In short: Not exactly as advertised! In full: I'm an experienced marathon runner and I would have to say that this is the 2nd hardest course I have ever marathon-ed on (Despite what another review says, it isn't as hard as Windermere!). For the organisers to brand it as flat is really misplaced and, judging by the field, attracted a lot of new marathon runners who would not have been prepared for it. No big hills but constant up and down with twists and turns on "red routes" which were often cracked or uneven.
The traffic management was very good but how the locals put up with it is beyond me with every street and cul-de-sac closed and noone seemingly able to easily get in and out.
I agree about the marshalling being very good (with the exception of the disastrous first water station) and plentiful. The support for a smaller marathon was very good indeed. The stadium finish may have been brilliant but I would admit to being far too fatigued to care!
The signage at the start area, as another has commented, was almost non existent and noone could easily see where they were supposed to be.
The lack of start pens was a major mistake. It is fine to mix half and full marathon runners but so many clearly hadn't a clue where they should be as many seemed to be newcomers. The whole first 3 miles was worse than London for weaving.
I did see a new marathon record of someone walking after half a mile!
Overall, a race that I view as an achievement but not one I will reflect on as being a favourite. I would stress that it wasn't the organisation or the atmosphere, it was the course that would stop me going back. Date of review: May 6, 2014
In short: Running stripped back to its most simple. A great experience. In full: This was marathon 15 for me. More accustomed to big events such as London, I was drawn to this by the fact that it was the only marathon I could find for this time of year that I could do and that it was smaller and low key.
In essence, this race is sheer simplicity. The route is along the river Mersey heading out of Liverpool for just over 3 miles, turn round, head back then repeat another 3 times. It may sound boring but it isn't. The uplifting nature of always seeing runners even in a field of around 100 was fantastic. There is the guy with the dog, there's the partially sighted runner with his guide, there's the girl I was keeping pace with for the first half who has just left me for dead! The cameraderie this created, often silent, made this great.
The weather is "temperamental" but what would you expect at this time of year on a river? Be prepared for ideal running conditions, cold, rain, hail etc. Conditions wise, it was rather challenging.
It may not be the most marshalled race in history (basically there was one!) but it needed no more. Do not expect a simple independently organised race to be able to provide accurate timing with double checked results, it relies on the honesty of the runners. Look after your own time. The distance measurement might be a little off but you can always do what I did and run through the finish line to complete the distance. Just enjoy the experience.
I feared that the field might be a little out of my league, expecting only real devotees to be turning out on NY Eve to complete a marathon but in reality it was the most mixed ability marathon field I have ever been in.
My advice, take the race for what it is and enjoy it. Whilst my legs may not agree, I did. Date of review: January 1, 2013
In short: Absolutely brutal - do not underestimate it! In full: This was my 14th marathon and, barring one where I was in jured before I started, the hardest I have done by far.
The whole organisation of it is great with a nice atmosphere. Nice to be running a race that is aimed to raise money for charity as its sole purpose too.
However, it is HARD. The undulation chart on the website gives the impression that it is a tough first half with easier second. This isn't really the case as the second half, especially around mile 20 is very hard too. This is in NOW WAY a first timers race and not for anyone who isn't really fit.
What a challenge though! Date of review: May 31, 2012
In short: Organisationally Disgraceful In full: This pains me to type but this race was the worst organised I have ever had the misfortune to be involved in.
I have run edinburgh for the last 5 years and love the event. It was my first marathon and every year since have made the long and expensive journey of 240 miles each way to attend. I feared last year that it was getting too big to cope with itself and regretably, I was right.
I could reiterate everything that all the other reviewers have put but in simplicity, the organisers should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for treating runners like cattle, spectators with disdain and the city of Edinburgh with contempt. One review stated being surprised the event wasn't talked about in the city, frankly I'm not surprised.
