In short: A tough choice for a first Marathon... In full: I chose the Worcester for my first marathon mainly because it coincided with my training program. Boy do I wish I'd gone for a less hilly route! I made it round in 4:41:39 but there was some walking at the end and more than once I wished I had more company on the second loop to chivvy me along (once the half-marathoners had peeled off it felt like it was just me and a couple other blokes!).
Having said that, the volunteers were very friendly and the low-key nature of the race was quite charming. The views around the countryside outside Worcester were phenomenal, and more than once I wished I was cycling rather than running (and it is a popular cycle route).
The course, no matter what you've heard, is hilly. The second half of the loop is especially difficult, with what seems like an endless amount of up the second time round the lap. If like me you loose it around the 21 mile mark then there's little opportunity to regain it without giving your legs and heart a serious talking to. My watch clocked around 300m ascent.
I did have some friendly help though from a passing veteran who talked me into a jog for a km or so. The local runners were very friendly and concerned and there was some lovely (if sparse) support around the route. I was especially grateful for a "spray" from a cheery youngster with a garden hose.
The organisation was generally good, although I felt the water stations were too far apart, and when I got to the one around mile 22 and was told there was no more water left, just a sticky isotonic drink that did not satiate me I could have cried.
The finish was nicely organised but there was practically noone there when I got in, and the pictures reflect that.
My one disappointment I guess was that the medal and t-shirt were generic and had "worcester half and full marathon" on them - presumably the half-marathoners get the same reward. I felt I worked bloody hard for my medal and ideally it should reflect that. T-shirt is a reasonable technical Tee with again full and half.
However, that's what I get for my choice of marathon I think - next time I'll go for a big one! For a home-spun event it was a good one and felt very communal. Maybe more of a choice for more experienced runners. Date of review: May 24, 2016
In short: Small event with friendly atmosphere (but hillier than expected) In full: This is a small, friendly event, only around 250 finishers for the full marathon, but more for the half. As a result, the pack thins out substantially for the second loop, and I found myself running alone for quite a few stretches.
Water stations were great - bottles of water, cups of isotonic. Marshals were friendly and helpful - clearly most of them were runners themselves, and that makes a huge difference.
Scenery is very pleasant, a few small, picturesque villages, and rolling countryside.
BE warned though - the hills don't let up! It felt like I was either running up hill or downhill the whole way - not sure there is a flat section at all! Watch clocked up 277m of elevation.
Finish at the stadium is nice, a good spot for supporters. Obviously, it is a countryside race, so will never be as well supported as a city race, but those who did come out were lovely and supportive. Date of review: May 23, 2016
In short: More hills than i expected. In full: Well organised, friendly support, good layout at the finish. Think the course profile is wrong on the website as it states a total ascent of around 100m, but my GPS clocked nearly 300m - very tough second lap - but that was my fault! Date of review: May 22, 2016
In short: Very pretty route. Great t-shirt and medal! In full: Shame about the wind on the day I ran it! A few little hills felt like mountains on the second lap! Great course on little roads through pretty villages, with the last mile next to the canal, which was lovely. 26 mile-markers agreed exactly with the distance on my Garmin ...then the last little bit I measured as .48 of a mile! Gave me a good sprint to the finish gantry though - nice to know that you're nearly there when you can hear the commentary and see the impressive Sixways Stadium looming. Great encouragement from the marshals and the crew at the finish. Loads of parking, and good facilities at the venue. Very pleased that I entered this one. Date of review: April 13, 2015
In short: Perfect Size In full: Had enough runners to bring out plenty of supporters but few enough that there was never any traffic and a really good friendly atmosphere, hence great for newbies. The hills were all short and very runnable (unless you go out way too fast and crumble in the last four miles, mentioning no names) still 8 minute p.b. for me so don't let them put you off. Overall great day and will become a regular for me Date of review: May 7, 2014
In short: Hot and undulating run In full: Tough run with lots of up and down in unexpected warm sunshine. Found it hard going on the back of a good race at stratty. However, not according to my garmin 620 which credited me with six new records including a 31 mile marathon and a 1.37 mile( watch out mo and jason ) sadly my new found speed was not due just going for it in the second half. I'm convinced last mile was suspiciously long. All in all a very good marathon,well organised,easy parking and nice medal and my home town. Date of review: May 4, 2014
In short: FABULOUS! Organisers really look after individuals, and care. Great race. In full: I had a great day, great atmosphere, good people, excellent venue and course. The organisers were really keen to look after everyone and really helped make the day work for me.
They had a minute's clapping at the beginning for a missing comrade, which for me summed this race up. It was run for runners by runners, and I would definitely do it again. Date of review: April 17, 2013
In short: Well organised but no medal In full: Good Points Nice to be able to park free at the stadium. Drinks stations well manned. Water in bottles, much better than trying to drink from a cup whilst running. Well marshalled. Just had to ask which way to go at last turn.
Could do better A medal - After I've run 26.2 miles it's rewarding to get a medal and my family like to see them. Also the medals are a reminder of the races I've done. New Forest Heartbreaker was the same price and they gave medals. Food - Banana or a cereal bar.
Potential improvements Consider taking some of the route into the city. 26.2 miles of country lanes wasn't very interesting. Investigate finishing in the stadium. Reading Half Marathon finishes in the football stadium and it makes the event more special for the runners ans spectators. Date of review: April 16, 2013