In short: Dull, wet and a boring route BUT still worth turning up for!!!! In full: Yes it was wet! Yes it was a dull route! And the field was a quagmire at the end (that probably had something to do with the fact that it was pouring with rain prior to setting off!!), yet I still felt that this race was good value for money.
I've been to enough races to know that the organisation was very good and there was positively a legion of marshalls, volunteers, helpers and police for this event, which was possibly the envy of other race organisers!!
The leisure centre was rather congested, no doubt because of the rain, but there was a large hall to take cover in, and the chance to grab a hot brew before the race. I found the centre staff to be quite approachable.
Even though this was a Hampshire League race and the start line was populated by a plethora of club vests, there still seemed to be a fair mix of athletes so I have no problem in recommending this race to beginners.
So the scenery was dull! To be quite honest I was working so hard I barely even noticed, I enjoyed the atmosphere and the sense of being involved, thats all that really matters to me. Just enjoy it!
Well done to any first timers, keep it up.
Well done also to the organisers, and many thanks to the, what seemed like, hundreds of volunteers. Date of review: April 4, 2008
In short: An impressive event, well worth the trip (for the third time!!) In full: Yes an absolutely excellent event,well organised, loads of enthusaistic marshalls, generally good facilities and obviously the mild weather hepls. But, and this is the point, it would have still been a fantastic event even if it had been blowing a gale and pouring with rain.
This year (my third) they even had some delightful young ladies doing gait analysis and trying to persuade as many people as poss to buy a certain well known brand running shoes.
Indeed the only complaint of the day I heard was concerning these girls. They had a very nice truck and an extremely good PA system, which was pumping out some fairly decent music, one of the girls was doing her best to enthuse the crowd when all of a sudden they were told to stop by one of the organisers!! Any idea why??
It was a shame because they were doing a magnificent job of entertaining my special needs 15 year old boy!!
Roll on next year!! Date of review: November 26, 2007
In short: This was an excellent little race, you should have been there! In full: I entered on the day for this race because of an ongoing knee niggle, and you know I’m glad I did.
As I filled out the entry form the race official was delighted because they now had more runners than marshals!!
Don’t let the small crowd put you off because this race turned out to be absolutely superb. Billed as multi terrain, it meant a little concrete, some trail, mostly grass but a start and finish on a sports track. Although there were no cheering crowds you could almost imagine them being there and what a lift at the end of a great run!
Yes the route was a little twisty but that just added to the fun, and having two laps meant you knew exactly what you had to do on the second lap.
It would seem that the AC had ‘volunteered’ just about everyone from the club who wasn’t running to be a race steward or marshal, which meant the course was well marked out. And the biggest climb was about 3 or 4 metres so no probs there, and the setting just away from the track was definitely picturesque, with two lakes to walk around.
If you wanted a diversion from the running and are continually being dragged along as support crew then the local football teams were hard at work on the nearby football pitches. Something different? How about a skate park for the kids??
Do this race!!!
My thanks to all involved in the organisation and I look forward to next year!!
In short: Lovely little race In full: This is a nice little race with plenty going for it, for instance, it’s a fairly flat course (apart from one serious climb at about 4K); the marshals are plentiful and very enthusiastic; the village fete atmosphere; the BBQ; the mars bar at the end; not too crowded and a fair mix of runners.
But there are a few points the organisers could take on board to improve it, like providing a changing area and slightly better organisation at the start. Runners really should have been encouraged to start from a realistic point. This is important because the course IS advertised as being ‘flat’ and by implication fast, and quite a few club runners were looking for quick times, which meant a quick start and any slower runners were caught up in the initial rush!
I enjoyed this race and was hoping for a PB (which I got) but have to comment that it is quite twisty and has some very sharp turns.
In short: Truly stunning!!!!! In full: This was my fourth marathon but first London and I'm still on a high!!!
Everything went very slick for me on the day from getting to Blackheath to meeting up with family and friends in Green Park, and then getting home again, even if I did miss my turn on the A3!!!! Daydreaming!!!!!
