Whats the course - ?
Well, I can only echo what others have said. The race itself was good course, "fun" if that's the right word for something so knackering, and I was ecstatic to just get my first half done and dusted without injuring myself.
The course could have done without the very muddy grassy finish, which slowed me down just when I needed to keep going.
With that said, from when I crossed the line it took me three hours to get home, (40 minutes in normal conditions) with the in-laws and wife and wee boy who'd come to support suffering the awful conditions on the car park. I'm glad they were there and driving for me because I'd have packed it in and camped there. The medal was also, as pointed out elsewhere, utterly pointless. Shame really!Feel really sorry for the poor folks who didn't make the race, the traffic was really dreadful and as someone else said up above, a park and ride is a must for next year.
Tim0 i could be wrong (wouldn't be first time!!!) but fairly sure both Bath half & Great south run both give postion based on chip time.
As a local and a regular runner of the two castles I was amazed how poorly organised the event was especially when it came to the car parking. We were fortunate to get there early and my supporters were able to park outside the castle , hence I didn't have the same problems as many of you had, however I do sympathise from watching others struggling to get out when runners were still coming into the castle.
The Medal was shocking , no mention what the race was and when it was - they need to look at the Stratford Half Medal. The idea of picking up a cotton t-shirt before the race was also ridiculous especially if it had been hot and you decided not to wear the t-shirt - where do you put it?
Anyway I agree the support was excellent given the horrible conditions and the course was challenging and iconic. I will run again as its local but I do hope the organisers actually speak to the two castles organisers and/or experienced runners in the future.
PS Glad to hear that those who were turned away have been invited back next year free of charge.
I had a great time. Got there around 8am no probs and found that all was organised smoothly. Good course which was not too tough but not pancake flat and went through nice countryside with decent support in the villages. Great to be on closed roads too.
Spent the afternoon going around the castle with the kids which they loved.
In terms of traffic you have to remember that castles were built before cars and generally races involving castles are not going to be in towns designed for cars. If you're trained for a half marathon then a 2 mile walk to the start, whilst not desirable, should be doable if it's an emergency. They did give plenty of advice saying to get there early.
I have to come out in support of the organisers. I thought they did a great job. The race pack, the BHF event website and the posts on this forum contained lots of information; everything you needed in my opinion. I wonder if being new to races and so quite nervous that I go through all of the information available in a way veterans don't tend to??? I didn't have any confusion on the day about the logistics.
There were clear calls to avoid the 8am rush, there were maps showing where the start line was, where the baggage drop was, where the finish line was, where the toilets were located, where you should congregate ahead of the race, what time you'd get called to the start, what time the start was etc etc, all things that I've seen complained about as unclear in posts here.
The medal - yes that was a bit naff but for most people they end up in a drawer somewhere anyway don't they?
The t-shirts - I agree, there's no way I was going to be running in a cotton t-shirt, a technical T would have been a better choice if funding allowed.
The parking - is it really the organisers fault that we had so much rain? I certainly don't think they could have expected snow even mid-March!! Next year, just in case perhaps it would be a good plan to set up offsite parking at the business parks south and north of the castle and close the castle car park as soon as the hardstanding's are full - but that's hindsight....
I live very close by and I thought I could leave late and breeze in but I was totally wrong and had to park up and walk. That's my fault alone isn't it? I KNEW that maybe 2500 cars were going to be converging on the place but I didn't fancy getting up any earlier. I can't blame anyone else for that and if people missed the start isn't that because you didn't allow yourself enough time to get there?
Oh and Kudos for the water stations having bottles of water - I'd gladly pay extra entry fee not to have to stop to drink from the plastic cups.
I'll be back next year and I'll be recommending it to my friends. It was a great atmosphere, it was well organised and hopefully in 2014 it will be warmer and drier.
Have to echo Steve B 74....
I dragged my 3 young kids and poor hubby out of bed at just before 6.00am to make sure that we (I) was there on time...and i was
They had to wait outside till 9.15..but they knew this as it clearly says on BHF website, and you can see why..if all the spectators were allowed in at the same time it would of been mayhem!!
I had a good time, the route was great, atmosphere was great, supporters were great, marshalls great.
Bottled water..thumbs up!..can't see what everyone is bitching about.
I paid to run a race..not to get a free t shirt or medal (yes that is abit shocking..but it's in my draw!!)..thats just a bonus.
