In short: A lovely run around central London and the royal parks In full: Awesome route, dare I say a better run through London than the VLM. It felt very much like two parts though. The first part highlights were running down birdcage walk, the Mall, the Strand and around Trafalgar Square was great. The second half around the Parks was really very nice, although the course had quite a few twists and turns. Also quite a few sections where faster runners were coming the other way which can be a bit off putting, as is running past mile markers meant for the other direction.
Having said that, the support was just awesome, especially as you come back into the park and again towards the finish line. Wonderful it made my day. The goodies at the end were very nice - especially the water bottle. T-shirt really good too, it's a nice tech t-shirt.
Marshalling was brilliant and very supportive, lots of help finding the start too which was good, as I came in from Marble Arch.
I really enjoyed this race a lot and so glad I ran it. I hope to be back next year - ballot permitting!
A few things for improvement:
The baggage drop was a total faff. The queues to drop your bag were just crazy, for some reason they tagged your bag and gave you a matching wrist band with the same number. Which takes time. Almost every other race I've done use your race number for collection and send you a baggage tag in advance, so you can just dump your bag off quickly and get prepared. I arrived with 30 mins to go, and it took me 25 mins to drop my bag off. It just should not have taken that long. It was comical that the organisers were making tannoy announcements for runners to "make your way to the start as soon as possible" as we shuffled forward slowly in the queue from hell! Chance would have been a fine thing :-) Having said that, if you were starting in a later wave you had extra time of course, but even so you could feel the stress of everyone in the queue and lots of moaning going on. It spoilt the start, to be honest.
The queues for the toilets at the beginning (and also en route) were very long, mind you there can never be enough toilets. Toilet marshals would have helped the queues I think. Comical signs up mid-route around the park saying "no urinating" were roundly ignored.
I have to say that the 9AM start was a little too aggressive. It meant I had to drive in London and park up, as getting the train in from where I to get in for London in good time for the start was just not possible.
The queues to get out of the finish area were a little mad. Spectators as well as runners milling about and not clear where to go back to the runners village. It took me quite a while to get back to the runners village to get my bag. Could have done without that.
Course very busy, shoulder to shoulder the whole way round. A little bit of pushing and shoving going on, mostly good natured but wonder what it was like up at the front for the speedy runners. Also quite a few runners going along with headphones on, in their own little world and not able to hear fellow runners or marshals. I was surprised the organisers allowed that.
It wasn't very clear how to get back to the tube stations after I exited the runners village. I wanted to get back to Marble Arch but ended up in Hyde Park corner. Some signs would be really useful to avoid a long walk! Date of review: October 14, 2015
In short: Yateley 10K still rocks! In full: Well it has been ten years since I did this race, on a whim I entered the final race in the 2015 series. I was not disappointed and so pleased to see many improvements. The organisers are clearly open to feedback and Sanhurst Joggers have done a great job with this race.
The car parking was much better than I remembered from the mid-2000's and very well marshalled. There were plentiful toilets at the start, including Port-a-loos out in the field. Although there was still a big old queue for the toilets by the hall. I didn't use the bag check, but I could see that it was well marshalled and not a free-for-all that it used to be.
Having the chip timing was excellent, although a minor faff to get on in the first place. The course start no longer has a ruddy great bollard in the way to trip over. Even the weather held up :-)
The course itself is fairly flat (ish), with a couple of inclines between 8K and the finish - just as you are getting tired. This is made up for by the nice downhill bit at 3K - 5K where you can really get your speed up. The course was well marshalled and a reasonable amount of support. There were two water stops en route, and a sponge station. I took my own drink so didn't use them, but good to know they were there.
Coming into the finish was good too - a PA announcer calling out peoples names and encouragement and some music.
At the end there was a lovely medal (celebrating 25 years), a small packet of Haribo sweets and a bottle of water which was much needed. Getting out of the car park was easy - although that was probably because I came in at just under an hour by which time most had already finished and left.
What could be improved? Not much, really. Although - you rang out of the "Yateley 10K" mugs at the finish line guys! I really wanted one of those :-)
Picking the race number up on the night is still a bit of a faff and means mucking around with safety pins. Also means you have to arrive extra early to make sure you have enough time to collect.
