In short: Incredible race in an incredible location In full: Wow! Red Bull did a great job of creating a great new event and I love the way that they did it with a nod to the heritage of steeplechase and fell running!
Things to keep: - the entrants (invite this year's finishers back!)... it seemed like they picked people who'd entered challenging events before and it really paid off. There was comradery and sportsmanship all the way round, good laughs and great competition. - the added extras, such as the wonderful top and medal, the lunch afterwards, and sending us a box of Red Bull before the race! - the course - stunning scenery, varied terrain, perfect location, amazing!
Things to improve (these are minor quibbles in an almost perfect race!): - double-check the signage (we went the wrong way on a couple of occasions where there was no marshal/sign!) and course measurement - extra drinks stations mid-way through the longer (1st and 3rd) stages would be great (also some carbs (even a banana!) in the goodie bag) - most marshals did a great job (thank you!!) but some seemed disengaged
All-in-all, a tremendous run and let's hope we get to see it again!! Thank you so much Red Bull! Date of review: October 9, 2012
In short: Maybe the best small race I've been to for a very long time. In full: Really nice race, very very well organised. For a race of this size (ca. 300 entries) it has everything (good, fast course over road; marshals; water station at 5k; drinks at the end; toilets & changing; good support at 5k and the end. The things that really set it apart are the flawless organisation, the relaxed start, the refreshments stand selling food & drink, the guaranteed* good weather (*so far... touch wood!), and results up on the website within 3 hours of crossing the finish line!!! And an Easter egg :D Date of review: March 29, 2005
In short: Vastly improved, excellently organised half marathon (like a mini London marathon now!) - thoroughly recommended for beginners, charity runners and serious PB-hunters alike In full: A complete success, and highly recommended (with a provisor - read on!). Make no mistake, 2004 was a shambles, and wouldn't have made it into my top 50. Timing was a joke, they cut corners on everything, there were queues for bags and delays sending out numbers and (as in every previous year) the race was run with traffic still flowing (or more accurately grinding to a halt and pumping out fumes) in the opposite lane. This year, in 2005, the Bath Half Marathon makes it into my Top 5 with ease. I'm hesitant to pile too much praise on the organisers because frankly it should always have been like this: it's finally lived up to its potential.
The Start: 10/10 The start was on time, and had a great atmosphere, with a PA system keeping everyone well informed, an excellent start gantry and fantastic crowds lining the awesome start down Great Pulteney Street. The comments someone made about having to wait to get through the line are plain daft; with 6500 people of course it will take some time to get through the line. Look at London for example! The comments someone made about Gun -> Tape times used to determine results are silly too: if you used chip -> tape times you'd have to do it for everyone, which means the winner of the race could start 10 minutes after the gun, treat it as a time trial, and then win the race despite finishing 9 1/2 minutes after the first person over the line. Think about it.
The Course: 9/10 The course itself was *totally* traffic free, along some of the widest roads you are ever likely to be lucky enough to experience in a race. A pure pleasure. Air felt clean too; not a hint of pollution. First mile is steady downhill slope; last mile is back up same slope; otherwise very flat. Everything well-signed (apart maybe from mile markers - I don't recall seeing any except for 4, 6 and miles - then again I was running quite hard!). Car-mounted clocks at 10km and 10miles, and a chip checkpoint at 10km.
Water Stations: 9/10 The water stations were numerous and well-manned, and interspersed with Lucozade Sport and sponge stations. I never once went wanting for a drink; indeed I turned some down! Someone criticised that water wasn't bottled. If that's important to you then fine - but for most of us water in cups is perfect!
Marshals & First Aid: 10/10 The course was plentifully marshalled throughout; a mixture of volunteers and Army. First aid posts and ambulances at posts along the route, and because the roads were so clear no race could have a better emergency response time.
The Finish: 8/10 Fantastic run in down Great Pulteney Street, crowds lining both sides. Breathtaking. Beyond line, very efficiently organised, if somewhat impersonal. Would like to see them hand the medal to finishers rather than have you walk along and having someone drop it (still in its wrapper) into your goodie bag!! Walk back to "Athletes' Village" much improved over previous years.
Results: 6/10 Provisional results posted online and published in Bath Chronicle by the next day. No sign of the 10km (and 10mile?) checkpoint splits though. Also only gun -> tape times provided; would be nice to give chip -> tape times too for informational purposes as in London.
Value: 6/10 Still pretty pricey. This year they ended the tradition of free T-shirts and replaced them with medals. The medals are excellent quality, though. Maybe a choice of T-shirt or medal would be nice. Goodie bags very average.
OVERALL: 9/10 First class race, highly, highly recommended - this is what the Bath Half Marathon should always have been had they not messed up so badly previously (last year especially). Great weather this year (as usual) too! I would thoroughly recommend it for charity runners, beginnners and PB-hunters alike - with one provisor - that they now maintain the standard. They aim to increase the number of runners from ca. 6000 to 8000 next year - I really, really hope they now maintain the standard they set this year!! Could be one of the UK's Top 5 races if they keep it up. Date of review: March 23, 2005
In short: Totally unique course & absolutely breathtaking route running through the heart of Westminster on closed roads - spoilt only by the director's amazingly unprofessional organisation and shocking response to the large amount of concern this attracted! Date of review: August 24, 2004
In short: Friendly organisers, a good crowd for the race, and the opportunity to run flat out around the Serpentine in one of the most beautiful parks in the UK (*in summer!) Date of review: August 24, 2004
In short: A super race at Easter - always seems to be blazing hot but an interesting course in the country - plus an Easter egg at the finish!!! - make this a really enjoyable (though tough!) run Date of review: August 24, 2004