In short: Undulating, scenic rural course, with a great finish. Good for an autumnal half In full: Great organisation for a first half marathon. The parking in town was fine (and for "quick" finishes, much better than waiting for the official car parks to open). The course heads out over a very rural route, with gentle uphills for the start, and then a pleasant speedy last 3 miles.
The goody bag was excellent, and the organisation for a virgin race was excellent.,
This is "pencilled in" for next OCtober already. Date of review: October 4, 2009
In short: A tough course, made bearable by a great atmosphere. Very good! In full: In spite of living in the area for the first 18 years of my life, I never realised that Stoke was just quite so hilly! What I did realise was that the friendliness of the locals was second-to-none. Together, these two things summarise the Potters Arf.
A great city centre start quickly spread the elites from the good amateurs and the good amateurs from the fun runners, and allowed a good race rythym. From then on, it's pretty much up (and up!) and down the whole way. Even the flat between miles 8-11 didn't feel flat! The final hill at Holden Bridge is an absolute killer, but the support through the centre to the finish is incredible.
This is definitely a hard half-marathon, and PB potential limited. However, it is a great challenge and very rewarding to get round. The support ALL of the way is brilliant and really helps.
The only negative is that I think one more water station would help, but that's a real minor negative.
The prizes at the end are excellent (goody bag, plate, T-Shirt & medal) and I would definitely do it again. If you only do one half marathon next year, this should be it. Date of review: June 15, 2009
In short: Not all that inspiring, reasonably hilly In full: Given the great scenic location, the choice of course route is actually pretty uninspiring and dull - up a track to the woods and then in the woods for 80% of the run, before a mile straight back. No support in the woods means that you feel the hill even more than you should.
A couple more negatives: - it definitely needs more toilets - the queue beforehand was crazy; - the start needs to be better addressed (why does everyone walk towards it then have to line up the other way, and what about anticipated-time markers?).
It has potential to be great, but this year it was only average. Date of review: June 1, 2009