Better signs to the alternative toilet facilities (by the ones in the hall) - some in the field and also some in the swimming pool changing room. Seemed a bit bonkers having a massive queue for the loo inside when there was lots of alternatives around.
I'll be back to race again in 2016 - thanks for restoring my running mojo, Yateley :-)
In short: An excellent event, whichi just keeps getting better In full: I'm local to Fleet, and have run this race many times. There are lots of other half marathons on around this time, but I keep coming back as it's just such an enjoyable race. It is a wonderful event, brilliant atmosphere and support during the 2 laps of town. Beautiful countryside. It's always a well organised event but I thought that F&C had managed to up their game even more this year. The extra water station was most appreciated, plentiful supplies of water and the new water pouchers were fine. The new finish line much better placed. Nice goody bag at the end of the race. Extremely well marshalled and very friendly. I also like that F&C are always open to feedback and you can see they try to improve the race each year. How refreshing compared to other races in this area (e.g. Windosr). The only minor grip would be that the medal this year was again a bit dinky and rubbish. Proper bling next year please :-) Well done Penny and all at F&C on another fantastic job! See you next year! Date of review: April 2, 2015
In short: Nice race, but failed to learn the lessons from previous years In full: This was my first race 10 years ago, and I've run it maybe 6 or 7 times. It is a lovely route, off road with gorgeous scenery and a friendly atmosphere.
Some improvements have been made over the years for sure. I like the funnel start which was much longer than previous years and also marshalled - much better to get yourself into the right place. Also there was good support (mainly by the copper horse and finish) and also the marshals were plentiful. Technical Tee although additional cost was great. Parking issues were so much better and people were getting out nice and quick. Also the website is much better with an excellent FAQ section. All good stuff.
So after 10 years I've reluctantly decided not enter this race again. I hope my comments below do not read too negative; this feedback is shared in the hope that things can be improved in future races.
Despite every year people calling for the start time to be shifted forward from 1pm to a more sensible time, the organisers stick to this later start time. I bet the 2015 race will be at 1pm too. This means this race takes up your whole day, and you can't eat lunch before the race. Once again it was far too hot for a race to be held in this time of the day. The sight of so many runners being laid out and being attended by St. Johns was a very unpleasant sight. I fear it will take a fatality for the organisers to sit up and take notice and I'm sure nobody wants that.
Once again, silly cups of water were given out at water stations. These are near impossible to drink properly whilst running and also limits you to how much you can actually get down you. The emphasis seemed to be on minimising the clear-up for the organisers rather than keeping runners properly hydrated! In previous years they handed out Lucozade bottles at mile 10 so I don't get the argument about water bottles littering up the place.
At the end to be given one small bottle of water (and denied a second bottle!) and a Mars bar I felt was not adequate given the heat of the day. The queue for the water tap was very long, I didn't want to spend ages just for a top up and wanted to get off my feet.
Could the organisers consider some marshalling of the toilets as they do in other races? The queues were just way too long; given you only have 10 minutes to get started after the gun goes off this could be managed a bit better.
I really hope these issues sorted out and runners safety is put first.
In short: Fantastic! In full: I really enjoyed running this race. This was my second Marathon, I completed London last year.
The course was fairly flat, just a few inclines but nothing to worry about. Power station section not great, but liked the fact the organisers had a big banner announcing 'the road to hell'! Last few miles along Madeira drive more than made up for it.
I used the park and ride, no problems although more detailed instructions would have been useful.
Start area was good, lots of places to buy a hot drink (needed on such a cold morning). And free water and power drinks was useful.
Finish area was fantastic. Great that the park n ride buses were at the exit of the secure area. I didn't need to climb the steps!
Water pouches great, although I squeezed one over my head and it exploded - that'll teach me.
