In short: Probably the best off-road marathon in the country? In full: Fabulous race with gorgeous views. A constantly changing course with lots of variety and generally only "undulating" hills and nothing too outrageous (aside from the St Martha's Church incline!).
Amazing to see so many marshals helping out and, unlike a previous contributor, I am eternally grateful to every single one of them for their selfless help. It matters not at all whether they all shout encouragement -- that's not everybody's personality. They were there to make sure we were safe and stayed on course. Thank you!!!
The RD promised to ensure there'll be additional water available at the finish next year. And with that, this race cannot possibly be improved. Thoroughly, thoroughly recommended to all! Date of review: September 19, 2011
In short: Great January Marathon in lovely rural Gloucestershire In full: This race did exactly what it said on the tin: It was a marathon in January in Gloucestershire! That meant the course was mildly undulating and the weather was a bit cold (although luckily today it wasn't too bad at all).
The Race HQ in the school was a perfect size for the 500 competitors, and congratulations to the organisers for keeping the limit so that facilities could cope.
The course lap was almost entirely left-hand bends, making it easier/safer to always stay on the left (and the shortest line) while staying out of the way of what little traffic there was.
The laps made it really nice to mix up the slower and faster runners and create a good spirit between them which is often absent on conventional courses.
The beanie hat and outstanding medal were brilliant.
As Garmins always over-measure, I am not in the least concerned that mine reported the course being about 0.1% long. I hardly imagine that I was able to stay on the perfect racing line the whole way.
Water and High5 drinks at the well-staffed drinks station were excellent too.
Great stuff and I'll be back. Date of review: January 25, 2011
In short: Lovely course, clockwork organisation, excellent t-shirt In full: A really nice course around Wisley Common, with some tarmac, leaves, puddles, sand, puddles, hills, tree roots and more to contend with. It all added to a sense of adventure and made this a welcome alternative to yet-another-road 10k.
I'm surprised any runners encountered problems with the dog-runners. My experience was that they were polite and considerate of those around them, often moving aside to give the other runners more room to pass. The course was generally very wide (wide enough to get two buses through), so it didn't matter, and when the course narrowed it was only for a few moments.
My memory of the day was the great comararderie between the dog-runners and the other runners.
Well done to the organisers for a lovely t-shirt and the high-quality catering!
In short: Brilliant low-key marathon. Fantastic organisation In full: Very well-organised course. The high school HQ was perfect for the number of runners this year. The course was a lovely trip along narrow country lanes, generally lined with high hedges so sheltered from the weather.
This felt like a very relaxed long Sunday run - no pressure or stress at all. A lovely change after London week ago.
Great bespoke medal (so much better than the standard picks from the Running Imp catalogue!). Great stuff! Date of review: May 5, 2010
In short: The finest race organisation in the UK In full: A fabulous course with very little traffic, exceptional organisation, generous sweatshirt and goodie bag, nice scenery, quick (although not completely flat) course. Everything is brilliant. Races like the Bath Half-Marathon should come here for lessons on how to keep runners happy, this is how it's done. Date of review: March 24, 2009
In short: Flat. Fast... but so much more than that! In full: My attraction to this race was: a) Its extraordinarily flat course, b) Its 9am start-time (before the weather gets too hot).
I came and found the flat course and duly set my new 10k PB!
However, I was really pleasantly surprised by just how much more there was to this race than just a quick course. The organisation was really slick - arranging people into a human-chain before the start worked well. We had a man dressed as a squirrel sounding the starting hooter! Load of marshalls, excellent km markers and all the lumps and bumps on the pavements had even been marked out with white paint.
At the finish we all got free orange squash, then a free banana, then a goodie bag, then a nice t-shirt (in a variety of sizes), then a medal! Even you fancied a quick dip, you were also entitled to a free swim in the Leisure Centre pool.
Results were available to view within minutes of finishing, and up on the website by early evening.
The organisers also raised a lot of money for local charities.
This is a model race, and one which barely puts a foot wrong. It's so much more than JUST a flat course!
In short: Fast, picturesque course in a nice location In full: For me, this is a really good race around very attractive countryside. I was very appreciative that we had 100% of the roads closed, enabling some nice fast lines around the bends! :-)
The weather was perfect (10degC, sunny) and I found the organisation to be excellent. Their planned car-park was a quagmire, yet they quickly found more parking on hard-standing at a nearby construction site. This is one race where you do need to arrive early - it is a small town which does not quickly absorb 4000 people trying to park within one hour of each other!
I really enjoyed my day, having used it as a pre-FLM pacing test. There was a lot of crowd support and a lot of drink stations. I was perhaps lucky to be in the front 200 runners, so I didn't find the start to be any issue at all.
The free race t-shirt was well designed (not always the case in other races!) and available in a good range of sizes. The "hologram" crystal paperweight is a great reward - very generous.
If the race were not 250 miles from home, I'd be back every year in the future!
In short: Outstanding road-running race, despite peripheral problems In full: This is a fabulous race, and my personal experience was brilliant.
The course is an absolute blast - the only little hill lasts for a very short distance and it's in a area with deafening spectator support. The rest of the way it's flat, extremely wide and really really fast.
The drink stations were staffed perfectly, every marshall smiled, the goody bag was the best I have ever received (including the London Marathon), the medal is great quality. The crowd support was superb, and the inclusivity feeling for everybody - fast and slow - was heartening.
OK, there was a cock-up at the start and we were delayed by an hour. Of course it was pure luck, but I was grateful that the extra hour allowed the rainfall to stop before the race started. Once you know about the delay it was no bother - there are so many coffee/tea shops and fast-food shops in Bath, everybody had somewhere to wait.
I agree that the drink stations need to be on both sides of the road on the second lap. The faster runners were unable to access the stations because all the slower runners were kept to the left side of the road. That should be easily fixed.
Other than that, all I would ask of the organisers is that they look at the weather forecast and lay some decking down in the race village (a lesson learned and fixed at the Great South Run after similar problems in 2006).
I loved the medal, t-shirt and goody bag and was carefully handed them by happy marshalls. I guess I was lucky in finishing in the sharp-end of the field, but I can only comment on my own experience.
Finally, I really don't object to paying £28 for a fast city-centre race on closed roads, Police and St John Ambulance support and good rewards at the end.
Bath have some lessons to learn, but for me this was a terrific experience and I will be back.