In short: great course, great race - to be enjoyed year after year In full: My first half marathon and my first race in Bournemouth - though I lived there many years ago.
The course is great, mostly straight and the few corners are easy to negotiate. The course feels almost flat and correspondingly quick though there are actually two significant uphill inclines even those though are only "noticeably uphill" for brief periods. These occur during miles 1 and 8. The steepest incline is fortunately downhill and occurs during mile 12.
Well marshalled and traffic respectful. Bournemouth residents are keen to give vocal support all around the course.
Today's race weather was excellent and this contributed to my inner glow.
[Beware of rapid changes in weather on coast - don't believe advance weather reports! Thursday's BBC forecast suggested "heavy rain/25 mph winds". Today/Sunday's actual weather was "sunny periods/7 mph winds" ... Date of review: March 29, 2010
In short: 2010 course change causes problems ... In full: I ran most of the 2009 series over a "3 and a bit laps" 10k course. Apart from the congested start and perhaps one or two sharpish turns it was a good course.
2010 sees the introduction of a new "2 laps" 10k course which allows a 5k event to be held at the same time. Squeezing 5k into each lap requires that the course zig-zags a lot and unfortunately this apparently small change has several negative knock on effects ...
Firstly several turns are sharp and anyone running anything faster than a 50 minute 10k will have their speed compromised on each one. Several of these corners require you to reduce to jogging pace. Often the sharp turns are accompanied by a narrowing of the course making running a faster arc impossible.
Secondly the numerous zig-zags result in the course almost meeting itself in some places. At such points marshals are directing one set of runners on one part of the course and at the same time directing another set on another part. For me this resulted in meeting a marshal who was holding a clear arrow pointing in one direction, but who - as I approached him - directed me verbally to go in the opposite direction. It shouldn't be necessary in a well organised race to query the direction to take verbally in mid race.
Some of the new parts of the course were wet/muddy and one runner fell over in front of me. I appreciate these areas will dry out later in the year, but over hanging branches on several of the new sharp narrow corners will only become more of an obstacle as Spring arrives ...
Right now I'm already entered into the 11 April 2010 race, but can't see myself entering any future races on this course. Date of review: March 7, 2010
In short: orienteering + 10k road race In full: I've done this race before. And I do like it. It's friendly, well organised (*), you name it, it has it.
* BUT //even though I've done it before// I (and //many// others on today's experience) still get caught out by the registration being a long way from the car park/entrance to the park and the registration in turn being a long way from the start (which is back by the car park). If you don't want to break into a run before the race you currently need to allow //at least// 30 minutes between arriving at Battersea Park and the race start. Just to arrive, find registration, take a number and find the start.
It seems that the positioning of the start and registration could and should be //much// closer together. Also that the information given on this site and on the organiser's website should all clearly describe just where everything is. Date of review: July 27, 2008
In short: Good organisation, good course - with minor blips ... In full: Good organisation meant I had no trouble finding the event location, I received my race number to my home address in good time and the on course marshalling was excellent.
Minor blips: Actually finding the start was slightly disconcerting since it was labelled at knee height.
I was too busy running my legs off to be sure, but surely there's a better place to actually start the race? And as others have mentioned a gun/loud thing would be nice.
Out on the course the mix of road and park is fine if a little narrow (pavement) in places. But after a few km field is generally well spread out, so no problems.
Very friendly and well organised finish area. Date of review: May 6, 2008
In short: The hills are alive with the sound of ... people running up hills and down hills, rather steep ones, and then back up another smaller but just as steep one and ... finally finishing. [Julie Andrews is my mum.] Date of review: August 29, 2006