In short: Fun course, brilliant marshals, fab organisation In full: It's like a mini local carnival everyone comes out to support. I got a 18 minute pb despite the undulating course, so very happy- country lanes mean minimal pollution which is great for the lungs when running for so long! Superb and proud to have such a great race so close to home Date of review: May 12, 2013
In short: May as well have done a training run In full: When I got to the park, there was an almighty queue. I couldn't believe this! This was for baggage drop. Having done VLM I didn't think bag drop was supposed to be a hard thing. Took half an hour to drop mine off. The guys behind me were doing the 10k that started 10 minutes earlier. They were still queuing when the gun went off!
I managed to just about drop my bag off before the start- 8:40, the same pronounced time of death for dad. I needed the loo, but there was a great big q at the portapotties too- often when I need to pee befor a race it's nerves and goes away, so thought I'd chance it, but I had consumed about a litre of fluid in the 90 mins before, so probably would be wise to go.
The race started late! According to my garmin 8:54 is when I crossed the line.
So, by the time I crossed the line I was already grumpy that I'd queued and got cold to drop my bag, I didn't go to the loo, the race started late, and didn't have a chance for a warm up.
I started off at what u thought was a conservative pace, but when I looked down it was in the low 8s... I slowed through the course of the first mile, but was still significantly faster than marathon pace, so I thought why not take this at half marathon pace and see if I can get a good time, after all its a pretty flat course. Mile 2 and I was even faster... Mile 3 and the clouds went away, wow, I was getting hot, but luckily there was a water station. Well there were tables with packs of water bottles piled up behind and no marshals to be seen 'you've gotta be f***ing kidding!, I decided to help the other runners by lifting a case onto the table so at least they didn't ALL have to crouch down. This was the last straw in my mental resolve to go at half marathon pace, as I lost a bit of time again, so I decided I would drop down to mara pace. Miles 4-5 and I was feeling liquid sloshing around- I had to stop to pee- got to the second set of portaloos on the course and stopped to wait- thought it odd with a relatively small field that there would be a queue. A girl standing there said she hadn't seen anyone come out of them- someone else was asking the marshal and we quickly deduced they were all LOCKED! Seriously, could anything else go wrong with this race?
I decided that I would hold it in a bit longer and hopefully I would be able to go when I passed on the way back. Luckily I could, and well, there was a lot of liquid, so glad I did go, and I don't think it lost me too much time.
After this I got a new wind and thought I would do another 3 miles at half pace, but it got so hot I just couldn't cope at that speed, and to add insult to injury, I started to get chaffing between my legs. I thought I'd seen St. John's ambulance, my next focus was to find Vaseline.... Clearly I had been spoilt by London marathon again, expecting this... Alas it was nowhere to be seen. The pain of the chafe brought me to a walk several times.
Crossed the finish in 2:05:33 according to the results. Got my medal and a mini bottle of water and a banana, and YAY another 30 minute queue for my bag! Nightmare!
It was clear that the vast majority of people organising the race were not runners, and I can only assume they all showed up late for their duties - I guess they did the best they could, but I would strongly urge the organisers to put in some proper training of volunteers, and clear instructions. It really ruins a race when you have to waste an extra hour at the start/end for baggage, and u lose time during because water stations are unmanned.
In short: My favourite race but its getting a bit crowded In full: Fantastic race, and one I hope to do every year, though I've only ever managed to get a charity place for it each time. 2 main negatives: 1) pre-race baggage drop etc took a really long time this year, meaning no time for toilet, and it was not that easy to find the correct starting pen 2) way to many spectators running across in front of me- its hard enough dodging the people running in the same direction as you at different speeds, but to be cut up many times along the route gets quite frustrating. Date of review: October 25, 2012
In short: Great intro to the world of tri In full: This was my first triathlon and local for me. The swim was horrible, but largely (I think) due to my lack of preparedness. The bike was lovely, good smooth roads, with gentle turns, and fun overtaking. The run was somewhat frustrating as it wasn't overly marshalled. Also in general, spectators were allowed in too many places... my bf even held me up talking to me between the swim and bike legs...! Definitely do it again next year though. Date of review: July 18, 2012
In short: Lacked organisation, but an uplifting finish In full: I would have to agree with other commentators that if it weren't for the stadium finish, this race would have been a waste of a Sunday. My race pack wasn't sent out, and despite checking 3-4 times wiht my charity and the organisers who had assured them that it would arrive by Friday- I still got that rather annoying email saying they had forgotten to send it out. A few uphills, and not much in the way of scenery, and I personally think it was a bit too far to the first drinks station. Also, there was far too much time at the end to get a drink, and it was very crowded- because of this delay in getting a drink at the finish, I had to sit down in the finish pen to recover. Its a shame, because I had heard such great reviews the year before, but htis is actually my first bad race experience :-( Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: Great day out for the runners and spectators In full: This is the second time I've done this half marathon; it was a great day, and I beat my target of under 2 hours! The food and fitness festival after was great, with all the freebies. I like how they have expanded the event to include a walk, but why not expand it to a weekend long running festival, with a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and make the food festival last the whole weekend too Date of review: October 13, 2010