In short: Pace of improvement slow but steady - T-shirts, i-pods and runners in wrong starting pen still issues In full: Positives first: Bristol has come a long way since they first started down the mass participation path with delayed starts a thing of the past, the finish funnel still long but much better managed and leading into a reasonably sized square and the staggered start does help.
Having said that, some things don’t change.
Staggered Start: Why are there so many runners still clearly standing in the wrong time zone or wearing I-pods? I like the mass participation and as many as possible should be encouraged to run. However, surely there should be some filter on the first start, access to this start should be on the basis of a proven 10k time in the last year and if you’re a first timer, then either start later or run a “qualifying” time in a smaller race elsewhere. I don’t want to come across elitist but its incredibly frustrating spending the first 1 – 1.5 kms stuck behind groups of slow moving runners, wearing huge headphones and still trying to have a Sunday morning chat with each other.
i-Pods: On that note, can we not restrict i-Pods to the later start? I understand that use of i-pods is a good thing because once again, its one of those things that actively persuades people to take part but just, time and place.
T-shirts: The race cost £30 + but every year the T-shirt size is a law unto itself. This year, I went to the medium section and was given a large. I’m going camping next week and really, no need to pack a tent because I could easily fit the rest of the family inside. This has been happening for years at Bristol – 1 year I take the large but its huge so the following year I take the medium but its too tight for my 6-year old nephew, back to the large and yes, it’s a tent again. I run 10-15 races a year with over half providing a T-shirt and outside of the Bristol 10k and Half, I can honestly say I have not encountered a single problem. So really, how difficult is it to have the right size correctly labelled and in the right bag. Change the supplier if they cant cope! For the price, you’re just left feeling very short changed!
In short: Great race spoiled by bad organisation In full: The race itself was great - well marshalled, decent route, friendly crowd. However, the bag drop and collection was chaos. I was in the white start and was done within about 45 minutes, but didn't get out of there until nearly 12, with people from green start picking up bags before me because the 'white' queue didn't budge for ages. Grateful to the volunteers but such bad organisation would put me off doing it again (or wouldn't bring a bag, anyway!). Date of review: June 2, 2015
In short: Terrible baggage drop and collection In full: 1st time doing this race and wouldn't come back. Had to jump queue to drop bag off, or would've missed race start (this was 50 minutes before start, didn't leave it until last minute). Had to wait 20 mins to get bag - and that was finishing in the top (first) 250 runners, so god knows how long those finishing later took. Really not acceptable. As already mentioned huge queue at 1000 - 1500 tent, but none at the adjacent ones,so why weren't some of the helpers moved over? Struggled to get into start, no signage, had to climb over barrier - was already "late" due to baggage queue. Goody bag was indeed rubbish, 3 biscuits and last weeks newspaper - could've saved on all those plastic bags and just not bothered. On the plus side, Harbourside bars / cafes provided (much needed) extra pre-race loos, and would've stopped for a post race drink, had not been so cold and p'd off following wait for bag. Date of review: June 1, 2015
In short: Spoilt by bag drop-off and collection queues In full: Many of us had to wait at least an hour to collect bags. I didn't have a foil blanket (as I hadn't expected a long queue) and after 15 mins was feeing seriously cold. I was queuing at the tent for 1000 - 1500 numbers (among others), the tent to the right seemed to have hardly any queue. I didn't have a problem at the 2014 Half Marathon, so not sure what went wrong. Badly needs sorting - would stop me doing it again. Date of review: May 31, 2015
In short: Badly organised, but fun to run In full: I hadn't run the Bristol 10k before but had heard good things about it - but based on the 2014 experience, I'm not sure why. I was in the green wave, which was the final wave to start. We were 15-20 mins late to get going, which given the rain and 18mph winds wasn't much fun to stand around in - and with no updates from marshals.
The course itself is mostly flat, and it's a nice run mostly along Bristol's waterside, under the suspension bridge and back, and with the final 3-4k through streets and the city centre.
There was only one water station on the route at about 5km, and very few marshals along the course, which surprised me. And considering the size of the race (about 10,000-13,000 runners), there was surprisingly few spectators except for the finish line.
