In short: Potential for much better In full: The good: Running across the Humber bridge. The enthuisiasm of the spectators and marshals. Water stations providing gells. The medal and T shirt. The bad: The website started off first class, but displayed increasingly less information as time went along. The start was a surprise having had no build up or announcement. Traffic restrictions were not good. One distance marker along the whole route. Some rather depressing industrial sections. The downright ugly: Running across cobbles after more than 20 miles introduced a level of pain that I was not expecting. The spiral access to the sea front was just too tight at that point in the race. The section of course along the sea front was just wide enough for 3 people at times. This was at the point that a lot of people were run/walking and this caused bottlenecks. Worse was the total lack of marshalls until the turning point at the end. Did some people take the short route and double back on themselves? We'll never know because no one was watching. Overall there were faults with this race, but it does show promise. It certainly hasn't put me off running in Hull ever again, but I will be looking carefully to see that the points raised have been addressed before running next year. Date of review: April 19, 2012
In short: Inaugural events often have issues. Let's try this one again In full: The clues were in the pre-race set-up. A cool looking website that was actually poor when you tried to get information from it (the race route map was pitiful). Multiple emails sent with zero response (best route via Facebook). Failure to send out numbers and chips by post. Total lack of local knowledge that the event was taking place. However, the event on the day was ok for me but not great:
Positives: fast course, few hills, great crowd support at end, parts of Hessle Road and near the Humber Bridge. Excellent viewing for spectators as you can move point to point easily.
Negatives: 8am start(!), collecting numbers, NO MILE MARKERS (criminal - happy I had GPS), dull industrial estate sections, ridiculous out and back at dock on narrow path (the spiral!!!!)
Basically, there are numerous improvements to be made but this could still be a good event.
On the overall distance, my Garmin has 25.99. Normally it tends to measure higher than 26.2. I think the course was short but will pretend it wasn't as otherwise my time is even crapper! Date of review: April 13, 2012
In short: Potential for a great race with PB-friendly gradients, needs basic things such as mile markers, removing some of the tedium, cobbles and sharp turns such as round the marina would be obvious for next year. In full: I only decided to run this race the previous weekend and was looking forward to it. I thought it was a little pricey but know that policing, marshalling, general organisation does not come for nothing. The alternatives were the Great Welsh Marathon which seemed a little dull course-wise and the Greater Manchester Marathon which was even more expensive. In Hull's favour was the 8am start time which is ideal for long distance races (anyone who ever ran the Potteries Marathon with its 11am start in mid-June will know what I mean!!).
I stayed at the Green Dragon, Welton as I fancied a decent sleep the night before. I had to leave at 6.50am to pick up my number and chip. It would have been better to have done it the day before but the desk in the shopping centre closed at 2pm and I didn't fancy "wasting" a whole afternoon. As there was virtually no-one about I turned at the road closed signs and found a free car park less than 3 minutes' walk from the start. The City Hall (for number/chip collection) was another 2 minutes' walk further on. This part of the process was very smooth and well-organised.
At the scheduled start time, there was no pre-race build up on the tannoy, simply a very loud cannon signalling the start.
I thought I'd missed the first two mile markers and could hear the pings from other folks' GPS devices. As the race unfolded I realised that it was by design not to use markers, except for one at 13 miles (not halfway!). Fortunately having already completed 18 marathons, I was able to judge my pace pretty well but I felt sorry for those that could not. I occasionally saw road markings (16 and 23) but could not be certain that these were mile markers.
There were some cobbled sections which were hard to run on with tired legs. Also, there was a section which started and finished by the marina which just seemed to go on and on with tight turns (including a spiral one!?!). It was unclear as to where the turning point was (a marshal told me to turn at a "large round chunk of metal in 200 yards") but I saw other runners who'd gone up a flight of steps and were looking lost!!!
Contrary to the advertising, there were no 800m or 400m warning signs however marshals obliged when asked.
At the finish, I was handed my drink, medal and t-shirt but there appeared to be no food on offer so I went back to my car and left after stretching down.
The on course support was good, if sparse, however in the city centre it was very noisy and most welcome.
I would say that the race was very friendly and I left feeling good. I have seen some of the controversy on the internet including the RW forum and feel for those runners who were misdirected. Date of review: April 11, 2012
In short: They bit off far more than they could chew In full: It's all been said above about mile markers, road closures and marshalling. The organiser clearly does not understand the basic elements of what is important to runners competing in a marathon. It's not about marketing, slick websites and empty promises. I feel many corners were cut; metaphorically and literally, and the prime driver in this race was profit, not laying on a good marathon. Utterly appalling fiasco where the woman in 2nd place was sent the wrong way, missing out about 3 miles and this finishing 12 seconds behind minutes ahead of the righful winner - upsetting for both ladies concerned, as well as the other runners sent the wrong way. Concerns about course accuracy as the route was changed at the last minute with no explanation given and runners not being informed. The organiser says it's still the correct length but cannot produce any evidence to support that assertion and seems reluctant to organise a remeasuring as it would eat into his profts. Poor, very poor. Hope it goes ahead again with local clubs organising it. Date of review: April 11, 2012
In short: Take out the Victoria Dock section of the course. In full: No mile markers, but saw some painted on the road after the race! Ran by feel and on the one 13 mile sign I saw. The people on the course were very frienly and did their best. A lot of potential with the many changes that need to be made. Date of review: April 11, 2012
In short: Good intentions but lots of learning if it goes ahead again! In full: A city marathon needs lots of planning and it felt as though this race was planned in some areas - sponsorship, good website - but in the vital areas that affect runners it was poor. No mile markers for a marathon is awful, especially with so many first-time marathoners. I provided a useful 'shouting out the mile from my Garmin' service for those nearby!
I was worried when on the Friday night an email with maps was sent out - but assumed we didn't need to take them with us! The route could not have been run by a runner before - there's no way anyone who's previously done a marathon (I've run over 50) would think the doubling back on a thin path round tight corners was a good idea. The turn around point was a bollard with no sign and a marshal about 20m away. Some marshals were shouting 'keep left' others 'keep right', though at least there were a few marshals there - the rest of the course had very few. The water stations were ok.
The wide road and section to the bridge was much better to run on and though sparsely supported (well it was an 8am start on Easter Monday - that needs changing!).
The road blocks were poor - the signs needed to be at the start of closed roads not the point where it's closed; I actually felt for the motorists having to U-turn! And the rent-a-security guys seemed not to have fully woken up.
So for next year: 10am start, get local running clubs and relatives of runners as marshals, number sent out or at least longer hours on the Saturday to pick up, mile markers, a PA system at start/finish, more signage for the route where not marshalled, a timing mat at half way and no wiggly route through the narrow docks!
In short: For a first time effort enjoyed it. In full: From the chaos encountered at many big city marathons encountered by club colleagues Hull at its first attempt ticked most of the boxes. Yes the missing mile markers was unforgivable but I managed to get the info from other Garmin carrying runners.Cannot understand the comments re lack of directions the many directional arrows and friendly marshalls how could you go wrong!Well done Hull will be back next year. Date of review: April 10, 2012