In short: The start needs some work but overall not bad. In full: Ok, I know people have covered the start issue but it doesn't hurt to have too many details.
They had signs indicating 40/50/60 mins etc which would have been great if we could have lined up in the relevant places! However they had some rope after the 60 mins place which they made us all line up behind. It was too squashed and not everyone could get in. By that point no one knew if they had lined up in the correct place. I'm not a fast runner so didn't want to put myself too far in the front to get in the way of faster runners but I had no idea of how far back I needed to be.
The warm up was meant to start at 8.10 but it started at about 8.28!! We were all to squashed together so it was pointless anyway.
To begin with all the pacers were all standing together at the start, just before the start they dropped the rope so we could all move forward and the pacers spread out. I stood by the 60 min guy & all I can say is god knows what time he finished! In the first km, he got further and further in front of me & I checked my Garmin to see I was doing 5:30-5:45 m/km so surely I would have caught up with him (6:00 m/km for a 60 min 10k right?!). No, come the 2-3 km, he was long gone.
There were a few hills, one quite long but nothing that was a total killer, in fact they mad it playfully challenging. The scenery wasn't that great through out the course bgut wasn't expecting beautiful woodland, probably the highlight was at seeing the shopping centre at the start and particulary the end!
The race village was good, although no idea what was going on with the queue for the help desk. Only a short queue for the toilets. Marshalls & those handing out water seemed to be friendly.
The t-shirt was great. Adidas technical t-shirt which actually fits me sent out in advance with the race pack. Medal was good too (although handed to me still in it's wrapping). Goodie bag was good and free Lucozade being handed out. Ample parking too was a definite bonus. And of course easy to get too.
I did Reading half earlier this year & the organisation was fantastic so I think my expectations with Sweatshop were very high for this race. They didn't quite reach them but I haven't lost my faith on them just yet.
In short: All the perks of the London Marathon without the distance. In full: Thanks to my train breaking down coming into London I almost didn't make it to the start line. Thank God I did as it was a great race. I can't make many comments about the pre-race details as didn't get to really experience them but rushing along to my starting pen I was glad to see that everything was well sign-posted.
Having done my first London Marathon a few months earlier, this race seemed like a mini version (yes I know it's done by the same people!). Some stretches of the race didn't have any spectators but then I wasn't expecting crowd sizes like VLM. When there were crowds, their support was great. There were several bands along the way which gave it a fantastic atmosphere. Big km markers, toilets around the course and lots of marshalls.
I really can't remember how much I paid for the entry but it probably worked out to be good value for money. Lots of road closures, great medal & t-shirt (if a little on the big size) etc.
My only negative was despite the wave starts I still found the first km to be a little congested, but in future if I wanted to go a PB this could be rectified by getting to the front of the pen.
I think the highlight of the day was seeing Mo Farah rush past me as I passed the 2km mark and he was passing the 8km mark! Date of review: June 1, 2010
In short: REVIEW IS FOR THE RELAY! In full: I did the first leg of the relay, and feel I got the best bit. Lovely scenery and lots of downhill!
I did VLM this year so Edinburgh had some big shoes to fill! The only area I feel could have been improved was more water stations esp as the race is getting a reputation of being a scorcher. I think there was 10 in total, 2 of which were on my leg. I suprised to find that there wasn't any water at the end of each leg nor at the finishing area (or none that I could find)
The reunion area was quite good until it got busy. It was in a park across the road from the finishing area. It was a huge park and I feel the reunion area could have been spaced out better. Getting into the park also became very hard with just a very narrow gate the queues quickly formed.
All in all it was a good race thanks to the Scottish charm. The supporter crowds were a lot smaller then London but they certainly gave it their all. Great t-shirt & great medal (The full marathon medal was even more impressive). I would definitely consider doing the relay again but probably not the full distance. Date of review: May 24, 2010
In short: Beautiful setting In full: The start & the end of the race was fine but could have done with a few more marshalls on the course. I turned up with 30 mins to go and managed to get parked fine. Ladies be warned, the queue for the toilets can get a bit long so go early! Date of review: May 10, 2010
In short: Lovely country lanes but undulating may be a bit of an understatement! In full: Great local race feel. Organisation was fine. Very rarely flat, you're either going up a hill or back down. A few tough hills but they're only short. Date of review: May 10, 2010
In short: Pretty flat, well organised. In full: When I first entered I thought at almost Â£30 it was a bit steep but on the day I realised that it actually worked out to be quite good valve for money. Probably one of the best organised and professional races I have done. Most of it was run on closed roads with a mainly flat course, a few inclines but nothing to worry about! Lots of support from the crowds most of the way round made this race a pleasure. Lots of volunteers helped out to make esp the post race part smooth, removing chips, handing stuff out etc. And a well stocked goodie bag! Tip - book parking. We got into the carpark which used a shuttle bus and managed to get pretty much straight onto a bus. Date of review: March 22, 2010
In short: Too windy and very dull! In full: The thought of running around a Grand Prix was exciting but in reality it was extremely dull. You go round the corner and it's more track or if you're lucky a pile of tyres. The course is pretty flat but it's so exposed when the wind picks up it's horrible, felt like you're running up a very steep hill! On the plus side the organisation is very good and at Â£15 it's good value for money. Date of review: March 15, 2010
In short: A few tough hills but great location to make up for it. In full: Gorgeous route set around Berkhamsted & surrounding areas. Long hill between mile 2-3 and another nasty hill around the half way mark, much steeper but much shorter. For all the uphills you are rewarded with a downhill & the biggest bonus is the last mile is all downhill! Well organised and fair marshalling. Date of review: March 8, 2010