In short: Inaugural Fun and Games In full: I have run a few inaugural races and this was the most well organised, along with Hackney, of them all. Excellent HQ, great support. I would say where the course narrowed too much on the country lanes we ended up walking and that meant no PB. But the communication, medal and atmosphere was all positive. Date of review: February 10, 2015
In short: Good first race for a half in Surrey In full: I tried this as it was the first Surrey half and I used to live in Guildford so was interested in this aspect. Course is definitely undulating and felt uphill on the way back! ;-) Good: Race village was not big but had plenty of toilets - very well done on that. Seemed well organised and the bands were a nice touch. It was nice seeing some of the front runners due to the "out and back" course. Finishing on track was nice, with a downhill slope before that to pick up speed. Free pre-race massage. (And post if you wanted to wait.) Course seemed to be correct length. Not so good: It was a hot day and although the water stations were bottles I felt they needed to put more in - not usually a problem at this time of year! There were 3 evenly spaced. At the finish, there was only a small bottle of water and no goody bag and I really could've done with at least 500ml by then! I don't think the locals have got race fever yet - there were some supporters and good cheering but not quite up to the standard of more established halfs yet. It felt more crowded than I expected for the first 3 miles. If more people enter next year, it could feel like a real hinderance. Although the course did look different on the way back, I was getting a bit bored of it by then! Trying to climb up the steps out of the stadium once you'd finished! No goody bag - but I'm sure this will come with time and sponsors. No onsite parking - plenty around Guildford but might be a walk.
I felt it was well organised for a first event (although some confusion with volunteers) but don't feel a rush to enter again next year. It is starting from Woking every alternate year so if you want a true pb you'll have to wait 2 years anyway! Date of review: March 21, 2014
In short: A brilliant successful attempt by the AAT guys which no one else has tried to do. In full: My local towns and the very first Surrey half made for an exciting build up to the race which I was so looking forward to. The weather was good and atmosphere positive before the start and let's be honest, no one has ever done this before so it was a bit trial and error. I thoroughly enjoyed it no matter what happened but there are a few things that could make it better. I'd like to see the whole road from Stoke park to the pb garage closed off for the start as it was impossible to stay in the cones. Also at the start there were too many friends and family amongst the runners to allow you to get into the correct time zones. Bigger zones and runners to be responsible enough to direct loved ones somewhere else please! Another water stop would of been good before the town half way point which was in a bit of a dodgy position on a hair pin. Plenty of collisions here I'm afraid were caused by last minute changes of direction as it couldn't be seen until the last minute. Was it me or were a lot of mile markers missing? Perhaps I was looking down too much. The queue up the hill out off the finish was a bit of a bug bear as it was longer and slower than the queue for the loos. In an emergency this would of caused a lot of problems. Other than these minor points...... Well done Toby and the team on a brilliant day.
In short: Not bad. In full: I enjoyed this race but here's some feedback for next year 1) toilet area was too crowded, not helped by the fact that it was right next to bag storage so there were 100s of people all trying to make their way in a small area. 2) wave pens were totally haphazard so bit of a free for all, again the area was too small for so many people 3) no food at finish line! It's not a cheap race to enter so I'd at least expect a banana. This seems to be a common issue in many races lately. 4) water stations need to be better organised. At the first station I had to *stop and wait* for a bottle of water! This added at least 30 secs onto my race time I lost my momentum and seeing as I finished 50 secs off a pb it may well have cost me my pb. 5) kids race - we realised a couple of days before the race, when the weather forecast was good, that kids needed to be signed up 2 weeks before race date! Is that really necessary? Can you not work it so they can just turn up and run? Date of review: March 20, 2014
In short: Nice first half experience both for organisation and first time runner. In full: My first half marathon so didn't know what to expect. Entry price was a bit steep but I did enter rather late.
Pros Well organised bag storage, no problem leaving or retrieving my bag. Plenty of toilets, no major queueing Great on route support from spectators. Water supplied in bottles that you could carry with you while running which is what I did and was glad to do with the higher than expected temperature. Gels provided on course. Although I regretably passed a number of fallen and/or collapsed runners on the course all of them had medical staff with them.
Cons Poor pen control. Longer times needed between releasing waves of runners. Pinch point for first mile causing congestion with cones in middle of road serious trip hazards. Would be better if the entire width of road could be used. No post run snack. Considering the weather and number of collapsed and staggering to finish runners I saw (including one poor soul collapsed on the track corner just before the end) more than water needed to be available at that point.
Overall this was a great first time half marathon experience for me. I ran the course much quicker than I anticipated, though within my predicted pen time range. I have already signed up to do the race from Woking next year taking advantage of the early bird price of £28. Date of review: March 17, 2014
In short: New race, brilliant spectator support and entertainment along the way,loads of loos at start,1gel and water en route and great end in stadium loved the cheer leaders! Date of review: March 16, 2014
In short: Good starting point In full: The weather really made the day. The up and back nature was OK but didn't give a lot of variety, although as they were my home roads there was a lot of local support. The baggage reclaim was a little haphazard and it took 15 mins queuing to get my bag back. Date of review: March 15, 2014
In short: Surrey's running events are getting better and this one should stay In full: A good race but the running bays were filled to the max with people from different waves, which must have been annoying for the fast runners. The organisers will learn from this and I'm sure it will improve. More Fleetwood Mac would have helped, particularly after the 10 mile mark. It reminded me that you have to train hard for a half marathon. Ouch! Date of review: March 15, 2014