In short: Killer hills between 3rd and 6th mile - couldn't find a glycogen garage after that! In full: Swindon was a good experience but a painful one - I had simply made the mistake of not doing enough hill training on a very hilly course. I posted 2:07 which is my worst HM time to date - good organisation though, and friendly event. Date of review: May 2, 2011
In short: Well-organized, scenic, good crowd support and relatively inexpensive - it's hard to fault Swindon Half In full: This was one of my first-ever races back in 2005, and it's still my PB course: it's gently hilly rather than aggressively so, so don't be put off by the fact it's not flat! The scenery is quite startlingly pleasing, particularly the view down from the Ridgeway just after half-way.
I was pleased that the event has sustained its high standards of organization: from the generous number of toilets at the start to the plentiful water stations with sports-top water bottles; the capacious car park (provided by Nationwide) to the bands en-route. The traffic management was OK (a 10-minute wait to get into the car park), the chip pick-up process was quick, and there were ice lollies, sponges and energy drinks at the 10-mile water station. There's nothing I'd really criticize about this race, other than the fact that I ran like an arthritic donkey.
Especially in comparison with the overpriced fiasco that was Cardiff Half a couple of weeks later, Swindon is a superb event. Highly recommended. Date of review: October 23, 2010
In short: Challenging hills all the way, great scenery, superb crowd support In full: This was the first time I had entered this race having spent the last 6 years avoiding hills!! The course was certainly challenging but with the great crowd support and scenery you were slightly distracted!! Enjoyed it much more than I expected to, great organisation and will see you next year! Date of review: October 18, 2010
In short: Challenging, but enjoyable and some great support out in the countryside. In full: Very well organised event, energy drinks unexpected but much appreciated. There was some great support out in the country side which spurred me on. Liddington Hill - loved it, Marlborough Road - hated it. Date of review: October 15, 2010
In short: Best half marathon of the year (in my opinion) In full: Slick organisation, great crowd support and a great route, but above all what made it stand out from the other half marathons I have done this year were the pace setters which ran with flags for 1:30, 1:40, 1:50 and 1:57 target times - which meant I finally managed to achieve my goal of sub 2 hours! Date of review: October 14, 2010
In short: Another excellent event. Only good things to say In full: The event is now well established and goes from strength to strength. I hope it stays about the same size, a big enough event but flows well at start and finish. Well done to all organisers and support en route. Date of review: October 13, 2010
In short: Better than the Bath Half! Fautless organisation, No queues before ,during or after. In full: For a smallish local race this can't be beaten. The first half of the route has many an incline until you get to the halfway point - you definitely feel tested. Really helpful staging of drinks stations with sports top bottles, nice touch with the sponges but I didn't see any jelly beans or lollies by the time I went through! I appreciated the banana though. Basic goody bag - personally I'd trade the medal or pay a bit more for a better t shirt. I think if Chippenham can manage a tech t shirt Swindon ought to be able to do the same - I would defintely wear it then. It has to be said though - excellent organisation throughout. Enough loos, easy baggage storage, plenty of space after the finish to dechip and stretch, plenty of marshalls to assist. Lots of smiling faces - a great race for everyone. Date of review: October 12, 2010
In short: Please don't let this event become a money-making exercise In full: This was my first half marathon in 2005, and as it is my local event I have taken part every year since then. I desperately wanted to compete this year, but having been injured I hadn't done the requisite training to do it justice.
I am firmly of the belief that event organisers need to take a more sympathetic approach to runners who enter events with the best intentions, but later find they can't because of circumstances beyond their control. You only have to look at the number of reviews I've posted on here to see how much I enjoy taking part in events and clearly wouldn't drop out without good reason.
I was therefore quite disappointed when I gave up my race number for a friend wanting to compete in the multi-terrain race. We would happily have paid a small admin fee to sign the number over to her, which seems much fairer than her having to pay £11.50 on the day just for five miles.
Neither of us foresaw her winning the event, and if we had she would definitely have entered under her own name. I just wanted her to enjoy the run.
We were disappointed at the attitude of the event organisers at first when they wanted to disqualify her and not let her claim her prize. The place in the race was paid for; it was the administration that needs improving.
I didn't even have time to ask if I could change the name as we were late due to hold-ups getting into the car park, and having to collect timing chips on the day was only ever going to add to delays.
All that aside, as a spectator the event seemed to run like clockwork, a challenging course which is well marshalled and supported, and a nice t-shirt and medal at the end.
I really hope there is no ill feeling about what happened and look forward to taking part regularly in future. Date of review: October 12, 2010
In short: Previous good reviews proved well founded In full: Thoroughly enjoyed my first Swindon Half. Very well organised, reasonable value at £18 for a medal & t-shirt, 2 bands on the route (which you pass twice), energy drinks provided en-route, and a good level of support along a lot of the course. The course avoids Swindon itself to focus on quiet country lanes to the south, but all roads are closed to traffic, so perfectly safe. A very well organised event, which I'd be happy to return to next year. Date of review: October 12, 2010