In short: It tempted me back for a second go In full: I rarely visit the same place twice, or run the same race over and over again. There are however exceptions, special places I think about and long to return to. Over the past month the Badgers Half had added itself to that short list. I ran the very hot 2013 version of this race and wilted even before the hills started getting too hard. Despite finishing last year in 2hr 8, deep down I wanted revenge and over the last two weeks I talked myself into running it again, so entered on the day. This year I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The course, the setting, the marshalling, the up hills, the long down hills, the guy dressed as a chilli that kept me sane in the last four miles, the t-shirt, the beer, the hand shake at the end. From the moment I pulled off the A24 into Denbies to the moment I set off again wearing my Badgers t-shirt I was in my element. If you fancy a bit of a challenge give this a go. I can see me lining up for this one again next year. Fantastic work.
In short: Excellent Course, Facilities on the course well marshalled In full: I came back to my home town to run my first marathon. The course was superb, varied enough to keep it interesting without there being too many hills of villages to run through to disrupt my fledgling rhythm at this distance. I've run about 10 half marathons before this and somehow the full marathon felt more grown up, no 'fun runners'. There were drink and toilets stops every 3 miles or so which made planning fuelling the run quite easy. There were long periods where you were running down country lanes with only a handful of people watching so you could disappear into your running and clock off a few miles.
I certainly recommend this run to anyone who wants to try a different marathon or a beginner at this distance. I managed it in 4h 15. First of many
In short: Shocking Organisation In full: The organisation was so poor it made me laugh. Fortunately my family came to watch me so they looked after my things so I only witnessed the baggage drama. After the event when I left West Ham Park the baggage queue was over 200 metres long. Most runners plan pre race hydration based on the start time so they don't need the loo after a few miles. If the race is delayed by 20 minutes then you're in trouble, so for any Half to start this late is unforgivable.
When it started things didn't improve. After 3k (yes k, the race was for some reson measured in kilometres) I was gently running along trying to settle into my race pace when I looked up and the leader of the 10k was coming towards me without any warning from the marshalls.
At the first water point the bottles of water were still in their boxes behind an unmanned table. At that point I just laughed, the organisers didn't just make a few minor errors they failed at the basic planning. The baggage drop off, the start time, the seperation of runners, manning the first water station.
Organisation aside I rather enjoyed running around East London. After the first water station I gave up thinking that it was a major event, relaxed and took it for what it was. If they're planning on holding this event again next year they need to buy in some expertise or at least go to Tunbridge Wells in February and watch closely how they manage it so successfully each year. Date of review: April 15, 2013