In short: Brilliantly organised race which can withstand all weathers In full: The organisation and friendliness of this race are absolutely first-rate. It's always a pleasure to take part in any of the organiser's races - the Santa Run, 10k, 8 miler, Half-Marathon and this Marathon.
The course is advertised as "very multi-terrain" and it's held at the end of December along a coast.
Given that it's usually cold, wet and windy in December then that's what you can reasonably expect here. I can't believe anybody is surprised to find such conditions at a "very multi-terrain" course in December! It is the luck of the drawer with weather as the course was bone-dry and zero wind in 2010 and 2011, but has been wet now for two years.
The Race HQ was too busy, but this was exacerbated by so many runners wishing to shelter from the weather inside the building, which then inhibited access to the bag drop and number collection. Maybe a marquee for runners to shelter in next year?
The accusations of the unexpectedly early race start seem to have gotten a bit out of hand. I was ready on the start line with 10 minutes to go, and we got the gun at 08:58:06. Admittedly early, but I would have thought most people would be lined up with less than two minutes to spare?
There are long sections of smooth tarmac, sections of slightly less smooth tarmac, the old Hayling railway line which is high quality trail. The sections of mud were limited to less than a mile in each direction. For sure there were slippy, but I just slowed down on them and then made time up on the tarmac parts.
Wonderful bespoke medal, and a nice good bag with a huge box of breakfast cereal, salty snacks, coffee chocolates, free soup and bread, a free race mug, CLIF Bar, drawstring bag. That's a lot of stuff for such a modest entry fee.
Not only do we get all that stuff, but the race also donates to the RNLI too. Pretty generous by the organisers I would say.
If you don't like poor weather then I wouldn't recommend a coastal marathon in England in December. If you're up for a bit of a "you versus the conditions" event then you'll love this.
PS There are thousands of free car park spaces in Southsea, as the race organiser told us many times in advance. Date of review: December 23, 2013
In short: Probably the best off-road marathon in the country? In full: Fabulous race with gorgeous views. A constantly changing course with lots of variety and generally only "undulating" hills and nothing too outrageous (aside from the St Martha's Church incline!).
Amazing to see so many marshals helping out and, unlike a previous contributor, I am eternally grateful to every single one of them for their selfless help. It matters not at all whether they all shout encouragement -- that's not everybody's personality. They were there to make sure we were safe and stayed on course. Thank you!!!
The RD promised to ensure there'll be additional water available at the finish next year. And with that, this race cannot possibly be improved. Thoroughly, thoroughly recommended to all! Date of review: September 19, 2011
In short: Great January Marathon in lovely rural Gloucestershire In full: This race did exactly what it said on the tin: It was a marathon in January in Gloucestershire! That meant the course was mildly undulating and the weather was a bit cold (although luckily today it wasn't too bad at all).
The Race HQ in the school was a perfect size for the 500 competitors, and congratulations to the organisers for keeping the limit so that facilities could cope.
The course lap was almost entirely left-hand bends, making it easier/safer to always stay on the left (and the shortest line) while staying out of the way of what little traffic there was.
The laps made it really nice to mix up the slower and faster runners and create a good spirit between them which is often absent on conventional courses.
The beanie hat and outstanding medal were brilliant.
As Garmins always over-measure, I am not in the least concerned that mine reported the course being about 0.1% long. I hardly imagine that I was able to stay on the perfect racing line the whole way.
Water and High5 drinks at the well-staffed drinks station were excellent too.
Great stuff and I'll be back. Date of review: January 25, 2011
In short: Lovely course, clockwork organisation, excellent t-shirt In full: A really nice course around Wisley Common, with some tarmac, leaves, puddles, sand, puddles, hills, tree roots and more to contend with. It all added to a sense of adventure and made this a welcome alternative to yet-another-road 10k.
I'm surprised any runners encountered problems with the dog-runners. My experience was that they were polite and considerate of those around them, often moving aside to give the other runners more room to pass. The course was generally very wide (wide enough to get two buses through), so it didn't matter, and when the course narrowed it was only for a few moments.
My memory of the day was the great comararderie between the dog-runners and the other runners.
Well done to the organisers for a lovely t-shirt and the high-quality catering!
In short: Brilliant low-key marathon. Fantastic organisation In full: Very well-organised course. The high school HQ was perfect for the number of runners this year. The course was a lovely trip along narrow country lanes, generally lined with high hedges so sheltered from the weather.
This felt like a very relaxed long Sunday run - no pressure or stress at all. A lovely change after London week ago.
Great bespoke medal (so much better than the standard picks from the Running Imp catalogue!). Great stuff! Date of review: May 5, 2010
In short: The finest race organisation in the UK In full: A fabulous course with very little traffic, exceptional organisation, generous sweatshirt and goodie bag, nice scenery, quick (although not completely flat) course. Everything is brilliant. Races like the Bath Half-Marathon should come here for lessons on how to keep runners happy, this is how it's done. Date of review: March 24, 2009
In short: Flat. Fast... but so much more than that! In full: My attraction to this race was: a) Its extraordinarily flat course, b) Its 9am start-time (before the weather gets too hot).
I came and found the flat course and duly set my new 10k PB!
However, I was really pleasantly surprised by just how much more there was to this race than just a quick course. The organisation was really slick - arranging people into a human-chain before the start worked well. We had a man dressed as a squirrel sounding the starting hooter! Load of marshalls, excellent km markers and all the lumps and bumps on the pavements had even been marked out with white paint.
At the finish we all got free orange squash, then a free banana, then a goodie bag, then a nice t-shirt (in a variety of sizes), then a medal! Even you fancied a quick dip, you were also entitled to a free swim in the Leisure Centre pool.
Results were available to view within minutes of finishing, and up on the website by early evening.
The organisers also raised a lot of money for local charities.
This is a model race, and one which barely puts a foot wrong. It's so much more than JUST a flat course!
In short: Fast, picturesque course in a nice location In full: For me, this is a really good race around very attractive countryside. I was very appreciative that we had 100% of the roads closed, enabling some nice fast lines around the bends! :-)
The weather was perfect (10degC, sunny) and I found the organisation to be excellent. Their planned car-park was a quagmire, yet they quickly found more parking on hard-standing at a nearby construction site. This is one race where you do need to arrive early - it is a small town which does not quickly absorb 4000 people trying to park within one hour of each other!
I really enjoyed my day, having used it as a pre-FLM pacing test. There was a lot of crowd support and a lot of drink stations. I was perhaps lucky to be in the front 200 runners, so I didn't find the start to be any issue at all.
The free race t-shirt was well designed (not always the case in other races!) and available in a good range of sizes. The "hologram" crystal paperweight is a great reward - very generous.
If the race were not 250 miles from home, I'd be back every year in the future!