In short: Why the complaints? In full: Seems this race is getting a bit of a hammering this year. I must say, I didn't notice any of the problems commented on by other runners. The start is crowded, but not so much that you can't evade other runners easily enough. Nice and clear km markers too. The finish for me was efficient and well organised, so obviously they lost it a bit later on. In response to certain specific complaints: why do we need more water stations? If you need to drink more than once in a 10k race you're doing something wrong. Take it with you if need be! Also, the cost is actually very low for a race of this size and quality. Bearing in mind the stuff in the goodie bag is worth a few quid, the entry fee strikes me as very good value, especially when compared to similar races. Swansea isn't perfect, but some of the issues are beyond the control of the organisers (the traffic and the car parking for example), and I believe they do make every effort to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. Will be back for a 4th time. Date of review: September 22, 2008
In short: Consistently reliable In full: Regarding previous comments about the cost: yes, it is for a very worthwhile cause (although aren't all charities worthwhile?) and when all's said and done, nobody was forced to stick their hand in their pocket. On the negative side, clear wastage as alrady pointed out. Still not bad compared with the othe rCardiff 10k though, and if a race is well organised and has a good atmosphere, I'm prepared to put up with a steep entry fee - it's when they charge the earth then deliver a substandard experience that it grates! Only real problem was the km markers - as others have said, the first 2kms were very short, the third and ninth excessively long, which ruined any chance of judging your pace unless you're an expert. Especially disappointing as I can't see why they couldn't have been set out correctly - a flat course through quiet parkland isn't the hardest one to map out!! Still, great event with a nice atmosphere and definite pb potential. Good crowd support and a very worthwhile event. Date of review: September 8, 2008
In short: Best in the World? Probably In full: First time for me, and although the final 5 miles were sheer hell this is a truly special race and one I will do again.
The organisation really is seamless and quite extraordinary. I've heard people say 'yes, but it's been going for so long they should be able to organise it perfectly', and this doesn't do justice to the scale of the achievement. Considering the absolute shambles that we see at other long standing races (step forward the Bath half), the logistics of getting 35,000 people registered, equipped and effortlessly processed through miles of central London is staggering. I didn't notice any real bottlenecks, and the start was pleasingly quick. Support all the way was brilliant, I don't think there was a street without supporters on it. The organisers and everyone working on the event (especially the volunteers) deserve massive thanks.
Excellent value too, with a well stocked goodie bag including a quality t shirt. Actually cheaper to enter than many vastly inferior half marathons. Date of review: April 14, 2008
In short: Impressive In full: Excellent training race for the FLM and pretty hard to fault really. Route was scenic and generally flat (although the few hills seemed to get steeper on the second lap..), well organised and suitably challenging. Thanks to the friendly marshals and others, personally I found the stroppy woman mentioned by another runner to be quite amusing as she berated all and sundry at the start like a group of naughty schoolkids. Nice t shirt too, makes a change not to be walking around like a billboard. Date of review: March 3, 2008
In short: Improved - worth doing In full: Ok fair's fair - after getting a slating from all corners for the organisation (sic) of last year's race some of the oversights were corrected. There were timing boards placed at the start (and it isn't the organisers' fault that hundreds of lardy ladies and other selfish/idiotic people chose to ignore them), the route through the bay was better planned and the finish somewhat more organised. I seem to have been lucky in that I managed to exit the castle quickly after the race and didn't need the loo at the start, although gave up on the baggage queue and just chucked mine behind a pillar in the City Hall.
As always, it's a fast, flat route with interesting scenery. It isn't postcard perfect, but as a previous poster has rightly noted, industrial doesn't automatically mean bad! Support was great, as were the marshals. Goody bad pretty decent as well. Got a pb so am very happy. I'm resigned to the fact that this will never be a flawless race, but if you approach it with a realistic outlook it is still one to be enjoyed.
Oh, to finish - massive congratulations to Cardiff Council, seemingly hell bent on making a mockery of the city's efforts to enter the 'Top 5' of shopping cities in the UK. Until days ago, it was probably the only major city in Britain with plentiful, cheap parking thanks to the voucher scheme, but now they've replaced it with tickets which require a second mortgage. Well done pen pushers! Date of review: October 14, 2007
In short: Good as always, marred by a selfish few In full: Worth the trek as always, although the problems with traffic mentioned by a previous poster could do with resolving. We were lucky to find a space on a residential street to jam the car in, but suspect others weren't so lucky. Flat route, reasonably scenic (although why people insist on claiming that it's something special is beyond me, a truly scenic race like the Oxford 10k would blow your minds) and a friendly field of all abilities. Excellent goodie bag too - won't need to buy shampoo for another year.....
One downside was the number of non-runners who started near the front, thereby forcing those of us who can move at greater than walking pace to dodge them after all of 500m. Was really having to bite my tongue at times as they shambled along completely heedless of the chaos they were causing. An open question for forum members: are these people stupid, selfish, or both? Date of review: September 23, 2007
In short: Enjoyable and competently organised In full: Haven't raced in previous years so can't compare, but judging from the horror stories I've heard this race seems to have been far better organised. Nice and flat, slight congestion at the start but nothing too bad. Price pretty decent to be honest - it is a big city run after all, and looks like even more of a good deal when you consider the Dick Turpins who organised the Great Welsh Run in July wanted £25!! Date of review: September 22, 2007
In short: Almost impossible to fault In full: Whilst I admit to being biased, the most scenic course I've ever had the privilege to run - the hot weather might have made it tough, but the views made up for it, taking in the city centre and the University Parks. Flat as a pancake too. Organisationally hard to fault - my own problem with a lost race number was sorted quickly and helpfully, runners' village well organised and none of the queues for toilets you tend to get at larger races. All in all, this was easily the best organised 'big' race I've run, and others like the Cardiff and Bath half marathons can take lessons from it - managed to avoid all the usual problems. One small gripe would be the choice of plastic cups rather than bottles at the water stations (almost impossible to grab hold of and drink from), but that's a minor issue. I confess to being slightly worried at first by the much trumpeted 'fun run' aspect of the race (visions of being stuck behind hordes of buggies and fancy dress competitors), but the start was so well organised that this was never a problem. Despite the heat I managed a pb so am ecstatic.
Would heartily recommend to anyone! Date of review: May 20, 2007
In short: Some things good, some things less so.... In full: First, the positives: scenic course, the best crowd support I've ever known during a race, great goodie bag and a generally flat, fast race.
Having said that, for £26 I expect a little better than having to queue for an hour at the Park and Ride, meaning a rush once in Bath to get to the start. Given the massive benefit to the city of Bath that 10,000 runners and their supporters bring, would it have killed them to increase the frequency of the buses? Other (cheaper) races provide free transport...As far as facilities go, the Runners' Village was lively and well staffed, but some things left a lot to be desired. Apologies for the graphic nature of this description, but the gents toilets comprised the floor under the stands at Bath rugby ground - absolutely swimming with urine and an absolute disgrace.
I would do it again however - I fully understand the logistical difficulties a race of this size poses, and hopefully more thought will be expended next year. Date of review: March 25, 2007
In short: Can't fault it In full: Not much to add that hasn't been said really...
Excellent organisation (especially for a first time race), a challenging but fun course and good facilities. Hills were testing, but the downs seemed to compensate for the ups! Once again, the standard of care and attention to detail at these small regional races puts most of the bigger ones to shame (that's aimed at you, Cardiff marathon). Date of review: March 5, 2007