In short: As good as ever. In full: I've done this most years since 1996 and it remains one of the best halfs around.
It's an excellent race across the board-accessibility,parking,organisation etc although it's never as fast as you think it should be.It's almost too flat,if that makes sense,as it's too easy to go too fast in the early miles and pay for it later.
It's still one of the best halfs around and I thought the crowd support was more plentiful and vocal than ever this year. Date of review: March 30, 2008
In short: Crowd support is "something else" In full: A really tough workout.Very tough hills in the first 5 miles,with some exhilerating downhill sections later.However,I paid for attacking them so hard as my legs were "gone" by the final 3 flat miles along the sea-front.
Terrific crowd support-even on a filthy morning.You all really lifted our spirits!
Seamless marshalling and the children at the water stations were great-really enthusiastic and part of the great atmosphere.
The Park & Ride was terrific too-efficient free bus service and less than a minute to exit the car park.
The start and finish areas were chaotic,but certainly no worse than other races of this size-and a lot better than some. Date of review: March 16, 2008
In short: Deal 2003 revisited In full: In many years of racing,I have only once encountered more daunting conditions than miles 5 to 10 today (the infamous 2003 Deal 5).I knew I was in trouble on the way out,when I found myself being comfortably outpaced by discarded water cups being blown along at sub-6 minute mile pace.
At times,it was hard to keep going forwards and a PB was impossible in that wind.
However,as always,there were lots of positives-very supportive marshalls who did a great job (and standing around in those conditions would not have been pleasant),excellent polo shirt,warm and welcoming race HQ,friendly atmosphere etc.
If possible,there should be more toilets before the start but otherwise,it's a great race that will hopefully still be there 25 years from now (I hope I am !).
After 2 consecutive years with a ferocious headwind on the return 5 miles,the odds are in our favour for a calm,still December morn next year when the course will be a real pleasure. Date of review: December 2, 2007
In short: Rapidly becoming one of the best Autumn halfs around In full: This has the potential to be the biggest Autumn half in Kent.Considering it's only in its 2nd year,yesterday's field was impressive.
It's potentially very quick,as the course (the first 12 miles anyway)is pancake flat and made for even-pacing.However,the hill at 12 miles is seriously draining and the nature of the route means it will always be at the mercy of the weather.
The organisation was great-loads of marshalls and spectators and the "goody bag"lived up to its name-which certainly isn't always the case.
It's a great course for everyone from elites (potential for a seriously fast time)to beginners (lots of crowd support,big field of all abilities).
The size of the available area at the Lees also means it could accommodate an even bigger field-but,like others have said,it will need to scale up toilet provision,directions from car parks etc.
To grow even bigger Date of review: October 1, 2007
In short: Nice,solid 10K,for a very good cause In full: This race is primarily about raising funds for a worthwhile local charity,so we shouldn't be too "picky".
The course is made up of very quick flat or downhill sections,mixed with 2 or 3 tough hills,so a PB is unlikely.
It scores high on value,as the tee-shirt is well above average and the proximity of the finish to the car park and the "finish area" is great-lots of support for all the runners,right to the last finisher.
I also liked the fact that the childrens' fun run took place before the 10K,which meant they had lots of support and encouraged family participation.
In short: Much better than its previous reputation suggests. In full: I had serious misgivings about entering,but whatever its failings in the past,it is now an excellent race.
There was a great atmosphere and all those involved in the organisation/marshalling etc deserve the highest praise for the effort they put in to make it a great race for all the runners.
The organisation was fine,despite an enforced last-minute change of course due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak.
All of the route is scenic and most of it is flat and very quick,although a leg-sapping section on sandy footpaths probably made a PB very difficult to achieve.
I will definitely be back next year and can highly recommend it.Don't be put off by previous year's reviews,today's half marathon was a really good race and much,much better than I'd expected. Date of review: August 19, 2007