In short: 2nd year I've run this and again I totally loved it - cracking event In full: This is what I said last year: "Easy to see why it gets such consistently good reviews and there is little that can be added. Great race, great atmosphere, great organisation and a fantastic course. A real must do event."
There is really not much else to say. Nice touch to see 100s of free photo's on fabebook within hours of the event finishing.
In short: Cracking event In full: Having lived in St Evenage for a few years I finally did my 'home' event. Never bothered previously as I really didn't like the old course but this year's new course was much more appealing.
The course was pretty much all on cyclepaths which are perfect for a race of this size. The marshalling was fantastic and considering the weather they were almost all remarkably cheery and supportive as were the few supporters scattered around the course.
Not the flashiest of medals (I do like my bling) but acompanied by a t-shirt I'm not complaining.
Definitely an event I'll do again Date of review: November 2, 2014
In short: Not the most inspiring course but faultless organisation and a fabulous In full: It's easy to see why this race gets such good reviews the atmosphere and support from locals is unbelievable and the organisation is faultless. Some really nice touches such as signs welcoming overseas runners and even one wishing people happy birthday.
The course is fairly uninspiring as it is all in suburbia, there are a few narrow sections, it's undulating and there are lots of twists and turns. But the organisation more than makes up for this, easily visible signs warning of approaching turns were particularly appreciated. As were the frequent and considering the unseasonal heat well stocked water stations.
Race village was well laid out, baggage quick and friendly, a nice medal - really hard to fault anything Date of review: September 29, 2014
In short: Some real highlights but some serious organisational shortcomings In full: At the time of posting this review the overall mark is 70% and that's about right. There is lots to be positive about but ultimately some serious shortcomings and failings on the part of the organiser.
To get to Hackney for an 0900 start on a Sunday is a tough ask. Countless tweets, facebook statuses and even a text message telling me to plan my journey doesn't alter the fact that for many people getting to Startford before 0800 is a tough if not impossible ask. And the organisers were very ambitious suggesting it was just a 20 minute walk to the start. That said the bag drop was fast and efficient (and also was at the end of the event too) meaning that although I arrived late it wasn't a rush.
Start pens were an utter joke. 9500 people funneling in from the back made it difficult if not impossible to get to the front if you needed to be. Why there was no side access and why it wasn't regulated is beyond me.
Why have some Z list celebrity start the event when all he does is plug his CD and make dismissive comments about running? The deathly silence was both cringe-worthy and unintentionally hilarious.
Mile markers. Some were way out 1/4 or 1/2 a mile - how does that even happen?
The course, as an ex resident of hackney I loved the first 9 or 10 miles. And the atmosphere and support was really special. Last few miles in the Olympic Park, well most of is was up and down access roads. I thought it would be special . It wasn't.
I don't race for goody bags but it's a bit of a piss take to harp on pre-event about a 'premium goody bag' when it is nothing of the sort.
And finally water. I echo all other comments. Inexcusable to run out. I reckon there were 3500+ people behind me at the first water station and no more than a couple of hundred pouches left. Inexcusable. I don't enjoy seeing dozens of collapsed people including people that are unconscious and others receiving IV fluids. Oh and running out is bad enough but encouraging people not to drink in that heat was downright irresponsible and I can't help but suspect linked to the shorages on course Date of review: June 23, 2014
In short: I loved this event In full: My second year doing this and the fact that I rarely do the same event twice speaks volumes. It's not the cheapest, the goody bag is poor and the medal is the same as last years with just a different ribbon to differentiate the year. But despite that, it's a cracking event and I love it.
The price is undeniably steep but includes admission to the zoo and with a cheap admission for supporters the event's actual cost, when compared to the cost of 2 us both attending the zoo for the day was in effect minimal.
Not convinced that it's a PB course, but others seem to disagree. It's certainly not that hard though. 3 laps mean it's good for supporters who can enjoy a walk around the zoo before it's open and also see plenty of the race.
