In short: As I have said before, the best scenery I've seen in a race In full: As per previous reviews, one of my favourite half marathons, probably second only to the Hogweed Hilly Half. The latter pips it for being held in the spring when the weather is kinder.
My fifth time at Downton and I never seem to have a good run here, this year being no exception. A very disappointing time but more than made up for it by the glorious scenery, replete with wild cattle and New Forest Ponies.
Organisation like clockwork as always, but a tad disappointed not to get a t-shirt this year?
A friendly bunch of runners, and an even friendlier group of marshals. Top marks to the organisers for always putting a nice young lady at mile 10 to cheer us up!
One slight quibble is that the last mile needs some thought, having to run along roads that are not traffic-free is far from ideal especially if you are looking for a fast finish.
Looking forward to my sixth appearance at Downton in 2010. Date of review: December 1, 2009
In short: Not an easy race in that weather In full: First of all I echo the sentiment that this race would be better held in the spring, or perhaps in September when the weather is kinder as despite some deceptive inclines there is definite PB potential here.
Very well organised as I would expect from Grass Roots events but there needs to be some cut off point for accepting on the day entries. I'm not sure I get these people who turn up 15 minutes before the start expecting to still be able to register.
Nice touches were the raffle at the start and the announcement that there was a gentleman of 81 competing in the race - an inspiration to the rest of us.
Thanks as always to the organisers and the marshals for putting on a brave face despite the conditions. Date of review: November 24, 2009
In short: Not quite as muddy as I was hoping for, but a very enjoyable event In full: My first time at this event and certainly not my last!
Not as muddy or hilly as I was expecting or hoping(I like my off-road races to be a challenge!) but still quite a demanding course.
Well organised and lots of friendly and encouraging marshals which made the event even more enjoyable.
Good value, and a nice t-shirt but I was surprised they advertised the t-shirts as being generous in their size - I asked for a medium expecting it to be more like a large but it was a bit too tight. Fortunately there was someone willing to swap, even if he may have felt awkward spotting the fat man in a too tight t-shirt! Date of review: November 16, 2009
In short: Shame about my performance, but the event is top notch In full: This was the scene of my personal best time last year but no such glories this year. Too much time spent enjoying the cricket must have caught up with me...
That aside, this proved again a superb event, I really can't think of any areas where it could be improved. Fast flat course in pretty Wiltshire countryside, friendly marshalls and spectators, clear instructions and directions, good range of abilities and having it at the sports centre makes it a nice day out for family and friends.
Fantastic value at £15 which is a big plus in these straitened times and for that we got a nice goodie bag with sweets and a drink, plus an excellent technical t-shirt. (If you entered one of the larger events you'd probably have to pay £15 for the t-shirt alone).
Well done Chippenham Harriers, see you again next year I hope. Date of review: September 14, 2009
In full: Fairly enjoyable run through some pleasant countryside and villages. Gently undulating course with some PB potential. Good mix of abilities and a friendly atmosphere. Liked the glass of cider at the end but could have done with a bigger glass! Excellent value at £6, not sure I would travel all the way from Swindon by myself to do this one again but in a group I definitely would. Date of review: July 14, 2009
In short: Can't say anything I didn't say last year... In full: I've just looked back at my comments from last year and think I said it all then.
Virtually a carbon copy, except my time was down a few seconds (probably due to a stitch in the last two miles) and I liked the fact that we got the same t-shirt but a different colour.
Only slight gripe was a lack of toilets but I'd rather the entry fee was kept down than the organisers having to hire portaloos.
Thanks to everyone who came out to support, it made the evening even more pleasant, and especially the enthusiastic marshall who gave me so much encouragement at mile 7!
The only reason I've marked it down for beginner-friendliness is that when I checked the results there were only a handful of runners coming in over 2:30 so slower runners might be intimidated by the slightly 'clubby' feel of the event.
In short: Start was a disaster, but still a very enjoyable run In full: To be fair to the organisers, the route had to be re-designed due to a motorway bridge no longer being in existence, meaning the start line had to be moved forward.
Unfortunately this meant the start was very crowded and congested, and judging by my offical time vs my watch time meant it took about a minute to cross the line (although I couldn't make out precisely where this was)! It also meant I was unable to get any speed or momentum in the first kilometre, which should have been faster as it was downhill.
These problems notwithstanding, a very enjoyable midweek run and I agree with one of my club members that the new course is an improvement with more twists and turns.
Full credit to the organisers as well for providing a useful and interesting memento in the form of a kit bag, which makes a change from yet another t-shirt or medal! Date of review: June 11, 2009
In short: Easy to see why this sold out so far in advance In full: It's easy to see why this race is so popular. With some of the big city half marathons charging an entry fee in excess of £30 it's no surprise more people are preferring an event that only costs £8 in such straitened times.
Very flat course, disappointed I was a few seconds outside my PB but enjoyed the run which is the most important thing. Very well marshalled and supported for a small local event.
Liked the design on the mug more than the last two years and the option of buying a race t-shirt is excellent, I nearly bought two as they were of a very high quality and again a steal at just a fiver.
Thanks WHH for an excellent event, see you again next year. Date of review: April 7, 2009
In short: Come on Gloucester AC, you can do better than this In full: Used this as a warm-up for FLM as I did in 2007, and as there aren't too many 20-mile races about this race serves as excellent preparation.
Weather was far from ideal but the course is fairly flat and scenic and my fellow competitors made it a memorable event. Thanks to the gentleman who kept me going in the last few miles and the nice young lady I chatted to on the walk back to race HQ!
However, there is plenty of room for improvement regarding the organisation. Receiving a race number with no indication of which event it was for was hardly an auspicious start, nor was a pre-race briefing which most of us couldn't hear.
I understand that Gloucester AC have received complaints from locals about competitors running more than two abreast, but if you need to get past a couple already running two abreast, how else are you meant to do it exactly?? I've never seen 'yellow cards' given out in a race before.
On the plus side, good value but I wouldn't mind paying a bit more and getting a nice goodie bag. And surely it might be worth investing in a better finish line? 20 miles deserves more of a celebration! Date of review: March 25, 2009
In short: Really wish I didn't have to wait another year to run it again In full: I find it hard to add to my own comments for the last two years or the other comments on here.
Comfortably my favourite half marathon, the fact that I always register my slowest time for the year here notwithstanding.
Some might query why I rate it so highly on beginner-friendliness, but my rationale here is that if newcomers came to this one they would see how a race should really be organised and the glorious scenery, jelly babies, friendly runners and marshals, slick organisation, excellent value for money and goodie bag would be more than enough to tempt them to sign up again.
My only complaint is that I have to wait a year to do it again - is there any way this could become a bi-annual event??
Thank you Hogweed Trotters for such a marvellous event and a great day out. Date of review: March 24, 2009