Forest of Dean Half-Marathon

This one?

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15/09/2007 at 10:46

For the last two years I've done the Hastings Half, and I love it. I got an email about the 2008 entry this week. Then, on the front page of Runnersworld, there's the news about the Bath Half, which kinda looks interesting. So I look at the date and find it's on the same day as the Hastings. I check others halfs on the same day and I find there are five.

Mmmmm. So do I stick with Hastings, or do I go for a different one?

Fleet costs £15, has an entry of around 3,200 and is rated 83%. The website is clear and helpful, though lacks pictures and is perhaps a bit dour. There is a quote from Runner's World: 

"One of spring's racing highlights, with top-notch organisation and a fast course"

You get a chip, it's a fast course, and it has been going since 1982, which makes it one of the oldest half marathons. The main complaints appear to be that the course is a bit dull, and that the start is crowded.

Forest of Dean costs £16, has an entry of around 1,500 and is the highest rated of the five at 88%. The website is clear and very helpful with pics and links to accomodation. You get a chip, and a beautiful course with some challenges. Not many complaints, though the start is crowded.

Hastings is an acknowledged classic. It is widely accepted to be the best half marathon. It costs £19, has an entry of around 5,000 and is rated 87%. The website is currently not opening for me, but I remember it as being useful, friendly and with some pics. The course is steady uphill for the first half, then downhill with a long flat finish along the sea-front. The crowd support is acknowledged to be the best outside of the London Marathon, and is one of the main attractions, along with an attractive course. You get a chip. Complaints are about the crowded start and finish.

15/09/2007 at 10:46

Bath is the biggest with around 12,500 entries; the most expensive at £30.50 (what?!!), and the lowest rated at 74%. The website is professional and geared toward selling the event and raising money. There's already a forum open. It's a popular event, and complaints tend to be about the crowds (especially around water stations and baggage reclaim) which is inevitable from having that many people all running on the same road at the same time. However, many people praise the organisation. It's a flat, fast 2 lap course, and there's a chip. 

Stafford is the smallest and cheapest - 1,450 runners paying £14 each who collectively rate it at 80%. The website is part of the local council website and is a bit sparse. The first race took place in 1984. The reports seem to indicate it's a fairly average half marathon with some good points and some bad points.

I'm still not sure which one I will go for - but I don't think it'll be Stafford. Bath seems a bit expensive and crowded. Forest of Dean sounds attractive and cute, while Fleet has the history and some prestige from its association with the London Marathon. But Hastings still seems very attractive. Hmmmmm!

Blisters    pirate
15/09/2007 at 12:37

Oh, and don't forget the Hogweed Hilly Half either. Friendly, with local runners who don't like the big bill of Bath. I've raced the Hogweed Trot 10k three times now, and the organisation is brilliant.

I have been a devotee of the Bath half, but I am now going to do either Forest of Dean or Hogweed. Why? Because it now costs more at Bath than at London Marathon.

15/09/2007 at 15:10
Blisters: I'm totally with you on this.  Over £30 quid is getting silly for Bath.  I can do a tri for that kind of money.  Pondering about Forest of Dean myself.
15/09/2007 at 19:39

The Hogweed Hilly is the following weekend, so it's possible to do both.

This Forest of Dean is tempting. Would make a nice weekend break.

Hastings does have a beer festival nearby on the same weekend, which is a bonus. Is there a beer festival near the Forest of Dean that weekend? That could be the decider for me. 

15/09/2007 at 21:26
I'm also pondering about Reading half next year.  My mate LOVES that race.
25/09/2007 at 16:01

I'm going for this one, Bath too expensive and Hastings and Fleet too far away for me.

Nam- did Reading last year, good atmosphere and crowd but very unscenic course but brillaint finish in Reading FC's ground (but is that because I'm a footie fan?!) I personally think it's a race that has to be done once.

25/09/2007 at 18:38

This is a possible for me - but it might be Rhayder 20 instead.

26/09/2007 at 14:58

Wilde Rover isn't Rhayder the hilly one? If I get into London I'll probably do Bramley and Gloucester 20, liked both of those.

26/09/2007 at 20:11

Yeah, Rhayader is hilly - but at least it is a bit more motivating than a 20 mile solo plod.

 Rhayader & San Domenico 20 might be the plan - followed by the Shakespeare if I'm not doing FLM.  (Might depend on when San Domenico is)

26/09/2007 at 22:16

Whats this one like then? Hilly? Looking for a half in early part of next year (this is a bit later than I would like - I like the cold)

Any ideas?

27/09/2007 at 10:00

Hi LR. I don't think I would describe it as particularly hilly, but with inclines and a few bumps (but then I am a Chepstow Harrier and used to bug hills!)

It's lovely to run off road, on decent footpaths.

Blisters    pirate
27/09/2007 at 10:51
Oh yes, there are bound to be plenty of bugs in the hills, due to the trees, you know.
27/09/2007 at 13:41

LOL- I did mean big, but you are right blisters, there probably will be plenty of bugs in those trees!!

27/09/2007 at 13:58
  Off road on footpaths - so no mud then (shame). Inclines and bumps sounds ok - may give it a go.
28/09/2007 at 13:15

LR- you might come across the odd muddy puddle you could splash through though!

ImRio    pirate
28/09/2007 at 13:19

Forest of Dean Bumps???

 Yes Zoom you definitely come from Chepstow if you call those hills bumps!

ImRio    pirate
28/09/2007 at 13:20
Chepstow is one big bug*** of a hill!
28/09/2007 at 13:41
Are you trying to put me off ?- I don't mind hills really as long as they don't go on forever (more than a mile say - or maybe less)
28/09/2007 at 13:47
Zoom - I note you have done Wyre Forest - please tell me its not that bad!!
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