Hi Liz, I've done this one twice - it is an excellent event and you are in for a treat. The hill at mile 11 isn't steep but I remember it feeling pretty long and, depending on how you are feeling at the start of the hill, can mess up the best laid plans for a particular finishing time. If I remember rightly it goes past a pub - and plenty of supporters offering refreshments. Not far after things level out, after the left turn onto the main road, you then have a bit of down followed by more up which, at that stage in the race, can feel pretty tough. After that, as per the note above, you've got a lovely bit of downhill and then you finish on the green of the race village. Enjoy - if I hadn't had a lazy summer i would have been joining you on the start line.
seems like a good approach to the Manchester situation. I got the GFA in Manchester in 2014 by 2 minutes 38 seconds - nice to know that VLM would still have given me a GFA place in 2015 and 2016 if the course length had been found out back in 2014!
I think it was June last year when the window opened, so May marathon should be fine. Warning, VLM website says GFA times for 2017 are subject to change, but they should publish these at the same time as opening the ballot.
Seems like VLM are more generous with their sizes then a lot of other races. I usually go XL for the length more than anything else and its a reasonable fit - but I could probably fit 2 of me into my VLM shirt. That contrasts with the XL in Manchester last year which is positively skimpy.