In short: well organised enjoyable race In full: It is a well organised race. Slightly undulating in places but few real hills. The support through the city for first and last 3k is superb. For the rest the supporters are sporadic but the marshals are great, and the out-and-back nature means that slower runners see faster runners coming the other way for much of it. I was surprised how many of them said something encouraging. At about 15 the metric and imperial marathons merge. So I didn't feel like I was running on my own for very long. There's also a group of race angels to encourage people struggling towards the end. I would recommend it. Date of review: October 7, 2015
In short: I shouldn't like it so much - but I do. In full: Why do I like this race so much? I'm slow so am going to be in the last few runners; there are some big hills; it is long; the weather is usually dreadful; the scenary is nothing special a lot of the way; there's cars on the course etc etc. It should all make for a race I don't like.
But the atmosphere of this race makes it all worthwhile. The marshalls are great, the organisation generally good, the comedy commentary is great and the atmosphere welcoming.
My only complaint was this year they took down the baggage store tent before I had finished, so my bag was sitting in the hail getting wet. They could have a tarpaulin or similar for the last bags if there is a need to dismantle tents before everyone has finished. Date of review: December 8, 2014
In short: Would have been great if it wasn't for the traffic at the end In full: Many things about the race were good: the size and mix of the crowd of runners; the fairly flat countryside roads; the number of toilets; the organisation pre-run; the communication before the day etc.
The main issue I had was traffic, on a supossedly trafic-free race. In the main body of the race about 15 cars passed me, including a convoy of about 7-8 vintage cars. Some of the roads were narrow so I felt forced into the verge to let cars pass.
The last km or so was chaos. There were cards passing in both directions, and there really wasn't space for a runner too. In the final 500m, once in the Hall grounds, there were also pedestrians on both sides of the road, and a couple of times I simply had to stop because there was no way of running through. In the last few 100ms of a race, with a PB just in sight, this was obviously very frustrating, and it felt like an accident waiting to happen. Maybe it didn't affect faster runners, but if a race is not going to be traffic free after a certain time they need to impose a cut-off, or make people aware of this.
As a slower runner, it is also annoying when there are only small Tshirts left by the time I finish a race. Date of review: November 2, 2014
In short: Great atmosphere In full: Liked the track start, especially with Benny Hill music playing. I knew I'd be bringing up the rear and I did, but it didn't matter. Still got a great welcome back into the stadium at the end. Great support and encouragement from organisers and other runners thoughout. Really enjoyed it.
Hills were tough, but the last one was made better by faster runners, who were already driving home, shouting encouragement from their cars. Didn't enjoy the stretch of running up a hill on a busy road. Crossed onto the pavement in the end ignoring the sign for runners to keep left. Date of review: December 19, 2012
In short: Not bad, but lacked atmosphere, especially for slower runners In full: This was disappointing for my first ever run. There was very little atmosphere, and by the time I got to the end the announcements had stopped and most people gone home. Some of the volunteers were great, others were obviously keen to get off and had either left posts when I got to them, or had given up showing people where to go and were on the phone etc. I didn't see anyone for kilometers at a time, and was disappointed that I didn't get the buzz I was expecting from being part of a race. (finish time about 80 mins, but noone for 5 mins in front or 13 mins behind). Date of review: August 30, 2011