In short: Scenic route & great organisation In full: Great scenic route with lots of friendly marshals along the route. The only thing which slowed me down a bit was a few steep bridges but apart from that it was a pretty flat trail route.
Free parking very close to the start was really helpful although to get to it, you did have to go down a single track road so if cars were coming the opposite way it was a bit tricky. The convenience of it outweights that though.
As you came in to the finish you got your name called which is always a nice touch. Decent medal, banana, bottle of water & goodie bag at the end to top a good race off.
Race HQ was quite good, I got there quite early so didn't have to queue long for the toilet & managed to find seating before the start of the race. There was a couple of stalls including a BBQ for the non-runners.
I'd heard that Purple Patch organise good races & I wasn't disappointed. Apart from the races being delayed by a few minutes, I think they did an excellent job. Date of review: March 21, 2011
In short: No starting pens makes this race an no go. In full: The biggest issue for me was the start. Why oh why do they not have starting pens? It's just plain stupid & potentially dangerous. I'm not a fast runner but certainly capable of doing the whole race without stopping. I wasn't after a PB but I found it so frustrating that I spent the whole time dodging walkers and slower runners. The only time I got to a half normal pace was when I moved onto the pavement going along Embankment. I doubt the organisers will ever change this as it seems to have been an issue for a while now.
They haven't considered runners who don't need to use the baggage bays. Everything was based around them! I would have like to avoid the area but I heard people being refused goody bags in the past as they had no bag to collect so I took a drink in a bag to leave there. The toilets are nearby with awful queues and there was a stack of water bottles left on a free for all basis. The start line was quite a walk from there and it didn't seem to be sign posted. In the race pack, it stated that you had to go to the baggage area first and be escorted to the start by stewards, I don't think this was the case on the day.
I'd heard that the water stations normally run dry so I made sure I only took one bottle towards the end. The water stations seemed to be ok as I passed but I feel sorry for people further back as I hear that despite the organisers knowing we would be having a very hot day the water stations still ran dry.
Having to collect the goody bag at the baggage area is just a joke, why bring unneccesary traffic over there? They had the space to hand them out at the end. There didn't seem to be any logic to who got a goody bags, they tried to give my boyfriend one who only came along to spectate! The medal looked cheap & nasty. The only thing worth having from the goody bag was the Nature Valley bar & even then the organisers must have got a cheap deal on them as there is about a week left before they expire!
The cost of the race was very pricey, I decided not to pay the extra £5 for a chip as I'm happy start/stopping my Garmin. The road closures were impressive but I don't know where the rest of the money was spent.
The only positives about this was while we were lining up to start there was some bands which were a nice touch. Also despite the routes being very similar, I think I enjoyed this one slightly more then Bupa 10,000.
If you want to do a good 10k through London then stick with the Bupa 10,000. Cheaper & so much better organised. You still get to see many of the famous landmarks.
In short: Hot & hilly but nice race. In full: Starts and finishes at the recreational ground so lots to do for the kids while you're out running. Slightly more hilly then undulating but nothing that is a total killer. Could do with an earlier start for a hot July day. The route isn't the most inspirational, mainly running through the residential streets of Bushey. Lots of friendly marshals on route though, plenty of water stops and a bargain at £9. Date of review: July 4, 2010
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