In short: Lovely race on a warm and sunny day... In full: Apart from that it wasn't... The weather was impressively bad - so that at some point I got the giggles, remembered that I had chosen voluntarily to spend my Sunday morning doing this - and from then on hugely enjoyed it. Very good organization, we had no issues with parking and collecting the numbers. Start was a bit chaotic - could you not just do it from outside the stadium in the car park to avoid the gate? The course - rather dull, but didn't really expect much else. Was surprised by how tough it was going though all the underpasses. And huge respect and thank you to all the marshalls - never mind running in this weather, standing around in it must have been so much harder and there was still a happy wave and cheer from all of them. Overall: not a bad race, this year particularly memorable because of the weather. Date of review: November 2, 2009
In short: Great race on a great day In full: A perfect day, and a lovely run in a wonderful setting. Very scenic - which usually means there are some hills, and there most definitely were, both long and gruelling and steep and sharp ones. Clearly not a course for a good time, but to be enjoyed and got around with sensible tactics. Very supportive marshalls, and overall just brilliant organization. One of these small, lovely, superbly friendly races - definitely worth doing! Date of review: September 27, 2009
In short: A bit hillier than expected - but REALLY enjoyed it! In full: Great race and well worth making a weekend of. I found it a bit difficult to find the start - some sign posts would have helped. But otherwise good start area - plenty of toilets (Which begs the question just WHY some guy next to me while waiting for the gun to go had to piddle bang in the middle of everyone?!?!?! He knew he was spotted and, I think, suitably embarassed - and so he should be. Hrrumph!) Anyway, that aside - the first half was a long out and back stretch, but that made it easy to find a rhythm. The second half - ouch! Lots of ups and downs over the bridges, lots of turns, cobbled streets - really felt quite hard. But at least every up was quickly followed by a down, and it remained a fast-ish course. Great finish, great goodie bag. Also fantastic to have a physio service there - I promptly had miy tight hamstrings dealt with very efficiently. And - fab atmosphere in the runners' village and all the pubs and restaurants afterwards. I really liked this race and hope to be back. Date of review: September 6, 2009
In short: OK In full: I think I had higher expectations, given that last year's reviews described a flat, scenic race. Hmmm... Not a lot of scenery apart from the lake. Flat - sort of. Still not particularly fast, given the huge amount of underpasses that had to be got down to and up again - and which were usually positioned around a sharp bend. This kind of stuff just broke the rhythm. Atmosphere - none to speak of, although the few spectators that there were were supportive, as were the marshalls. Loo queues were ok. Having just one poor lady doing all the post-race massage was a bit of a tough call - a big thank you to her. Overall - I found it ok, was happy with my time and would do it again as a "training race", which today was. I would not recommend it as a big event or first half marathon. Oh, and what must have been rather disheartening for those towards the back: most people were leaving walking along the finish stretch. There were still people coming in - how must they have felt finishing with everybody coming towards them??? Mind you, they did get a few cheers. Date of review: July 26, 2009
In short: Hilly, muggy, friendly, scenic - bring on next year! In full: Loved it. Hard at the start - first mile a steep uphill, so hard to get into a rhythm. The hot, muggy weather did not help. But the scenery made up for the pain - and after the first couple of miles it really was just "undulating" - until miles 7-9, which were a gradual uphill slog. I loved the signs at the roadside announcing the hills (deep breath now - a long slog ahead) and the downhills (downhill from here - a breeze), at mile 11 (last hill - honest) and mile 13 (come on, sprint now). Marshalls and spectators were equally great - it is just a wonderful race in wonderful countryside. On the plan for next year. Date of review: June 27, 2009
In short: OK, but nothing special In full: Not the best of days for a race - rain, wind, mud... Twisty course with quite a few falls at the start. Bollards not marshalled - a few signs which you could only spot once you had nearly fallen over them. Same for the big puddles: the only bits where one could have passed them were blocked by signs warning of the puddles... Not a lot of people out, so atmosphere not great - the weather, again, so not the organisers' fault. Still, I somehow just didn't like it particularly. I had expected a bit more from such a fairly famous race, and it was just very much average. Date of review: May 17, 2009
In short: The best yet In full: Great weather, great atmosphere. For the first time had the experience of the championship start - great to have a few extra comforts, including a warm up area and tent, proper toilets and - most importantly - the opportunity to get across the start line very quickly. I struggled the first half, but then managed to get my act together and enjoyed the second half. Brilliant atmosphere! 5 min PB at the end - very happy with that. Wonderfully supportive crowds and support staff. In particular the final 2 miles make the whole 24 miles beforehand worthwhile - what an amazing experience to run along the Embankment to thousands of cheers! Great organisation - certainly the race with the best supplies of water and energy drinks (whether or not you like Lucozade...). I will be back!!! Date of review: April 27, 2009
In short: No scenic value, but definite PB-potential In full: Ideal "pre-London" race - even the pre-race magazine looks similar to what you get for London, as does the kitbag, goody bag etc. So if you want to practice for London - go for it.
The other thing this race is good for: a PB. No scenery to take your mind off your goal. Mainly flat, and, this year, not a lot of wind. I wanted to get uner 1:30 and ended up doing 1:26, so it worked for me.
Organisation was as good as you would expect it from the FLM-organisers, really quite smooth. But yes, the T-shirt was a bit of a let down. Never mind. Overall - not a lot of entertainment or enjoyment factor, but as a practice or PB race it does what it says on the box and is a good event. Date of review: March 16, 2009
In short: Friendly, well organized, definite PB potential on a less windy day In full: I really enjoyed this race. Very friendly organizers. Parking no problem, no toilet queues. Showers did not work, but this probelm was extremely well solved with the 5-day gym pass. Not many races where can you indulge in a hotel gym afterwards... I wasn't aware of any organizational problems, thought it all went ahead very smoothly. The course is very dull, including all the turning back on yourself bits, but it is flat and definitely good for a PB. Would happily do it again - though would be hoping for a less windy day... Date of review: March 7, 2009
In short: Friendly, flat and fun In full: Very well organized and friendly. Good weather with much less wind than expected from the stormy night before. A few twists and turns, but still definite PB-potential. Great race to start the road season. Date of review: January 18, 2009