In short: Flat course. Great organisation. Friendly marshalls. Relatively scenic. In full: This was my first ever race having only taken up running 6 weeks prior and loved every moment of it even though I did injury myself 5 miles in. Race starts right besides Wolverhampton train station and is signposted from outside the entrance. The race route is well signposted from start to finish with marshals at regular intervals. Flat course with only climbs coming when you have to cross a bridge to go over the canal. So for a beginner runner it's definitely a good one to start with. Not sure about setting a PB on this course due to it being slightly longer than 13.1 miles. About 4 miles in there is a long tunnel which the organisers have tried to light, but can't say it made much difference as it was still impossible to see where you were putting your feet. Was fun to go through though. The route does follow canals all the way along and although these can be used by other people I only came across 2 cyclists and 4 walkers which surprised me for such a lovely day. Finish is in Brindley Place right by all the restaurants and pubs so great for having a well deserved drink afterwards. Goody bag, quality medal, bottle of water are all given at the end. Announcer at the finish calling out your name so you could get a cheer from the crowd was certainly a great way to end. Definitely one I'll be coming back to next year.
In short: A must do in my running calendar In full: 6th time I've completed this race, it seems to get harder every year, even without the steps. Weather was harsh, hot and windy, but the team are really friendly and very welcoming. Would recommend this one, especially if you run as a small group. Very well organised. Date of review: July 6, 2015
In short: Great race & getting better In full: This point to point race really is lovely and is getting increasingly better organised with runners starting in waves and hence there not being much overtaking on the narrow towpath. The marshals are very friendly but because of the nature of the race there is not much support on route. I am sure I read that there would be gels at mile 6 and then there wasn't.... luckily I brought my own and did not need to rely on it! It was really hot and windy but I managed to dig deep and get a PB - well pleased! The race finished at a real great spot for having lunch after and the showers and free massage was really excellent - thank you so much - I will be back! Well done! Date of review: July 5, 2015
In short: The steps and detour are gone! In full: Relaxed, unusual and highly enjoyable run from Wolverhampton to Birmingham. A little bit more info about what was where at the finish would be handy, but quality organisation overall. Good goody bag and medal. Date of review: July 5, 2015
In short: Very hot but great support from marshals and drink stations In full: It was so hot and with a headwind which made it harder but potentially quite fast in kinder weather although the endless bridges and rough surfaces obviously make it slower than the road but then the bonus was no road running. Only gripe was not finding the showers. Followed the only sign I saw to a car park and nobody I asked know either. Date of review: July 4, 2015
In short: Great weather to run in, helpful smiling volunteers and dead chuffed that, on the third attempt, I ran all the race In full: On the day the organisation and support was great, but all a bit uncertain before. Race packs were very late going out and the website has only updated to 2014 in the past few days (and still invites entries to the 2012 race!). Realised afterwards that folk had mostly migrated to the facebook page. I still don’t get why it was more than a half marathon – why not simply put the start a bit further down the canal path? But moans aside, you can’t but love a quirky race like this – tunnel, steps, such painful bridges to go over in the last few miles, then into the heart of Birmingham for the finish. Date of review: July 9, 2014
In short: Sunny muddy steppy In full: My third bbhm and really enjoyed it. I never get my fastest times here but it's a novel race with a great finish area. I loved the tunnel which seemed darker than ever. The diversion I quite liked though those 96 steps were steep. The course had a lot of puddles which probably contributed to my garmin reading the course at 13.5 miles. Overall great course and nice medal Date of review: July 6, 2014
In short: Those Locks killed me In full: The start of the race was a bit of a joke with runners on different waves turning up too early to beat the midday sun, so I didn't set off till an hour later than I wished, which was a pain as I had family waiting for me in Birmingham. Apart from that the race overall was hard but enjoyable and surprisingly scenic.
The locks, bridges and steps were a killer and towards the end it was a case of walking up them rather than running up them. I ended up running 22.2kms which also didn't help, but that was due to a detour up those steps.
In short: Very enjoyable as a first half-marathon In full: Initially, I was a bit disappointed with the apparent poor organisation at the start. It was my first ever half-marathon and I've never entered a staggered-start event either so wasn't sure what to expect. Waited in the very hot sunshine for over a hour, which meant using the portaloos more than once - not pleasant but that probably couldn't be helped and was made worse by the high temperatures. However, once I'd started, all that was forgotten. I loved running along the towpath in spite of the blazing hot sunshine and, as I'm not a speedy runner, I had time to enjoy the scenery. The marshals were all lovely, friendly and supportive. I really appreciated having water/energy drink stations at 3,6,9,12 miles and didn't notice any great inaccuracy in the distance markers - I always treat them as approximates anyway. I didn't try the energy drink, simply because I wanted to stick with what I was familiar with. The water was cool and refreshing and gratefully received ! The marshals on the water stations were lovely, very friendly and even offered to fill my water bottle for me - a nice touch on a scorching hot day. The regularly spaced water stations were most welcome and, as a first-time half marathoner,I was able to tell myself at each one "just a parkrun until the next water station" which was great for pacing myself and breaking the race down into manageable sections. I loved the tunnel. The steep 85 steps on the diversion were challenging but, hey, we don't do this 'cos it's easy ! . I enjoyed the finish - the lady with the microphone announcing the finishers did a grand job, as well as getting my finish time printed off quickly. I didn't mind at all doing the extra .4 or .5 of a mile - I can work out what my time was for the true half-marathon distance. I assume this extra little bit was due to the diversion and I think bringing the finish point back to reduce the length of the route to true HM distance would have been difficult to do well. Collecting my bag afterwards was amazingly easy - all the bags were transported by van from the start to the finish point and there was a luggage label on the race number. I enjoyed my goody bag (although would have liked a t-shirt!) and the medal was nice. I expected to hate running this race because of the hot weather, which I always struggle with, and it surprised me to find that I loved every minute of it. It wasn't easy but I think it was a great choice for a first HM and I would happily do it again. On the whole, I thought it was really well organised apart from the start. I can see why the start is difficult to get right but I'm told it has been a lot better in the past. This race will always have a special place in my memories. Date of review: July 10, 2013