spread that the race had been put back, this was confirmed as we arrived at the ‘Runners Village’ by some of the marshalls. We were told until 10am. So I went to find a cubical to relieve myself. However, the one toilet had only one (male) cubical, which had run out of paper! I later saw some porta-potties, but by then it was too late. So I went put my bag into the secure tent, the attendant was very helpful, taking my bag and pointing out where to pick it up. I, along with many others, were then hurried to the start. I arrived at 10am, however, the vast majority had already been sent on their way (over 10 minutes before, I later found out). For those that have not raced Oxford before, it is not the most picturesque . The majority is on roads around the more industrial areas, there is very little (if any) of the more inviting sights of the city centre. I was prepared for this, but I think the flat course and good spectator along with a lovely few miles along the river Thames, help make up for that. (Although passing is difficult along the side of the river). Oh and not to forget the Bannister mile, though not a wonder to behold, there is something very uplifting and nostalgic about treading the hallowed ground. The website claims it is a ‘traffic free’ race. Well, I would dispute this comment; there is traffic along long stretches of the route. I do concede, however, that there is a section of road coned off for runners so the is a safety gap. Marshalls are enthusiastic and do a grand job, although they are a little sporadic at some points. Water stations could be more regular too. This is only a minor issue though. So to the finish, which is at the Kassam stadium. It’s a great place to end because it means friends and family can cheer you in on the (plentiful) covered seating. As I walked to the through to the goody bags I realised it was the same organisers as at Bath half. The medal was fine, but the T-shirt, what can I say, very basic white cotton with an awful design. Why can’t they do a technical T-shirt (like 2 years ago) or at least put some effort into it. Perhaps do something different, like a towel, pullover, mug or something. The goody bag, as well, was nearly empty save some leaflets and toothpaste?! I had got a PB, by chip-time although nowhere near by the gun! I wandered through the runners village, a total of around 5 marquees and ventured to the line waiting for the buses. Things hadn’t improved! The line was so long, once again no buses, I decided to walk back to the car (roughly two miles). I left Oxford feeling thoroughly disappointed, despite the PB. For an event that is in it’s 4th year, at the price they charge, it really has a long way to go in the organizational stakes. But, the one thing it has to sort is the Park & Ride. That can’t happened again. My suggestion would be to have two locations (at least), it would certainly relive the traffic, which would enable the buses to run more efficiently. There is nothing more frustrating than not being there for the start of the race. I know some people didn’t even make it across the start line. I do want to love and recommend this event, but I can’t.