In short: Best race ever!!! In full: Twisted my ankles a few times and took me a week to start running properly again afterwards. Lots of single-track through the woods. Big puddle(?pond?) which wrecked my trainers.
I will definitely be back next year and will make sure I run it in crap trainers.
Cross-country convert. Date of review: November 19, 2009
In short: Course needs work but enjoyable In full: I had to do this one again because it beat me last year, and I got a PB this time by a few minutes so mission accomplished.
Organisation was very good and I like the split starts, although I think many people were over ambitious with their predicted times. I had to start at the back of the blue start due to the congested start but at least I was running by the time I eventually reached the start line. Had to slow down due to congestion on parts of the route and found myself zig zagging in and out of the slower runners who just stop dead in front of you because they got their pace all wrong (just 10 mins into the race? - seriously what predicted time did you put on your entry?).
T-shirt not as good as previous years but at least it fit this time. Goody bag was good and there were plenty of drinks available at the end of the race. Made full use of the Lucozade tent.
The course in my opinion is horrible. I like the portway bit but hate the last 5 miles running in and out of side streets in the centre. Lots of drinks stations but I avoided the energy stops as they made me ill last year - saw a few chucking up their guts just after. Due to the location of the runners village, it is difficult to get across the road at the end to get to car parks/hotels etc... Medal is ok but would like the year on the medal instead of the ribbon (yes this would increase cost but this is an expensive half marathon so would expect better).
Not sure I will be doing this one again next year as there are better courses out there for a lot less money (anyone fancy Uttoxeter?). Date of review: September 12, 2009
In short: Will they improve the start? In full: I did this race last year and this year's race was exactly the same. Rubbish start in a street that should have been closed but cars were still coming up it moments before the start.
This town (which is part of Stoke on Trent according to the post code, and it appears on peoples addresses, but locals insist it is Cheshire and will have nothing to do with Stoke on Trent or Staffordshire, and love being reminded that they are part of Stoke) is pretty enough to run around and I hope the Round Table do something about the start as it really does let it down. It is difficult to see why this is so popular. Date of review: February 22, 2009
In short: Pity about the course - the rest was very good. In full: I think the summary says it all, but I'll say a bit more anyway......
The organisation was very good, although the delayed start was somewhat annoying. The drinks stations were regular and well staffed, although I did miss one because it was on a bend and I was the wrong side. Lots of toilets at the start. Got to say I don't understand all these blokes who can't judge whether they should go at the start or not. The impromptu toilets in one of the tunnels led to a stream of pee running across the road. Yes it cooled my legs down but it wasn't very nice.
The course is boring, dull and boring. The best bit was the finish with the last 2.5 miles being downhill. The course profile shows that this course, on average, is uphill. Plus my watch showed it as 13.32 miles. I would have had a PB if it had been right (sour grapes).
I agree with the other comment. A bit of chocolate would have been nicer than the manky dried fruit that was in the goody bag. Still, it's a nice bag. And t-shirt looks ok.
The atmosphere at the start was rubbish. But the finish was amazing. Thanks to everyone who turned out. Date of review: October 26, 2008
In short: Best race I've done In full: This is my third half of the year, my last being the awful Tewkesbury half. Organisation was brilliant. Parking was easy (got there early). The baggage area worked better than I expected. I was on for a PB up until mile 9 when I hit my wall. Not enough training - no fault of the course. Will probably do it again. The only drawback was trying to get out of the city at the end with all the road closures. It was a nightmare. Probably ok if you know the area. Date of review: September 15, 2008
In short: Needs better organisation - and more accurate measuring. In full: I made it 13.24 miles and my bro said his gps reckons 13.27. They cant both be out by that much surely? And they were fairly accurate for uttoxeter.
I thought they were supposed to start the race in pens based on mile pace but it wasn't. We all has to run down a narrow track to the main road and some idiots were jumping in front trying to get a better position after the race started. They only had to run for 100 metres before hitting the road. They could have waited and I thought they were a bit selfish with the way the did that, risking injury to others they were jumping in front of. I almost tripped.
The course certainly would have a potential for a PB. Its not quite as flat as some people say but should be pretty quick. I was hoping for a PB but got my tactics all wrong and that combined with the temperature led to me breaking down. But I finished. Just.
The end of the race was just daft. You think you are near the finish but first they make you run round this path then around the rugby pitch and across the finish.
Marshalls could have been a little better. Not much support from them and they weren't exactly good at stopping the traffic. Support from locals was exellent and they kept me going when all I wanted to do was drop out.
No free t-shirts, you have to pay for them, and they were ghastly so I didn't have one. Nice winners medal and goodie bag.
Not sure if I will do it again. Date of review: May 11, 2008
In short: Fast course - everything else average In full: I ran a lot quicker than I thought I would although my actual race time does not match the time on my watch. That is because of the start. Where is the start line? When did the race actually start? Took me 30 seconds at least to get to what I think was the start. I enjoyed the race but the scenerey is nothing spectacular. Most of the race is along a main road with houses. Weather was cold and windy but that didnt bother me. I'll definitely do it again, but as one reviewer stated, I don't see why it is so popular. Support from locals was almost non-existent. Thanks Matt & co for coming to watch. Date of review: February 9, 2008