Got a nice chunky medal and a neon yellow tech shirt at the end, although the goody bag wasn't worth having (a copy of the local paper, some leaflets, and some rubbish quality biscuits). However, they ran out of everything at about the 60 min mark, meaning there were lots and lots of unhappy runners who didn't get anything. Not good enough.
There was also no water at the end, which was really bad. And with a 45-min walk across the race route back to the baggage area, it was a very long wait to get any water. Not good at all. I didn't run with any money on me, so had no cash to buy a bottle of water from a cafe, but was gasping.
Overall, I'll do it again next year as this is my local 10k and I'd like to have a higher opinion of it. The route is good, but the organisation was absolutely terrible. Date of review: May 24, 2014
In short: Terrible organisation and over priced In full: This was my first ever race and the organisation was terrible, it is almost enough to put me off races- or at least this race! I was In the last wave (green), wave started 15minutes late so the 30minutes spent in the cold and rain felt like an age. I finished to find no medals and no t-shirts in my size and a bit of a scrum to get the last t-shirts that were left. "Goody bag" consisted of 3 biscuits, 2 electrolyte tablets and a lot of spam flyers, not much for £25 entry It took at least 5minutes of walking I'm circles to find my way back to the green wave bag storage area which was on the other side of the race route because their were no signs or Marshals to point people in the right direction Organisers have promised to post t-shirts and medals to those that missed out but this does not make up for the dispointment on the day. Date of review: May 17, 2014
In short: Fast flat loads of PB potential In full: Sorry to hear of the problems others encountered. From purely personal experience I was in the white pen and enjoyed the race. There was a bit of weaving now and again but after about 2k it settled down. Support was great and the course fast. You could see the baggage tent was heading for problems straight away although it was not as bad as the Reading Half in March. The tech t shirt was good quality but the colour was a bit bright.Like running this route and the half route in the Autumn. Hope they sort out the issues for the runners who didn't get their medals for next year. Date of review: May 17, 2014
In short: Needs Work In full: I ran the Bristol 10k last year and had a brilliant experience. It was a fantastic race.
This year I have to say, the route, the suppot and the marshals were all excellent. But there are some serious issues in the organisation.
Firstly, the start pens were abysmal. The White pen may have been alright, but the Red pen had runners/walkers in it who had put their estimated finish times as 70+ minutes. Decisions like these left an awful lot of weaving to get through traffic.
Secondly, there was no water at the finish for the later finishers. We came in around the hour mark from the yellow wave and had nothing. This is just plain unacceptable and dangerous from a health and safety point of view.
Thirdly, the bag queue. Ludicrous. The brave lads from the air cadets did their best but it was like they were just put there without a plan. No sequence or order to the bags behind the desk, and no security at all. people were just pointing at bags and asking for them and they were handing them over. Plus the hour long wait was just awful.
We didn't have a problem getting a medal or a tee shirt but I can understand why people did have problems. There was no control in the finish funnel at all. The actual handing out of goodies took place at least 200 meters after the finish line and could therefore have been much more spread out. It also needed much more marshalling.
The goody bags (Ha! Shocking excuse for a goody bag...) containing the tee shorts were all in open boxes and people could practically help themselves. They need to be behind desks and controlled by someone.
Same with the medals. The medals should have been handed out way earlier in the funnel before people could walk back and get more. Usually you get the medal almost right after the line but for some reason the medals were handed out by a bunch of kids with boxes just wandering around handing them out to anyone that asked for one.
Ultimately, there is no excuse for running out of these things. Everyone prepays so they know how many of each item they need to buy. I find it hard to beleive that with 12,000 entrants, and 3,000 no shows, one third of entrants took either an extra medal or extra tee shirt (Or both).
It needs work. I was going to enter the Bristol Half but may have a rethink after yesterdays debacle. Was going to run it with the missus (her first) and she'd be gutted if she ran 13.1 miles for the first time and didn't get her medal/t shirt for a job well done. Not to mention paid for!! Date of review: May 12, 2014