I think everyone has a fair point - it was a really well organised event, but the car parking was the one fatal flaw that ruined the experience for many. As such I can understand the criticism and frustration from those who missed out as a result.
We arrived at the Castle roundabout just after 8am, so almost made it round to the Lord Leycester on Jury Street before hitting a standstill. We moved one car length in 10 minutes after that. At 8:15am, and with a little bit of local knowledge having visited a friend in Warwick before, I did a u-turn and parked up in St Nicholas Park. I think it cost £3-4 for 4-6 hours parking. Had I not done so, we'd have probably been two of the hundreds who were turned away, seeing as we only just made it to the start with 5-10 mins to spare as it was.
The t-shirts were to be collected before the race because (as it said in the information pack) they wanted as many people as possible to wear them, so that there would be a 'sea of red' running through Warwick. They did say many many times that they could be collected afterwards though if you'd prefer, so I can't see the grounds for complaint there. They could have been technical t-shirts, but as they were optional I don't think it's that big a deal.
They need to learn from this year and encourage more people to park away from the castle and arrive on foot. They were unfortunate with the weather, but even without the mud it would have been difficult to get 3,000 people into one car park with a single entrance and exit when everyone is arriving between 7:30 and 8:30am. A 10am start might help a little too.
On the positive side, once on foot I thought the organisation was fantastic. Lots of marshalls to guide you in the right direction. Lots of people out supporting the event along the route. Well organised route on closed roads with mile markers and water stops at the appropriate places. The course was challenging and hilly in places, but not too tough, and it was nice to be running out on country roads rather than through the built-up suburbs of a town or city. It looked good for family/supporters in the castle grounds too, and it was easy to meet up afterwards. I enjoyed it and would definitely come back and run it again.
Spot on nottsgriff. Re: t-shirts, though I never even saw them before the race, or after. Wasn't looking or fussed to be fair. I came in through Stratford Rd entrance on foot up through where the finish was, to the start. Apparently there was a tent, must have missed it.
Route was decent I thought, not too tough but undulating. I would just say re: water. A 3rd water station would be better off at 10-11 miles after that tough section, rather than 9. As it was cold and wet, probably didn't matter, but in warm weather, the last 4 miles would have been hard on first-timers. The water given out was a waste also. Most I saw had two or three sips and threw away the half-litre bottle. Small cups are sufficient if you have 3 water stops in a half. No-one wants to carry a bottle of that weight for half a mile. That's 9,000 or so bottles, a waste of money imo.
Berger I agree about the water bottles , they could have had half sized bottles , but one positive was the large black bins that were placed on route just after each drinks station - That was a very good idea for disposal of said bottles.
Read the BHF updates so arrived early as advised.Parked the car no problem.Very well organised event.Great venue,great route.All volunteers very helpful and friendly.Great marshalling.Will be back next year hopefully with better weather.
My first half.
Good: Marshals and st johns crew going around were ace, great route, not too hilly as expected for warwick
Bad: parking and horrendous start with everyone together made me nervous as slow and new to races like this
Ugly: the mud at the end slowed everyone down and thankfully not for me but the exit was terrible. Also the poor sods who missed out due to BHF who started the race late yet still claimed to be starting at 9am. My garmin says 9.07am.......
Great course, great atmosphere. Lots of teething troubles regarding the parking and race start criteria, but am sure these will be ironed out next year, perhaps by altering the route so that runners are not running past the car park exit! The pack from BHF was very thorough and I also found that they gave some quite useful info on this RW forum prior to the race, which I found most helpul. The car park at Warwick Castle is notoriously bad anyway and at least we were not stung for the usual £6 to get out, that Merlin usually charge! I'll definitely consider doing this again next year.
@Ceinwen I thought the start was awesome! Felt like a thousand people huddled in the 'tunnel' made of those ancient high walls and tree-branch roof. You are right though, it added to the nervousness and I really enjoyed that.
Pretty sure the start was bang on 9. My Garmin says 9:03 when I clicked start and I'd say 3 mins was about how long it took me to get down the 'tunnel' to the start
This was my first race in 3 years of running, so I, naturally, have nothing to compare it to. However, the high I feel from having completed it has not been tarnished in any way by any of the negative aspects, so that, to me, sums the whole event up in a positive light.Hannah from BHF did post some very useful advice on here on Saturday. Feel for the runners who were turned away, but BHF have done the right thing by offering refund and free entry next year.
Agree with comments regarding the 'tunnel' at the start-gave a real medieval feel to proceedings!
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