In short: First 'Great' event. Enjoyable but not really 'wow' In full: This was my 11th half and my first 'Bupa Great..' event. As it's the biggest race series in the world, televised live etc, I expected a bit more going on and bit of a 'wow' factor, but didn't think it was much different other big city Half Marathons I've done.
Got a place last minute from someone who dropped out and ended up in the Pink (last) wave so even though I was pacing for my brother-in-law doing his first HM, there was congestion pretty much the whole way round as we were aiming for just under 2 hours but this is understandable. Found the scenary quite dull with a good 80 percent of the run being on main roads without many major landmarks / buildings. The bit through Cannon Hill Park was a welcome change of scenary.
The hills made it a bit of a challenge and put any chance of PB out of the question for anyone who's done a few halves before.
Organisation and atmosphere were great. Great goody bag at the end although expect a tech-tee from most big races.
Glad to tick it off the list of races 'to do' but would probably only enter again if my brother-in-law fancied another crack at it to beat his time from this year. Date of review: October 21, 2013
In short: Fun filled course but make sure you can do a lot further than 10K! In full: This was my first Survival of the Fittest event and I entered in a team of 10. We didn't 'race' it and decided to plod around at the pace of our slowest runner to stick together and help each other on some of the more difficult obstacles. Really enjoyed the free-for-all at the first obstable (Hay Bails), running the steps in the Millennium and the team effort to get over the wall at the end. Not so sure about getting in the river Taff though!
The obstacles aren't too difficult especially if you've got people around to help you over the taller ones so in terms of those I think most could give it a good go. However, I'd been told and read on here that the distance is often a kilometer or so longer than the 'roughly 10K' they state on the website... but a couple of our team measured it at 13.5K!?
We may have just been lucky but didn't experience any more than 10-20 second queues for most obstacles which I think was down to the excellent organisation and wave starts.
If I were to do it again, I'd probably try to race it to make it a bit more of challenge. Saying that, I may have finished not feeling to bad - but legs were aching for 2-3 days after!
Definitely worth doing once - a good 'beginners' course for anyone considering Tough Mudder or another longer, more difficult obstacle coure event. Date of review: October 7, 2013
In short: Enjoyable race at bargain price In full: Costs clearly kept to a minimum for this one. No chip timing, no race clock at the finish and just a plastic cup of water at the end. However, if like me, you've already got a load of plastic medals and race t-shirts, I was happy to miss out on these and only pay £6 to enter.
As for the race. A dodgy start with a 180 degree turn around a lorry required to ensure the distance was correct, followed by a flat mile or so on the industrial estate. At the 2K mark we were in for a bit of shock with a steep ascent up a country lane for about half a mile. However, after that, it was mostly downhill and slightly undulating until the 5K point where there was a water stop. The second 5K was pancake flat but mostly back on the industrial estate which is why I rated it low on the scenary front. Although roads weren't closed, there were no issues with traffic, and the course was well marshalled.
Organisation was great although a re-think on the lap around the lorry might be in order for next year. A shame about the hill at 2K otherwise it would definitely be PB potential. Slightly disappointed results weren't uploaded until around 36 hours after the race although appriciate it's a bigger task when not chipped timed and done manually.
Overall, a bargain officially measured 10K for club runners, but probably not that appealing to beginners. More than likely I'll be back next year mostly due to it being a local and well priced. Date of review: May 28, 2013
In short: Friendly, well organised, challenging run In full: First club event for Cwm Ogwr Running Club but you'd never have guessed as the organisation was excellent. A friendly atmosphere beforehand with the 90 odd runners from several different clubs and a lot of beginner runners from the local community chatting inside in the Leisure Centre.
The actual run includes 5 inclines nicely spread out over the 5 miles although the major one is up first and therefore out of the way early. Some support from locals but hoping there'll be many more in future years once more people know about the event. Marshalls were excellent giving encouragement and support to all runners.
Nice presentation for the male and female senior / veterns top 3 with trophies and prizes handed out. Results posted on website within a couple of hours of the final finisher.
Really enjoyable event and speaking to people afterwards, everyone else agreed. Hopefully everyone will be back again next year - I certainly will. Date of review: May 13, 2013
In short: Challenging course but lots of fun In full: This is actually reviewing 2012 race but that wasn't an option above.
After a few 'normal' road 5K's, 10K's, Half Marathons and a Marathon, I decided to try something different... and it was definitely that. A tough 2 mile ascent to start with, followed by 3 miles of udulating grass, mud, gravel, farm path terrain, and a very welcome steep 1 mile decent to finish.
