In short: Everything you could want from a medium sized marathon In full: Really hard not to like this race. Clearly put on for runners by runners.The only thing that might put you off is the loops but that makes it incredibly social and amazing support for all the field from fast to lets get round.
Race is run on a smooth, tarmac cycle path. There is a slope on each loop that gets a little challenging late on but compensated for by the downhill on other side of course. I prefer this to flat events when you never get any let up.
So many little touches. YOu can place your drinks on your own table like an elite. Your name on your bib is the main event rather than an afterthought. Chip timing with a TV screen showing which lap you are on. Free photos. The biggest medal around (has to be seen to be believed)
But all those are touches. The main thing is this is an incredibly well organised race that I will be back for again and again. Date of review: May 31, 2015
In short: Ok first attempt and room for improvement In full: The route when published was always going to be teh big thing on this race - you woudl either love the twisty turns fitting 26.2 into a relatively small area with minimal road closures or you would hate it. This was accelerated by last minute route changes caused by the weather.
The organisation leading up to the event was adequate and on the morning the "race village" had a good buzz. The warm up/DJ etc did over run leading to a 15 minute late start - not teh worst late start in the world but if it had been wet it would have been much worst - but in the relatively warm conditions just about acceptable but better to iron out problems.
A course that was largely run on footpaths, a few small road sections and a mile or so of grass. Two loops meant that you got to see people quite often (which I like) although the out and back loops in the park were quite tough especially the second time.
Marshals were great as were aid stations. Certainly got that right.
Late changes to route meant a small 3 mile third lap. Unfortunately you ran right past the finish with 3 laps to go and some accidentally or deliberately would have ended up with a short race - certainly soemthing to look at in year 2.
Nice medal, T shirt and a goody bag. All in all a good first attempt, good value and with some tweaks could be an interesting flat (ish) off road marathon for the future. Date of review: October 22, 2014
In short: OK day out, smooth organisation but too many switchbacks In full: This is an OK event. OK if you ant to run a big marathon, OK if you want reasonable crowds, OK if you want well marshalled route with water stops etc, OK if you dont mind spending £50+ on a place etc.
What it lacks for me is a spark to make it unique and special. What almost gives it that are the stetches right by the sea,you are almost on the beach at times. But this is somewhat spoilt by the repetitive out and back loops that the organisers have put in to keep road closers and logistics to a minimal. Just too many off them to make it a great race, too many 180 turns.
Nice to run on the two piers and nice shirt and OK medal. The second of the two hills is challenging but comes at a good point. But first race I have run through the Finish Arch at mile 18! Date of review: October 6, 2014
In short: Great organisation and marshals, Real race of two halfs. In full: Since they moved this race 1/2 mile up teh road to the School the start area works much better with plenty of parking, good facilities etc.
Its a real race of two halfs. The first half is run alongside the half marathon and tends to have enough other runners (but in no way crowded)to chat to. That half is teh more physically challenging with lots of bumps/slopes to keep you amused, nothing too significant but certainly much "hillier" than you would expect from a seaside course.
The second half is much flatter and is run for large parts along the sea defences so hard concrete surface. Fewer runners (and spread out by that stage) although the out and back parts give you a chance to say hello to runners going the other way. It does get a bit soul destroying though the relentless flat sea wall.
Support and encouragement from marshals is great and surprising amount of encouragement from day trippers enjoying the seaside.
Good medal and T shirt (tech). Well worth doing as an early autumn long run. Date of review: September 8, 2014
In short: How all local marathons should be In full: Lovely race that seems to get better and better every year. Playful course but certainly not hard and absolutely outstanding marshalls and supporters. Brilliant goody bag. Nice veiws and you dont even notice particularly its two laps due to variety. Date of review: May 12, 2014
In short: Nice, well organised biggish event. Playful course In full: Broadly a very well organised race based at the MK Dons stadium in MK. I arrived 60+ minutes before off and teh car parks were empty and no problems but understand others did have issues. Good facilities as stadium toilets etc available. Excellent baggage check.
My one criticism of the organisation was the lack of time markers at the start.Whilst not everyone will "obey" them they do give a useful indication for people and te lack of them made the first few miles tighter than needed to have been.
Early miles into central MK on flat wide roads. One or two too many loop backs for my taste but gave opportunity to see lots of people and teh support was very good.
Later part of race explored the wider MK and whilst perfectly pleasant it was definitely hard to keep track of where you were. The race is decsribed as undullating and think thats what it is. Certainly harder than it looks on the profile but looking at overal elevation its certainly not hilly!
Good water and gel stations about the course. Nice medal at end. A good race and well worth doing. Date of review: May 9, 2014
In short: If Carlsberg did Races.... In full: Another great race from the Halstead team. This race is how a medium sized club organised race should be done. It has everything, great HQ, playful course to keep you interested, smooth organisation, some of the best water stations and marshals around, great scenery and good medal, tech shirt and goody bag.
Little to improve upon - apart from that 400 meters of grass at mile 26 :-) Date of review: May 12, 2013