In short: Please don't let this event become a money-making exercise In full: This was my first half marathon in 2005, and as it is my local event I have taken part every year since then. I desperately wanted to compete this year, but having been injured I hadn't done the requisite training to do it justice.
I am firmly of the belief that event organisers need to take a more sympathetic approach to runners who enter events with the best intentions, but later find they can't because of circumstances beyond their control. You only have to look at the number of reviews I've posted on here to see how much I enjoy taking part in events and clearly wouldn't drop out without good reason.
I was therefore quite disappointed when I gave up my race number for a friend wanting to compete in the multi-terrain race. We would happily have paid a small admin fee to sign the number over to her, which seems much fairer than her having to pay £11.50 on the day just for five miles.
Neither of us foresaw her winning the event, and if we had she would definitely have entered under her own name. I just wanted her to enjoy the run.
We were disappointed at the attitude of the event organisers at first when they wanted to disqualify her and not let her claim her prize. The place in the race was paid for; it was the administration that needs improving.
I didn't even have time to ask if I could change the name as we were late due to hold-ups getting into the car park, and having to collect timing chips on the day was only ever going to add to delays.
All that aside, as a spectator the event seemed to run like clockwork, a challenging course which is well marshalled and supported, and a nice t-shirt and medal at the end.
I really hope there is no ill feeling about what happened and look forward to taking part regularly in future. Date of review: October 12, 2010
In short: I wanted to do it so much I even entered even though I wasn't fit In full: I didn't have a good experience at all at the Pewsey half this year. I am on the mend after a nasty attack of sciatica, and entered even though I knew I probably wouldn't finish it. In the end I had to drop out before I'd even reached the 3 mile marker.
But that should tell you everything you need to know about the event. I was desperate to do it because I love the event so much (all of PVRC's races, truth be told).
A lovely scenic run on the bank holiday weekend, a reasonable price, good organisation and a t-shirt at the end, and it's probably worth the trip for the cakes alone!
Thanks to the organisers and the St John's Ambulance guys who looked after me and took me back to race HQ. It was still worth the trip out.
Hopefully see you next year in a state to actually complete and enjoy the race properly! Date of review: September 2, 2010
In short: Very slickly done, highly enjoyable FREE weekly race!! In full: My first time at the park run and long overdue. Had been intending to give it a go for some time and will now be a regular attendee.
I can't get over how slickly this is done, the system is so simple and well organised it is brilliant! It makes you wonder why the barcode system can't be introduced at all races.
Pleasant run through the park but a bit hot to be running at the moment. Best of all though, it is completely FREE and all the organisation is done by volunteers.
Turn up and give it a go, it's fun, sociable and attracts a wide diversity of abilities. What else have you got to do on a Saturday morning? Date of review: July 12, 2010
In short: As always, an enjoyable mid-week event with some improvements this time. In full: I've made the comment before that I regularly use this route in training so I shouldn't really be excited about it.
However I really enjoyed this event again last night (my fourth time running, and I have marshalled once). It's not that hard to see why - it is well organised and the introduction of 'seeding pens' at the start was a big improvement on previous years.
It is extremely well marshalled with lots of encouragement all the way round and two drinks stations. Thanks also to all the locals who made the effort to come and spectate.
It always attracts a diverse group of runners and it's nice to bump into people I know in the area. A useful and pretty memento in the form of a water bottle is a lot better than a medal.
One thing I would add is that the new route is an improvement and quite a lot safer I would say, virtually traffic free and avoiding Wharf Road. I hope the organisers stick with it.
Not really a PB course with a long uphill section at the end and lots of twists and turns. But the good points more than make up for the bad, so I expect and hope the Lethbridge 10k is a regular in my race diary every year. Date of review: June 17, 2010
In short: Charming little race, and a great afternoon out. What's not to like? In full: Really, really enjoyed this race - my fourth time at it, and I intend to make it a regular in my race calendar every year.
Very pleasant run through the countryside, undulating course so not really PB territory but nothing that hideous either. Lovely downhill section in the last mile and a flat, fast section at the end.
I disagree that this is an expensive race, I've always thought that a pound a mile is reasonable, plus another two quid if you get a t-shirt. And this was a good quality t-shirt that I will be able to wear for some time.
Another big plus for me is that there is always a mix of abilities; I much prefer this to 'clubby' races. And I love that it is part of the fete as it makes it a nice afternoon out for friends and family to come along. Nice that so many of my friends were there, and was able to celebrate with a cake and a burger at the end!
Thanks again Wootton Bassett Hounds, see you again next year. Date of review: June 14, 2010
In short: Not scenic enough to be my favourite half, but the best value for money In full: Can't really add to my comments from last year. I think what I like about it most is the excellent value for money it offers. Also the option of buying a race t-shirt is good and excellent value at just a fiver.
I would add that I thought the organisation is also faultless, I liked the detailed race pack with a very clear map and nice to give people the option of raising money in aid of prostate cancer. Friendly and encouraging marshals, and good local support - thank you.
Not a good race for me personally, 10 minutes slower than last year due to injuries and lack of training. In fact quite a painful experience and not many happy memories apart from the young man who sprinted across the line with me and put his arm round me at the end.
