In short: Good as always but a few faults this year. In full: Big thanks to all the marshalls, every one very encouraging & the organisation flawless. Crowd support was wonderful too, but better on the first lap.
Course seemed slightly tougher too & I'm not sure if I preferred the 2 lap to the 2006 course.
My only complaint were the drink stations. Nothing wrong on the 1st lap, but I'm sure there was an energy drink stop (lucozade?) 2 years ago.
If you've come alone, it's very tough running 26 miles with the 2nd half of race surviving on just 1/4 full cups of water wasn't great, For £25 I don't think one Lucozade/Powerade station at say 16 miles was asking too much and an extra water stop added to the last 10K.
I ran sub 4 hours & only missed my PB by 90 secs or so, so not too disheartened but was 8 mins down on what I should've & was on course to run.
But still big thanks to all involved. Date of review: October 19, 2008
In short: Not for me. In full: Through no fault whatsoever of the organisers (due to the impossibility of running through Harlow) I really didn't enjoy this one this year. The dreadful humiditiy didn't help but the course I just found horrible. It seemed to go gradually uphill for the first seven miles with occasional flat stretches & I've no idea where the downhill parts were that were on the profile.
The course was quite dull this year, just endless miles of trees adding to the humidity, added to that the gravel tracks & sloped roads put paid to any chance of a quick or comfortable run and the cups at the water stations - esp the 5M one barely had any water in it.
On the plusses, the organisation was brilliant again, flawless infact, the venue is so much better than the old sportscentre & the marshalls were top notch - some of the best you'll find, very encouraging & faultless, so many thanks to all of those.
But there was little if any support for 90% of the course, (because nobody lives there) not even any houses. There's plenty of runs through fields every week, Harlow is a good town run (although miles 2-5 of the last couple of years slightly altered that), hopefully they'll revert back to more of the town / town park & support next year when they're able to.
Most importantly of all, best wishes to the three victims of the heat I saw, there was no shame in struggling today - I've done marathons far easier than just the 10 miles today. Date of review: July 27, 2008
In short: Good and Bad - But more Good. In full: Overall a terrific race and would've been worth the money (had I paid & not got the guaranteed entry from London rejection). Top marks to all marshalls & course spectators who were so friendly, motivating & helpful for the entire course - every bit as special as the London crowds are famed for.
The course is as good as you'll get for a marathon. One of the few where you can run like a pro in that you can control your pace & time all the way. I wanted under 4 hours & not to stop - while I only scraped in by 4 minutes & I achived both & neither were ever in any doubt, so it's highly recommendable both for course & time.
It's still not a complete race though by any stretch, so much needs addressing to make it the classic it could be: 1) The start - Surely in Edinburgh there must be somewhere with a field purely for runners to congregate in before the start rather than just a pavement at the side of the road with as many spectators as runners) and about a 100 more toilets were needed.
2) The finish - everything up to 10 metres past the line was fantastic, the crowd, the run-in, surface, the stadium but passed there it was too small & cramped - again like the start not helped by too many non runners - could they not be blocked from the main area?
3) The queues for the buses & showers - the length wasn't the problem - just the time it took to get on the buses. There were always enough buses parked to cater for everyone in the queue but it just took an eternity to get people on & after queueing 20 mins for a shower the room was half empty once I got in. With both the buses & the showers once in they were faultless & well worth the money though.
4) The gravel path up to the country house was horrendous - the stones so shapr they pierced through the shoe, it was a beautiful part of the course once we were up there but could something not have been laid down like at the finish or even took us via the grass? It was so out of context with the race.
Other points - rather than criticisms - I didn' think the website profile 1st 6M downhill, next 20 flat were anything like the actual course. Miles 3-4 were a flat industrial estate with a slight climb and 5-6 were along the sea wall I only saw one brief downhill stretch for about 30 secs in the 1st 6 Miles. Then 11-15 was a gradual climb & 21-25 - a very welcome 4 miles slowly downhill so I think the profile is ompletely wrong.
I found the wind fine, it was just unlucky it had died down by the time it was meant ot be behind you - the only problem it caused was blowing the mile markers out of obscurity - some of those & the Half-Way sign could've made into something bigger.
I didn't even see a goody bag at the end as promised & when we arrived back, it felt a shame we hadn't even ran through Edinburgh at all. For the race to be a classic & capture the city folk it needs to take in Princes Street & some of the sights. It was more an event for Musselbrough than Edinburgh - although Musselbrough did it mighty proud. Some of the backdrops you see - Mile 2-3 are just breathtaking, with a few others along the way too, but there could be so many more with some slight rejigging of the course.
