In short: The usual excellently organised big race with the heroes finish In full: As big races go, this is an excellent half marathon. Brilliantly organised, well marshalled and excellently supported. I like the course which has a few steady hills in places. The finish in the stadium is brilliant, one of the best. I see a few comments about difficult pacing because of the crowds - my view is that you have to expect this with such big races (but you get the great atmosphere and support missing from smaller runs). But to reduce the issue some people really need to be more honest (realistic) in their starting places. There were plenty of red numbers coming in after the 2 hour mark so they had clearly got it wrong. If I was to complain about anything on the run it would be the limited water stations (3 I think) and the soul-destroying there-and-back outside the Madejski at the end - surely they can find that extra mile somewhere else?
I will be back next year - probably my favourite big race. Date of review: March 30, 2009
In short: Like normal a great race and great weather In full: This is a consistently good race. Excellent marshalling and a good finish. Pretty rural so nice and scenic. A good few up and downs to keep you busy. The support was out and helped a lot, as did the perfect early spring weather. I would prefer an earlier start so the event doesn't take up your whole day. And I still miss the support you got when the course ran all the way up Reading Road Sth. But this is a very good event, definitely worth another visit next year. (PS ditch the goodie bag, its a waste of time) Date of review: March 17, 2009
In short: What a great race! In full: I wasn't really looking forward to a 20 mile MT after recent lacklustre training but I'm so glad I turned up. A nice steady start for the first couple of miles, then the first good hill. These were hills for walking not running up but not so many that it turned into a stroll. The course was superb, scenic and challenging. Butser Hill was a killer. Marshalls very good. Even the weather was spot on. All-in-all this was a fantastic race. One special point - the water and food stations were the best I've ever seen. Bottled water, hot drinks, cakes, mars bars, bananas, jelly babies and orange slices! A brilliant touch that helped me for sure. Pity that some runners disregarded the request not to drop litter on the tracks. I will definitely be back next year. Top marks to Portsmouth Joggers! Date of review: March 2, 2009
In short: A suprisingly tough run across the beuatiful New Forest In full: Run starts from a campsite which is a great idea as there was an abundance of toilets and shower facilities plus food for afterwards. We were lucky that the torrential rain stopped before the race started. The tracks were well maintained in most places so not too much slipping around. So not as tough as some off-roaders but this meant you could run at an evenish pace - unfortunately I underestimated those hills and mine was too fast! A really good course that was very well marshalled. My only gripe might be the lack of medal and dropping of chip-timing as advertised - this made the £16 entry seem a bit high. However, I would definitely recommend this one. Date of review: January 26, 2009
In short: Very steep hills, mud and v tough In full: Maybe it was the Xmas excess but I found this very hard. The defrosting two-week frost also made for interesting terrain (ie either slippery mud or rock hard). The first hill set the standard - steep with semi-frozen mud). Then it just seemed to get tougher and steeper. Gave up trying to stay upright on the decline - sledging with your feet (or @rse). All-in-all this is a very well organised and tough race. 10 miles was enough! Will be back next year for more of the same! Date of review: January 20, 2009
In short: Great scenery and challenging hills In full: Shame about the weather but a great event. Lots of New Forest scenery and plenty of ponies! 2 good hills but still quite fast. A very nice Sunday run with a small field of mixed ability. Thanks to the friendly marshalls who stood out in that rain. Date of review: November 30, 2008
In short: Great fun again. Brilliant In full: This is a great event. A nice tough hilly course, freezing water, the bog of doom, and the sand hills! Really good atmosphere. The bog was much deeper this year so I reckon some <5 footers must have had to swim it! This year the course felt tougher but that might be my imagination. T-shirt is very good as was the goody bag.
Parking woes of last year seemed to be reduced this year although race start still delayed by 15 mins. But I did leave straight after my finish so may have missed the exodus.
Will be back next year for the same muddy fun. Date of review: November 17, 2008
In short: Consistently good but this one was just a bit too slippy! In full: 2008 Dorset Half - My third Endurance Life event and once again the course was breathtaking. Fantastic coastal views, hardcore hills (one slippery hill was more like climbing than running) and very friendly runners. The usual good organisation from a friendly bunch. However, severe rain preceding the event meant that >70% of the course was a clay mud ice rink. I mean really slippy, on the edge of cliffs and next to barbed wire fences. Even with fell runners on you didn't have a chance of staying vertical. I'd be surprised if someone didn't get badly injured. Worse for me though was the damage we did to the coastal path. We churned it up so badly I think it will take a long long time to recover. The food was pants (bring back the Portland lasagne) and dog tags seem to have been dropped for this new series. That being said, this is by far the best (and toughest) trail run series. See you in Cornwall in April! Date of review: November 9, 2008
In short: Terrible. In full: The worst half marathon I have ever run (except it was my PB). Why?:
- it poured with rain all the time (I can only blame the big man for that). - got to Waterloo and it turns out London Underground had turned off the tube to O2. Unless it was due to a fatality it was a complete disgrace. So a mad hunt for bus and cabs got us to O2 5 mins before delayed start. Cancel the Olympics if we cant cope with one run! - at O2 5 marshalls had no idea where bag drop was. Tying to find start, one marshall sends me to one place and then one sends me to a line behind several thousand. So seeding was a joke - spent 5 miles zigzagging. - course ok except for the lack of the "run-to-the-beat" music in the publicity - more music at the Reading HM. Guess all the musicians stayed away from the rain. - where the f were the mile markers? I think they were disguised (if they existed). Lucky I had a GPS. I've seen 50-man runs better posted. And the finish line was hidden until the last 200m. Joke!
On the plus side thanks to all the supporters who stood out in those conditions and cheered - you helped.
I doubt this one will return. The organisers were dealt bad luck but they didn't help themselves. I won't revisit the mess. Date of review: October 5, 2008