In short: Superb sunny Bournemouth Beach run In full: Such a fast, flat race. You have two inclines but apart from that it is flat as a pancake. Definitely a PBer. Weather was perfect. Sunshine but not too hot. Not big wind which can be a killer on a seafront run. The scenery is fantastic; I saw another review described it as monotonous - this course would be if it wasn't for the amazing views.
Race start was the usual congestion; it should probably start further down the prom from the pier. The expected time markers made not sense (the quickest being 1:40) so the start was a free-for-all but that was quickly solved on the Durley Chine hill! That hill takes the puff out of you massively but once you get back on the beach at Alum Chine, you can easily settle into a fast pace. Support around the pier was excellent.
A saw a comment about the 1k race getting in the way to the race start. You could, of course, walk through the entrance to the winter gardens to get around it - but there were no signs saying this. Similiarly I don't recall seeing a sign pointing towards the left for the t-shirts and bags after the finish so anyone turning right would have missed them.
This really is a great race in a very picturesque location, especially when the weather is so good. Date of review: April 4, 2011
In short: It's the big finish that makes this one good In full: No doubt about it, take away the superb finish in the Madejski Stadium and this is a fairly average half marathon with too many runners. Support is great in many parts but it lacks on the A33 when you most need it from mile 11 to Green Park. Marshaling is good, as are drink stations (with energy drinks as well as bottled water) but the issues remain the same: too many runners for the roads at the start of the race, too many runners starting in the wrong places and holding up the pack, and another late start; Reading HM always struggles to go on time.
The organisers still need to find that extra mile so runners don't need to do the demoralising out and back at green park at mile 12. BUT the run into the stadium to finish is truly a great end to a race. The support is loud and the atmosphere fantastic. This really is the main reason to run this congested mass participation run. Date of review: April 4, 2011
In short: Consistantly good. Excellent marshalling In full: Second time I've run this and its been improved by relocating the start so you run the race track circuit at the start rather than the previous soul-destroying finish. I don't like multi-lap events usually but moving into the second 10 mile lap seemed fine (even with the 10 mile racers finishing next to you). The course is great for marathon training. A few undulations to work all leg muscles and some nice scenery. Excellent giveaways at end, choc bars, drinks etc. Date of review: April 4, 2011
In short: Top event, great scenery, great multi-terrain - shocking weather! In full: This is a very well organised event. Nice seafront course, along a prom, in and out of a marina, across a harbour beach (muddy by name...), common land, roads, playing fields and back on the prom. Very varied.
Nice and flat so should be a PB special BUT the weather was a shocker. Non-stop rain was one thing but the wind, especially in the last 4 along the seafront, was a shocker! Running against a wind brick wall all added to the challenge.
Marshalling excellent (especially in the dreadful rain) but did wonder why the road crossing by Milton Common was missing someone.
Would definitely come back. In fact, I'm going to try the marathon in the December. Date of review: February 14, 2011
In short: Brilliantly organised. Hardcore hills. Muddy fun. In full: Despite all the recent rain, the course was much easier under foot than in 2009. However, that hill was still there! This is an awesome trail race. Brilliantly organised and great value. A real small-club-run feel and some great cakes and bacon rolls at the end. I would recommend this one again and again.
Expect lots of mud and lots of hills. Date of review: January 17, 2011
In short: Muddy, filthy fun In full: Brilliant XC run with lots of mud. First 3 miles is pretty tame then you hit sand trenches full of muddy water. Then lots of mud thereafter. The final mile or so is deep mud but much easier than last year's (when everyone was having to pull each other out of the waist/chest bog!). 9 odd miles is plenty on this one. Great goody bag, t-shirt and parking is excellent. Date of review: November 24, 2010
In short: Excellent bumpy course, always like the ease of parking at start In full: Phew I've read a few complaints about this one which is a pity because the fire station guys regularly throw great events. Those who didn't get a goody bag shouldn't worry - its was the usual assortment of nothing (I really wouldn't bother with these full stop, any race). I agree on the water stops - I would have expected at least one more but it wasn't the end of the world. The guy at the start really needed a PA/megafone as nobody could hear it and I would definitely have the start on the road like the 10m to avoid the congestion.
All-in-all a nice small event half marathon at a good value price.
So that aside, this is a cracker of a race. Lovely country course with plenty of testing hills but a really fast final 3/4m. Traffic for me was no issue and I didn't think more marshalls were really needed. Gun to chip is fine for me on a small race like this and I have my own watch anyway. Date of review: October 18, 2010
In short: Marvellous course and well-organised event. Maybe the best marathon I've run In full: So it had tipped it down for a couple of days so we knew what to expect - mud and lots of it. We were quite lucky that after 2 hours or so the rain eased off. The course is tough with lots of hills - which gets tougher from mile 16 hill until the end. Some tarmac sections but not much. Very good marshalling and enough water stations with squash, bananas and jelly babies (I'm greedy so would have liked to see crackers and/or biscuits for my salt/sugar fix). I thoroughly enjoyed this run and even managed to speed up in the last 3 miles - it was quite a novelty overttaking people!
No stress getting or leaving the event - just a good run. Definitely one to go back to in 2011. Date of review: October 4, 2010
In short: A very scenic...but brutal...marathon In full: What a brilliantly organised event! Good parking, decent facilities at start, registration easy and racing chips included. There were so many marshals on the route that you just couldn't go the wrong way and they were very supportive. Feeding stations with plenty of choice (water, orange, blackcurrant - biscuits and crackers for salt). An enthusiastic crowd egging you on at the end of a tough race.
But the course, that was tough. First 10 seemed a bit lumpy with a few hills but miles 5-10 mostly downhill; then there was the massive St Martha’s hill (550ft climb) and lots of sand to make it tougher (the sand on tracks continued for much of the race). When you reached the top there were absolutely magnificent views across the North Downs. The second half seemed much lumpier (including a cheeky climb up to St Catherine’s ruins) with the sand on many tracks making thing tougher plus a lot of styles to climb with aching muscles.
A really demanding but well organised race in a beautiful area.
In short: Consistently good year after year In full: A really good MT race with some killer hills not least the never-ending haul not far from the end. Very supportive marshals (expecially that lady at mile 8!). Well organised rural event in the national park. Much better weather this year with dust replacing the mud! Date of review: August 16, 2010