In short: Loved it!!! The flattest & fastest 20 miler I've ever been a part of. In full: Horribly cold - fair play to all those who braved the weather & wore shorts - until you warmed up that is... Fairly flat rural route (1 lap for the 10 milers & 2 for the 20 milers) with only a couple of hills, at the 6 & 8 mile points, which were, obviously, repeated again at the 16 & 18 mile point. Good support from the locals out in the sticks as well as at the crossroads & the start/finish area. Plenty of water stops, including a group of 'singing' army cadets, & a nice goody bag & medal. Lovely day out! And to cap it all - Smashed my PB by 5:33 !!! Date of review: February 12, 2012
In short: Mud, hills, & carrots In full: The inaugral Trionium Bath Hilly Half Marathon is muddy mad mayhem. 13.75 miles (stupid bloody marshall) at an average 7:38/mi, 2723ft of ascent, 1483 calories burnt, and finished in 5th place with a time of 1:45:01 Geddin there!!! Not bad for a 42 year old bloke who only gave up smoking a couple of years ago... But, oh, my poor aching feet. I think my off road shoes must have shrunk as I have big man-size blisters under the arches of both feet & on the ends of several toes. I may well have another crack at this next year - as long as they still give you a carrot along with a medal & a t-shirt at the end of the race!!! Date of review: November 27, 2011
In short: Oh dear... In full: I'm lucky enough to finish big city races like this in the first 150-250, so thankfully I don't get to suffer as much as the guys & gals at the back, but I could see that there were going to be a few problems later on... * Thanks for hiding the start behind the Welsh Assembly building. A narrow street crammed with thousand of runners & supporters was always going to be a bad idea. * Out on the course, upon being handed a screwtop bottle of water, I thought "these tops are gonna be everywhere later", and from the sound of things I was right... * The course most certainly wasn't flat, therefore a lot of folks struggled on the inclines. Add a boring stretch of dual-carriageway between miles 6-9 & some must have found it almost soul destroying... * At the end of the race I struggled across the line, staggered to a kerb & continued to pour water over my swollen feet. Ten minutes I was there, in obvious pain, but not one medic or volunteer ventured to ask if I was okay... 0/10 for powers of observation. Good job I didn't need to go to hospital. * I have never seen so many boxes of X-L shirts and why do runners come to them first? Even the faster guys had to ask where the smaller shirts were...
10/10 for ambition, 5/10 for managing what you did. Have a look how Bristol do it & make notes. Don't get me wrong, Bristol has committed some monumental cock-ups in their organisation but at least they're getting it more right than wrong these days... Date of review: October 17, 2011
In short: The worlds lonliest second lap... In full: A very enjoyable race. The organisers know that Wolverhampton doesn't have as much to offer as its bigger neighbours & this is reflected in the whole set-up. But what it does have is charm & friendly natives, well on the first lap anyway... Those running the marathon pass the end of the half marathon & run off down roads & paths that have suddenly become quite deserted. Roads where St John Ambulance & TA personnel barely look up from their picnic or mobile phones as you trot by... Unless you are running in a group, prepare for some lonely miles. Nice t-shirt at the end, terrible cheap medal, & a goody bag from Greggs the baker(!) Well worth the trip up the M5 - especially as I PB'ed. Date of review: September 5, 2011
In short: Fun, fun, fun, in the sun, sun, sun... In full: This race is a nailed on certainty in my running calendar. I travel up from Bristol every year to run it & I must admit - I love it! It's one of those small town races that doesn't try to be something it's not & the whole community gets behind it... This year it was run in glorious sunshine (after a couple of days of heavy rain) and the crowds came out in droves to support it. Nice glass & medal in a reusable jute goody bag. Brilliant. Thanks Evesham Vale RC!!! Date of review: July 14, 2011
In short: A must for the calendar In full: I love this race, running in it whenever my calendar allows... A slight downhill from the Market Square, past the pub from 'Hot Fuzz', takes you out to, a mixture of road, footway, bridle path, through the village of Dulcote, and of course, not forgetting, up Constitution Hill. When you reach the top then it's downhill to the Bishops Palace, & along Silver Street, taking you back out for another lap before finally finishing on the small green outside the entrance to the Bishops Palace. It's a challenging run that brings a smile to my face. I love it. This year I even got given a medal & a t-shirt with the event & date on it - that's more than the Edinburgh Marathon could manage...! Date of review: May 30, 2011
In short: A bit of a mess, & a bit of a disappointment In full: Take a good race, 'tweak it', and watch the complaint levels rise... You put your 'festival hub' on the edge of the city, making it awkward for those who wished to visit; your 'big city marathon' only spent approximately 3 miles in your city; the part of the course that ran through Gosford House wasn't on a decent road surface; don't even get me started on the way that the relay runners were allowed to just charge out into the race, straight into the marathon runners; you prevented the crowds of supporters from being at the finish line, ensuring that you went from a caucophony of noise to a relatively muted few, resulting in a bit of an anti-climax; the walk to the medals & water was a fair old traipse after a 26 mile run; on a day that had produced high winds & cold rain there was no foil blankets handed out, the medal must rank as one of the most imaginative on record (just 'EMF Marathon' really doesn't cut it after 4 months of training, especially when the ribbon states'jnr, 5K, 10K, team relay, half marathon, marathon), the baggage reclaim was a shambles (for some reason all the higher numbers were offloaded first, leaving the elites & faster runners standing around in the cold waiting for their bags); the runners village & reunion area was a disaster, putting everything at the bottom of a field, further away from the baggage area & even more further away from the bus pick-up points, and consisting of very little by way of facilities; and finally, do you really think that it is acceptable to expect people who have just completed a marathon, people who are stiff, cold, exhausted, hungry etc to then walk over a mile to catch a bus back to the centre of town, especially when those self-same people have to then probably cover another few miles to get back to their hotels etc???
In short: Tricky ups alongside near suicidal downs In full: A very friendly race that was well worth turning up for. Even though the weather was very hot & dusty there were still some glouriously muddy sections for the big kid in everyone. The only way to descend the last mile from the obilisk though was to switch your brain off & just run! Great fun & a lovely glass as a momento. Date of review: April 11, 2011
In short: A good first attempt... In full: The course consisted of a fair bit of downhill & a nasty uphill in & around the town & the surrounding countryside... There was a very long queue at the race HQ in order to pick up chips & numbers (putting them in the post would have solved that problem) and an even longer queue for the mens toilets (opening more loos would have sorted that problem out) where we were subjected to an awful local rock band who sounded as if they were in pain... There was talk of them trying to make this race bigger next year... Best of luck with that, but unless it improves drastically, I won't be there to join in. The race was run mainly on pavements as there was no road closures. Not too bad at the front end where you could dodge dog walkers, railings, bollards etc but it must've been difficult further back. Also, it WAS NOT an accurately measured course - my Garmin didn't register 13 miles & some of the mile markers were a long way from where they should have been... The finishing medal was inoffensive, but the 'goody bag' consisted of nothing more than a Rice Krispie bar & 3 tonnes of flyers for local companies... Date of review: March 27, 2011
In short: Mud, sand, wind & rain - mad but fun...! In full: This years race was run in some pretty spectator un-friendly weather, but you didn't really notice it after the start until you headed back towards the finish. The off road sections were lethal in some places (40 degree wet mud) & the uphill sections were tough, but once you headed downhill & gravity took over it was Kamikazee time... Brilliant fun & another pair of trainers consigned to the bin. Date of review: February 15, 2011