In summary: Race hyped up by organisers with multiple events that the infrastructure could not cope with insufficient toilets at ther start....... AGAIN MP3 players banned and announced at start...... WHY? the roads are almost completely closed Start pens not enforced roads not clearly segregated for out and back route meaning the frontrunners were having to dodge the middle of the pack runners going the other way Water stations inadequately manned Marshals sitting in their cars because it was windy Finish not on the race course, just on a road Grandstand on the finish straight after the finish!!!!! No spectators allowed on the way into the finish.... WHY and what an absence of atmosphere Farcical sheperding of hundreds of runners into two goody bag lines which were inadequately manned anyway Goody bag abysmal with an emphasis on no foil blanket in the cold (have had them every other year even when it was 23 degree heat) No large T-shirts left - WHY? We had our tshirt size on our number so they knew the quantities All the crowd sheperded through a 1m gap in the fencing, directed to the right where you have to walk half a mile to cross the road and come back again Reunion area rubbish with non working big screen Transport back into Edinburgh a total joke with huge queues of people who have already waited around for a considerable time All this an then a medal which is the poorest of all the Edinburgh Marathons I have run and doesn't even have the year of the race let alone the date on it.
The organisers should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.
The ONLY bright point..... The fantastic local supporters who cheered us on despite the inconvenience the race may have been to them. They are a credit to themselves and Edinburgh. Perhaps they could organise it next year. Date of review: May 23, 2011
In short: Great medal, abysmal organisation.....again. In full: I have suffered this race for the last 5 years or so. Every year I have filled in the post race feedback form and it never changes. If anything, it has got worse every year. The only reason I keep coming back is because the medal is excellent and better than any other non big marathon. Getting to parking was a joke. Why the local residents put up with their cul de sacs being shut off from 8:30am is beyond me. Trying to get to a Lincoln car park was impossible as road closures seemed far worse than last year. Was funnelled into the official car park where marshalling was pathetic. At this point it seemed clear that getting out of the car park was a disaster waiting to happen. Pre- London, I had intended to run at a slower pace for the fun of it. With the impending doom of the car park in min, plan B, ie leggit and get back ASAP, was put into place. The usual delay to the start happened with very little explanation on the tannoy. Off we went from the non-policed start pens where, as usual, all manner of slow runner was in totally the wrong place. On the positive side, the end wasn't as catastrophic as usual although the chip bins required an ordnance survey map and compass to find. Never mind, really fast time and back to the car park where...... because the access to the car park was OFF THE RACE ROUTE, noone was allowed to leave until 1pm (the race started at 11am). So all we could do was wait in a traffic queue in the car park for nigh on an hour. This is without question the worst organised race I have ever been in, why do they continue to let us down. 7000 runners next year?...... potential disaster. Date of review: April 7, 2011
In short: Great organisation, great race but not easy! In full: With the weather being kinder than last year, the 2010 Guy Fawkes was excellent. A great route although very hard with numerous challenging hills makes this not for the faint hearted. Shame on all those "runners" who walked up the hills, got to the top then charged down the other side, leaving those like me, who actually ran the whole way, in their wake!
Organisation was excellent with superbly cheerful and enthusiastic marshalling.
Runners need to look at themselves a little bit for starting positions as there were too many slower runners near the front at the start. In a race that has such a high proportion of club runners, I would have expected better. This can be no reflection on the organisers though.
All in all a fabulous race that you really know you've run afterwards! Date of review: November 2, 2010
In short: Very tough and not to be underestimated In full: As often happens, the weather conspired to be fantastic for the Humber race. Great for the seaside, not so great for what is a very hard half marathon. 30 degree heat made what is already a tough race all the more so.
I would totally echo all the comments about the local support. All those who came out with hosepipes etc, thank you. Well received and a great effort from you all!
One word of caution - this race received a very high level of new runners who have not done this distance before. This is not a beginner's race, particularly due to the hills. If you are new to half marathoning, think very hard about whether this is the best place to start.
Organisation was generally good with 2 big opportunities to improve. Firstly, the start was a shambles with no sense of start pens or any idea where the faster runners should be. The net result was loads of people out of position which was bad for both the quick and the new slower runners who ended up too close to the front.
Secondly, there were nowhere near enough water stops and they benches were too close together. I only got to half of them. Those who were in trouble on the day need more than this.
