In short: Chester is so well organised - they even book the weather in advance. Fantastic Event! In full: A special event for me anyway but yesterday was extra special as it was my 100th Marathon. Chris; Andy; Elaine; Linda and the rest of the Chester Marathon team ensured that I had a day to remember.
Pacing the 5.00 bus I also met lots of interesting characters and 1st time marathoners whose performances were truly inspirational.
In short: Without the weather - parts of the race would have been totally soul destroying! In full: There were a few minor issues on the day:
1. Mile markers were 'all over the place' and definitely not at 1 mile intervals. Also there was no mile 25 marker.
2. Far too few toilets so the panic in the queues at the start was begining to tell. Perhaps if the start of the full marathon and half marathin were staggered by 30 minutes thsi would not be an issue.
3. On the 2nd half of the marathin only 2 of the drink stations had isotonics - just when you needed them most.
4. Compared to my previous Nottingham Marathon experience the course was very bland. No Wollaston Park - isntead a run through Boots!!
Hopefully Chester will be better next week. Date of review: September 30, 2013
In short: Excellent Event; First Class Organisation; Brilliant T Shirt and Top Class Finish in the busy City Centre In full: I was fortunate enough to be responsible for pacing at around the 2h 15m pace. As a result, I had a number of 1st time half marathon runners in tow and had lots of interesting conversations as we meandered around the course with totally closed roads.
As usual, the organisation of the Chester team was like clockwork. All drink stations were well stocked and fully manned. The finish - after you climber the last hill was absolutely brilliant and the T shirt and goody bag were 'as good as any' you would get for any UK event.
Roll on October 6th for another display of 'how events should be run'.
In short: TREMENDOUSLY WELL ORGANISED EVENT - PARTICULARLY THE USE OF THE STADIUM AT THE START AND TO FINISH IN!! In full: Really nice event and a credit to the organisers. The level of support was first class and we were all very lucky to have the base at MK Dons stadium.
The volunteers were superb and the drinks stations were adequate with sports drinks and gels too. Given the 'heatwave' an additional few stations in between would have been advisable.
The support in the stadium and particularly at 16 miles near the lake rivalled anything a tired runner could ask for.
As somebody who likes T-Shirts, I would sooner have paid a little more and received the 'good quality' shirt that was available to purchase. The fact that I couldn't find where to buy on the day - meant I went without.
Only negative for me was tha car parking. Tried to buy the VIP parking but it was sold out and the marshals had no idea were to send me and many other runners.
Asda were 'manning' their car park and enforcing a 2 hour limit and many runners like me ended up in the Ikea Car Park and hoping for the best. Thank you Ikea for being sensible and not issuing tickets!
In short: Lots of Areas to Improve In full: Genrally well organised. Marathon village was excellent.
Overall a very quick route, fantastic support especially in Altrincham and Sale. A bit on the expensive side including £9 to use the Car Park at Old Trafford - yet nobody there at the end to help exit. Indeed exiting the car park was almost as chaotic as trying to find it with all the X Factor contestants!
Fantastic medal and bag at the end especially the t-shirt which is as good as i have had.
My real 'beef' was the lack of First Aiders around the course. Apart from ambulances attending to 'serious injuries' I did not see one first aider all the way round.
The Shotz jelly cubes were a major plus.
The marshalls; crowds and all the helpers at the drink stations were especially good.
Finally - the fact that it was called the Greater Manchester Marathon would have caught a lot of people out who expected to see Manchester (i.e. some of the City Centre).
As it is relatively local I would probably do it again but unfortunately, T-Shirt aside, with low expectations. Date of review: April 30, 2013
In short: Tough but very rewarding In full: My only comment would be that had the race been 24 hours earlier the weather may have caused cancellation / a number of people to drop out. The same event in May / June would be even better. The scenery is stunning so why not have the weather to enjoy it?
The organisation was excellent and the Marshalls deserve a massive thanks for supporting all the runners in such extremely cold circumstances. Date of review: March 14, 2013
In short: Well organised race but 10km race needs to start at least 15 minutes later due to the congestion it caused. In full: As a 'local' the race was better than I anticipated - particularly knowing some parts of the course very well. Having 10km runners in amongst the marathon field made it a little bit congested for at least first 3-4km.
Sea front was excellent as was exit from the tunnel.
Major positive was the finish which was as good as any that I have experienced.
All in all - very enjoyable but if the race organisers are sincere about growing to 20,000 runners - the 10km needs to start at leat 30 minutes later. Date of review: October 18, 2012
In short: A Marathon that organisers from similar size events could learn an awful lot from!! In full: As has been said before - the fact that the race was organised by runners for runners - came through loud and clear.
The quality of the Finishers shirt and goody bag was 2nd to none. I am sure that people doing the VLM would sooner pay a little extra to get a Finishers Shirt that will last and could be worn with the same pride as the MBNA Chester Marathon shirts.
The marshalls and all volunteers were a joy also and really inspiring to see so many youngsters giving their time on a voluntary basis.
I am also doing Liverpool next week and fear the worst with regards to T Shirts as they are selling technical T shirts seperately. Hopefully we are not going to receive the cotton Fruit of the Loom shirts that last a couple of washes - but I am not holding my breath.
For those contemplating an Autumn Marathon in 2013 - look no further than Chester (October 6th).
Thanks Chris; Andy and your vast team for putting on a truly great event. Date of review: October 8, 2012
In short: Perfect Day for running - shame about my last 6 miles!! In full: 2nd time I have done Leicester and enjoyed it once again.
Agree with some of the other comments regarding:
* Lack of T shirt as in 2009. * Drink stations for last 10 miles or so need to be bottled drinks so that you don't get caught wanting. 3 miles is a long way between stations when you are 'running on empty'. * Marshalling was absolutely fantastic given the amount of traffic it was dealing with on parts of the route. * A bottle of water and a banana are hardly the 'goody bag' you expect at the end of 26.2 miles - need to get hold of more sponsors?
That said - well worth getting up at 4.30 am and driving 140 miles to do.