But it's the scenery that makes this race, it really is a quite surreal setting and for the second year running I witnessed the rhino's charge across their paddock as I ran past - a truly unique experience.
Atmosphere is great, a mix of club and fun runners, some in fancy dress - and even a hen do this year! And then the rest of the day in the zoo spotting others wearing medals and looking increasingly weary!
In short: One of the best kept secrets on the running calender In full: This event must be one of the best kept secrets on the running calender with less than 70 starters. I feel lucky to have friends on the rock and to be one of the few non locals running it. A glorious course primarily on cliff paths around the island and this year glorious weather to highlight just how beautiful Portland's coastline is. The course is brutally hard, I was 40 minutes outside my PB, the winner took over 90 minutes and only a handful of runners inside 1hr 45 - I doubt many races suit the "suicidal - hard as nails" rating as much as this one. Support is limited as you would expect on such a lowkey event but marshalls were all friendly and supportive. And all for a tenner with a great medal too! Date of review: May 20, 2014
In short: Everything a low cost and low key event should be. In full: To be honest I don't expect much for £14, so chip timing, actual toilets (rather than porta-cabins), generous parking, free tee-sheet, free photo (posted on facebook within 24 hours of the event) and a sweat shop voucher made this event a total bargain.
Organisation was faultless and course was a lovely picturesque run around Wimbledon Common. The route was well marshalled and well signposted and although I did have a couple of issues with walkers that was purely down to them being dicks and nothing the organisers could have prevented and they were outweighed by the many locals who did offer vocal support.
While undeniably a no frills affair, this event was everything a lowkey event should be. Good course, faultless organisation, exceptional value - what's not to like? Date of review: March 17, 2014
In short: Great race - despite the wind! In full: Loved this event, organisers did a great job in ensuring it went ahead after the storms and the loss of the use of the Pyrmaid Centre. Great course and without the wind has the potential to be quick. Well marshalled, well supported, well packed goody bag and an excellent medal - what's not to like?
As a slight aside my non-running g/f who came to watch said that this was the friendliest race she'd ever seen me at.
I really can't fault this event Date of review: February 24, 2014
In short: Poor organisation, crap facilities. Great course In full: Never been at an event that had a false start before - how did it even happen? The promised markers were not in place so plenty of slow runners at the front as no one knew where to line up.
And while some bollards are an inevitability on a course of this nature but 2 or 3 unmarked low height bollards within the first half mile in the middle of a path not much more than a metre wide and 800 runners was an accident waiting to happen, amazed if no one tripped on them.
When I finished there was no water available and no goodybags (and I was far from last), though I did subsequently get one of the buffs which in fairness was a pretty impressive freebie.
Lack of toilets is a common but nontheless valid gripe but 5 portaloos for 800 runners is no where near adequate. I also think the fact that they wouldn't let you in the pavilion unless you paid for a massage was a joke. I travelled on public transport so no car to change in and was forced to change in a stairwell (where I shouldn't have been) or get my kit off outside. Bearing in mind the time of year, the lack of any usable headquarters could have been a real issue had it not been exceptinally mild or had the rain not fortuinately held off until after the finish.
having said all that, the course did, to a degree make up for it. Not what I was expecting at all and only gripe is that it was possibly a little too narrow for the volume of runners. I never thought that I would say how scenic a route in Milton Keynes was! It was a pleasure to run and we even saw the concrete cows! A lot tougher than I expected, with lots of twists and turns and gradual inclines but that's not a negative unless you are PB chasing. Very well marshalled and pretty much all were vocal and supportive as were the limkited pockets of support.
In short: I loved this race In full: Was disappointed to miss out on this event last year, but was well worth the wait. Easy to see why it gets such consistently good reviews and there is little that can be added. Great race, great atmosphere, great organisation and a fantastic course. A real must do event. Date of review: November 16, 2013