In short: So much better than it used to be! In full: Hadn't done this one since 2006, and it's much improved since then. Everything is well laid out and the organisation was excellent with one exception - baggage collection in the 6000 - 10000 tent was chaotic because it didn't appear the bags had been laid out in proper order, and so people were having to resort to shouting and pointing to get their bags found. I finished in 1:25 and there was already a queue 5 deep - by the time I got my bag it was at least 20 deep and increasing rapidly. Apart from that though it was a great race - a bit crowded for the first mile or so with too many people who had lined up too far forward despite the penning and signage, but you get used to that, and once the crowds spread out a little it was spot on. One minor suggestion - one of the drink stations had water immediately followed by Lucozade. A lot of people grabbed a water then immediately threw it away when they saw the Lucozade, some without even drinking from the water - put them a little further apart. And if possible water bottles with the sports cap would also be nice, but a very minor thing. The shuttle buses to the station worked perfectly, I really enjoyed watching the kids race finish in the stadium, and the stadium finish of the main race itself is almost reason enough to do this race. Well done the organisers, you did a good job :) Date of review: March 21, 2010
In short: A good race that could be great In full: Great course, enthusiastic marshals, but let down by 2 issues this year. First the bag drop - it's always a fairly safe bet that in February people are going to wait to the last minute to put bags in, especially if it's raining, and one line is just too slow. You had a big tent - take the side off completely, put clear number range labels up along the whole side and put in as many helpers as you can. Secondly the start - if ever a race was crying out for start to finish chip timing as opposed to gun to finish then this is it. You know that access to the start is very tight, and that as the start time approaches people joining from the front simply can't get any further back, but this year the time boards were almost invisible, and I didn't hear anyone encouraging people to line up in the correct position. The end result was a lot of people at the front who shouldn't have been there. Not only does this block the faster runners, but it also increases the time it takes for the runners to clear the start, thereby delaying those at the back even further. I know it costs more to get individual start to finish chip timing, especially as the start and finish are not in the same place, but this is a great race and I believe people will be happy to pay the extra for an accurate time.
See you next year :) Date of review: February 21, 2010
In short: Another well orgnaised event In full: Another well organised race by Reading Roadrunners. Slight delay to the start, not sure why, and a van right on the start line made it a little tight, but beyond that everything was fine, and it's an excellent test of your marathon training to see where you are. Thanks to the marshals for turning out on a cold day. Date of review: February 14, 2010
In short: Well organised bargain In full: I entered the elite race as I just about qualified, and it all went very smoothly. Good signage to the car park and start, reasonable course and a bargain price. I suspect it could get a bit crowded in parts of the out-and-back section for the mass start race, particularly with the number of dog walkers and bike riders that were out there, so for that reason I was glad I had the option of the elite race. I even managed to complete it just under the elite cut-off time as well :)
All-in-all though it's exceptional value at Â£6 - well done Telford AC. Next time I'm in the area I'll be back. Date of review: January 24, 2010
In short: Good course & good organisation In full: Traffic congestion slowed arrival down and resulted in relatively late arrival at HQ. This combined with having to collect chips in a hall heaving with people meant that despite arriving at the car park at 8:40 it was 9:50 before I was ready to warm up, and that didn't leave much time. Mailing out the chips would have made everything so much easier I think, although with 600+ no-shows I guess it could get costly if they don't return the chips. Plus point for the men's urinals - speeds everything up so much, although if did appear a lot of men didn't spot them and queued up in the main queue anyway. An entrance on both sides would help. No complaints about the course - a good surface, not too many potholes and good marshalls made for a smooth run, a big negative split and a new sub-1:30 PB. Nice shirt - makes a change from a t-shirt you never wear, and smooth operation of the transport back to the car park made for a nice end to the day. All-in-all, given the obvious difficulties with the road works and parking I think Bedford Harriers did an excellent job, and I would certainly consider a return visit. Date of review: December 13, 2009
In short: OK race, but nothing special In full: First time at this race, and the organisation was as good as expected. The route was fine with very minimal inclines, but sadly the last couple of miles full into the wind put paid to any chance of a PB. On a calm day it would definitely have been on. After the race we sampling the Bupa hospitality then wandered along to the aquarium and pottered around there for some time on the assumption that by the time we came out the car parks would be reasonably clear. WRONG! They were chaos, and it took substantially longer to get out of there than it did to actually run the race. But I'm not blaming the organisers for this - they're constrained by the fact there aren't many exits and the fact that there were still roads closed. No, the chaos was caused by selfish inconsiderate drivers who rather than queuing with everybody else insisted on creating their own lines and queues and taking any shortcut they could find that might save them one car length. It completely ruins any traffic plans that the organisers may have had, and creates even more frustration for the other drivers.
Anyway, I can now say I've done the Great South Run, and next year I'll go back to the Cabbage Patch 10 which is all around a much better event. Date of review: October 25, 2009
In short: My Last Time In full: As someone who runs in the Great Park on a regular basis you'd think that I'd know better by now wouldn't you, but I still entered. I know to cycle to the start to avoid the annual car park and road chaos, I know there are never enough toilets, and I know the drink stations aren't regular enough because it's always a boiling hot day, and I know you get nothing at the end (got to make profits somewhere). I entered in the hope it would be a cool day, but it wasn't, and I should have stayed at home. This race could be so much better, and running it in the morning would be the best change of all, then I might think about it again, but for now that was my last time. Date of review: September 28, 2009
In short: Tough-out the hill, then enjoy the course In full: What a cracking little race this is. Yes, it has a killer 1k hill at the start, but everything else more than makes up for it - lovely quiet country course, friendly marshals & excellent organisation. Two minor improvements I would suggest would be slightly more toilets, but mostly make the signs directing runners to the race much larger & more obvious. Quite a few people commented that they'd got lost trying to find it, even driving right past the signs on the main road because they were so small and indistinct when in a car. Minor criticisms though, and they certainly didn't detract from an excellent race :) Date of review: September 13, 2009
In short: Lovely location and well organised In full: A personal nightmare as the heat took it's toll, but the race itself was well organised and in a lovely location. My only criticism would be that I thought the first drink station was undermanned and not very efficient (2nd was OK), and that the drinks at the finish was also undermanned - 1 lady attempting to pour cups one at a time because the wind was blowing the cups away if she laid them out. I think in those temperatures another drink table a few yards away for people wanting more would have been a good idea. Would love it if this was an Autumn or Spring race. Date of review: August 24, 2009
In short: A good challenge In full: Well organised as usual by Finch Coasters, this is a very straight forward race round a challenging course. It's a little different since the last time I ran it, with a lot less mud and single-track running, but the new course is better for racing and the hills remain, and that's what makes this an interesting challenge. Don't come here to run a PB, come here to test yourself on something different in a very pleasant environment. Date of review: August 4, 2009