In short: Flat course with a great finish in a great stadium In full: I had both a positive and a negative experience in this event, and although the cons outnumber the pros, it's the pros that win out...
Firstly the Pros: A massive field, encompassing runners of all ages and abilities from Dan "he went to my school you know" Robinson to two guys that made it round in 5 hours, with as much variety in between as you could imagine. A massive organisation, with road closures, plentiful water, energy drink, toilets, more marshalls and first-aiders than you can shake a stick at and plentiful buses to get you back to the station. A great stadium to finish in, affording spectators a great view and competitors a great cheer as they near the finish. A flat course, with one and a half big hills and a couple of long downhills that took in most of the sights in town. My PB by 3 mins is testimony to the "PB potential" of the course. Good support most of the way around the course, particularly in the centre of town and at the stadium. That Big Race Atmosphere with fun-runners wearing all manner of costumes, including Alice the Camel, Superman, Sumo wrestlers, the Tin Man and at least one Rhino. That Big Race Atmosphere with pace runners (official and otherwise) helping people to get round in their target time. Mick N Phil.
The Cons: That Big Race Atmosphere with people lining up whereever the bl**dy hell they liked and ignoring the pace-grouping signs. I lined up in the middle of 1:20-1:30 group next to a guy wearing pace-bands for 1:35 and 1:45. That Big Race Atmosphere with queues for baggage caused by people attempting to exit the baggage tents through the entrance. The isolation/desolation from 10M-11.5M with few supporters (thanks to those that were there) and no apparent end. The cruel dog-leg from 11.5M-12.5M with the stadium tantalisingly close. The tight turn inside the stadium as you turned into the finishing straight (hardly a major problem). Creating a massive space behind the finishing line and then not letting people hang around there to wait for friends and/or club mates. I'd suggest moving the finishing straight back 25 yards. No water inside the stadium at/near the finish. The lame "goodie-bag" which smacked more of attention to free stuff and less of attention to detail. That Big Race Atmosphere with people lining up whereever the bl**dy hell they liked and ignoring the pace-grouping signs. I lined up in the middle of 1:20-1:30 group next to a guy wearing pace-bands for 1:35 and 1:45. (Repetition for effect)
That said it is a great event and popular for all thr right reasons and it's one to go onto the list for next year. Date of review: March 26, 2007
In short: Good value for money, and a nice, flat, scenic course In full: I'd definitely do this again, but the burger van by the start didn't help much, nor did the very sharp turn near the end of the large laps.