Areas for improvement: - A bit too much "out and back" for me, it's demotivating to see the faster runners legging it past you the other way! - Not enough toilets at the start. Yes, there are never going to be enough. But the queues were the worst I've ever seen at an event. I've never seen so many people peeing in the bushes. Not great! - Some confusing instructions at the start area. We were repeatedly told how to open the water pouches, but neglected to tell us they were already open! And no signs to tell us where the start is (I know, just follow everyone else). - Having an area that looked like the finish gantry half a mile before the real end was cruel and made that last bit agony. - I liked the water pouches, however nearly got hit by flying powerade bottles. Can we have smaller bottles next year? Seemed to be an awful amount of wasted drinks. - Final instructions should have been printed, and not enough detail. Check out the instructions for the VLM! It removes a lot of the anxiety about the day. Date of review: April 24, 2012
In full: Well organised race in aid of an excellent cause. Lovely atmosphere at start/finish area.
Course very nice, a little hilly and quite a few puddles to run around and tree routes to dodge, but hey all added to the fun of running with 700 other Father Xmases!
Mince pies and hot chocolate at end very welcome, and a reasonable goody bag with a very nice chocolate bar and bottle of water.
All in all, it was a really lovely race, very well organised and I'm looking forward to running it next year.
In the spirit of improvement, just a few minor things which could be bettered for next year:
- Odd that you had 'register' at the start. It wasn't clear if you needed to or not (you didn't if you went on the bus). They just wanted to know how much you had raised - fair enough.
- The instructions for the day were a little confusing - the start time was not mentioned once. Also it wasn't clear where spectators should park and if they were allowed into the coral reef/look out center car park. - Could the finish be adjusted so pedestrians aren't trying to cross over, right as runners are bounding along there last few meters? Date of review: November 28, 2011
In short: Well organised, enjoyable day out In full: I've run this a couple of times before, as Fleet is my local race, being a resident of the town. The new course is much better, especially the location of the start. No jumping over streams or traipsing through muddy paths! I also liked running through the centre of town twice. Huge amounts of support round the course, especially in town. This put a big smile on my face and gave a huge boost. I also like the fact the very last bit of the race was downhill, exactly what you need. This race was a bargain compared to the rip-off Reading half. I'll be back next year.
Well done to Penny and all the organising team, well done. Thank you. Date of review: March 21, 2011
In short: Mud, mud, glorious mud In full: My local race, 2nd time of running and a bit slower than last time due to the hideous weather. Once again well organised just a few minor grumble.
The trek to start was a bit of a shambles - next year I'm walking on the roads to the start. Shame that last 100 yards to the finish area was so muddy, so a sprint finish not on the cards. Superb marshalling once again, thanks guys. Date of review: March 18, 2008
In short: Very enjoyable race. Well organised but unfortunately congested In full: I enjoyed this race, having completed it last year too it was good to see a number of improvements. The Tuesday market place was a great place to start and finish in and the course was a good mixture of town centre running, urban areas, parks and river bank. Goody bag at the end was very nice too, an excellent medal and reasonable t-shirt as well as a nice bar of fudge. Good to see plenty of water stations too - there was certainly no excuse to go thirsty during the run. There was an excellent crowd turnout and a nice buzz around the market place at the end.
The start needed better organisation - it wasn't clear where to line up with several queues all merging into one. The course was very congested for the first few Km which put pay to any PB chances for me. I also found the last few Km very congested, once we returned to the shopping centre - I got stuck behind a group of women running three abreast who would not move over. It was great to run through the shopping centre and a great atmosphere, but perhaps a wider start might allow a natural spreading out of runners over the first few Km. I was suprised to see the "chip time" on the results web site was over one minute faster than my stopwatch. Now as I much as I'd have loved to have completed it quicker, I have to question the accuracy of the chip timing. Perhaps this was just me.
In short: Great South Rain In full: Once again very well organised. Excellent crowd support despite the weather conditions and the marshals were good humoured - not sure I would be if I was in that weather :-) Start once again was very congested - it was almost impossible to get a decent first mile in as I was dodging slower runners for some time. It's a pity a route can't be found where the course is a bit wider. Goody bag was a dissapointment considering the steep entry fee. Last two miles were pretty tough, running into the wind and driving rain. However at least I kept nice and cool this time!