In short: Great support from the folk of Brighton but organisation doesn't match entry fee In full: Nice course, mostly flat with a few small inclines in the first half. Fantastically well supported by the locals. Water stations generally well-placed but the pouches are a bit iffy - two of mine didn't work at all. Provision of loos at the start abysmal: for such an expensive event to skimp on this area is unacceptable. No changing tent in finish village resulted in a fair few public indecency offences! Finally the results service is (currently) half-baked: no age categories and no club info. If it weren't for the atmosphere provided by the people of Brighton, this would be a lot of entry fee for not very much race.
Oh yes, and having to attend the expo to collect the race pack was a total headache. What was that supposed to achieve, exactly? Date of review: April 15, 2013
In short: Scenic; hilly; well-organized; hilly; good cakes afterwards; hilly. In full: Lovely race. No chance of a PB unless you've never run a half before. Great scenery. More than adequate water stations. Fab cakes and sandwiches afterwards. Splendid-looking trophies (not that I got one, obv). Would definitely do this one again. Date of review: July 5, 2011
In short: Obviously twinned with Cardiff Half Marathon - i.e. dire In full: All the bad things about this marathon have already been said, repeatedly, and in some detail. They're all true. Date of review: July 5, 2011
In short: Fast course, very beginner-friendly; organization shows considerable scope for improvement In full: If you've never run a 10k before and want a nice gentle introduction - this is a great race. It's a predominantly downhill course with a very varied field. However, the organization was very primary-school-fete. The buses from the event parking (at the finish) to the start of the race were both late and sporadic, resulting in much standing around and the start of the race being delayed. The timekeeping was rather lax after about 48 minutes, with variances of up to 10 seconds between the race clock and the published results. The marshalling was a little erratic: there appeared to be a marshall missing at the end of the footbridge, and some of the later marshalls went AWOL before the last runners had come through.
This is an event where the primary objective seems to be to get plenty of folk completing the distance and raising money for charity. Personally, I'd rather write them a cheque and then go chase my PB somewhere else.
In short: Well-organized, scenic, good crowd support and relatively inexpensive - it's hard to fault Swindon Half In full: This was one of my first-ever races back in 2005, and it's still my PB course: it's gently hilly rather than aggressively so, so don't be put off by the fact it's not flat! The scenery is quite startlingly pleasing, particularly the view down from the Ridgeway just after half-way.
I was pleased that the event has sustained its high standards of organization: from the generous number of toilets at the start to the plentiful water stations with sports-top water bottles; the capacious car park (provided by Nationwide) to the bands en-route. The traffic management was OK (a 10-minute wait to get into the car park), the chip pick-up process was quick, and there were ice lollies, sponges and energy drinks at the 10-mile water station. There's nothing I'd really criticize about this race, other than the fact that I ran like an arthritic donkey.
Especially in comparison with the overpriced fiasco that was Cardiff Half a couple of weeks later, Swindon is a superb event. Highly recommended. Date of review: October 23, 2010
In short: If you live within an hour's drive of Newport, you should run this! In full: A surprisingly scenic course from the Newport UW campus to the Carleon one. Well organised, good marshalling, and a largely traffic-free course along the canal and country lanes. Deserves to see many more runners! Date of review: September 5, 2010
In short: A shame the later water stations ran out ... Fast and flat, but exposed to the winds In full: Overall, this was a *reasonably* well organised race - not quite as good as the organisers seems to think - that offered very good value for money. The strong head- and cross-winds for two thirds of the course made achieving a fast time a real challenge, although the course is mainly flat and in the right weather it would have excellent PB potential.
The race organisation was wanting in the provision of toilets at the start of the race (I think the swans in Cooper Park pond might turn yellow over the course of the next few days ...) plus the lack of water at the final three water stations for marathon runners finishing in the second half of the field. I'm sorry that I didn't get there sooner as well, marshalls, but there's no need to be huffy when I ask when the next station that has some water is going to be! (The majority of marshalls were both encouraging and efficient, and I suppose I was the umpteenth person to ask where the water was, but ... after 20+ windy miles my forbearance gets a bit depleted.)
Otherwise this was a good race - I would happily pay an extra £5 or so entry if it meant that these problems were avoided. Oh, and if someone turned the wind machine off ;-) Date of review: September 5, 2010
In short: Waiting around for the late start and well-hidden T-shirt let this otherwise good race down In full: A pleasant course through country lanes - not traffic-free, but there were no problems other than with traffic exiting a busy car boot sale along the A449.
Unfortunately the shuttle service to the start seemed stretched to over-capacity, which delayed the race and meant a 20+ minute wait in the warm weather for many - exacerbated by the lack of water at the start location. The cannon starting-gun is quite charming, although it seemed to come as a surprise to many in the middle of the field who had only just started to assemble on the road when it went off.
The T-shirts weren't distributed whilst I was there (I went out hunting for them!) - and as the car park was over half-empty when I left, I guess there's a load of Dymock HM 2010 T-shirts going spare somewhere.
Other than that, it's a well-marshalled race, with enough drink stations and a friendly atmosphere. There's a reasonable mix of standards and a wide range of finishing times. The course is rolling/undulating, but none of the inclines are particularly arduous. The course is quite exposed, so the sun and wind on race day made the rolling terrain feel more challenging than otherwise.
All in all a recommendable race, in a lovely place; which with a couple of tweaks would be excellent. Date of review: May 30, 2010
In short: A well-organised race over a great course In full: A fairly tough 10-miler - well, 2010 was 9.8 actually, but you won't see many folk desperate to run the extra 0.2 miles - up and down Mynydd Machen. Faultless organisation by Islwyn: just about enough marshalls, a well-manned water station (passed twice), good friendly small-race atmosphere and a spiffy T-shirt. The smallish field (70-odd competitors) managed to encompass both srs club afleets and slower runners. The terrain is largely suitable for road shoes (at least in dry-ish conditions); with quite a bit of the descent being on steep lanes these might even be preferable to trail shoes in the wet. Watch out for the sneaky little inclines in the final few miles - it's not all downhill after the trig point ...
Well worth seeking out this and/or Islwyn's other races: all in all an enjoyable day out in the South Wales hills. Date of review: May 20, 2010
In short: Don't let the hills put you off this thoroughly enjoyable 10k! In full: If you're tired of overcrowded start lines and aren't looking for another monotonous might-or-might-not-PB race - you need to get yourself down to Pensford. OK, so the only flat ground on the course is the lap of the playing field at the end. And there's no escaping the fact that Peppershells Lane is much meaner than it sounds. But this is a great race, with a genuine and happy mix of running standards. The support around the course was generous and friendly, with many local residents turning out to cheer runners on around the pretty and traffic-free country lanes. The organisation was faultless, to the extent of extra water-stations and even a hose to cool runners off in the event that the forecast "scorcher" had materialised. Overall, a scenic, memorable and well-organised race - recommended! Date of review: April 29, 2010