In short: Big scale half marathon that gets bigger and bigger! In full: Seeing as this is my home town, I've done the BUPA Birmingham Half for the last three years and it seems to slightly improve each year in terms of organisation.
I've read on here that the baggage drop off has suffered problems, but I can't understand how. It's tightly controlled marshalled, and flowed very freely this year.
There are some great bits of scenery to look out for by way of landmarks... but these are offset by running through the lesser attractive streets of Balsall Heath...
It has always been a challenging course with the steepish climbs at about 10.5 miles, but there was another added at about 4 miles this year (just after the Selly Park Tavern) which was a nice surprise.
The atmosphere this year was better than last year (which was quite wet), but still not as good as two years ago when it was a lovely sunny day (as expected). The start and especially the finish (down Broad Street) is really something to remember - and plenty of support cheering stations all the way round.
The entry fee is a bit pricey, but a lot of roads are being shut in Brum City Centre after all - and you do get a medal and T-Shirt.
This is well worth doing and I will probably be back again next year. Date of review: November 2, 2013
In short: 3rd year running - It just gets better In full: My 3rd year at the BGBR. A great event and very likely to return again next year.
A tough undulating route might make a PB a big ask but that is what makes the race what it is. Superb atmosphere and support. A rousing finishing on Broad Street.
The usual gripe about BUPA events is of course the high entry fee and rubbish cotton t-shirt but of course they've got little incentive to do anything about it because it will always sell out and will only get bigger and bigger in the future.
Overall, given that i live fairly local, the positives outweigh the negatives and I'll be back. However if I was someone who had to travel from afar and stay in a hotel etc. then I'd probably steer clear because of the cost. Date of review: October 31, 2013
In short: Big city run and route In full: Not the most picturesque route but you know it's a big city run when you sign up - and the loop route means you get to see some of the faster/elite runners which is great. I was in the second orange wave which seemed to start an age after the first lot but there was still a lot of congestion - a bit like a fartlek session for the first 3 miles or so - getting past people who were maybe a bit over optimistic with their times from both orange waves. The hill is well placed towards the end for tiring legs but is long rather than excessively steep. Well marshalled, well manned water stations and Brum should be proud of the support which was fantastic throughout. Nice goody bag at the end but as others have mentioned it was disappointing that the T-shirt was not tech fit. Date of review: October 25, 2013
In short: That hill!!!! In full: I`d been debating whether to run this event as Id injured myself in a previous HM 3 weeks ago. I`m so glad I did though. The organization was second to none and the crowd support amazing!! Water stations were well stocked and well manned, and marshals plentiful. It is a challenging course and I felt the pain of the hills at the end for a couple of days. My only minor gripe was the start, I was in the orange wave which was set off in two separate waves with too long a gap between the two, this meant that my partner who was waiting for me to pass at a certain point left before I`d got to her because she thought that all of the orange wave had already passed. There was rumor or a course change to remove the hill at the end,after the race I cursed and would have welcomed that. But after thinking about it, its what make a course a good course. Keep the hill!!
In short: Due to knee injury early on in race, disappointed with time, however amazing support from crowds, St Johns Ambulance and my husband who virtually pulled me round! Still high on atmosphere and hopefully back for more appropriate time next year! Date of review: October 25, 2013
In short: Stroppy Security In full: Third year running this and love this race- despite hills, normally my PB of the year. Spoilt this year by heavy handed third party security behaving like night club bouncers from 20 years ago. For some bizarre reason, an unfriendly and unmovable "heavy" had been placed by the stairs down to the canal where runners and supporters are split and despite using this as a warm up area every year, this year it was deemed out of bounds. This buffoon could not give a reason why and bizarrely, if you know Birmingham, you can walk 10m down the road and access the area there where no one is posted- this is what I did making a mockery of this new policy. At the finish, several times I was pushed aside by representative of the same security company who think because some gave them a high-vis vest and a Wilkie talkie, they are part of a presidential entourage. As usual, all the Great Run staff were great, just steer clear of this idiotic security firm next year. Date of review: October 24, 2013
In short: Challenging inclines, top organisation. In full: Love it, superb organisation from Bupa runs, challenging little inclines which makes this race one to keep coming back to! Nice medal and t shirt and a few other goodies. Date of review: October 24, 2013