In short: Fab-u-lous atmosphere! In full: This was my 3rd (and last) London Marathon, and my 4th over all, and although I had been pretty laid back throughout my training I thoroughly enjoyed it on the day - narrowly missed a PB but set a new club record.
The content of the goody bag has declined over the years and, yes, the t-shirt is way, way, way too large for most people. Why should the majority of entrants have to put up with an over-sized shirt because just a few people want/need this size?
Another gripe is runner etiquette. Belonging to a club means I participate in quite a few race events during the year and so I know that: a) You don’t suddenly stop in the middle of the course, causing the runners immediately behind you take evasive action or run into you, b) You don’t walk on the racing line (the three blue lines) while chatting to your mates on your mobile, and c) You arrive at your start point in plenty of time to queue for the toilets/urinals so as not to have to resort to exposing yourself to small children just minutes after the race has started.
I was also saddened when my friend repeated a conversation she had overheard between two men, one of whom was boasting to his mate that the furthest he had managed to run was 10 miles. It made a complete mockery of the 17 weeks I had spent training; 5 days a week; 3 x 20 mile runs etc. etc. It really makes my blood boil, because many of my fellow club mates would have loved to have run on Sunday and yet this man, who (it seems) couldn’t be bothered to put the effort into his training, had taken a valuable place from someone who would. I truly believe that the allocation of places needs a complete review i.e. give priority to those who are committed to the training and not to those who think that they can run a marathon after just a few weeks of training.
Okay, rant over.
Once again superb organisation, amazing marshalls (especially those down the road with the speed humps - made me giggle), St John’s were wonderful (what they had to contend with ...) and the crowd ... well, what can I say ... they were fab-u-lous! Date of review: April 24, 2012
In short: Cake & fruit a nice touch but perceived problems with the results In full: Always a well organised race but reviewing last years results I'm wondering what happened to the chip timing this year!
Also, the start is a bit of a bottleneck. Date of review: July 28, 2011
In short: I LUVVED IT! In full: I entered this event on the recommendation of a friend and I wasn't disappointed ... well, apart from my miserable time but, hey, that's down to me. Beautiful leafy lanes with bluebells and primroses dotted along the verge, picturesque villages and pockets of smashing supporters along the route. Very impressed with the organisation, the choice of size for my t-shirt even though I finished at the back, the goody bag, the toilet and baggage facilities and plenty of parking (close to race HQ). Special mention must go to the fabulous marshals who were fabulously supportive (especially in the latter stages). Coming from a flat part of the country the route was a bit more 'undulating' than I had anticipated but now I am aware I will increase my hill training for next time. Yes, I will be back! Date of review: May 10, 2010
In short: Great for those training for a spring or the London marathon! In full: This is my second Oakley 20 and although the thought of running 20 miles fills me with dread, the scenery and the very smart hoodie, makes it worth the pain. As always the organisation, courtesy of Beds Harriers, was slick and smooth, and their encouragement was very welcome from mile 15 onwards. I do have one gripe (well two): Firstly, the number of runners who ignored requests from the marshals to "keep to the left" and, secondly, those wearing head/earphones of which one or two I had to barge past because when I (very politely) asked 'excuse me' they couldn't hear me. And to respond to the person who complained about not knowing where the water was located at the finish, or where to collect her hoodie, all the details were provided in the information sheet that accompanied your race number. Date of review: March 29, 2010
In short: Do the organisers ever read these comments? In full: This is a great race for half marathon virgins, however once you have competed in other half marathons you will see how much the organisers need to shape-up, themselves.
This is the third year on the trot I have entered this race and each year my one big gripe is that this is one of the more expensive races to enter and what do you get for it ... a medal and a bottle of water! No banana or muesli bar. And if you want a t-shirt you have to pay extra, when other, cheaper-to-enter events give away a technical t-shirt as part of a rather extensive goody bag.
I said last year I wasn't going to waste my money again but entered this year to run with a friend. Sorry Nike but you're not getting my hard-earned cash next year.
There does need to be more signage for the toilets. There were huge queues for the public toilets inside the Xscape building and it wasn't until I asked one of the organisers if there were any portaloos that she told me where to find them.
Sadly, the start was not up to scratch either: * Starting the 10K race 2 mins before the half marathon was ridiculous - try starting it 15-20 mins before. * The PA system was awful, I was unable to hear instructions * There should have been markers at the start for predicted finish times, so the slower runners would have been towards the back, not at the front. * Banning iPods etc. because the wearers cannot hear marshals instructions and are unable to hear approaching runners from behind (I lost count of the number of times someone almost tripped me up as I went to pass them).
In short: I've said it before and I'll say it again ... my fave half marathon! In full: Yet another successful half marathon ... well done Riverside. I love this course, the organisation is slicker than a BP forecourt, the marshals are brilliant and the goody bag + long sleeved technical tee round off an excellent Sunday morning. And who booked the weather too? Conditions were perfect. Such a shame I couldn't step up to the mark and get a PB. Oh well, there's always next year. Date of review: November 17, 2009
In short: Well organised and nice traffic free route In full: I frequently use this route as part of my training plan and it is always a favourite with me. Traffic free (apart from the odd cyclist and dog walker) and very scenic along the stretch by the river. It's a shame this clashes with the Swineshead 10, another favourite local race. Nice mug as a memento ... you can never have enough mugs! Well done Bedford Harriers, another well organised event. Date of review: September 13, 2009
In short: Well organised, friendly event with PB potential. In full: This is a really well organised event in very pleasant surroundings and the only gripe I have is the start, which does get very congested because of the narrowness of the footpath - something that is beyond the control of the organisers. Date of review: July 24, 2009
In short: Flat, fast, scenic and definately PB potential! In full: My first time running at this event (even though it is almost on my doorstep) and I loved it. Well done AFF, a nice friendly event and suitable for beginners as well as club runners. Date of review: June 20, 2009