To have som amny criticisms of this, you'd think it's a bad race - it's not, it's a terrific once & I'll never despair at being rejected for London again, now I know I'll get the pleasure of this race instead. I could see myself back here every two years, for the course, the views, the PB and the crowd & the whole weekend was just full of so many friendly people.
But this race isn't yet a classic despite the 14,000 entries, but it could be. Date of review: May 26, 2008
In short: Good. In full: Nothing wrong at all with this one really & well worth the cheap entrance fee.
Difficltu to find any faults really - only ones I had were that I wasn't sure exactly where the start line was & the showers at the end weren't up to much at all.
But still a good day & a course that seemed far quicker than last year, well marshalled along the way. I know the end was in a different place (100 yards further on?) but much of the rest of the course I didn't remember from last year. Date of review: May 5, 2008
In short: For the price it's excellent. In full: Nothing out of the ordinary - except the fact that it only costs a fiver so terrific value for money.
Two minutes slower than last year but I'll put that down to the heat. Scenery from 2-4 miles is amazing. The showers were fantastic, worht the admission alone & some lovely cake at the end. What more could you want for a fiver?
Well maybe some drinks at the finish given how hot it was.
Mile markers would be good although there is a novelty in doing a race without them. Last year it helped me, this year probably hindered, but I'll be back. Well done all. Date of review: August 9, 2007
In short: Hard but enjoyable. In full: A good race. I know it's the same course but it didn't seem as hilly as last year, or as hard as the heat was slightly more bearable. Which all makes me a bit puzzled how I didn't break 50 mins. I did the Woodley race in sub 47:30, and was over 3 mins down today. Yes it was hotter & harder but I felt like I was running well so am staggered at the time.
Would be interested to see if anyone had a garmin, as the 1st and 2nd KM's both took me 5 mins+ & I wasn't running that slow. There were two parts in there, where a few runners took short cuts & saved 30 yards a time - maybe that was the course? Which would account for it.
I still did ok though, thanks to the marshalls & good support AND the additional water stops - not sure what was in the 2nd lot of water, but it was still welcome! Enjoyable day - good goody bag & showers (at least for the men) were a welcome relief. I'll be back next year. Date of review: June 10, 2007
In short: Simple, well organised race. In full: Definite PB potential, I got mine. As I live here in Woodley I think I benefited from hopping into the road to run certain parts of the races - the pavements are far too up & down (with peoples driveways onto the road) to gain fluency.
You can barely fault this race. Simple, straightforward, definite PB potential, good marshalling (although it's difficult to find anywhere to take a wrong turning), 3 drinks stations, a good finish, good childrens races, and a medal, drink & mars bar at the end.
The only criticism I can think of, is that it could've done with somewhere to get changed at the end and with the village hall chokka, it's a pity the building where the first aid was, couldn't have been better utilised - but that may be nothing to do with the organisers.
I'm not sure what haappened to the KM marker at 7-8km but I'd done seven 4:45 km's and the next one was over a minute slower but I didn't slow down, then picked up the pace & got home in 47:30.
A faultless race & well done to all, with the rain ideal for runing but atrocious for anyone else. Date of review: May 13, 2007
In short: OK race but for the price, excellent. In full: Nothing out of the ordinary for this one, but then I like races like this, that do not pretend to be anything that they're not.
Nice simple race, just a medal & mars bar at the end but then for £7 you can't complain. I've paid £12+ for races & got less than that.
Nice flat, fast course, but never an easy one. I got a PB by 30 seconds but was still well under what I was going for & not sure why - lost the time between 2K-6K.
Quite a few twists & turns, the odd hill plus the vary from road, to pavement, to gravel, to country lane probably contributed but it never stopped being enjoyable.
I felt so sorry for the organisers, who were all friendly & very professioanl that the rain was just horrendous especially for the village fete & the money probably lost from that, but I'm sure what was lost will be gained from people coming back next year for a good run.
Two criticisms, it could possibly have done with two drink stations, esp one before 6K although thankfully it was cold & rainy so not too serious, but there definitely needed to be somewhere to change, given how soaked everyone was, not showers or anything just a room or tent to completely change clothes, but otherwise a faultless race in a lovely part of the county. Date of review: May 7, 2007