In short: It's LONDON! Not perfect, but well worth it. In full: A unique race, brilliant atmosphere and truly emotional- if you only run one marathon, this is the one... Great volunteers, generally good organisation, and a weighty medal at the end.
But... 1) sort out the starts - proper pen discipline, staggered starts, whatever, but lift the crush of numbers; 2) sort out finish area, especially outside runners area and meeting spots; 3) keep spectators off the course; 4)work out the drinks policy - there were maybe too many drinks stops rather than too few as runners weren't holding onto their bottles or finishing them as they knew there were more around the corner.
Much as I loved it, no chance for me of a pb so will probably look to try another one next time. Date of review: April 23, 2012
In short: The usual high standard - but may fall a victim of it's own success In full: This is the 4th year I've run this half, and the first year that I've really felt that it was too busy - there were few places where I could really sustain a rhythm for any distance, and a couple of pinch-points where the race was slowed to walking place (esp just after town centre).
Organisation excellent, atmosphere as good as it gets (excellent bands!), medal could be used as a weapon - all the plus points still there tho. Didn't notice a problem with the mile markers (Garmin GPS was out by .12 miles at the distance, so better than Brighton Half by 0.3 of a mile....) Date of review: April 1, 2012
In short: The half marathon that wasn't... In full: I recorded 13.51 miles, and the differential changed the rhythm of my race and my approach/strategy... I agree with earlier comments, getting the distance right is race 101 stuff, no excuses - and I haven't seen any race organiser comments yet. For the record, my trusty Garmin 305 had mile 4 at 3.9, mile 5 at 5.4.... a country mile, maybe.
However - good medal, ok organisation, good support and thanks to all the marshalls as always.
In short: Heat was a PB killer and post-race chaos an unnecessary pain In full: Start was excellent, the best of an event I've seen, including London and Reading Half. First few miles, even though the sun was out, were a joy and I was running smiling, until... The heat, the heat! Stuck to race plan until the first cramp; 11 miles in! Game over for a PB. After that a trudge to the end.
During the race, lots of drinks but - where were the soakers? How difficult would it have been to get these set up? I'd known for a week it was going to be a hot day, why didn't the organisers?
I've never seen so many fainters and walkers (my 3rd marathon); I ended up drinking from a hose to get cold water. Not ideal!
So, get to the end; cramped, locking up, heat stroked, dehydrated, and - chaos! Gates shut, poor signage, few stewards outside the main areas, unmoving traffic...
I ran this race in 2008, when all the events were smaller and there were none of the post-race organisational problems, so I can only assume that the scale-up has not been thought through - maybe inevitable, but (as per previous comments) no-one who has run a marathon would then consider walking miles to a bus stop or standing in a queue just to get to somewhere to sit! I saw 2 runners faint in the queues and crush; not a good memory.
Thanks though to all the marshals and residents, great atmosphere and great camaraderie amongst the runners.
Fantastic medal as well - you could do some damage with that...
Finish time 4:33, aiming for sub-4 so disappointing results - but great when it stopped... Date of review: May 24, 2010
In short: A difficult half but worth the effort. In full: Hilly was a bit of an understatement, added to the mud made this at times hard work, but it was very enjoyable. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and the course was interesting and varied. Agree with the comment about the mile markers, and also with this not spoiling the experience. Same time next year... Date of review: September 18, 2008
In short: The "Jim'll Fix It" style medal made it all worthwhile In full: Only my third Half (Windsor and Gt Barforth previous form), and definitely the best. 2 gripes: It took a while to get parked (50 mins from the motorway), and the finishing time markers weren't observed/ visible enough at the start; other than those minor points, brilliant! Great finish in the stadium, quick getaway by car (2 hr wait to leave Windsor 2005 ruined the whole day), great support and well planned course. Sprinted at the end, kidded myself the crowd were cheering me... Well done to everyone involved in organising this race, see you next year. Date of review: April 10, 2006