Many, many thanks to all involved including the organisers, marshals, the guys and gals at the water stations and everyone else who work tirelessly so we can attend and parade around at the end with our medals like we have just conquered the world!!!!!!
Special thanks to everyone who cheered me on, but especially to the people at the Help the Hospices cheering stations for the frenzied screaming as I passed. Well done to all!!!!!!
In short: My second time of running and it won't be the last! I'll be back! In full: I ran this in 2006 as a pure race and did quite well 1 hr 32mins ish, I had a great time.
This year I was pacing a friend of mine on her first ever half marathon and only her second ever race.
You know what??
I loved it both times!! This year was fantastic for the suppport we recieved even though it took nearly 3 hours, there were still people behind us and I hope they recieved the same level of that we did! If that doesn't make it beginner friendly I don't know what does!
From my point of view the organisation was silky smooth and slick, but then I didn't get caught up in the baggage tent.
Special thanks to all marshalls, but especially the lady warning all runners to 'mind her humps!'.
It was great to finnally meet Mick and Phil, and the guy in one of the Rhino suits actually didn't come across as a raving nutter at all, just a normal guy trying to raise as much money for charity as possible, well done fella hope to see you in London.
In short: One of the best events I've been to. In full: Obviously the good weather helped, but besides that the organisation is slick, the addition of a bit of entertainment or other facilities would give this event a carnival atmosphere.
The water stations were well placed and populated with very enthusiastic helpers, well done to all.
Special thanks to the Marshalls, some of whom must have had sore hands at the end of the day! Thank you all!!
It's great that the course is traffic free, that must have taken a lot of work to organise, and because of the winding nature and tight turns in places it is quite challenging especially if you're chasing a PB.
I had a great day, my only niggle is slower runners. Was slowed by runners who obviously should have started further down the field. I won't labour the point but it is annoying!!!
Many thanks to everyone concerned with the organisation and anyone who helped on the day, without you the day simply couldn't be! Date of review: March 12, 2007
In short: Second time of running and this is still a great race! In full: A cold start had everyone reaching for long sleeved tops and tights, but the sun came up early and thawed things out so that most people were comfortable in shorts and a vest!
The scenery is not fantastic, but this can be forgiven because of the excellent organisation and the speed of the course. That said, I missed my PB by about 8 seconds!!! Gutted or what!
The marshalls were nothing short of fantastic and all deserve a pat on the back.
I only saw one plank of a motorist who was just too impatient to wait, he ended up turning right across the flow of runners nearly taking one out, then revved his merry way down the road, some people huh?
All in all a great day!! Date of review: November 21, 2006
In short: Looking for a marathon? Do this one!!!!! In full: There are lots of other entries here that extol the virtues of this race and I agree with everyone one of them wholeheartedly.
From the free parking, through all the facilities available, the water stations and sponges, to the stadium finish this race is fantastic.
The stadium finish is not only a great ego boost for the runners at the end but it also allows the spectators to stay dry if (and when) the downpour happens.
Special mentions? All the marshalls who were friendly and enthusiastic. BoBo from BoBo’s Pit stop, thanks for the jelly babies, all the other runners who gave me encouragement as they shot past and some lovely looking woman dressed in blue who kept passing on a bike and appearing at different points on the course, thanks for the support.
And on a minor point this race has excellent PB potential, I never once saw anything that even resembled a hill!!!
A big thank you to all concerned I had a most memorable day!!!
In short: It's the difference that makes it special! In full: If you’re a hardened racer and expect to find an official race starter, official race timing, marshals, mile markers etc then this series of races is probably not for you!
But if you like a warm friendly atmosphere, a huge option of race distances (which no-one would mind if you changed mid race), some stunning views of the area from the hills, challenging routes, some historical landmarks then this could be for you. Running right through the City centre, including the pedestrianised bit, was slightly strange and drew a few bewildered looks from the shoppers, but it just added to the fun. And yes you do need a little bit of map reading ability, just a little.
Years ago the event started off as trail walking but it is evolving. One of the race organisers stated that this was the first year that there were more people running/racing the marathon than were walking.
All in all an enjoyable event, many thanks to Ludo and his team for all their efforts!