In short: Another year, another Reading In full: Good to see Reading has continued last years trend of ironing out the usual problems of large runs - good bus service to the start, tonnes of toilets, adequate baggage storage, good supply of drinks on-route and a smooth flowing finish area.
Only whinges were the clocks changing, trains (Great Western are useless compared to GNER at the Great North Run) and the traffic getting back to the station, oh, and idiot slow runners starting up the front then bimbling along at the speed of an asthmatic ant with heavy shopping (apologies to Blackadder). All of the above had little or nothing to do with the organisers.
The crowds were encouraging, upon the occasion they were there (they usually weren't) but the marshals were cheerful and encouraging as always.
All-in-all, Reading set a high standard for itself last year and carried it off for a second year (although I still think the pre-2006 route was faster). Well done Reading, and I'l see you next year. Date of review: March 25, 2007
In short: Iffy organisation but cheerful nonetheless In full: Cheerful marshals, cheap to enter, good warm-up for Reading/ London and a good cause to boot.
Difficult one to rate as I'm more used to the big or more established races, and maybe I've been pampered somewhat, but it was an odd experience. Bit of a delay at the start (no difference from other races there), and a bit of a que at the registration, but once it all got going I was out by myself for a good 4k. I kept thinking 'this can't be right...', er, but it was, which was quite unnerving. It was also weird having to weave in and out of pedestrians for the whole course. Usually the course is blocked off, or there's a huge pack of runners surrounding me which prompts the non-runners to politely move to the side. Not this time, which is understandable (Hyde park on a late Sunday morning - at least the dogs behaved).
Couldn't find any distance markers until 4k, then they seemed off, which played havoc with my pacing, but the marshals were cheerful enough and showed the way admirably.
Finish line cheer was fantastic and the goody bag was a nice suprise (orange juice and sweets - no plastic paratroopers like Edinburgh marathon). And no ques at the toilet! Hurrah!
All said, a decent run - it wasn't a race by any stretch - put on by people wanting to make an effort. Well done Imperial. Date of review: February 25, 2007
In short: Even the anti-Nike protesters seemed to be enjoying themselves In full: Nice weather, good course, cr/p medal. The course was a bit congested, but what do you expect with the amount of runners taking part? It would be nice to have a staggered start, but that's not really what RunLondon's about. It's about getting non-runners out and about running, and it was great to see they achieved that (again). I enjoyed myself, mrs.chimp got a pb and both of us had a grand time. Roll on next year. Date of review: October 9, 2006
In short: Third time and definitely the best yet. How big were the walls in the pens! Brilliant! In full: I've run it for three years on the trot, and each time I come away looking forward to the next years.
The crowds were fantastic, goodie bag well stocked, lots of water/ drinks and the finish was clockwork (all as always).
However, what made the run for me was the size of the walls in the pens. It made it literally impossible for the slower runners to integrate themselves with the faster runners, thus cutting down the potential for them to, inadvertantly I'm sure, interfere with those of a more lithe-er ilk. One bod managed to scale the fence, to which we all gave him dirty looks, another tried it and got shouted down at by one particularly vociforous geordie (good on yer lad). No-one else tried it!
The downside was you couldn't get out easily, which led to me having to stop late in the race to pee after hanging on for more than enough miles. Nevermind. I think it was worth it for a smooth start.
What can I say - the run goes from strenght to strenght. Other halves take note. (yes Bristol, I'm looking at you). Biggest yes, and probably the best. Love it. Date of review: October 1, 2006
In short: I've had it with Bristol... In full: The run, not the town that is! Did it last year, came away disappointed, but thought I'd do it again in the hope something would have changed. Oh well.
Start and finish were worse than last year, and whilst I understand the council wants to show off it's new development to the world, it was just chaos round @Bristol- too many people in one place, the pens were a joke and who's bright idea was it to lead 15,000 eager runners through a 30ft bottleneck not 200m after the start? Goody bag was the most poorly donated bag I've ever had. And don't get me started about the drag past the bridge. Lovely scenery apart, it sapped not only my legs but also my will to live. Thanks to those who turned out to cheer us all on. I swear I felt the fabric of the space/time continuum bend on that road.
However, marshals still as cheery as ever, good mix of runners, top support from the locals and tonnes of water (drought, what drought?)
I'm off for a nap. Date of review: September 17, 2006
In short: It's still hard, but oh-so worthwhile In full: Lets face it, running 42 miles across the North Yorks moors is not an easy experience. It's long, it's tiring and, uness you have an appreciation of some of the finest scenery in Britain, there's not a lot to look at. No St.Paul's cathedral or statue of liberty to look at here.
But what you do get is an incredibly well organised, fantastic run across the moors and hills of North Yorshire, with a fair few other likeminded folk who are all experiencing the same as you. And if they haven't yet, give it an hour or so.
It really is an experience, and one you won't forget, for all the right reasons. I always learn a little more about myself, and come back with more than a few tales to tell. Date of review: July 9, 2006
In short: Lots of little problems - could do better In full: For a race claiming big city marathon status, it needs to get the basics right:
- toilets - not enough; - typos in the publicity material (day/ date of race continually confused, list of runners down as 2005 etc) - mile markers... come on guys - it's not that difficult!
People of Edinburgh very supportive with cheers and hospipes, and run has potential, but without the necessary organisational discipline, the marathon's not going to get the necessary sponsorship to keep it going - which would be a shame. Date of review: June 12, 2006
In short: Like a fast training run, except with lots of other runners and its by the river In full: Fast, scenic and clubby, but nice enough. Weather was nice - cloudy and a little chilly. Marshalls were nice and encouraging, which was good as there was nobody else around except for the odd lost SUV. Bit of a trip back to the start from the finish line, which was a tad depressing. Good job the organisers momento was a long sleeved t-shirt or I would have froze. Brrr.... Interestingly everyone, more or less, got into position the start according to their ability. Maybe that was the competitive club element (?), lithe whippets that they are. Shame more runs' entrants don't have the same self awareness. Date of review: May 14, 2006
In short: Has Reading finally cracked it? In full: For once, just the once, I was praying for a delayed start after a (short) over sleep. However, previous years nightmares of bus ques as long as bus que complaints faded quickly as I ran down along a line (yes! Line!) of buses. Incredible. Made it to the start no probs. No pb this year, but no probs at toilets (five min wait), and no probs getting back to station. Only thing that spoiled it was knowing that Reading Utd have made it to the premiership and Leeds haven't quite yet. Marching on together, you're gonna hear us sing nana-na-na etc. Date of review: April 9, 2006
In short: Beats CD:UK for a Sat morn treat. In full: Changing rooms were locked as park officials didn't turn up on time, leaving us in the cold and rain. Not a good start, but once they got openned up, the rain cleared, leading to a gloriously sunny, green and rolling 10k. Very friendly and welcoming, top marks to marshals for coping with rain, wind and the inevitably curious doggy specators. Already looking forward to the next one. Date of review: April 1, 2006