In short: A good race but don't get caught by the hype. In full: I have run this race for the last 4 years and will be back next year. I think it is a great event but would urge all to watch out for the hype and understand that this is not necessarily what you would expect.
The criticisms of the route are fair as anyone expecting "Edinburgh", which makes only a cameo appearance at the start, will be disappointed. For those who criticise this, however, why didn't you check out the route before hand? If the race finished in Edinburgh or even was around Edinburgh, can you imagine the hills! The route is fine and benefits from being closed to traffic for well over 2/3 of it. Although it is downhill and "fast", do not be lulled into believing it is easy as it is not. The intense heat has affected the race for the last two years and makes it VERY tough. If that isn't a factor, in previous years, the wind coming off the sea which is always in your face is just as bad. Be prepared for a challenge.
I didn't experience the baggage reclaim or the shuttle buses but would suggest that a little realism needs to come into play. Other marathons I have run have needed an equal amount of walking to get to transport (if not more). In the mighty metropolis of New York, the only way to get back to the hotel was to walk as the taxis were all full and that was nearly 3 miles! The transport does get difficult around Musselburgh and I truly hope that the event isn't getting too big to cope.
The medal is the best I have got at the end of a race for the 2nd year running.
The start was very well managed and put London to shame this year. Pens were policed, kept separate as you approached the line to allow a clear run. WELL DONE!
I do have some major gripes:
Firstly the toilets at the start for the second year were a joke. Nowhere near enough, tucked away, signs advertising that you would need to queue. Where are the urinals which would have removed a huge volume of the queue (they had them 2 years ago). This is a basic which should not be got wrong.
Secondly, although water was available after last year's calamity, it was not regular enough and the lack of stations between 16-22 miles (or thereabouts) was shameful. It was really frustrating to run past the last relay changeover to see pallets of water on the outbound route that was now clear of runners and none being handed to us.
Lastly, communication from GSI was terrible. Reading some of the comments made by others (eg where do I put the chip) suggest runners ought to read the information they are sent as much was made clear in the newsletters etc. However, why oh why wait until a week before to send out race packs. We were told they would be here by Saturday of the week before. Mine didn't arrive. Email to GSI asking what to do. No response. Pack doesn't arrive on Monday. Email to GSI exactly as described in FAQs. No response. Pack eventually arrives on Tuesday. Email to GSI telling them not to worry. No response. The first reply I got was late evening on the Friday before the race when I was already in Edinburgh and 240 miles from home telling me they would reissue a number. Do they have no idea what it is to train and get psyched up for an event and then have to set off not knowing if all will be well. This was unacceptable to me.
The push back of the start time in order to accomodate the half marathon may be a reasonable compromise for the event but put all the runners under intense heat for longer than would normally be the case. However, I would urge the person who made the comment in their review that this meant the faster runners had to finish in the heat to take a look at the poor soles who were slower and in the heat far longer.
Overall, I have some strong frustration and think that the comments made by others are fair. This is a great race though which I fear may be getting too big. It can be managed well but can the organiser, GSI, actually do that? Date of review: May 28, 2010
In short: 3rd Year - Still Great In full: Tough yet great race. My thanks to all the fantastic supporters, particularly in the first half, you make the event.
The only drawback for me was, as usual, caused by the runners themselves. Firstly, the start pens. I through genuine accident ended up in the wrong start pen (to my advantage) and was in no way challenged about it. Seeing other comments about start pens, it seems morer policing is needed. Second gripe is slower runners. I managed to find a new marathon record of someone walking in front of me within half a mile of the start! This is an event that caters for all and is the better for it. However slower runners, and especially walkers, should use more sense in the race so as not to cause chaos. The stop-start nature of coming across slower runners was more detrimental this year as I have got quicker. If you are one of the two guys who were walking side by side in the middle of the road at the narrowest part of the course in Canary Wharf, thanks a lot!
A thought for the organisers! The original intent of the race was to rival New York. A lot of the issues of crowding and the start would be helped by adopting New York's starting system. There there are not only 3 starts but 3 waves within each, making effectively 9 separate starts. It works FAR better than London and would make a huge difference.
I love London, will be back, ballot allowing!! Date of review: April 27, 2010