In short: Organisers trying hard - but still some problems ..... In full: I managed to follow the correct course - very lucky at one junction where the sign was not at all clear that a supporter told us to turn R and not go straight on to the toilets(if you followed sign SO you missed the CP and drinks!)Again a lot of runners were unable to follow the route - perhaps it could be made simpler by going North from the start a couple of miles befoe joining the riverside run - mostly a very nice route if you like canals ! Organisers are all very friendly and helpful - I did not know about the free beer. Date of review: November 5, 2010
In short: Unique point to point riverside run which I thoroughly enjoyed In full: Didn't seem to have suffered from the problems experienced by the bilk of event raters. Recovering from injury, so being well down the field after a cautiously slow start seem to have meant that the course directions and marshaling issues were sorted out by the time I got there! Sometimes, it pays to be near the back!
The course is quite twisty, and needed good signage and well placed marshals. I guess that I was lucky and ended up running 26.3 miles.
The race start seemed a little chaotic, but there were plenty of toilets (but you had to search around for them), and the baggage (pre-race) which everyone dumped in the coach was unsupervised.
Coaches were well organised pre-race from Hackney but curiously stopped at a petrol station just 10 mines from St Margaretsbury to allow some running have a pit-stop. The delay resulted in more people having to do the same - would have made sense to go straight to the start giving everyone plenty of time to sort out their busines and get registered.
The route took you through rural Herts and N/NE London with some industrial intrusion. A pleasant and mainly flat course and one offering a fast (potentially PB) race. Marshals were friendly and enthusiastic and drinks were sufficient.
Found the Hackney dog-leg interesting, but it would have made more sense to do a lap of the perimeter (around the footbal pitches (a lap of the excellent Hackney Marshes Half Marathon)).
Finishing area was full of activity and entertainment. A free beer if you heard about it, but every expensive refreshments (£1.50 for a coffee/tea and £3 for an ice cream!).
I would do this event again, and accept that one or two things may need to be itoned out. However, an enjoyable day and an interesting way to travel through London. Date of review: September 19, 2010
In short: Has the potential to be a fantastic race In full: I was in a group of about 50 people that went the wrong way because a arrow was pointing the wrong way, it was at 13k where there was supposed to be a water station, what happened is that after we turned round and came back we bumped into the marshall who got there late and he told us the right way to go . I'm not saying the course was the wrong distance , but the extra couple of Ks that i ran were'nt my fault and do feel i have a right to be a little bit frustrated, after all, my chances of a PB (that i had trained really hard for) went out the window at that point,and the latter part of the marathon became very hard. This race just needs a few tweeks to be a great event, i have to agree with other posts that suggest starting further up the canal and also the obstacle course bit at the end, (although good fun) on tired legs that have done 25m is not wanted. I really hope the organisers don't loose heart and look at this as construtive criticism, i will run this marathon again but only for fun not for a PB. OH and please do something about the railway footbridge its NOT good. Date of review: September 15, 2010
In short: A bit disorganised to say the least. You could get answers... eventually. Rubbish goody bag for the price of entry. Enjoyed running through the park, after that very dull. Shocking burger van at the end. Only upside was the nice pint of beer. Date of review: September 15, 2010
In short: a great course with poor organisation - great potential In full: I am aware of many others doing the race who had bad experiences but I will focus on mine. I enjoyed the race, it was a good course and I got a decent time - despite the strong headwind in places. Some of the stretches by the canal could feel a little monotonous but mostly it was quite pretty, particularly by the flood plains. The course was fairly well marked (IMO), it started promptly, the timing was accurate and the course was 26.2 exactly. Although there were also some negatives - the toilets at the start were not working, the finish line was not visible until you were almost underneath it, and the reward was a flimsy medal and a energy gel. This would've been an awful first marathon experience. No photographs, few supporters and badly organised marshalls (they did not know how far to the end and some were unable to give directions) all made it feel like an amateur event - despite it been in its 3rd year. However for a London based trail marathon that costs £25 its not bad, the small numbers mean it feels local despite it being a capital city race. Definate room for improvement. Date of review: September 14, 2010
In short: significant weaknesses still mar an overall much improved event In full: good stuff: friendly field, dedicated marshals, bottled water, off roadness, saturday race, finishes near my house, starts near a station, easy registration. not so good; baggage coach - unhelpful driver, unhelpful place, footbridge was avoidable (i work in the rail industry, we are usually happy to help here), country park route mayhem, sports bottle tops much preferred (feel entitled at £27), silly loops at the end with dodgy obstacles underfoot; was it really 26.2? i really hope the organisers arent too disheartened by some of the feedback on here - although it is brutally accurate - because if it keeps improving this could be a great run. the idea of starting in Hertford, or nearby could be a cracker. i may just run that anyway Date of review: September 13, 2010
In short: Organisers should be ashamed of themselves. In full: This race had the potential to be really good, it's flat, fairly scenic and the idea of celebrating the olympics coming to england is good. However the organisation of this race was appalling, the start was a bit disorganised but not too bad. However I was in a group that reached the second water station before the water and marshals and then followed an arrow pointing in the wrong direction causing us to do an extra 2.5 mile loop. I also heard of some runners missing out on great big chucks of the course, therefore the chip timming was just a joke. The next water station was just after 20K this was for enery drinks which we had to get an empty cup a dip it into the bucket with the drink, as the marshals hadn't got prefilled cups sorted. The finish was just as bad, the goody bag was pathetic and there were no showers. I would just give this race a miss in future Date of review: September 13, 2010
In short: Potential a great event shame about the poor organisation In full: Could be so much better. Real nice route apart from the stupid run around the field, down the road over the foot bridge start and pointless loop bits at the end.
Poor organisation overall (lack of loos, water, marshalls) put a damper on the whole thing. Most pointless goody bag ever and a very poor medal left a very bad taste in the mouth. Date of review: September 13, 2010
In short: Nice course but terrible organisation. Bad signing at one stage meant that many were misled and did an extra mile, water stations disappeared and both start and finish arrangements were very amateurish. For the entry price, the goody bag was poor. Date of review: September 13, 2010