In short: Not what it used to be In full: The SHM used to be a brilliantly well-organised race on a slightly dull course - but good enough that I'd run 5 before this one.
But this year the course has changed to be more dull (more cycle paths, less park) and more undulating. It also lacks the really good stadium finish. The organisation too has gone from smooth to a bit chaotic. Only the great marshals are unchanged from last year. Some of this will be down to moving the race location and should improve next year. But unless the course changes I'm not sure I'm going to be back to find out. Date of review: November 7, 2014
In short: Fantastic marshalls thats about all it had going for it! In full: Marshalls and supporters were excellent cold wet miserable bu they stayed till the end.
Car parking nowhere near the start (not a problem for the start as got there early) but after the race having to walk couple of miles to the car not idea!
No problems with the course prefered it to the old 2 lap however prefer the stadium finish and the muddy bank to finish on was saturated never going to be any good in November.
Had a problem submitting my time to gb ranking power of 10, has now been rectified there was a problem with the bronze status.
Disappointing medal and t shirt for the cost although these arent the main reason for running.
I probably will run this event again though as its local, well marshalled however if there was another local half marathon at the same time I'd probably consider it over this race. Date of review: November 6, 2014
In full: Yes - The race was started early and i was 'late' Yes - We had to park miles away Yes - The start was too far from the HQ But it has a certain charm.. And the volunteers and the supports were great and fairlands valley park is quite nice. You cannot enter a race in Stevenage and then complain about the scenery. To quote Fawlty Towers 'May I ask what you expected to see out of a Torquay hotel window - Sydney Opera House perhaps.. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It was a good course, but a little disappointing we did not finish in the Stadium this year. Didn't collect my t-shirt and medal as HQ was in different direction to the car. Was the t-shirt a proper wicks running one? Date of review: November 5, 2014
In short: FULL MARATHON REVIEW In full: The only good thing about the race were the marshals. They were awesome. The rest? AWFUL. - Poor organisation. No parking close by and i ended up on a side street where my car was scratched. - Medal was one of the worst in my collection. for a 30 year anniversary? You must be kidding me? - Route: I thought MK was bad for underpasses and boring routes... this took the biscuit. - Start: Wait... did we start? I dont know.... everyone just started running. I'm sure lots of people missed the start - Toilets: The Luxury portaloos were nice - aid on route: There was only one aid station by the scouts that had anything other than water (jelly babies and the such). - Finish: On a grass track? I saw lots of people falling over. By the time the marathoners came through it was a quagmire. - distance from HQ to start/finish. Too long. I got very cold and there was noone handing out space blackets or really taking care of you - Refreshments. I did the marathon in 4.26 - by the time i got in and changed and wanting a cup of tea there was nothing available. I got a lukewarm cup of tea. Not ideal. especially when the weather had been as bad as it was
Really disappointed in this race and wont be back. Date of review: November 5, 2014
In short: Disorganised start In full: Second year running the half marathon. Didn't mind the new course but finishing at the stadium was definitely better than on a sloped and slippery patch of grass.
My main gripe was the organisation. Nowhere to park at race hq (it was full) and the instructions sent out pre race were clear as mud. Asked a couple of marshalls but they weren't clear so ended up on a side street and had to run back to race hq to make the start. I was lucky to make it and i know that plenty of people will have missed the off as there was no announcement. Not ideal way to start the race.
Medal is a bit pony but i like the t-shirt, one of the nicest i've received. Date of review: November 4, 2014
In short: TOUGH,HILLY,ATMOSPHERE POOR,MEDAL POOR,T-SHIRT DISSAPPOINTING In full: Let me first say i beat my previous best SHM time by three and a half minutes, so i am not moaning because i had a bad time! In addition the marshalling is superb and thanks to all of the spectators who turned out on the day it was all generally well organised. HOWEVER! THE COURSE: Even this modified course IS NOT FLAT! By ANY stretch of the imagination! There are flat and down hill stretches,but the hills seem endless,i could go on to list them,but i wont, so please do not advertise that this is "undulating"or"flat"because its not! I think marginally i prefer the new course as its one circuit, however the ridlins stadium finish is always a nice end to the race.
MEDAL:For the 30th anniversary =poor T-SHIRT:This is so poor i am not even going to comment!
Start and finish poor No atmosphere, definitely need a PA with a commentator,i would be happy to do it once i have finished the race next year if you cant find anyone,it really does make a difference!
This was my fifth year and i will be back in 2015 as its local to me,but i would advise not to take others for granted (despite your full entry)that this will always be the case! Date of review: November 3, 2014
In short: Marshalling was excellent, facilities excellent, the course not so. In full: The biggest downside was the start/finish area which was on grass (mud) which was also had a side slope. I ran by two people in the finishing straight, one fell over, the other stumbled and lost balance on the wet grass. Maybe tinker the route next year to start somewhere safer?
The route just seemed to be constantly running up and down subways and under or alongside roads. A heavy downpour at the start didn't help matters but that can't be helped. However, the marshalls were excellent, encouraging (despite being out in the rain) and the facilities on offer (showers, refreshments, a warm sports hall to change and prepare) were all fantastic. Despite getting a PB, it was far from flat so if you're one of those people that needs a PB to make a race worthwhile, I would perhaps consider elsewhere. However, if you enjoy the run for the challenge, I'd probably do it again. Date of review: November 3, 2014
In short: Organising a marathon in Stevenage deserves some credit In full: Well done FVS for organising a marathon and half marathon in Stevenage. The course is rather tougher than I expected and not the most scenic, but at least the race was traffic free.
A few points to help. The start was chaotic. I think there were announcements from somebody shouting, but some form of amplification is required. I didn't hear anybody at the HQ urging runners to go to the start.
HQ - the doors to the sports hall should be wedged open and so to the doors to the outside if allowed)
The signage was amateurish. Signs that point to HQ the start and even those at the start held up by marshals to put runners in appropriate time slots were A4. I didn't know my way back to HQ from the finish as there were no directions (a bit disorientated after a marathon). Signs need to be bigger and professionally made and put up from a runners viewpoint and not be laminated A4.
Some of the marshals were a bit dozy and had left their marshalling point for those of us running the marathon. Some had walked through the underpass to chat with their mates and expected me to know the way. But fair dos to the marshals for standing around in the rain for hours and hours. I thought they were exceptional, especially those that pointed the way clearly. Date of review: November 3, 2014
In short: sloppy organising and marshalling on what is a fairly rewarding if somewhat ugly course In full: The race was started 3 minutes early, meaning people missed the start. The lead bikes took us the wrong way resulting in a bit of off roading to get back on course. We had to ask the marshalls for directions on a number of occasions - some of them seemed fairly indifferent and almost uninterested. To cap it all they held the prize giving earlier than advertised so not able to pick up the winners trophy - and these were only age group prizes, so no overall winner's trophy which was a bit strange. I've done this quite a few times and this year was a one lap course which is better and normally it is better organised than this. Date of review: November 3, 2014
In short: Very well marshalled In full: The weather was not great but a big plus was the marshalls who were fantastic and plentiful along with the police cadets. Very much enjoyed the flapjack at the end as well :-)
Now the bad. The medal wasn't great, expected better for an anniversary event. Didn't like having to walk back to race HQ for the t-shirts at the end. The biggest issue though was the lack of portaloos. I can understand if it was a new event but very disappointing for one that has been going for a while.
One of the few I wouldn't rush back for to be honest. Date of review: November 2, 2014