In short: A splendid return to the city for this race In full: I had been looking forward to this race because it is in my home city, and many of the roads used form part of my training routes. This race was very well organised. The marshalls were supportive and plentiful. The hill up New Walk is a sting in the tail, but is an excellent finish. Delighted with the route. I think it is a quick course but is undulating. The cobbles at 5 miles and 11 miles added to the charm that the route has, in my opinion.
The only criticism I would have is that ample parking was promised - this was not the case. I arrived 50 minutes before the start and struggled to find a spot. Date of review: October 14, 2007
In short: Very well organised race In full: This is a very well organised race. The club clearly takes pride in their event, and this is reflected on how friendly and supportive the marshals are on the course. The course is basically 3 gradual uphill miles, followed by a downhill section, then a big hill at 4 miles. After that it's downhill to the finish apart from a slight rise in the last 800m.
I've never received beer in a goody bag before. The cereal bar was welcomed as were the plentiful supply of bananas afterwards. I liked the motivational notice on the side of the road with about 1½ miles to go stating that failure is forever.
A very good event that I would definitely do again. Date of review: May 21, 2007
In short: A fast course but a bit "Mickey Mouse" In full: I did a PB here by 44 secs. I did a 125 mile round trip because the promise was flat and fast. OK, I got my PB so it was worth it BUT, it is flattish, but not flat. In my opinion, the Adidas Flora London (Silverstone) Half-Marathon is a faster course. MK being what it is, meant that there was a lot of going up over flyovers and down through sub-terrain walkways. Furthermore some of the corners were somewhat tight and twisty and there are short sections over grass where you are crossing from road to footpath.
My thoughts about the twisting and turning course brought me to the conclusion that the course was somewhat "Mickey Mouse". The start was not well organised - but I've seen worse. Sections where you could start depending on your intended finish time would be welcome. There were insufficient helpers on the drinks stations. In particular, the first Lucozade Sport station. I hadn't got time to stop and wait so I went thirsty. Fortunately, there was a water station about 1/2 mile later which I wasn't expecting :-)
On the positive side, I did get a PB here so it must be fairly fast. It was good to see Police at some junctions, and major junctions (but not all junctions) were marshalled. Parking was plentiful and near the start. I found the finish system OK, but maybe I arrived before the chaos described elsewhere. The Lucozade Sport was a welcome surprise. The medal was nice. Also, I saw parts of MK that I never knew existed which were rather scenic. Date of review: March 12, 2006
In short: Well organised. Challenging hills In full: My 2nd time for this race. Well worth the 95 mile trip. Scenic course with some quite challenging short sharp hills - esp. at 3 and 9 miles. The final lap of the park was quite challenging in that you could hear the announcer but still had a mile to go.
Organisation was terrific. Mainly closed roads, Police support, brilliant supportive plentiful marshalls. liked the T-Shirt.
Only gripe would be the "3 finish lines" as mentioned above, and the fact that the paths in Cassiobury Park are quite narrow for the start.
However, I was 5 minutes quicker here than last year and really enjoyed it. Date of review: February 5, 2006
In short: Start are too narrow for size of field. Needs some segregation so the faster runners can start together. In full: Rain, rain, rain. Super course. Great support from the marshals Date of review: October 30, 2005
In short: PB course In full: For me this has replaced Great North Run as my "must do" half marathon of the year. Parts of the course are dull, but the crowd atmosphere in some areas was something special. Organisation spot on. Date of review: March 16, 2005
In short: Too many people. No space to run. In full: Having run my 2nd GNR I'm seriously wondering whether to bother again.
The field is too big, and in my opinion it is bordering on dangerous. It wouldn't be such a problem if there was a staggered start. The frustrating thing is you cannot run for very long before coming across walkers who have ignored the pace signs at the start and just decided to start as near the front as possible. And why do some of those walkers have to link hands to cause more of a blockage? The water stations are chaotic with no warning that they're coming up. The road narrows down from dual carriageway to turn left at 5 miles. This causes a major bottleneck. Didn't get much chance to look at the scenery because I was concentrating so hard not to trip someone up due to having no space to run in.
The start was chaotic. You could see people with white numbers in the Orange pen. Didn't appear to be much organisation at the start. Had very little room to run in. Water bottles and tops strewn all over the road - very dangerous. Was unable to run over the finish line because there was a queue of runners waiting to be processed at the finish. Goody bag collection was chaotic. Goody bag not a patch on last year either. T-shirt poorer quality, medal much lighter, and no drinks bottle. What use is microwave pasta at the finish? You want stuff you can eat, because you know it's going to take ages to get away from the finish to somewhere you can eat. At least I used the ferry this year to get north of the Tyne, rather than wait ages for the Metro.