If that young man is reading, sorry if you didn't manage to beat the fat middle-aged bloke but if it's any consolation he has a PB of 1:43 for this distance and is one of the most prolific reviewers on here.
Definitely see you again next year, hopefully in better shape and warming up for VLM. Date of review: April 12, 2010
In short: I don't care if it was less than six miles, I had a whale of a time! In full: I have to be honest, if this was 6 miles I doubt I could have run that distance in the time I did on this kind of course, so the people who measured it as shorter might have had a point!
But I'm not grumbling about the odd mile here or there, it was a fantastic event was a highlight of my bank holiday weekend.
The main thing that stood out for me was the number of happy, smiling faces I saw at the end, which you don't always get.
On top of that there was beautiful scenery and views during the race, lots and lots of friendly, encouraging marshals and a sense of camaraderie during the race.
The course itself is as hard as nails and makes for a damn good training run - I was sore the next day, which doesn't often happen nowadays! And the photos of 'that' hill do not do it justice, I've never seen anything like it - and I've done the big dipper!
Fantastic value at Â£8 on the day and for that you get a quality t-shirt, a free pint at the bar (never seen that before!) plus I was lucky enough to receive a spot prize which turned out to be luxury shower cream, which apparently will transform me into a 'Polynesian Goddess'. I'll believe that when I see it...
I only came this year because I had a free lift from Swindon but probably would make the journey again because it was so much fun. Date of review: April 7, 2010
In short: Tough but enjoyable off-road race In full: I had heard a lot of good things about this race but had never taken part until yesterday as it had always clashed with something else.
It thoroughly deserves the positive feedback it gets, as it is a very scenic and enjoyable race, however it was a little tougher than I expected. In fairness this was probably due to the rain the day before which made the terrain quite challenging.
Well organised, well marshalled and one thing I like a lot is the entry fee - an absolute steal at six quid!
Memento was a bit disappointing, I had heard of people coming away with paperweights and shot glasses so was expecting more than a biro, but at least it's useful and as someone has stated already, we need more low-cost events like this.
Will definitely do this one again, probably only as a training run. Date of review: March 22, 2010
In short: My favourite half marathon - by some distance In full: Personally this was a bit slow and painful for me this year as I haven't been training as intensively as in previous years when I have used this as a training run for London, plus I was carrying an injury this time.
I made up my mind therefore to enjoy the event and the day as much as possible, and enjoy it I did.
Can't really add to my comments from previous years - this race has everything; glorious scenery, lung-busting hills, faultless organisation, friendly runners and marshals, home-made cakes, a useful memento and best of all, jelly babies galore!
This year we had the added and welcome bonus of fine weather, and I actually managed to catch the sun on my shoulders!
However I'm still trying to figure out, given that it is only half an hour down the motorway and receives such fantastic reviews (deservedly) that more people from Swindon don't do it?? Would anyone care to enlighten me?
Fantastic as always Hogweed Trotters, can't wait for next year. Date of review: March 16, 2010
In short: Haven't enjoyed an event this much since FLM in 2007 In full: First the bad stuff / gripes:
The price. Â£34 to run a half marathon in these straitened times? Not steep enough to put people off though, obviously.
The transport to and from Swindon was a nightmare, nowhere near enough trains laid on. But that's not the race organisers' fault.
Really too many runners given the course but it's an extremely big city event so what do you expect?
The start and finish. Took too long to get to the start and get through the funnel at the end but at least they aren't trying to cram everyone into Great Pulteney Street any more. And why weren't the foils given out at the finish instead of just before the baggage tents?!
Nothing to eat in the goodie bag apart from flaxseed, whatever the hell that is. Where were the lovely chocolate biscuits we had two years ago? :)
The course. Dull as ditchwater best describes the scenery, but it fits the purpose in so far as it is a flat, fast course suitable for newcomers and PB-hunters.
But the positives more than make up for the negatives in my view, which would be:
The crowd support. Probably the best supported event outside of the capital and as I was carrying an injury I decided to run with friends and soak up the atmosphere rather than go for a time. The weather was perfect given the time of year, and I haven't had as much in a race since my first FLM in 2007. A huge thank you to everyone who came along to support and made this event so special.
The drinks stations. If you dehydrate in this event, it's your own fault. Well stocked and well staffed. I do wonder why there's one in the last mile however?
PB potential. The only place I've got a faster half marathon time since Bath three years ago has been at Chippenham about 18 months later.
Medal and t-shirt. The poor quality of the goodie bag notwithstanding, you do get a lovely medal and a quality t-shirt.
Did anyone mention the event takes place in Bath, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe? You might not see many of the sights during the race, but there's nothing to stop you exploring the city before or after the race.
As I say, I do have a problem with the cost of the event but I had such a great day it probably won't put me off returning next year.
And if anyone is interested in seeing what this serial reviewer actually looks like, I'm in the pictures on the bbc bristol website, the chap in the green vest next to the clown who looks like he should be on a rugby field instead of in a distance race. Date of review: March 9, 2010