In short: July 2008: Smallest number of entries yet ... In full: Only 68 runners? Where was everyone else?! Mind you that did mean I got a higher placing on the results list than usual, so guess I shouldn't complain :) plus a PB on this race too so very happy!
Again, no pre-race administration (and I reckon that must affect turnout) apart from collecting your race number and chip once you were already there. Very unsettling for anyone who hasn't done this race before. Would it hurt the organisers to send competitors an informative e-mail at least confirming where to go and what to do?
That said, the ability to see your finish time immediately after the race is excellent and decent refreshments provided (though no medal). I'll do the 3rd race in the series next month but next year I think I'll just come along and support for a change!! Date of review: July 19, 2008
In short: A little bit different - glad I did this In full: First off - a big THANK YOU to the organisers for the smooth running of this Half, it must have been a logistical headache and I thought they did very well with the organisation from start to finish considering the incredible growth of the event from last year. I'm also happy (from a conscience point of view!) that more of the entrance fee went to charity than on goodies. The medal was just fine as a token reward.
Found this race harder than expected considering it was a largely flat course but that may be down to having done another Half just the weekend before (legs maybe hadn't recovered enough) and the elements - strong headwind and alternating sun and rain with very warm temperature throughout. Also went over at around mile 3 (skidded on some gravel) but no harm done and was able to continue on pretty quickly. Was greatful to my running buddy who generously spared some of her water to rinse my grazed hand down until the next water station!
Perhaps could have done with more on-course marshalls but those at the water stations were fantastic ... cheerful and encouraging; no water 'rationing' either - actively encouraged us to take plenty of water on, refilling water bottles etc, I was impressed.
Some sections along the canal were more scenic than others but I liked the unusual nature of this event and the fact that it was point-to-point, ending up in busy Brindley Place where there was endless choice for post-race sustenance (both liquid and solid!)
It was quite a long journey up for me which is the only reason for my 'maybe' in doing this next year but I certainly considered the journey to be very worthwhile this year.
Well done to Andy and team for organising this enjoyable Half and for keeping us so well informed right up to race day! Date of review: July 6, 2008
In short: Very enjoyable and unique Half In full: Having thought I wasn't all that bothered about chip timing, ended up wishing this race had it as I was still in the loo queue when the start gun went off! Started 5 mins after everyone else, completely my fault/decision of course (hadn't wanted to do a Paula Radcliffe though, my slow finish time wouldn't have made it worthwhile!) but it meant that my official time didn't reflect my actual time. Not that it would have been a PB anyway of course - I should have done a little more hill training prior to this one!
I loved the atmosphere of this race - contributed by the fantastic local support, the excellent marshalls and the spectacular sweeping views of the bridge (which made me temporarily forget my leaden legs before going back over the bridge!).
Would definitely do this again next year! Date of review: July 1, 2008
In short: Always a nice 5k In full: Did this series last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm intending to do all 3 events this year too and look forward to the medal we're supposed to get at the end. However, would be pretty miffed if I wasn't doing all 3 and/or it had been my first 5k with no medal or memento at the end of an individual race.
It was nice to have fruit, choc digestives and instant chip time results at the end. Better than the pre-race administration where no information was sent out to entrants beforehand. Was glad I had done this last year, so knew the process (and had to hope it was the same again) - but many people wouldn't have. Also think that if the race series had been better promoted, would have had a larger number of entrants than there were for the first one.
Caldecotte Lake is the ideal 5k venue, I'm so glad it was changed to that last year.
I'll be back next month to try and better my time! Date of review: June 21, 2008
In short: Definitely a challenge! In full: Excellent scenery (whenever I wasn't having to watch my feet, that is!). Muddy, slippy conditions - nearly went over a couple of times - but we were pre-warned about the possible mud in the race details that so was prepared. Had I not raced 2 consecutive evenings beforehand, may have had fresher legs to enjoy the run a little more with (another learning experience!) but it didn't mar my enjoyment too much, it was a lovely, if challenging, run. Great venue, excellent marshalls and great paperweight memento too. Next year I'll be back to enter all 3 events and take them at a 'steady pace'! Date of review: June 21, 2008
In short: One of my favourite 5ks In full: Excellent PB potential but more importantly (to my mind) - a friendly race with wonderfully encouraging marshalls. I love this 5k - found it to be just as enjoyable as last year. See you next year! Date of review: June 21, 2008
In short: A 'nearly 10k' with a difference! In full: Enjoyed the varied route provided by this race: through some residential streets, along the promenade (affording excellent views of the sea), a bit of sand, along the pier (or halfway at least!)and through a park.
A huge cheer went up when it was announced the route would have to be shortened though I know one girl I was running with was disappointed as she'd entered this race to try for a 10k PB (and it was a long way to come to be deprived of that opportunity) and I'm sure she wasn't alone in her disappointment. I understand the decision taken for health and safety reasons but it would have been nice if an extra bit could have been added somehow to make up the 10k. Maybe that would have been too problematic for the organisers, I don't know.
As always with the Great Runs a terrific atmosphere and a great mix of abilities. Goody bag was poor for the entry price, though I appreciate the money goes on other things such as administration/logistics needed to put a high profile event like this on. After doing a number of Great Runs in the last couple of years, I've come not to expect much from the goody bags now anyway! The medals are always great at least and t-shirts of good quality.
Was an additional treat to see Liz Yelling speeding past us in the opposite direction early in the race too! Date of review: June 17, 2008
In short: Fab event for a great cause In full: Glad I walked all this with a non-runner friend of mine otherwise the 15mins of standing waiting by London Bridge would have been frustrating. As it was, we really enjoyed soaking up the fab views (the route couldn't be beaten) and the excellent atmosphere.
Glad I did it ... it was everything I expected/hoped for plus a little more! Nice t-shirt and interesting goodie bag was an added bonus! Date of review: June 17, 2008
In short: 100% excellent! In full: I've never given a race 100% positive ratings for every category before but this one fully deserves it!
So many positives: This is a truly unique 10k. How many other races allow you to run within the confines of a zoo, getting such a close look at the animals? Those I missed on the 1st lap I caught on the second 2 ... in fact it's the one race I don't mind doing multiple laps on!
Race entry is cheaper than standard zoo entry ... so what an absolute bargain.
It's relatively flat, so very good PB potential.
Great family day out especially with the children's fun run included and terrific atmosphere.
Not at all surprised this filled up before the event day this year. This will definitely be an annual fixture in my race calendar.
Many thanks Dunstable Road Runners! One of my absolute favourite 10ks! See you next year! Date of review: June 1, 2008
In short: My first full marathon and I loved it! In full: By mile 23 I was already vowing to do this again next year! The entry fee is pretty steep but it's such a friendly, atmospheric marathon that I think it's worth it. I agree with the other comments though that the Goody bag was poor and the Expo was both unimpressive and too far out of the city centre. They're the only negatives that I can think of though - the positives far outweigh those. The marathon itself was really well supported by locals and the volunteers were terrific, all wonderfully encouraging no matter how far at the back we were (particularly loved one guy's comment outside a pub near the end: "what kept you?"). The wind was difficult in parts (particularly being sandblasted along the promenade around mile 5!) but we were so lucky to have sun for most of the race and not a drop of rain. Surprisingly flat for a marathon in Edinburgh. No hills come to mind, just gentle slopes up and down every so often ... but I do remember loving the downhill start! I will DEFINITELY be back next year to do this! Date of review: May 27, 2008