In short: Beware slower participants.... In full: My 7th marathon/second straight FLM finish. At best a 6hr30min marathon runner, I struggled in the heat, reached mile 11 with sweep vehicles/boozy Isle of Dogs passers by.By this point kids were playing football with full water bottles on the streets... Endured 15 miles of hell dodging paint stripping vehicles, inhaling exhaust fumes, told to walk on pavements full of rubbish bags, asked by police officers to walk up and down 30 steps rather than walk 100 yards under a tunnel that was "being cleaned" and verbally abused by pavement drunkards. Police wrongly said roads open at 5:10pm when last 2 miles did not open even at 7pm. Finished third from last, easily 90 minutes later than I would have done if allowed a coned off section of the road to walk on. The "helping hand" from the race organisers which is allegedly done for safety reasons exhausted me to the point I needed a taxi to take me to my hotel 1/2 a mile away. Dublin allows 8 hours for the race; Berlin and Athens allow slower participants an earlier start by 2 hours to effectively allow 8 hours for the course. Edinburgh allows 6hrs 40 mins and publicises the sweep vehicle times. Is it not about time London cleaned up its act and respected the slower participants?
On a more positive note: a big thank you to the volunteer with muffins at Mudchute-he was a life saver as I needed something solid by that point. St Johns ambulance crew at 22 miles which offered me 2 bottles of water-I wound not have finished without your help, thank you. Police officer just before Westminster underpass who allowed me to walk straight on rather than go up and down another 30-odd steps: at that point in the race steps seem like hell...until you met the drunken idiot who lay flat on the road teasing sweep vehicles to run him over!
In a nutshell: despite the good weather and enthusiastic crowds unless London organisers find a way to allow slower participants to do exactly the same route as the faster ones (and not a pavement/stair sadistic alternative) I will not be applying for a ballot place for London again. I ran for Cancer Research last year and for an international charity this year, so i will choose a marathon that respects slower participants and take any charity funding there instead. Date of review: April 27, 2009
In short: well organised and friendly race In full: no matter how fast or slow you are you are made to feel welcomed. Traffic free course and plenty of support from fellow runners too. Date of review: March 5, 2009
In short: Very muddy and disappointing In full: I suppose some people love to run on muddy terrain. These people may enjoy the RR, but my wife and I were pulled out after just one mile by one of the lady marshals as being too slow. We can usually go faster but this mudfest ensured that unless you were careful you could sink in the mud at places. Glorious scenery and beutiful countryside but not a race we would consider doing again. Muddier than the Sodbury Slog is the way a few finishers described it to us, and they were probably right. Date of review: January 18, 2009
In short: some nice touches but some major problems too In full: The good things first: friendly atmosphere; helpful and friendly marshals; course has improved (compared with 2006) but still too many twists and turns. Asking someone to pay £5 to aprk their car for 5 hours on a Sunday morning is unacceptable, taking into account they have already paid the race fees. £2 would have been more reasonable. How about a warden to help people as well? The 2 "Pay Here" machines on North Road had queues exceeding 100 people-I nearly missed the start of the race through fear of a fine. Also, deodorants may be fine but water would be betetr for the goody bag: just a bottle of powerade and a bar (and 3 deodorants!!) seems a bit pointless after a race. Date of review: October 19, 2008
In short: flat first 6 miles; undulating second half; shame about the transport In full: Good, helpful marshals; good crowd support. Second half meanders around the city centre aimlessly, taking on roundabouts and cobblestoned streets. Long walk from finish to the goody bags and even longer walk (1.5 miles plus) to get to park and ride buses, which then took 45 minutes to turn up (the park and ride journey to the start was excellent and speedy; not so the waiting for the return bus though on tired legs). Date of review: September 16, 2008
In short: flat, fast 10 miler with excellent organisation In full: Only thing missing is sparse crowds. That aside, excellent organisation, very helpful marshals, and a nice touch at the end of giving a bottle of wine to the last finisher. Well done to the organising committee and everyone involved for their friendliness. I would recommend this race to all runners unreservedly. Date of review: September 1, 2008
In short: Glorious scenery, shame about the marshals... In full: Beautiful scenery, welcoming public, but with marshals like the one I encountered from 6miles onwards the race became a disaster for me. To be asked 60% of the way there to stop so they could go home, then no water station after 5.3 miles in the heat of the day, then comments like "come on, sprint" towards the end. One oasis in all this: 2 club ladies named Helga and Barbara who took the bullying marshal away and helped me get to the finish line. Apparently the race has a 2-hour cutoff but "they forgot to put it on the website this year", and "as some of them were up from 6:30 am they wanted to get home". Is that an excuse for treating a fellow runner in this way? I think not. Helga and Barbara embodied the true spirit of running, helping a colleague who was cramping in the heat and had run the entire race on his own to finish. All I can say to the rest of the Warminster Forest 10 miler committee is that they succeeded in making me feel unwelcome and unsupported. If all they want is elite runners then they should say so. Some of us are slow, granted, but our graft and determination is no less than that of the fleet footed runners. To be told at the end "train harder so you'll be faster next year" was very patronising as well. I've been running for 2 years and have completed a 30-miler, 5 marathons and 16 half marathons, plus many shorter races. Never have I felt so belittled as I did today. If all running clubs had this attitude then running for the masses would never take off. Once again, thank you to the people of Warminster, fellow competitors for cheering me at the end, as well as to Helga and Barbara for their amazing, selfless act of support to a fellow runner who was in trouble. I am glad I belong to a running club where such elitist behaviour is neither encouraged nor tolerated. Date of review: June 22, 2008