The mud was pretty bad but it had been dry most of the week including race day so could have been a lot worse... or more fun depending on how you want to look at it. The marshalls were excellent with every one of them cheering on the runners and teasing us we were over the worst of the mud when there was clearly much more to come.
No medal or t-shirt at the end, but entrance fee kept to a minimum as a result which is great. A cup of soup and a roll went down very nicely instead. Also, they were typing in the finishing times as people were coming through so you could find out your 'official' time straight after and they had results on the website the same day which isn't always the case with non-chip timed events.
Overall, a very friendly, well organised race, and despite the hills and mud, popular with local non-club runners / beginners as well.
Disappointed with my time this year which makes me even more determined to come back next year and try again! Date of review: November 19, 2012
In short: Really enjoyed but maybe need for stricter rules with Elite / Fun Run In full: My first Nos Galan experience was really good. Atmosphere was brilliant, fireworks before Elite race were amazing, and although drizzly throughout, very mild for New Years Eve.
Only negative would be that I think all runners who expect to finish under say 21 minutes should be told to enter Elite Race but particualrly anyone over 21 minutes in the Fun Run as the Fun Run was held up due to a bloke dressed as Santa entering the Elite Race and finishing in about 30 minutes+?! Think the organisers were probably a bit suprised by the numbers and the course was probably a bit narrow for that amount of runners.
However, it is supposed to be a fun run and I'm sure most people will have had a few too many drinks / mince pies over the festive period to worry about PB's anyway. Hopefully results will be up soon. Date of review: January 2, 2012
In short: Liked the new route - definite PB potential In full: Enjoyed the new route although the doubling back on the dual carriageway wasn't ideal. Bit cramped in the pens at the beginning but surely this is the same in any event with over 10,000 runners. Maybe they could consider a 2 wave system like Bristol though which had similar amount of runners this year. Would love to finish in Millenium Stadium which they did a few years ago or Cardiff City Stadium as an alternative. Well organised and I'll almost certainly be back for 2012.
Oh, and I beat my PB by over 6 minutes to finish in 2:03:08 even though I'd agree with others that it was probably a slightly harder route than last year despite the organisers claims it was improved for PB potential. Date of review: October 18, 2011
In short: Slightly disappointing In full: Course: Didn’t like the first 7 or so miles running on that same stretch of road – feels like you’re never going to get to the turning point. The latter stages seemed to include all the inclines which it’d be nicer to get them out of the way early. On the plus side, loads of water / Lucazade stations with plenty of tables and 200m / 100m signs on approach.
Organization: Asked one of the marshals where the red start was and he didn’t know. Seemed to be a lot of people who were unsure where to go. I liked the 2 wave system but maybe a couple of signs pointing to where the different coloured starts are would help. Think they could segregate it further by having sections within each colour… sub 2 hours at front, then sub 2:10 etc to minimise need for overtaking in the first couple of miles although this wasn’t too bad.
Atmosphere: Strange – hardly anyone for first 7 miles understandably as it’s all on a main road with nothing around. Lots of people watching in the city but I swear at one point there must have been 200 people in one section with less than 10 of them clapping / cheering. I appreciatte they can’t constantly clap / cheer for 3+ hours but that’s ridiculous. On a positive note - Heart FM stations were good and all the charity supporters who cheer on everyone even if your not running for them.
Goodie Bag – as others said – best part was the bag, contents disappointing. Really like the t-shirt although wish I’d got small rather than medium. Bit of a walk after finish line to get medal / goodie bag.
Beat my only previous half marathon times by an incredible… 2 seconds! Still a new PB so pleased with that. Would do again if course was altered (no doubling back on the same road) although I appreciate in a major city this is difficult.
In short: Great alternative if you don't get in for London. Fab scenary and very friendly In full: This was my first marathon so nothing to compare it to, but everything was great. Commentator kept everyone smiling, volunters were encouraging, and small field made it easy to go at your own pace right from the start.
Very hot day as it apparently was the previous year so be prepared. 2 lap format can be a bit daunting for first time marathoners - especially seeing the signs with 23 / 24 when you've only on mile 10 or 11. The 2 laps did mean passing my supporters on 4 occassions though which was helpful for refreshments as no sports drink provided. They might want to re-think the water stops as they seemed a bit eratic with one at 3.5 miles and then a long gap before the chance of up to 4 water stops between 8-13 miles.
Applied for London next year but will definitely go for this one again if I'm unsuccesful. Date of review: May 4, 2011