In short: One of the best races in the calendar, but ...... In full: This race is gloriously scenic in a superb location. The scenery is amazing and the support all round the course is really inspiring. The hills are tough enough to deal with the ones who don't do enough training, but not too hard for those who get their training done. The Marshalls and drinks volunteers were excellent as usual (this is my 4th Windsor Half), so thanks for their help. Nice medal too. Now, to the negatives. Car park is always a disaster (see my previous reviews), so recommend parking in town and walking the mile to the start-line. The lack of a goody-bag is bad, in particular for one of the most expensive races on the calendar. The bottle of water is a given, so apart from the good medal all you get is a FUN-SIZED Mars Bar - little bit rubbish to be honest. VERDICT: Great race overall, just sort out the parking and spend some of the vast profit they make on a decent goody-bag and they'll have cracked it. Recommended race. Date of review: October 1, 2010
In short: Stunning scenery, great atmosphere, flat course with excellent organisation In full: A thoroughly enjoyable race. The scenery along the whole route was very pretty and was helpful in distracting me from the pain. Despite being basically flat, the course isn't PB material really (unless it's your 1st Half). The majority of the towpath is either compacted gravel or grass which after 10 miles left me wilting for the last 3 miles. So, just go out enjoy the scenery and treat it as an enjoyable training run. It's approximately 10-15 mins slower than running it on road. The Marlow to Windsor route (next year) is also quicker (based on historical results) Pros: Scenery, marshalling, atmosphere, flat course, good medal. Cons: None really. Date of review: July 28, 2010
In short: NO HILLS - Thank Goodness !!! In full: Pretty dedent race overall. The course was just interesting enough (even on the second lap) and quite pretty in places, although some of the footpaths were abit tricky. The marshall's seemed more like paid workers than actual runners, so it would explain their apathy. The atmosphere was lacking in the open parts of the course, just seemed to be lots of surprised old ladies popping out for a newspaper shocked by 5000 runners going by, the support near the finish line was great though. PROS - Bad Drop was fantastic, start/finish area very well managed, started absolutely ON-TIME which was great. CONS - No goody bag, the Mug was nice, but for 16miles of effort - only a mug !?!? A little bit tight really. OVERALL - Don't expect too much - but a good solid well organised training run. Date of review: April 14, 2010
In short: So glad I did this one instead of Reading !! In full: Really enjoyed the race. Glad I opted for this one rather than the Reading Half. The Reading is SO DULL and too many people. This was just right, nice and flat with about the right number of people for the course. Great local support from the residents of the houses around the route. Finish area was particularly well organised with a large 'compound' for the runners to catch their breath in space before all the spectators could get in their way.
Pros: Great Marshalling, Excellent Support, Interesting Route, Really Good Atmosphere.
Cons: No Goodie Bag, Getting to the actual start-line was difficult and the Mile-Markers were hard to spot (too small and wrong colour)
Conclusion: The Pros far outweigh the Cons. Really enjoyed the race, will be back next year. Date of review: March 24, 2010
In short: C Grade - could do better !! In full: Overall, sorry to say, but an average race. The good points just outweigh the bad. I will be back again as it is a local race to me and it's a good quality field. There are some significant areas the organisers need to manage better and other areas that are very good. If the organisers can sort out the race's 'FRAYED EDGES' they'll have a truly great race on their hands. Read on if you're interested. BAD POINTS: 1)The control at the start is awful. I spent 4 miles overtaking people who were directed to the sub 1hr:20 zone when they were clearly +2hr runners (not the runners fault). 2)The bag drop tent didn't seem very well managed at all. 3)The finish area was a right mess.People were all over the place & I had to go back for my medal because I missed the people handing them out. 4)No Goody-bag either, even a bottle of water and a Mars Bar (other Chocolate bars are available) would have been nice. GOOD POINTS: 1)Fast flattish course. 2)Very well marshalled (on route). 3)Good local support. 4)Excellent medal. 5)Great water stations (plenty & in right place) SEE YOU NEXT YEAR :-)
In short: Cold, Wet, Windy but lovely course with plenty of challenging hills. In full: Bless the Marshalls for standing around in the cold. I'd rather be running, even in those conditions :-) Very well organised and a clearly marked course. Great location and the scenery in the New Forest was a definite highlight. My first time in this race, but I'll be back next year with some other victims/friends !! If you liked this run, try the Marlow Half. Date of review: November 30, 2009
In short: And I thought 2008 was tough !!! In full: Congrats to everyone who slogged it out and finished the race. The conditions were very tough. WELL DONE to the Marshalls too and the supporters who braved the conditions to cheer us home. I knocked 9 minutes off my time here last year, so I'm really pleased - although my calves are in agony this morning.
Cons: What no goodies ? Not even a chocolate bar ? Pros: Great Marshalls, Great course, Great organisation. The T-shirt is great.
Summary: Are you tough enough for 2010 ? Date of review: November 2, 2009
In short: Great Fun - Great Course - Great Big Queues In full: Overall a fantastic race, great support even from the somewhat bemused Japanese tourists all round Westminster and along the Embankment :-)
Pros - Great location, traffic free, flat course and excellent support.
Cons - Queues for the Loos and the Bag-drop were horrendous. The Good-Bag, was literally that "a Bag". I think they forgot to actually put anything in the bags ??? Just an empty brown bag - little bit wierd !! The wooden medal was different, but doesn't really do the race justice. The free bananas and drinks were appreciated.
Overall, a great run though. I would recommend it to anyone, just remember to get there earlier than you think you need to, so you can use the loo and drop your bag off or you WILL miss the official start. Date of review: October 12, 2009
In short: Fantastic & Dreadfull - all in one day In full: I couldn't agree more about the parking. FYI to all - the race director personally emailed me after last years parking debacle and promised me that they had sacked the previous Traffic "Management" company and 2009 would be better - Hmmmm !?!?!? Just in case, this year I parked outside the main field and walked to the car park - it took 10 mins to get back to the car (with 2 children under 5), but I was on the road within 2 mins from reaching the car). Alternatively, get the train or if you live locally, get a friend, neighbour or relative to drop you off.
Apart from the parking, I found the race to be fantastic. The weather was stunning again, the marshalls (the Cadets/Scouts etc..) were amazing. The crowd was awesome and the scenery was beautiful. The family had a great day.
BTW - they aren't going to change the starting time, so in reference to the dehydration, all I can say is be better prepared. I didn't suffer at all and I only took two drinks from the tables. One I drank, one went on my head/neck. Buy one of the hand-held water bottles and make sure you're properly hydrated before the race. Don't forget, despite this year being hot and 2008's race being even hotter, this type of weather is not typical of late September, so I can't believe it will be the same next year. They're due a wet race.
I'm definately planning to run next year and I'm definately not parking in the car park again.
In short: Great fun, enjoyed the challenge every minute In full: Very well organised, family friendly race. Loads of things to keep the spectators amused while they waited, especially the kids. The course is nice and scenic, although more undulating than the descibed "flat". Also, approximately 75% of the race is on mainly compacted forest tracks, so if you have road shoes you'll get a shock. Very efficiently organised and the Marshalls were great, all around the course and very supportive. I will be back next year, this time with friends. Date of review: July 20, 2009