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!
In short: Once again an excellent race. Roll on Yateley 2007! In full: Another excellent race which was superbly organised. Very well marshalled, especially around the roadworks and two way traffic at the 5Km point (whose idea was that then?) Shame that some pathetic bloke walking in the road was f'ing and blinding at the runners around the 2Km mark. Myself and most of the runners around us just laughed back at him. See you in 2007! Date of review: August 3, 2006
In short: Well organised and marshalled, some traffic problems In full: There always seems to be something about the weather at these Yateley runs! Despite the downpour at the start, this didn't dampen my enthusiam and if anything it helped cool the runners down (and give us something to talk about). As usual the race was well marshalled and organised, no problems there. I have one item I'd like to raise though: traffic trying to drive in the directions of the runners. A BMW was driving with the runners on Hall Lane (just past the drinks station), causing many people to move right over to the edge of the road. Also a Sainsburys delivery truck decided to pull over right in front of me in Marsh Lane which was quite dangerous. Traffic should not be allowed to drive on the same side of the road with the runners. Date of review: June 11, 2006
In short: Lived up to it's a name - a great race! In full: Firstly, my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Duncan Gooderson. I hope the race returns next year in tribute to him.
Thank you to the organisers for a fantastic race which I really enjoyed and really puts King's Lynn on the map. A great goody bag containing a superb medal and decent t-shirt. Well marshalled and excellent organisation.
I would like to suggest two areas for improvement: the start area was quite narrow, and was hard to get any speed during that first KM. Also it would be good to have KM markers at eye height and not as metal signs, as some of them got knocked over or I couldn't see them due to the other runners. But these are very minor niggles, all in all a great race, well done to the organisers. Hope to see you there next year!