In short: WOW! Fantastic race In full: This was perfect; pipe bands/drummers along the route, loads of friendly marshalls, Danish pastries, sandwiches, tea and coffee at the end, a medal made of stone, views of the sea, all the townsfolk coming out to cheer us on, with even the local nursery schools having designed a poster, this was a perfect race and worth the trip up from London. Thanks to all the organisers for another brilliant race. Still the best race in the UK! Date of review: May 25, 2015
In short: Good first event In full: I enjoyed this run, which coincided with the hottest day this year so spirits were high. But if I was to do this event next year then consideration should be given to the following:
- reverse the route so that the first 2 miles are via the aerodrome as this will spread out the runners, get the boring bit out of the way and the final mile would then be a proper fast downhill to the finish.
- send out baggage tags (although the ladies did do a sterling job organising the bag tags so quickly)
- think about a race HQ - there were plenty of large hangers that could be borrowed for the day. It didn't matter this time around as we sat on the wall in the sun but it wouldn't be as pleasant in a downpour.
- more signs at junctions around the start for those of us driving from further away.
- "silent" finishing line - not sure what you could do about this.
I did like the 10/20 split as I enjoyed running with the 20 milers (I did my 20 miler race last week), there was always plenty of people around so there was a good atmosphere on the course although the course itself wasn't the "fast and flat" one that had been advertised but a bit hilly and windy. Special praise goes to the goody bag and medal, which had obviously been thought through and was the best I've received in a long time.
In short: Sea, sand and a little bit of sunshine In full: We made a weekend of this, driving on Saturday from N London and staying at the Bell Hotel in Sandwich and then a little detour back on Monday via Canterbury Cathedral, so a good one for generating tourism in the area. We really enjoyed it. Even the race photos are nice for a change. Millions of friendly marshalls standing in the freezing cold cheering us on, which was very much appreciated. I liked the vocal guy at 9 miles and the lady in the purple wig later on. Nice touch with portaloos on the course plus a lovely long run along the promenade/near the sand and sea to the bemusement of the local pensioners. Hilly in places and those cabbages really did smell but a great medal in a box at the end plus proper sports drink. Things to think about next year: double the number of portaloos at the start, signs to the HQ; more jelly babies at water stops...and that's it - small improvements to make this a great race. Well done Thanet AC. Date of review: March 9, 2010
In short: Well done GVR! In full: My first time running in this event and it was brilliant. Slick organisation: mile markers, loads of fantastic friendly marshalls, water stations, jelly babies at mile 14 and the lovely ladies with tea and gigantic cakes at the end. Tough course, particularly the first 3 miles along the pit holed, water filled paths (GVR please ask the council to sort this out) and then a hill straight afterwards, but surprisingly very scenic through the woods and country lanes/villages. All races should be like this. Date of review: March 1, 2010
In short: Appalling race In full: I ran this in 2006 and it was brilliant - what has gone so wrong? First the one positive; good comms up to the race but that's it. Fortunately I left North London at 6am so I managed to get parking along the sea front and my friend took my bag so I didn't have the problems that some had below.
What went wrong: - at the start there was no finishing time guidelines so slow and fast runners were mixed in - if the organisers state that no Ipods should be used ENFORCE this. Every second person had an Ipod and it was dangerous as Ipod users swerved across my path to grab drinks and they could not hear marshalls' warnings. - where were the mile markers? - passive marshalling allowed runners to weave between on coming cars and allowed people with dogs to walk across the race - Too many runners made the first 2 miles dangerous as all the runners had to get through the narrow lanes. I saw outdoor signs/restaurant chairs go flying, ostacles suddenly appeared and I was elbowed by those Ipod users. It was a bit like a running riot on Oxford Street. I seriously thought about packing it in at this point but I had travelled so far. - and the finish - OMG what was that about? Not even a proper chip timing after such a miserable race. I couldn't get to the mat because of the queues. I was lucky to have my watch so I had some sort of accurate time but that was unbelievable.
Rain, sleet, wind: stamina building. Change of route: unavoidable. Poor organisation: unacceptable. I will never come back to Brighton again. Date of review: February 21, 2010
In short: I love this race In full: Very well organised. Improvements for next year are; - sports drink in cups (you can still have a branded banner) or redesign the openings as I had to open by pulling with my teeth - delays collecting baggage needs to be sorted (this was a recurring theme in the 2009 reviews so not sure why this hasn't been sorted) - medal/buff or mug - the cheap t-shirt has been binned
In short: My first Bedford as well - would do it again In full: Fantastic organisation from the Asda carpark red bus transfer, to the rugby shirt memento available in advance of the race (I managed to pick up my first "small" rugby top)
However, there were still some people wearing headphones on a non traffic free route - so if you were the person I made jump into the traffic when I came up behind you, serves you right.
Also thanks to the marshalls as I know it was very cold (particular thanks to the encouraging lady marshall at Cranfield and to the cadets)
With regard to the hills, the last time I looked at a similar hill profile it was for Everest base camp so I was a bit worried but it wasn't hilly at all and there were some lovely long downhill sections.
Building on Bedford's success and in the absence of a goody bag, perhaps the organisers could increase the entry fee and provide a free cup of tea and chocolate bar to the runners as it was a chilly day and many of us had a long drive back home and the queue for the refreshments was very long.
Other than that - Bedford - well done Date of review: December 15, 2009
In short: I liked this race In full: This was my first half for nearly 3 years so a bit nervous but much better than expected. I would like to say that the marshals were probably the most enthusiastic I have ever come across particularly on the hilly parts of the course and the overall organisation was very slick (secure baggage area etc) Thankfully, although it was hitting 27c, it was lovely and cool in the shaded woods so the heat only kicked in during the final lap around the field. Some minor gripes were the lack of toilets at the start and during the race and, as others have mentioned below, the lack of a goody bag with the requisite mars bar otherwise an excellent race (it was great to have a shower and to head for the nearby Emperor pub for a cold drink afterwards)
In short: Hot, hilly and a bit horrible In full: The 11am start made it too hot particularly along the long 40mph road and I am not sure why some of the smaller roads were not closed off...I think Bushey's car drivers were having a very off day; sounding their horns and running people over.
Marshalling was a mixed bag of some very good marshalls really getting behind the runners and those who stood chatting on corners oblivious to all.
On the positive side,lots of water stations, nice medal at the end and the atmosphere was good in the park, but all in all, not I will be doing again. Date of review: July 13, 2009