David Lewis 50, you may want to look at the dates of the complaints you're complaining about. They're all from last year, not this year. I would imagine Fat Feet have got their act together rather better this year. Despite my complaints last year, I'd still happily have done it again this year but was unfortunately not able to.
I never find that I quite make up on the downhills what I lose on the uphills, and I suspect that is typical (otherwise the fastest marathon courses would be the undulating ones, rather than flat ones like Berlin, where the world record has been set). I think the important thing with hills is to maintain the same effort level as you do on the flat, even if you end up slowing down a fair bit. Trying to maintain speed is a recipe for premature burnout.
Target time for Sunday is a whisker under 1:25. But I won't be getting it if it's -4 and snowing!
Best of luck to everyone for this one. Just a little word of caution - keep a little in reserve for the final mile. The course used to have a sharp little hill about half a mile from the end, which was never a lot of fun, but because of work on the golf course they changed the route last year. The sharp hill has gone, but you do get a much longer, gentler incline instead, and last year I wasn't sure it was an improvement (my hopes for a PB vanished in the last 1.5 miles), because it does drag on a bit.
Of course, because it's a two-lap route it won't come as a surprise at the end, but I still think it makes it easier if you prepare for it and allow some extra time in your calculations. At least I hope I get it right this year, as it's my first and only half marathon of the year and I'm hoping to grab that PB this time (although I still haven't fully recovered from the lurgy which derailed my Rutland Water Marathon a couple of weeks ago).
Actually, on the information sheet sent out with the race number, it says about the race start: "It is a 10 minute walk from the car park". It was 1.2 miles. Now, if I could walk 1.2 miles in 10 minutes, I think I'd just have stuck with walking for the course itself - why bother with running? How difficult is this kind of thing for an organiser to get right? Try www.gmap-pedometer.com. Or maybe even walk it yourself, just to check? The issue here is not the long walk to the start itself (which isn't ideal but may be unavoidable), but the fact that people were so badly misinformed about it (I heard that many didn't make it to the start line in time, even with the delayed start).
Also on the info sheet: "For the first few miles gates will be kept open by marshals". Now, I may just have been unlucky but I was in the lead pack and I didn't see a single gate held open by a marshal. (Later on I went through some gates kindly held open by spectators). This is not a criticism of the marshals, as I have no doubt that they would have held open the gates willingly, had they been asked by the organisers to do so, which it seems they were not.
And does anyone else think that this description of the course was a trifle misleading: "The majority of the route is on tarmac but there are small sections of grass and hard trail/soft trail"? Together with the playing down of the hilly nature of the course, I get the impression the organisers were keen to get as many people coming as they could and didn't want to deter them with the idea that it might be a difficult course. Once again, the complaint here is not the nature of the course itself (which I loved, just my cup of tea), but the misleading information about it.
And how difficult is it to get the mile markers right? Cycle along with your GPS watch going (I assume Fat Feet have a GPS watch between them) and when it beeps for a mile, you stick a sign on one of the thousands of trees, and then carry on. How could they, practically, have got this so bizarrely wrong when it is just so easy to get right (and no more work)? That's a mystery to me. They did get the numbers in order, though, which was good.
For those of you for whom this was the first marathon you've done and you can't see what a few of us are complaining about, you're undoubtedly in for a treat when you come to do your next one. I've done 10 before, all vastly better organised than this (even Dublin, which I thought was poorly organised particularly considering the steep entry fee). But it doesn't take a big organisation to do properly, just some thought. I've run 2 marathons in East Anglia, at Bungay and Halstead, both organised by small running clubs but vastly better done than this one.
I'm sure Fat Feet will organise things better next time, though, and I'll probably be back.